How to build a extremely valuable list, without a newsletter

content marketing, writing, material, information

If you want to build a huge, extremely valuable list, this post is just for you.

I get emails every day from people, who thank me for my free marketing newsletter. Some of you will find that odd, as I don’t publish a newsletter.

So, why does this happen?

Simple: I give people the option to read this blog, via a free email subscription. As a result, thousands of people get an email with the content of my latest blog post. These emails look and read just like a newsletter.

I suggest you consider doing the same.

Here’s why!

There’s a reason Seth Godin, the world’s most read marketing expert, also uses this approach rather than a newsletter. It’s an extremely powerful way to build a great, super-connected community of readers.

For example:

  • The blog (online) version of your posts get shared on social networks. Yes, this is technically possible with newsletters, but shares of blog posts are far, far more popular. People can then see your work and subscribe to it, knowing exactly what to expect. Newsletters are often little more than thinly disguised sales pitches and people are savvy to this.
  • The blog version of your posts get crawled by search engines.
  • Your blog posts can be found using search engines, when people need the information you provide.
    • These Top Marketing Tips attract traffic from search engines all day. A subset of these readers subscribe to the email version of the blog. It’s a list-builder all by itself, which grows the list all day every day. Again, because it shows people exactly what to expect, a far higher percentage will subscribe, than if I offered a newsletter.

Which is the best route for you?

If your newsletter is mainly special offers and promotions, a dedicated newsletter, marketed via your blog is a better option.

Otherwise, I strongly suggest you consider the benefits of offering a high quality, email edition of your blog posts instead.

  • It costs the same as a newsletter costs to send.
  • It’s a quicker way to build your list, for all the reasons already mentioned.
  • You don’t have to invest time writing a newsletter.

BONUS: It may also motivate you to publish blog posts more often, which will help your reputation, your reach, your authority AND your reader list… to grow!

Are you teaching people to ignore your marketing?

Every piece of marketing material is created from 1 of the following 2 mindsets.

  1. I wrote this, so now I need you to read it.
  2. There’s something you need to know, so I wrote it.

The first approach is selfish. It’s focused on the needs of the writer, not the reader. It’s noise, not value. People ignore these selfish messages.

The second approach is contribution focused. It’s about giving value to the reader. This unselfish approach is so rare that when people see it, it captures their attention and grabs their interest.

Whether you know it or not, every message you send fits into one of those 2 categories. You are either training people to filter you OUT or tune you IN.

Choose wisely.

Stop working for toxic clients. Seriously. Stop it!

business development, business growth,

It’s hard to overstate the damage caused by toxic clients.

Late paying clients destroy your cash flow and are responsible for the death of more businesses than lack of sales. Over-demanding clients can turn the joy of work into something you don’t even like any more.

Toxic clients cause stress, unhappiness and will slowly destroy your business.

Solution: Fire them!

If you think you can’t afford to fire your toxic clients, wait until you pay the full price for NOT firing them.

Then replace them with GREAT clients

Replace your toxic clients, one by one, with clients who give you the freedom to do your best work. This, ironically, will help you attract more and more great clients. A virtuous cycle is created.

The opposite is also true: If you allow yourself to work for toxic clients, the quality of your work drops, which makes it harder and harder to attract great clients.

Make the decision

If you want to work with better clients, who allow you to do your best work and will pay you accordingly, make the decision to do something about it today!

Here’s an approach to marketing that works every time

marketing tips, marketing ideas, sales

This approach to marketing works every time. It isn’t easy, which is why so few people do it. However, it comes with a 100% success rate.

Here it is: Be so good that they can’t ignore you.

If your product or service is THAT good, people will hire you, buy from you AND tell everyone about you. So, if you show just 10 people what you do, each one will tell another 10 people, who will each get you another 10… repeat.

The opposite is also true

Average products or services are everywhere. They fail to stand out. We forget them within minutes. Very few people talk about them. They need to be pushed constantly. Networking groups were created for this type of average business.

I was prompted to write about this for you, after remembering a wonderful example of how to get it right.

An example from the rear end of a computer!

When Steve Jobs announced the first iMac computer, he showed people the rear of the machine and said the following:

“The back of our computer looks better than the front of the other guy’s”.

That was an amazingly powerful statement, which attracted people’s attention, got everybody talking and generated record breaking sales.


Because it made the iMac impossible to ignore. Computers at the time were dull, beige boxes. Here was an amazing, multicoloured range of machines, which looked better from the back than anything on the market did from the front.

