Is this why your marketing isn’t working?

market

Regardless of the results you may be seeing, marketing works. In fact, it works extremely well.

Look around you. Everything you own is proof that marketing works. The device you’re reading this on, for example, was marketed to you successfully; either by a company or the word of mouth recommendation of a friend.

If marketing works, why doesn’t it work for me, Jim?

Ineffective marketing, the kind we see from the vast majority of small business owners, doesn’t work. Their marketing seldom reaches the correct people and when it does, it fails to influence them to make a purchasing decision.

Here’s what happens:

  • Your marketing results are determined by a choice you have made, often unconsciously. [To either use effective marketing or to dabble with DIY marketing].
  • And that decision was determined by the story you have told yourself, about growing your business.
  • If you believe investing in doing things correctly is too expensive or risky, you will dabble.
  • However, if you see dabbling as a certain route to failure, you will invest in marketing your business correctly.

In short, if you want a more successful business, start by telling yourself a better story. Read this. It will help you get it right.

How to make extremely valuable business contacts

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This post is all about how to build an extremely valuable network of influential people.

Think about it: We all know business owners who struggle to find new clients… even though they are members of networking groups and are connected to hundreds of people on Linkedin.

That should be impossible!

Surely, with all those contacts, these struggling business owners should be able to reach out with a message and generate more clients than they could possibly need.

But they can’t. Why? Because the typical small business owner builds networks that are of very little commercial value.

That’s why the most successful business owners use a very different approach.

Allow me to explain.

How successful business owners get connected

The most successful people in business are extremely well connected. They make it a habit to identify useful contacts in advance and then nurture relationships with them. As a result, they have people they can go to for advice or assistance in any area of their business.

When they have a problem, it’s often a case of: One call — problem solved!

How the average business owner connects

Typically, small business owners take the opposite approach. They focus on numbers, not value. Most commonly, they attend networking groups and connect with other business owners… who are only in that same networking group because they too are struggling.

As a result, they end up with lots of low value business contacts. They lack the type of influential connections, which are required in order to grow a successful business.

So, when they need new clients or have a significant business problem, their equally struggling contacts are unable to help.

Make the power of association work for you

There’s another important reason not to network with struggling business owners.

I’ve found that time and again, those who associate with business owners who are going nowhere, tend to find their own business heading in the same downward spiral. It’s the same power of association we saw at school, when a good kid started hanging with the wrong crowd and soon saw their grades drop.

Fortunately, the power of association works both ways.

Just as associating with struggling business owners can hurt your business, associating with successful business owners can inspire you to raise your game. It’s hard to overstate the value of associating with great people and learning from their experiences.

Think about that for a moment.

Stop focusing on the numbers. It’s all about value

As people, we are all of equal value. However, in business, our commercial value differs vastly. Successful business networking is about connecting with the right people.

Be selective. Focus less on numbers and more on value. Go deep and narrow, rather than shallow and wide.

Here’s how a 300% fee increase attracted more clients

marketing topics r

Do you offer a great service, but attract too few clients? If so, here’s one way to turn things around… fast!

I was prompted to write about this, after speaking with a client earlier. We talked about what’s happened since she tripled her fees last year. Yes, it took a lot of courage, however, not only is every client now massively more profitable to her, she has never been busier with new clients.

So, why did a 300% increase in her fees result in more clients, rather than fewer clients?

My client is highly experienced and provides an excellent service. However, her fees used to be around the average for her industry.

In other words, she was claiming to offer a top quality service for what sounded like a bargain basement fee. She was giving people a mixed message and creating doubts in their mind.

The kind of people who seek out excellent service and are willing to pay for it, would have ignored my clients former marketing. They would see the service being offered, compare it to the cheapo fee and get suspicious. They’d assume she was another bargain basement provider making claims she couldn’t back up.

Of course, those looking for a cheap provider were not attracted to her either, as they shop around for the lowest fee and hers were close to average.

So, my client had previously failed to attract the best clients and the worst clients. She was left with the overcrowded middle of the market, where it’s exceptionally competitive, low profit, and very hard to stand out.

The lesson here is simple: If you genuinely provide an excellent service and want to attract lots of great clients, you need to make sure that your prices match your promises.

