Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Category: Advertising (page 1 of 14)

The huge marketing problem that no one talks about

silence

I was in a coffee shop earlier, when a guy with a very obvious hairpiece came in. He had natural, thick brown hair around his ears, with a jet black wig on top. Of course, no one mentioned it to him. People just pointed and smirked when he wasn’t looking. Whether this chap needed the hairpiece for vanity or medical reasons, it’s entirely possible he has no idea that his wig is so poorly matched to his natural hair.

The same happens regularly in business. Allow me to explain.

Think about it

  • We go to a website to check out a potential service provider, find the site looks amateurish and decide not to consider them. We don’t then call them to let them know their site created such a bad impression.
  • We start reading a poorly written ad or marketing message and quickly discard it, because it’s crap. We don’t write to the company and tell them their content is terrible.

So, how do we determine if what we’re doing is working for us? Simple. We ignore the silence and instead, look at the results generated.

For example:

  • Your website or blog should be a 24 hour business generating machine. If it isn’t, it needs to be improved.
  • Your marketing messages should generate targeted sales or leads from your ideal profile of customer. If this isn’t happening, it needs to be improved.

Start counting

Don’t wait for someone to tell you your marketing is crap. Start counting!  Count the number of daily sales or sales leads your marketing generates. Measure your progress over the past 12 months. Look at your bank balance.

If you’re not satisfied, fix what’s broken. Don’t just accept bad results. Get some expert help and turn it around. Those who ignore the lesson here, leave money on the table every day. Worst of all, it’s 100% avoidable if you decide to do something about it.

Tip – If you found this interesting, you really should read: 4 Ways to attract more customers from your website.

2 Powerful tips from marketing that stinks!

stinks

I’d like to share an example of shockingly bad  marketing with you today. In fact, you could say this marketing stinks! However, there are 2 great lessons to learn, which you can apply directly into your business.

Smelly marketing

I’ve used the same brand of deodorant for years. Recently, my brand wasn’t in stock, so I looked for another brand and noticed for the first time that they all claim to offer 48 hour protection.

Think about that for a moment.

Clearly, there are very few people who only shower or wash every 2 days; whose armpits remain unwashed for 48 hours. And if you’ve ever stood close to someone with such bad hygiene habits, you’ll know these people don’t buy deodorant! Sadly.

But that’s OK. The ridiculous 48 hour claim on the packaging has nothing to do with deodorant. It has everything to do with uncreative marketing.

Here’s how it happened

The marketing people behind one of the brands decided to use a bigger number on their product (48 instead of 24), to make it look more powerful.

The others followed suit. The number remains, even though it’s now totally meaningless. No one needs 48 hour protection and having that number no longer generates additional sales, because they all use it.

As a marketing tactic, it stinks. It fails on every level.

There are 2 useful lessons here

Firstly, if you want to make your product or service stand out from the competition, make it meaningfully different. Provide something that adds genuine value. Something your marketplace will get additional utility from.

Secondly, if you want to really stand out, get creative. Because the first deodorant brand with the ridiculous 48 hour claim simply moved the dial on the number, every competitor could follow suit almost instantly. Any competitive advantage would have quickly been lost. So choose something that is harder for others to copy and you will maintain your competitive advantage for far longer.

Avoid gimmicks

To consistently stand out from the crowd in a meaningful way, you need to continuously look for opportunities to make your product or service worth talking about. This requires creative thinking.

Yes, it’s easier to come up with a gimmick. Gimmicks require almost no creativity and anyone can copy them, which is why they’re of so little value.

Remember — the less creative your marketing is, the easier it is to copy and the less remarkable it will be.

What everybody ought to know about The Small Print

Have you noticed something about the small print we find in marketing and on packaging?

The small print is small for a reason

They don’t really want us to read it! It almost always tells us that the advertising message isn’t as good as it sounds or that the product we’re buying doesn’t look as good as it does on the packaging, etc.

