Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Author: Jim Connolly (page 30 of 195)

You won’t believe how useful this copywriting tip is!

MacBook Air, 0.68 inch thin

Here’s a great copywriting tip, to help you improve the effectiveness of all your marketing messages.

Words and feelings

Professional copywriters understand the importance of selecting the correct words. We know that the words we use have the power to change how people feel and thus, the actions they take.

A great example of this, comes from the marketing of Apple’s MacBook Air.

MacBook Air: Just 0.68 inch thin

When Apple describe the thickness of their MacBook Air notebooks, they say it’s just 0.68 inch thin. They do this for a reason. They want you to focus on how thin it is, not how thick it is. So, they plant the word thin in your mind, when you think of their product.

Why would they do that?

If thinness is a priority for you when you buy your next notebook, you will now have a mental connection between that priority and Apple’s MacBook Air product. In other words, Apple’s marketing will have created a direct link in your mind, between what you want and what they sell.

I suggest you do the same

Deliberately select the words your prospective client needs to see, so they connect what they need with what you offer. Ideally, this should always be handled by a professional copywriter. It can be the difference between regularly attracting great, new clients… or crickets.

If you are committed to DIY marketing, test and measure the use of different words. See if you can find certain words, which you can weave into your marketing copy, to increase the number of targeted inquiries you attract.

How to get what you want from your business

How get what want

If you have been struggling to get the results you want from your business, this marketing tip could be just what you’re looking for.

As you may have already discovered, the marketplace doesn’t really care about what you want.

Your family cares. Your friends care. I care… however, the marketplace cares about what it wants — not what you want.

So, how do you get what you want from your business?

It works like this: You can get whatever it is you want, providing you look at things a little differently. Instead of focusing on how your business will generate the revenues or profits you want, you need to focus on what the marketplace wants.

You then align what the marketplace wants, with what you want.

Here’s a useful way to begin:

  • Find out, exactly what you want from your business. Get specific. Write it down. Add numbers, financial figures, assets and timescales.
  • Next, you need to uncover what your marketplace wants. A good place to start looking, is to learn what their most pressing problems are. Monitoring social networks is one of the best ways to do this. Follow their conversations until you know what they want. Listen. Really listen.
  • Finally, you need to figure out how to get them what they want, in a way that works for you commercially.

Is this easy? No.

Is it possible? Of course.

Is it worth it? Absolutely!

PS: The bigger the “want” you provide, the bigger the rewards you will receive.

Are you making a noise or making a difference?

It’s easy to add to all the noise out there.

  • Pester people with special offers via social networks.
  • Invite people to your desperate sales video webinar.
  • Retweet that guru who has already been retweeted thousands of times.
  • Write predictable, “me too” blog posts.
  • Agree with whatever the popular opinion of the day is.

The thing is, no one is demanding more noise.

Training people to ignore you

You can’t benefit from the noise deficit, because there isn’t one. So, all the noise makers do is train people to ignore them. Sure, they may have followers, but no one is listening to them. They may have our email address, but their emails don’t get opened or acted on. If they stopped making their noise, we wouldn’t miss them at all.

The difference deficit

Where there is a deficit, is with people who are making a difference. These are the rare people we eagerly subscribe to. These are the people we look forward to hearing from. They add something of value to us and our business. They make a difference. A positive, meaningful difference.

Most importantly, these are the people we miss when they are not there.

And that’s also the best way to determine if your marketing is making a noise or making a difference. It’s a tough question to ask and answer, but would people miss your marketing if it stopped?

Tip: If you need to push your marketing because people are not spreading it, they probably wouldn’t miss it. If people spread the word for you, (send your newsletter to their friends, reshare your work, etc) … you’re making a difference.

How to take your business from average to remarkable

word of mouth, stories

Here’s the problem with average… average doesn’t motivate or inspire people to do anything.

It looks like this:

  • If you have an average meal at a restaurant, you still pay the bill, but you don’t bother recommending the place to your friends. That’s because we don’t recommend average food.
  • If your accountant provides you with an average service, you still pay their fee, but you don’t bother recommending them. That’s because we don’t recommend average service.

In short, average lacks impact.