One detail, which other computer manufacturers at the time totally neglected, gave the marketplace an amazing Apple story to share. It made Apple and the iMac too good to ignore.

Push or Attract?

Ultimately, business owners have a decision to make. They can:

  • Push a good, but predictable business on the marketplace.
  • Attract attention, by being too good to ignore.

Pushing a predictable product or service is expensive and places a very low ceiling on your potential. If you want 100 people to know about what you do, you have to pester 100 people with some kind of marketing AND pay to reach all of them.

Attracting attention is inexpensive and offers limitless potential. It scales to infinity. If you want a million people to know about what you do, just tell 10 people… and keep delivering on being too good to ignore.

Easy? No.

Worth it? Absolutely.

Here’s some free advice to get you on the right track.

Growing a successful business is a marathon, not a sprint!

When it comes to launching a new business or project, it’s really important to remember the following:

Big launches are extremely overrated.

Success is not about having an amazing opening day or opening week. It’s what you do over time, which counts.

Anyone can launch something

The time for razzmatazz and parties is after you’ve remained committed and focused for long enough, to achieve what you wanted.

That’s why marathon runners get their medals after they cross the finish line… and not on the start line.

So, you want more from your business? Try this!

Business development

To grow your business successfully, you need all 3 of the following:

  1. A substantial number of prospective clients, who you can locate and connect with.
  2. These prospective clients need to have a problem, which your service provides the answer to.
  3. Finally, they need to be willing and able to pay you for solving their problem.

That’s what you need for a successful business. And for most people, that’s all they want.

However, if you want even more from your business, something exceptional, you need to know the following.

Truly exceptional businesses are a little different

Exceptional businesses do 1 thing differently. To be exceptional, you need to change number 2 on that list, to this:

These prospective clients need to have a problem, which ONLY your service provides the answer to.

Yes, it takes more effort to develop a uniquely valuable product or service, but the rewards are disproportionately high. For example, you no longer have to compete for business based on fees. Also, by deliberately choosing the type of problem to solve, you can predetermine the quality of clients you work with.

Here’s a suggestion

Think about gaps in the market — problems that are currently not being solved by existing providers. Dig deep. Stick with it until you get some answers. Keep working on it. Give it the time and energy it needs.

Why? Because you only need to get this right once, for your whole world to change!

Tip: This will help you get started.

Is your site ready for the fastest growing group of Internet users?

In this article, I’m going to share maybe the fastest way to improve the results you get from your website or blog. I’m also going to share 2 great, free tools with you.

First, I need to ask you a question: How does your blog or website look on a mobile device?

Many of your prospective clients or customers will be accessing your site using phones or tablets. That number is set to rise, as PC sales drop and mobile devices increase in popularity. If your site is deliberately designed for mobile devices, that’s fine. However, if it isn’t, a poor mobile experience will cost you a fortune in lost client inquiries or sales.

Here are 2 useful, free tools to help you get it right.

How to see what your site looks like on popular mobile devices

Thankfully, there are a number of free online tools, which show you what your site looks like on mobile devices. Screenfly by Quicktools is a good example. You simply enter the address of your site and then click the various options in the menu bar, to see what your site looks like on different, popular phones and tablets.

A few things to look out for:

  • Your site should offer mobile readers clear, easy to read text and mobile friendly buttons.
  • Readers shouldn’t need to scroll from left to right, in order to read your mobile content.
  • Your header image should not be cropped.
  • Your navigation bar should be easy to read and easy to click.

Everything should be displayed so that it’s accessible and clear.

How fast does your site load?

People expect sites to load quickly and correctly. This is especially the case when using a mobile device, when they will often be looking for specific information, fast. If your site takes too long to load, you will be losing readers before they even see your site or read what you have to say.

Google has a tool you can use, which will show you how quickly your site loads on mobile devices as well as regular computers. The Google Page Speed Insights tool will grade your site from 1 to 100 — the faster your site, the higher your score. However, what makes this tool extremely useful is that it tells you where your site needs to improve and offers advice on how to make the changes required.

In short: If your website or blog isn’t delivering a great mobile experience, it’s losing you business. The only question is how much.

How to get people marketing your business for free

word of mouth, viral, spread word

That headline isn’t a play on words. I’m going to show you how to motivate people to market your business for free.

Allow me to explain.