Here’s a thought…

How would you feel, if you read the small print in the marketing or on the packaging of a product, and found that it actually confirmed that the product was as good as they said, in the LARGE print?

How would your prospective clients or customers feel, if YOUR small print did the same — if it showed that you were telling the truth, with nothing to hide in the small print.

Think about that for a moment! There’s some real magic there.

Something to ponder

Could using the small print in a positive way, help you massively improve the impact of your marketing? [Hint — Yes. Yes it could.]

The secret to marketing that spreads AND sells!

junk mail

I have a very effective marketing idea to share with you today. You’re going to love this!

I’m going to show you how to create marketing, which people will value and that’s powerful enough to inspire them to hire you or buy from you. It’s based on the work I do with my clients and includes a brief case study, which you can learn from.

So, let’s get started.

Receiving or paying attention?

It starts with understanding that there’s a huge difference between someone receiving your message and someone paying attention to it.

For example, TV viewers are sent targeted marketing messages (commercials) during TV shows. What do most of us do? We fast forward through them or if watching the show in real-time, we go and make a coffee. Just because they send their messages, doesn’t mean we are paying attention.

For your marketing to work, you need to get a great message in front of the right people. In order to get this correct, here’s the key question we need to ask ourselves:

If I stopped my email marketing campaign or I stopped publishing my blog posts, newsletter etc, would people really MISS them?

As a quick look at the marketing you receive every day confirms, for most people the honest answer to that question is NO! We get bombarded with dull, uninspiring sales messages all day and see them as an intrusion, rather than something of value.

Of course, for that tiny minority of small businesses who DO produce marketing, which people genuinely value and would miss if it were to stop, the sky is the limit.

I’m going to share the process required to make this work for your business later in this post.

First, we need to understand why there’s so much dull and ineffective marketing out there.

Dull is cheap. Dull is fast. Dull is simple!

It’s cheap, fast and simple to create dull marketing and get it in front of a lot of people. As a result, there’s no barrier to entry today.

Things were very different a decade ago. Back then, if a small business owner wanted to send a mail shot to 50,000 people, she’d have to spend some serious money.

  • She’d have to cover the cost of the mailing list.
  • Then she would need to pay for all that paper and the printing.
  • Next she would need to pay a company to get the letters folded and inserted into the 50,000 envelopes.
  • Then there’s the huge postage costs for those 50,000 pieces of mail.

All in all, it would cost many thousands. She would need to think long and hard about the value of what she put into those envelopes. Get it wrong and she would pay a hefty price!

Today, everything has changed

That same business owner today can hit 50,000 people using cheap email software and her laptop. It costs just a little of her time. If it fails, maybe tomorrow’s one will work. It’s never been cheaper or easier to push dull, uninspired, poorly thought out, uncreative marketing out the door.

So, that’s exactly what a lot of people are doing. This is why there’s so much junk in your email inbox and on your social networking accounts.

Here’s what you need to do to get it right!

There is an alternative approach I want to share with you, so people welcome your marketing, share it and hire you or buy from you. It requires that you take the exact opposite approach, to 99% of the marketing you see out there. 

It’s about shifting the focus of your marketing, so that it’s primarily of benefit to the people who receive it and secondarily of benefit to you. It’s about producing content (audio, video, blog posts, newsletters, mail shots, flyers, social networking updates etc), which provide independent value to those who receive it. This means they get genuinely valuable or useful information from it, independent of them needing to spend a penny with you.

An example of how this works, based on one of my clients

Imagine you are a dog owner and after a trip to the vet, you subscribe to their dog owner’s newsletter. It gives you tips and ideas, to help you keep your dog healthy, fit and happy. At the bottom of each email are their contact details, so you can call them when you need a vet. You find this free information so useful, that you send it to 10 of your dog-owning friends.

They subscribe and then do the same… then these new subscribers share it too, and on and on it goes. The amazingly valuable, highly-targeted readership grows and grows.