Why average is so common

A lot of small business owners make the mistake of assuming that because they get few complaints, their business offers an above average experience for their clients or customers. They confuse silence with satisfaction, which is a silly and costly error.

They think they are better than average and wonder why they get so few word of mouth referrals. All the time, they are totally unaware that the problem is with their average approach to business. People are not spreading the word about them, because there’s nothing worth saying.

From average to remark-able

Here’s the thing: With some extra creative thinking, attention and effort, most businesses can quickly go from average to remarkable. Remarkable work is work that is meaningfully different from the average providers in your industry. Remarkable work is exactly that — worthy of remarking on (or talking about.)

When your business becomes remarkable, people talk about you for all the right reasons. They share how exceptional your products, services or customer service is with everyone who will listen.

Give your marketplace a remarkable story about your work and they will share it. Of course, the flip side of this is the acceptance that if they are not already, regularly recommending you, your story needs improving.

If I were you, I’d work on that. Today.

Marketing 101: They have heard it all before

marketing tip

The thing about your prospective clients, is that they have heard it all before. They have wasted their time and money on services, which totally failed to deliver on the promises they were given.

Then you come along, making promises about your business… and expect them to believe you.

Going beyond generic

The most successful marketing takes into account, that they have heard it all before. It goes beyond the generic promises of great customer service. The guys who ripped them off promised great customer service and had client testimonials too… everyone does.

So, what are you doing to address this trust issue, in a meaningful way that prospective clients will believe?

Your answer to that question is extremely important. Think it through. Then put it in play.

Chasing your dreams or running from your fears?

Some business owners are chasing their dreams. Others are running from their fears. The difference this creates in their results is huge. No, bigger than that!

So, are you focusing on what you want or what you fear?

One will empower you and lead you to opportunities and growth. The other will lead to pain and stop you from getting started.

Focusing on fear

When we focus on fear, it has a huge, negative impact on our thinking, our decisions and then the actions we take.

Here are some examples of fear driven thinking:

  • We copy our competitors, because it feels safe. This makes us invisible. Here’s a better approach for your business!
  • We stay within our comfort zones. This makes it impossible for us to grow.
  • We adopt the perfectionist mindset and become unproductive. Nothing is perfect, so waiting for something to be perfect slows us down or stops us from even starting.
  • We waste money on things that make us feel good in the short term, yet avoid risking an investment that our business desperately needs. Investment equals risk. Fear focused people hate risk.
  • We attract others who have the same fear focused mindset. This reinforces our fears and supports our decision to hunker down and do nothing new.
  • We work for average people and charge them average fees. Here’s how to break free from that trap.
  • We stagnate.

Those are just some of the things that happen, when we try to avoid what we fear, rather than pursue what we want.

Here’s an interesting question

What 3 things would you do today, if you knew for certain that you could not fail?

Write them down.

Why? Because that list will contain 3 things, which you are currently not doing, from fear of failing. What if one or more of those ‘things’ were to succeed? What if you were to learn something of even greater value, from looking fear in the face and doing what needs to be done?

See failure as feedback, rather than pain. Learn from the feedback. Improve. Embrace change. Give it your best shot.

When you do, you will be following the success formula of every successful person who has ever lived.

Here’s an unusual way to grow your business

Much has been said about the value of learning from the success of others. Rightly so. If someone has already achieved something, which you want to achieve, there are surely things you can learn from their journey.

However, there is another way to learn. In many ways it’s more powerful too.

Learning from the failure of others

The average small business owner is, by default, average. They work hard, but fail to achieve meaningful success. If you want to avoid offering average services to average people for average fees – study the average business…. then don’t do what they do!

Use their month to month struggle as motivation to succeed. Use their mistakes as a powerful warning of what to avoid.

Here’s what we know about the average small business owner:

  • They have a business that is largely indistinguishable from their competitors.
  • They attract far fewer word of mouth referrals than successful business owners.
  • They think poor cash flow and over demanding clients are just part of being in business, rather than a sign of amateur marketing.
  • They wish things would improve, rather than investing in progress.
  • They complain about their situation… but refuse to do what’s needed, to turn things around.
  • They are able to name the stars of their favourite TV show, but can’t name who their best prospective clients are.
  • They dabble with areas of their business, where they clearly need expert help.