4 Powerful words that attract clients like a magnet

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I have an idea to share with you today, which is one of the most powerful I have covered on Jim’s Marketing Blog. If you want to attract more clients, I’m sure you’ll find it extremely useful.

Allow me to explain.

When I speak with a new client or prospective client, I have a 4 word phrase that always captures their attention.

It’s simply this: “Bring me your problems”.

Bring me your problems

The moment a small business owner hears those words, I can almost feel the stress leave their body. Many have wrestled with their business development problems for years. Now, they have help from a renowned business development expert.

They’re no longer guessing. They’re no longer alone. I’m there to solve their marketing and business development problems.

Your business can do the same

If you’re a service provider, you are a professional problem solver. This is true regardless of the kind of services you offer. With that in mind, I have a question for you.

Do you clearly ask your clients [and prospective clients] to bring you their problems?

It’s hard to overstate how powerful those 4 words are and how attractive they are. Why? Because it’s what everyone wants to hear. No one wants to struggle with a problem, so asking them to bring you their problem is providing exactly what they want AND what they need.

Think about that for a moment. Next, figure out how to incorporate that message into your marketing.

You should be more pushy. Here’s why!

PUSH

When it comes to being a pushy business owner, there are two ways to do it. One of them works extremely well.

Allow me to explain.

1. You can push other people

  • Pester them with cold calls.
  • Interrupt them with selfish requests.
  • Spam them.
  • Try and close the sale the first time you speak to them.
  • Hassle them for referrals at networking events.
  • Hound them on social networks.

2. You can push yourself

When you push yourself, you move forward.

When you push others, they just push you back again.

Choose wisely.

Is this story crushing your business?

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We live in a golden age for small business owners. Thanks to the Internet, you can find pretty-much anything you need to know without leaving your chair. You can also find talented people, to guide you and your business to success.

Armed with access to the answer to any business problem, what does the average small business owner do with it?

They do exactly the same as they did 20 years ago. Statistics suggest that they spin their wheels or go broke. The numbers vary from country to country, but the story is very similar. [A quick search for your country’s small business survival rate can be a real eye opener.]

Why does this happen?

It happens because the average small business owner isn’t interested in doing things correctly. No. They are interested in doing things comfortably.

These business owners tell themselves a story, that trying something new is too risky. So they decide to stay comfortable and stagnate. This stagnation then ruins their business.

In short: Your success is directly linked to the story you’re telling yourself about the future of your business. If you’re frustrated at your lack of progress, it’s time to tell yourself a better story.

This will help you – Is the story behind your business powerful enough?

Would your clients miss you if you stopped trading?

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Here’s a great question for business owners to ask themselves: “Would people miss my business if I stopped trading?”

One of the best investments you can make in your business, is to constantly look for ways to be irreplaceable. Think of it like this:

  • If people want carrot flavour ice cream and you’re the only person who makes it, carrot ice cream lovers would miss you like crazy if you stopped trading.
  • However, if people want a predictable, good quality training provider, designer or consultant, etc., it’s relatively simple for them to find another good quality provider.

Not easy, but required

As a small business owner, there is enormous value in finding your equivalent of carrot flavour ice cream.

By being hard to replace, you give your existing clients no reason to look for another provider. Additionally, it is a great deal easier to successfully market a service, which offers unique value.

No, it’s not easy to develop a product or service that is irreplaceable. That’s why your competitors are not doing it and why the opportunity exists for you.

However, if you want to retain more of your clients, to generate more word of mouth recommendations and also earn the fees you deserve, it is required.

Bloggers: How to be an overnight success

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My wife’s blog has become an overnight success. Here’s how she did it.

Sharon started her blog around 12 weeks ago. Her first post was read by over 2000 people. Thousands of people now read her work every week. Not bad, especially as it’s her first ever attempt at blogging. It’s worth mentioning that Sharon hasn’t paid for advertising, hasn’t done any kind of SEO or asked anyone [including me] to share her posts or link to them.

So, what’s the secret of her success?

Before my wife published her first post, she had already built an audience for her blog. She is the admin of a history group on Facebook. Sharon spent time connecting with like-minded people, answering their questions and sharing ideas.

