Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing tips & ideas to help you grow your business, by Jim Connolly

Author: Jim Connolly (page 90 of 176)

Chris Brogan in blog monetization shocker!

Today’s post is about something I saw on Chris Brogan’s blog.  It left me really curious about the different opinions people have, regarding what is OK, and what is not, when it comes to blog advertising.

[Please note, this post was written in 2011]

Monetizing this blog

This is a commercial blog, which generates 6 figures in income every year for my business.  Because I hardly ever put an affiliate link into my posts, have just 1 sponsor and no ads, the blog gives the impression to many readers that it is just an Aladdin’s Cave of free marketing information; rather than an Aladdin’s Cave of free marketing information, which pays my bills.  Trust me though, Jim’s Marketing Blog is very much a commercial site.

Other bloggers use different monetization approaches.  One of these is Chris Brogan from chrisbrogan.com.  Chris’ blog uses a number of effective monetization models.  These include ads, affiliate links and the promotion of his services.

Chris Brogan: A few extra ads in 1 popular post

I read a post on Chris Brogan’s blog today, where he felt the need to explain why he inserted some additional ads into a blog post he wrote, which he knew would attract a lot of traffic.  He then went on to offer a 2nd version of that post, with the ads removed for people who were offended!

You can see the shocking, original version of the post here.

CAUTION: Contains advertising some people may find useful!

I’m amazed that over a decade into the evolution of blogging, we still have people, who manage to get angry when a blogger does a form of advertising that they don’t like.  In this instance, Chris’ crime against blogging was to insert 4 ads into a very long blog post, which he knew would attract a lot more traffic than his usual posts.  This was a step too far for some of his readers, though many others said they used the opportunity to click his links and make purchases.

I find those very different responses to the same blog post really interesting.

It seems some blog readers want information from blogs for free, but are offended when the blogger offers ads, so that those same readers don’t have to pay!  On the post in question, Chris’ ads were clearly identified (they were banners) and the ads were for products, which he is strongly associated with and which appear on his site all the time.  Other readers saw the exact same post with the ads and were motivated to click and buy.  Same post, totally different response.

Payback?

If we read a blog on a regular basis, which we find useful, surely we should not only welcome the ads, but if they are for something we are thinking of buying, we should click on them too?  Now, if the ads are poorly targeted we will see them as of zero value, so no one will click on them.  The blogger will then either have to remove them, replace them or suffer the consequences.  But when the ads are targeted, they provide us with a way to repay the blogger for all the value they give us for free.

Remember: Free information on blogs is only free to the reader.  The blogger has to invest the time to create the content and the money to ensure it’s on a fast server and properly designed / maintained.

What do you think?

How do you feel about business bloggers monetizing their posts:  Is targeted advertising OK?  What about placing ads directly into blog posts, when you have a post you think will attract a lot of targeted readers?

I’d like to know your opinions on this.  Is it unacceptable to you or do you think it’s OK?

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Images of money

What do you think?

I took the picture above earlier this week, when I stopped off at a local coffee shop for a think.

People often tell me it’s weird that I dedicate time each day just for creative thinking. I find it even weirder that most people wait until they have a problem, before they start looking for ideas and answers.

Problems turned into gold dust

How many times have you heard someone tell you that as a result of a problem they had, they came up with an idea or a new product, which was a huge success?  Well, just imagine the progress that can be made when you get into that same mindset, for a period of time every week and NOT just when there’s a problem.

Usually, business owners will wait for a problem to motivate them to get creative.  As a marketing guy, I see it all the time, when a business owner starts frantically marketing their services, because they lose a major client and are trying to replace all that lost income.

32 Questions to get you started!

The best way to get the answers you need is to ask yourself the right questions.  To help  you with this, here are 32 great questions you can ask yourself, which I use on a regular basis to generate more valuable ideas than I can even use.

If you already use dedicated, uninterrupted thinking time in your business, I would love you to share how it works for you!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

How to get your prospective client’s attention

If you want to earn the attention of your marketplace, you need to give them something important to focus on.  Here’s the thing.  They will only focus on what’s important to them, not what’s important to you.

convert traffic, convert readersA lot of marketing tends to do the complete opposite and focus on the provider, rather than the prospective client.  We see lots of broadcasting about how great they are, how great their service is yet very little emphasis placed on solving the specific challenges facing their prospective clients.

That’s the wrong balance.

Earned attention

Broadcasting your special offers will never earn you the attention of your marketplace.  The key word there is earn.  You earn people’s attention by delivering them-focused information – Information that is all about helping them.  My focus here, for example, is to deliver as much useful marketing and business development information to as many small business owners as possible.  I don’t write post after post about me and what I want from MY business.  I know that people come here for answers and ideas, so that’s what I work hard to provide.

