Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Author: Jim Connolly (page 30 of 191)

Stop surviving and start thriving

The weather and the economy have a few things in common:

  • People blame both of them for ruining things.
  • They are beyond our direct control.
  • We can adapt in order to either lessen their impact or, if we are willing to apply some creative thought, we can benefit from them.

Agile or static?

The agile business owner sees the rain and decides she is going to sell umbrellas. The static business owner looks on and complains when people are not buying his sun cream!

The economy is what it is. Even the experts can’t agree on when things will improve in any meaningful way. Those hunkering down and hoping everything will go back to pre 2007 conditions could be in for a long and expensive wait.

Thriving in 2014 is a choice… YOUR choice

I’m about to start a marketing session with one of my clients, who has seen her turnover increase by 240% this year, with an even greater increase in her profits. Others in her industry are struggling and going broke, because they are not adapting correctly to the market. They are lowering their fees in a race to the bottom, whilst she has increased her fees. They are working hard trying to survive, whilst my client thrives because she is doing the right things, correctly.

You can’t improve the economy… but thankfully, you don’t need to.

Why?

Because just like the client I’m about to work with, you can improve your strategy!

It’s hard to fly without wings

Yes, you can do experiments in your mind. You can guess what the possible outcomes of an idea might be.

However… the only way to really know if an idea will fly, is to try it. To put your idea into play.

Taking action is what gives your idea wings. It’s hard to fly, without wings.

Need a little help? Try this!

Newsletters: A more human approach

In 2011, I shared an idea with my readers, to help them massively improve the success of their newsletters. In the years that have passed, a number of courageous readers have adopted this approach, with great success. Today, I want to share this valuable idea with you.

When is a newsletter not a newsletter?

When you share your news with your friends via an email, your email looks like a regular email. It contains no glossy images, no “buy now” offers. It’s just an email, from you, to them.

When businesses decide to offer newsletters, they tend to do the opposite. There’s usually little if any actual NEWS and the whole thing looks and reads like a poorly disguised advertisement.

So, this got me thinking:

  • What if you treated the people who read your current newsletter, as if they were already friends?
  • What if you sent them actual news and asked how they are?
  • What if you sent it, not on some lame automated schedule, but only when you had something of value or interest to share?
  • What if some of them contained no special offers or sales pitches?
  • What if some were just offering to help?

Business is all about people

Is it possible that this approach would help you develop a deeper, richer relationship with your readers?

Is it probable that it would sound more honest and trustworthy than the usual; “we call it a newsletter but there’s no actual news, I just want to sell you stuff,” approach?

Because if it is, it could massively improve how they felt about you and your business.

Why does this matter?

It matters because business is all about people. People do business with people they like. People recommend people they like.

There’s real potential here, for those with the courage to make their newsletters more human.

This threat to your business is also your biggest opportunity!

outstanding

All accountants are not the same… but to look at their marketing, you’d think they were. The same is true of trainers, lawyers, designers, coaches… every service provider you can think of.

So, a prospective client looking for a new service provider finds an ocean of lookalike businesses. Until, that is, a new provider turns up, who understands how to differentiate themselves in a valuable, meaningful way.

Here’s what happens

  • Quickly, this new provider starts attracting the attention of the marketplace.
  • People start talking about them and the word of mouth spreads, whilst no one talks about their lookalike competitors.
  • With so many people saying good things about this new provider, they soon build a great reputation.
  • They become the default choice, for clients who want more than a cookie-cutter service provider.
  • They soon own the most profitable end of the marketplace.

There are two things to consider about this scenario:

  1. Are you just going to wait until a competitor like that turns up and targets your clients and prospective clients?
  2. Or are you going to become that provider yourself and grow an outstanding business, working with the most valuable clients?

Business success comes from combining good decision making with hard work.

You already work hard. But have you decided to market your business, so that you stand out from your competitors? If not… why not?

Stop using buzzwords in your marketing. Seriously. Stop it.

There is no shortage of buzzwords or people who feel the need to use them.

Intersection.

Ruckus.

Disrupt.

… these buzzwords and many others, are used by people in an effort to appear informed or relevant. Interestingly, buzzwords do neither of these. In fact, they have the exact opposite effect when people read them or hear them.

For example:

  • They make informed people cringe. Not a great idea, if you want your peers to take you seriously.
  • They confuse the uninformed. A bad choice, if you want people to understand your message.

In either case, buzzwords work against you. When it comes to marketing, write your copy in a way that your ideal client will find easy to understand.

Always aim for clarity.

Why?

Because clarity sells!

PS: Here’s how to develop effective, clear, compelling marketing.

Here’s a simple way to achieve amazing results

Have you noticed how resourceful you become, when faced with a crisis?

In times of struggle, you focus your attention on the challenge. You do what’s required… even if it takes you outside your comfort zone. You meet the challenge head-on and learn that you are capable of incredible things.