If you are tired of working hard and making too little progress, stop! Ask yourself why you are working hard, using an approach that isn’t generating the results you want.

If you have lots of time and lots of money, you can do this yourself over a period of years, through trial and error. If you aren’t that wealthy or you value your time, invest in the expert help you need and get on target immediately.

Remember: Hard work alone is not the secret of success. If it was, our grandparents would have been millionaires.

These people are not entitled to your time or money

Today, I’d like to save you time, money, energy and stress. I want to help you avoid making the extremely costly mistake of using someone’s title as a decision making shortcut.

Whilst some titles are defined by meaningful, proven attainment (like the title Professor), others are way too vague. Here are some examples of titles, which sound like one thing, but could mean something completely different.

The CEO

Anyone can be the CEO of nothing. Think of it like this: Bob and Mark are both CEO’s. Whilst that title tells us they are both the head of a company, it tells us nothing about their company or their achievements. Bob could be CEO of a 3 month old business that’s in the process of going bankrupt, and Mark could be the CEO of Facebook.

If you are thinking of giving your money, time or attention to someone, just because they have the CEO title, dig a little deeper first.

Internet Start-up founders

I get emails most days, from people calling themselves the founder of an Internet Start-up. Some Internet start-ups are funded by millions of dollars worth of investment and run by people with a proven track record of success. Others are 2 days old, unfunded, with no relevant expertise or business model, trying to be just like Amazon.com… only better.

Again, as a small business owner, your time is too precious to give it away to everyone, claiming to be the founder of an Internet Start-up who plans to make you rich. Check them out first. Their title, by itself, means nothing.

BTW: If you’re interested in start-ups, I was interviewed about Kickstarter by ABC News last week — you can read it here.

Best selling authors: from Gladwell to Godin to minimum wage

Then there are best selling authors. Malcolm Gladwell and Seth Godin can rightly claim to be best selling, non-fiction authors. They are. However, they are also poles apart, in the wide, 3 tiers of best selling authors.

Top tier: Gladwell sells millions of copies of each book. He earns millions of dollars from them and he is interviewed on major TV networks, worldwide, when each new book is launched.

Middle tier: Godin is extremely successful, but sells far fewer books than Gladwell. Godin appears on affiliate marketing blogs, podcasts and in marketing publications, to promote his new books. Whilst a pole away from Gladwell, Godin’s influence is huge within his niche. He’s also a pole away from the next tier.

Bottom tier: These are the best selling authors, who sell surprisingly few books (as few as 5000) and make very little money. Just search Google for “how much does a best selling author earn”. You will see it can be as little as $15,000 or less, for maybe a year spent writing and promoting their book. That’s less than minimum wage!

There is a huge difference between Gladwell at the top and the people at the bottom. So, if approached by a best selling author, asking you to invest your time and expertise, in return for a name-check in their next book, do some research. Using their best selling author title, by itself, as a decision making shortcut, could lead you to waste lots of your valuable time, on something that few people will ever read. Find out if you’re dealing with someone who sells millions, hundreds of thousands or just a few thousand.

The top 10 rated experts in the world

Then there are those, who title themselves as a world top 10 expert, because they appear on a top 10 list from a well known magazine or website. Often, the publication is well known, but the list is simply a blog post, written by an unestablished blogger, who writes, for free, on big sites, to get their name known.

These lists are not voted for… they are just a blogger’s opinion. They are very often not endorsed by the magazine or website. It is also common to find the blogger’s friends or people they want to impress, added to these lists. This is why you often see lots of unknown people, with nothing in their background to suggest they have achieved anything, listed in those (insert well known publication) Top 10 in the world, lists. 

So, if you are thinking of hiring or taking advice from someone, because they title themselves as a top 10 listed expert, don’t. If their inclusion on that list is just one blogger’s opinion, it’s meaningless. Check them out first.

Do they really seem to be credible enough to be one of the very best in the world? Clue: Anyone using that kind of title, isn’t. The best of the best have nothing to prove. Their work and reputation speaks for itself.

In a nutshell: Titles can be extremely misleading. Using them as a decision making shortcut can lead us to make bad decisions. Take the time to check someone out, before you give them your time, attention, money or energy.

Only if who they are and what they have achieved sacks up with their title, should you consider investing in them.

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