By focusing on the needs of my readers, you connect with me and allow me to be a part of their business development.  A subset of you will hire me, without me emailing you with “special offers”.  There’s real magic there.

How can you earn the attention of your marketplace?

Give! Give them as much genuinely useful information and help as you can.  Then give them even more.  Help them solve problems, so they learn to regard (position) you as the go-to person in your industry.  This takes time rather than money; creativity rather than force.  Connect with people.  Educate, don’t sell.

Get this process right and it changes everything.  You start attracting qualified, high quality inquiries from people who already know you are a specialist in your field.  It’s one of the most enjoyable, profitable and professional ways to grow a business.

Reaching out

What do you currently do, which reaches out to your prospective clients and helps them?  What could you be doing to reach them and connect?

Share your experiences or questions with a comment!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Nina Matthews Photography

Your business. Your choice.

If you are tired of making too little progress with your business, consider this:

  • If the engine in your car stops working, the solution is not to push your car everywhere. You need to fix your car’s engine.
  • If your business is not generating the inquiries you need, the solution is not to push more ineffective marketing on people. You need to fix your marketing engine.

Most small businesses I see, are doing the wrong things, very poorly.  Some are doing the wrong things quite well and some are superstars, when it comes to getting it wrong on a grand scale.

For example, they fail to get the results they want from networking, blogging, email marketing etc, so they do more and more of it; often copying others who are in just as big a mess as they are.

Your choice

You need to break free from that position.  You need to know what the right marketing is for your business and then, how to use it correctly.

Thankfully, it’s always your choice.  You can get the help you need and stop wasting your time and money whenever you wish.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Attract more clients or customers with these 5 simple steps!

Here’s a quick marketing tip, which can help you improve your marketing results extremely quickly.

  1. Think of the last 5 purchases you made, which cost you approximately the same as you charge for your own products or services.
  2. Name the people or companies you made those purchases from.
  3. How did you find those providers? (Word of mouth, search engines, advertising etc.)
  4. What made you decide to spend your money with them, rather than someone else?
  5. Write your answers down!

This simple exercise gives you a useful glimpse into how other people or companies are successfully making sales, in your price range.

Pay particular attention to anything those 5 vendors did that was common to 2 or more of them, but which you don’t currently do.  This brief exercise can help you spot elements missing from your own marketing, which were powerful enough to convert you into a customer / client.

Plus, as those 5 examples will probably have been from outside your own industry, if you do spot an opportunity, it’s very possible your competitors won’t be doing it, making it massively more powerful for you.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: House of sims

The secret to long term business success

Today’s post is all about something that’s even more valuable to your business than overnight success!

In an age where people expect instant results, the value and importance of developing a long term relationship with your marketplace is often overlooked.

The thing is, business is all about people and people place enormous value in those who consistently demonstrate their expertise over a prolonged period of time.  I was prompted to pull the post I had originally planned for today and write this one for you, after a comment that was left here yesterday by Sue Davis.  Sue is a long time reader and as you will see, there is real value in developing this kind of long-term relationship with your marketplace.

Here’s the comment in full, republished with Sue’s permission.  I have highlighted the areas I shall be focusing on:

I have just had proof of your expertise!  I wanted to find something on social media sharing for a course I am writing and almost by default came to your site because I knew you would be doing it right.

Before I got to the bit I wanted I was reading one of your posts, followed a text link and found myself buying your Audio program.  The copy was so well written I jumped into your sales conversion funnel and popped out with something I wasn’t even looking for.

I rarely buy programs of any sort.  I did because over the past few years you have sent a lot of sense into my email box so I trust you.  It’s one of the few blogs I like to read instead of skim.  This has built trust and is proof positive that everything you have been saying is true.  Of course you knew that already!

Turning up with value, regularly, over time

If you take a look at Sue’s comment, it demonstrates one of the cornerstones of successful content marketing: To show your prospective clients your expertise, by regularly reaching them with valuable content, over a prolonged period of time.

The trust that Sue mentioned is an essential element in any great relationship and in this instance, I earned Sue’s trust by becoming a regular, valued part of her working week.  Equally, I regularly receive emails about my services, from people who tell me they feel like they already know me, because of the relationship I have formed with them via the ongoing content I share here.

The bottom line:  Overnight success may grab the headlines, but the most valuable business relationships are those you form with your marketplace, by earning their trust, over time.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: DafneCholet

What everybody ought to know about entrepreneurs

I love entrepreneurs.

I write this blog for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are rare people and they have my admiration and my respect.

Rare people?

Yes!  In my experience, very few small business owners have the entrepreneurial mindset!