Here’s something for you to ponder

You have that same amazing ability all the time. Not just in a crisis. It’s within you right now. You simply need to summon it. To command it to appear.

In short: Don’t wait for a disaster to strike before you tap into your full potential. Go and do something amazing today!

PS: Here are a few more things about you.

Something I’d like to share with you

I’ve never shared this with you before, so I hope you find it interesting.

When I started Jim’s Marketing Blog, my goal was to help a million small business owners. After I achieved a million unique visitors, I needed a new goal. I decided to help as many small business owners as I could.

The challenge with that goal, is that it was too ambiguous. You can’t measure how close you are to a number that doesn’t exist.

So, last month I decided to set another numeric goal. An inspiring goal. A motivating goal.

The 25 million

I decided that I want to help 25 million small business owners and freelancers. I want to provide them with free marketing and business development ideas and advice.

I especially want to provide free help to those who are unable to afford the expert marketing assistance they need.

25 million is a big number. It’s an exciting number too. It’s also a number I will need a little help with.

As I don’t bother much with SEO (it bores me and I refuse to write like a robot), I have always relied on readers who find my work useful, sharing it with their friends. You have been massively more effective than any search engine, at helping me to help more people.

I just wanted to give you the inside story on what inspires me… as I figure out how on earth I’m going to help 25 millions small business owners,

If you want to help, carry on sharing anything you find interesting here.

I’d also like to thank you if you’re already linking to the blog or sharing it with your friends. Between us, I believe 25 million is absolutely achievable.

So, now you know why I write an ad free blog, with no affiliate links, which costs me thousands each month to produce.

4 Common marketing mistakes AND how to avoid them

marketing mistakes

Here are 4 extremely common marketing errors, which are needlessly hurting small businesses.

This is really important, so let’s get started!

1. You’re not doing enough, to get word of mouth referrals

You need to give your business a story, which is interesting enough for people to talk about.

Please allow me to explain: Think of every business or brand, which you just had to tell your friends about… what motivated you to spread the word? It was something remarkable. Something so interesting that you wanted to share it.

You need to give YOUR business a compelling story, which people will embrace and share. I’ve seen amazing results with my clients when we worked this into their business. I suggest you do the same.

2. You only market your services when business is worryingly quiet

Marketing needs to be an ongoing conversation with your prospective clients. This helps you earn the awareness and trust of your marketplace. It’s what makes prospective clients think of you when they need a new provider.

However, if you only market your services now and then, your marketing has no momentum. You start from zero each time. The marketplace sees you as a stranger. You lack the ongoing connection with your prospective clients, which you need if you want to win their business.

I don’t care what excuse you tell yourself for not marketing your business on an ongoing basis, but lose the excuse.

You haven’t got time? Then find the time.

You can’t afford it? Then you’re already paying the price for prioritizing everything else, above your marketing. I can’t think of a better motivation for you to start taking your marketing seriously.

3. Your website isn’t providing you with regular sales or high quality client leads

This. Is. Crazy. Just about every small business website or blog I see, is massively under performing. This is an area I work on at the very beginning with my new clients, because huge gains can be achieved very quickly.

Your website should be a business generating machine. It should be working for your business all day, while you’re busy delighting your clients.

If it isn’t, you’re leaving money on the table every day. You’re needlessly losing out on regular sales leads. No business can afford that.

Give your website what it needs and it will give you what you need. Treat it as an afterthought and it will perform accordingly.

4. Your service sounds too similar to other providers in your industry

Unless you get this right, you will always struggle. This is maybe the single most dangerous small business marketing mistake. With the vast majority of small business owners making this mistake, it almost certainly applies to your business too.

If you provide a service where there is a lot of competition, you need to show why YOUR service is worth hiring and not the other providers.

It’s not enough to say you try harder or that you go the extra mile or that you offer great customer service… everyone says that! You need a meaningful, genuine difference. Otherwise, you will find yourself competing for clients based on your prices or fees.

Why?

Because when there’s no meaningful difference in value between providers, prospective clients use your fee as a way to measure value. Conversely, when you are clearly offering enough unique value, you stand out.

  • You attract the best clients.
  • You attract inquiries from people, eager to work with you.
  • You attract clients who value your time.
  • You will also be doing what the most successful people in every industry do!

Here’s an example from my own business: I have positioned myself so differently from what were traditionally my competitors, that I now have zero competition. In fact, I even have a page on Jim’s Marketing Blog, which provides free advice to my so-called competitors, on how to build a successful marketing blog. Yes I’m serious. Here it is!

Stop competing. Build something that’s truly yours. Look to the future with excitement, not apprehension. Plan ahead with confidence.

Some very good news

The massive majority of your competitors are not professionally marketing their business. They are making most if not all of the above mistakes.

This leaves a HUGE opportunity for you, if you decide to take your marketing seriously. If you’d like me to show you exactly what to do, check this out and get in touch.

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