When we exceed expectations, something amazing happens. Our product or service starts to market itself.

Spreading the word

I recently bought a new MacBook Air. Apple promised “up to 12 hours” battery life. I actually got over 13 hours. In fact, everything about the machine was better than I expected. Apple made the machine sound great, but that was nothing compared to what they delivered.

I was so impressed that I recommended the MacBook Air to my friends and clients. I also tweeted about it, shared my delight on Google+ and now I’m telling you.

That’s what we do when a product or service exceeds our expectations. We talk about it. We share it. We create a wave of independent, 3rd party recommendations — which is extremely powerful.

A subtle improvement that creates huge gains

Interestingly, the gap between meeting expectations and exceeding them is relatively small. It’s tiny, in relation to the huge positive impact it creates. It just takes a little extra effort and some creativity.

NB: Here’s a whole website full of creative thinking ideas.

Here’s a great place to start: Identify what your prospective clients or customers expect from providers in your industry. Then look for ways to exceed these expectations.

Here’s a useful tip: Consider the products or service that exceeded your expectations. What can you learn from them, which you can adapt into your business?

Get this right and you will soon have an army of passionate advocates, marketing your business for you… for free!

How to describe your business so it stands out from the crowd


Here’s a summary of the advice I recently gave a group of creative professionals, which I believe you will find useful.

It’s all about the labels we use and how they shape the way the marketplace sees us.

The labels people use

When I help creative agencies to improve their output, I start by asking them why they insist on labelling themselves as a creative agency.

Think about it: If a creative agency is truly creative, surely it wouldn’t copy a dull, generic term to describe what it does. It wouldn’t limit itself like that.

That kind of labelling works fine for some other businesses, because those businesses are generic.

For example, restaurants provide an identical core service: You eat and drink and then pay the bill. This is true, whether you go to a fast food restaurant or the most expensive restaurant in town. All that changes between restaurants is the food, the experience and the cost.

Conversely, creative agencies are supposed to think without limitations. The nature of what they do, is to think differently. Unlike restaurants, very few creative agencies, if any, should offer an identical service.

Benjamin Zephaniah is more than a poet

The best creative professionals, like all artists, are exceptions to the labelling rule. Is Benjamin Zephaniah a poet? Yes, but he’s so much more, so he’s never labelled simply as a poet. I’ve followed Benjamin’s work for decades and he’s usually introduced with any or all of the following statements:

  • He’s a social commentator.
  • He’s a recording artist.
  • He’s an activist.
  • He’s a master story teller.
  • He’s a trouble maker.
  • He’s an educator.
  • He’s a progressive thinker.
  • He’s a catalyst for change.
  • And he’s a poet… a really good poet.

Benjamin Zephaniah defies a simple label. The same was true of Andy Warhol. Warhol wasn’t a studio artist, he invented his own artistic niche with Pop Art.

My point here, is that creative professionals who embrace the creative agency label are, at best, causing people to think of them within a narrow, limiting box. At worst, it will restrict what the agency team do, as they start to conform to what they think ‘the typical agency’ does.

Neither of those are great outcomes. In fact, they’re common to every struggling agency I have ever helped.

A creative alternative?

Lose the label. Create your own niche. Do your own unique brand of work. Set yourself apart. Be meaningfully different.

When you lose that uncreative label, you get to define what you do.

This isn’t the 1990’s and you don’t need to be listed in business directories, under an idiot-proof label or category. Today, you can put your creativity out there and attract the attention of those interested in your unique, creative approach.

Show us what you’ve got. If it’s remarkable enough, we’ll hire you and share your story with our friends.

What everybody ought to know about being boring!

business development, business growth,

I received a spam email earlier. A PR company decided to send me a press release, to announce that a camera maker was going to sponsor an event. They wanted me to write about it.

No one cares

The thing is, it’s a mind-numbingly dull message.

  • It’s a non story.
  • It’s completely unremarkable.
  • It’s boring. Really boring.
  • It’s also too unimportant to be news.

Other than the camera company’s marketing department, the PR company and whoever organised the event – no one cares.

Pushing a dull message is simple. It requires no creativity. No art. No thought. However, it’s also extremely ineffective.


An alternative approach is to take a little more time and attract people’s attention, doing something worth talking about. People share remarkable stories all day long. No pushing required.

Make it remarkable. Then, people will remark on it. It’s that simple… and that difficult.

This will help: Increase word of mouth referrals with this simple idea.