Entrepreneurs and sheepwalkers

Over the past 16 years, I have worked with thousands of small business owners and have noticed 2 very distinct groups:

  1. The biggest group are small business owners, who focus on what they fear.  As a result, their decisions are based on how to avoid loss.  They are the people Seth Godin calls sheepwalkers. Sheepwalkers are risk averse and security fixated.  They have the mindset of an employee rather than an entrepreneur.
  2. A minority of small business owners are entrepreneurs.  Entrepreneurs focus on what they want to achieve from their business, so their decisions are based on progress rather than fear and loss.

Sheepwalking business owners

Sheepwalkers LOVE rules, instructions and those for dummies books.  Why?  Because if they follow the book and the rules, they feel safe and have someone to blame when it goes wrong.  They tend to do nothing that does not come with a guarantee or little perceived risk.  That’s a fatal mindset for a business owner, as hardly anything in business is guaranteed.  Sheepwalkers want things to improve but because they focus on fear, they refuse to get the help they need in case it doesn’t work.  The fear stops them doing the right thing and funnels them into doing the wrong thing.

You see them in the comments sections of blogs, asking the blogger for specific, detailed advice; never figuring out that it’s that exact approach to getting expert help that’s left them slowly going broke!  They are addicted to freebie advice, because if something is free, they see less risk and risk scares the shit out of them.  Sheepwalkers never work with people like me, because they have already decided they can’t afford us, and they are right: Because whatever the fee, it will always, always be too much for them.

So, armed with freebies from websites, and maybe, MAYBE the odd $30 webinar or book, they try to develop their business in the worst economy in living memory!  It’s unreal.  Like the farmer who neglects her crops, they don’t stand a chance; which is reflected in the shockingly bad small business survival statistics.

I refuse to work with sheepwalkers or even spend time with them.  They create nothing and spread negativity everywhere.

Entrepreneur business owners

A minority of small business owners are entrepreneurs.  I love being around these rare people. They are the complete opposite of sheepwalkers.  Their mindset is all about progress and results.  They understand the meaning of investment.  When they fall over, they get back up.  The sheepwalker falls over, THEN uses the experience as proof they should never have tried.   The people who work with me are entrepreneurs.  They give their business the resources it needs, like a farmer tending her crops correctly, so she can enjoy a bountiful harvest.

Entrepreneurs: I salute you!

For the entrepreneurs reading this:

  • You are the kind of person I LOVE to be around.
  • You inspire me when you comment here, email me or give me a call.
  • You motivate me to write this blog.
  • You make things happen.
  • You create opportunity where there was nothing.
  • You feel the same fear as the sheepwalkers, but you have the courage to keep on and PUSH through the fear.
  • You take responsibility.
  • You leave people better than you found them.
  • You are truly a rare individual.

You are also the person this blog is intended for and the person most likely to benefit from it.  You have my respect and my admiration for what you are trying to achieve; because I know you will be working hard right now, trying to make something happen.  That’s what people like you do!

That’s also why I am always here for you and excited to be part of your journey.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

 

Photo: Pink Poppy Photography

Google+ Not me too!

A lot of people have asked me if I will be writing a review post this weekend, about the new Google+ service.  I managed to get an invite on day 3 of the pre launch and have been very impressed with it.  However, this early on, all anyone can say for certain is that it looks interesting.  You can join me on Google+ here.

But no, I am not going to review Google+

Here’s why!

There are already hundreds of posts written about Google+ saying almost the same thing.  For me to simply add to that noise would be of no value.  I spent 30 minutes this morning, reading 10 posts about Google+.  If you had read any one of those posts, you would have had no need to read the other 9. They all offered a very similar breakdown of all the key features and then the blogger either said it would fly, or flop.  That’s all anyone can say now.  None of the posts I read offered anything original; just comparisons to Facebook etc, lists of features and what’s great and what they think is missing from the product.

Me too posts

I try and avoid writing what are called me too posts.  Me too posts tend to be very similar (hence the name) and I believe that my posts should offer you something original or at least an original view point.  Anything I wrote today would have been me too. That kind of review post is great for news blogs (and Google+ IS big news).  I see little point, however, in me too saying that Google+ rocks or sucks and telling you what the features are, yet with no user data or ‘stats, that’s about as deep as anyone can go, today.  Plus, that post has already been written hundreds of times in the past 24 hours.

Of course, any posts written today will also be inaccurate and outdated extremely quickly, as the Google+ team are rolling out changes very fast right now.  I have already seen one big change in the past 12 hours alone, (which those reviewers all missed.)

Over the coming weeks, as more people are invited to join (it’s mainly geeks and early adopters now), we will start seeing some worthwhile data.  We will also get an idea as to how fast (or slow) Google+ is growing.

I will be talking about Google+ in the near future, but not until opinions can be formed on facts and hard data (rather than guesses and first looks).

If you are using Google+ I’d love you to connect with me here.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

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