By the time she published her first blog post, there was a community of people who were interested. They already knew who she was and that she’s an expert in her field.

Compare that to what most business owners do, when they start blogging.

  • They write a post.
  • They share their post on their main social networks.
  • However, because they haven’t built a community of people around their work, very few people take notice.
  • They decide to publish some more posts and hope things will improve.
  • Fast forward 3 months… they still have very few readers.
  • So, they try some tricks they find on blogging websites. [They don’t understand that this is the perfect way to ensure your blog remains invisible.]
  • Eventually, they assume that blogging is a waste of time.

Here’s the thing: If you want to build a successful blog, you need to build a community.

You need to find a way, like Sharon did, to connect with your target audience. It takes time. It takes effort. But that’s why she already has thousands of readers. It’s why her 12 week old blog has a bigger daily readership than the massive majority of established, small business blogs. BTW: It’s the same approach I used to build Jim’s Marketing Blog, though I used Twitter rather than Facebook.

Great blog posts alone are not enough

Writing great blog posts is just part of building a successful blog. Without investing the time required to build a reader community, a blog will remain largely invisible.

Important: You build a community by connecting with people in your target group. Join in the conversations. Answer questions. Communicate. Notice something there? None of those are achievable through automation software. Broadcasting quotes and spraying links via your social networks is easy, but very ineffective when it comes to building human connections.

How long does it take to do it correctly?

Some of my clients have achieved measurable success within 3 months. Others have taken a whole year. Is it worth it? Well, over 80,000 people will get notified when I publish this post today.

What would it be worth to you and your business, if you were able to reach a growing targeted audience of thousands of potential customers every week… without paying for advertising? Think about that for a moment.

If you decide its worth the investment, find out how to do it correctly and get moving!

Be more interested in your client’s success, than your fee

Pro development topics r

There is a powerful success factor behind every great business, which you can implement starting today.

It can be summed up in just 4 words: It’s all about them!

It’s all about them

The most successful business owners have figured it out. They know that their success is always going to be an extension of what they do for their clients. So, they consistently look for ways to be of greater value.

In short: They are more interested in the success of their clients, than they are in their own fees or prices.

Why the me, me, me approach doesn’t work

The least effective business owners are focused on what they can get from their clients or customers.

  • They talk about closing the sale, rather than opening the relationship.
  • They talk about up-selling, rather than upping the value they provide to their clients.
  • They focus on what they can get, rather than what they can give.

That approach comes across in everything they do. As a result, their client retention is poor and they get few referrals from their clients, because we don’t recommend greedy, self-obsessed people to our friends.

Some ideas for developing the ‘them’ approach to business

It starts with an understanding that it’s all about what you do, not what you say. Every business owner claims to be client focused. So, you need to demonstrate that you are passionate about the success of their business.

For example:

  • Keep in regular contact and if you find they have a problem, offer to help.
  • Help them make connections. Think of people you know, who you can introduce them to… then do it!
  • Take a little time out every day, to help one of your clients in a way they were not expecting. This can be something as simple as sharing a useful blog post or newsletter article.
  • Find something valuable, which has a low delivery cost to you. Then add it to the service they receive from you… at no extra cost.
  • Keep your promises. Surprisingly few service providers can be totally relied upon. Become one of this rare group and your clients will notice (and tell their friends).

As the late Zig Ziglar used to say: You can have everything you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.

PS – I recommend you read this: How To Build a Massively Valuable Business, using a More Human Approach.

The magic of being first… and useful!

Pro development topics r

We remember Roger Bannister today, because he was the first person to run a mile in under 4 minutes.

Apple is the world’s most valuable company today, largely because of profits from the iPhone — the world’s first smart phone. [Here’s the original iPhone press release.]

There are 2 useful lessons here:

  1. When you are the first to do something, it’s remembered for a very long time. We remember Bannister, even though Australia’s John Landy broke Bannister’s record just 6 weeks later. Landy was faster, yet remained relatively unknown because he wasn’t the first person to go sub 4 minutes.
  2. It doesn’t have to be perfect. The first iPhone was buggy. It even lacked a basic copy and paste facility for over a year!

This begs the question

What product or service could you be the first to create for your marketplace?

Remember… it doesn’t need to be perfect. It needs to be useful.