Soon, that vet (a former client of mine) was talking to thousands of local dog owners and positioned themselves in their marketplace, as THE place to take your dog for all its veterinary needs. Their newsletter was eagerly anticipated by it’s readers… yes, people wanted to hear from them and valued what they had to share.

Compare that vet’s approach to the typical marketing messages we see.

  • That vet doesn’t need to run expensive radio ads.
  • They have no need to buy mailing lists.
  • They don’t need to waste valuable hours at networking events.
  • They certainly don’t need to pester people on social networks or ask strangers for recommendations on Linkedin.
  • They don’t need to invest in anything, other than the creativity required to produce a genuinely valuable newsletter, with useful content.

That example shows how a business can grow a massively valuable marketing asset, by sharing real value — rather than pushing unwanted messages. If you invest in creating this kind of value driven marketing, it will improve your business beyond recognition.

In short: Stop pushing predictable marketing at people. Focus on attracting clients instead! This means sharing value, something your marketplace will embrace and share. Soon, you too can have a valuable, growing community of people, who position you in their mind as the obvious choice, when they need the type of service your business provides.

How to create marketing, which people WANT to receive!

Maybe one of the most important questions in marketing, is this:

Would people miss my marketing, if it went away?

If the answer is no, then your marketing is simply adding to all the noise out there. The challenge, is that people do everything possible to avoid the noise. So, your marketing is largely ignored.

However, it doesn’t need to be that way!

An alternative approach

Instead of selling, build a relationship with your prospective clients or customers. Become a valuable asset to them, before they need you.

How?

Here’s a tip: This blog post is marketing. Think about that for a moment…

A tested, proven way to attract more sales leads

Today, I want to help you attract more high quality sales leads and referrals, with a tested and proven idea.

I need to start by asking you an important question: How easy is it for people to describe what makes your service special?

Here’s why this question is so important.

Make it easy to spread your message

If you want people to spread the word about your business, you need to make it as easy as possible for them. You also need to ensure they share the correct message, so the marketplace gets the right impression of what makes your business remarkable.

Whilst many small business owners develop an elevator pitch, a script they can use to quickly describe their business to a stranger, very, very few create a script for their clients or customers. As a result, it’s hard for people to know what to say about you. They may tell their friends that they value working with you or that they recommend you, but that’s way too vague.

What you need, is for people to have a very short, powerful script that inspires interest in you. Something that will motivate people to check you out!

A very different kind of script

I’m not talking about handing your clients a script and telling them to recite it to their friends.

No.

I’m talking about creating a 4 or 5 word script that follows your work. Something that is printed onto your packaging, added to your emails and featured prominently on your website or blog.

Do not confuse this with one of those generic mottos or tag-lines you see some businesses using! It’s pointless to say “we try harder”, “we’re obsessive about quality” or “we always go the extra mile”. EVERYONE makes those claims.

This is an example of how to get it right.

A finger lickin’ good message

Here’s how an international brand used this idea with huge success:

The team behind Kentucky Fried Chicken wanted to give their diners a simple way to describe how tasty the chicken was. So, they made it super simple. They placed a short, powerful script on all their packaging. It described their food as, “finger lickin’ good”. Those who ate and enjoyed their chicken, now knew exactly what to tell their friends. Moreover, they were delivering an amazingly powerful, professionally written script!

Regardless of what you happen to think about deep-fried chicken, the mental imagery conjured up with that script is powerful. The idea of people enjoying their food SO MUCH that they licked their fingers, would surely motivate their hungry friends to give KFC a try.

And that’s what happened. Millions of times. Worldwide.

Your script

Take some time to think about your business and what you would like people to say about you. Then, spend as much time as necessary crafting a powerful, extremely short script that captures the key benefit of your product or service. You may find it helps, to research the scripts already used by successful brands in different industries to your own.

If you don’t have the time or expertise to get this right, pay for a professional to do it for you. Just don’t miss out on great word of mouth referrals or targeted sales leads, because people aren’t sure how to recommend you.

Tip: Here’s some advice and examples, on how to attract word of mouth referrals – Why your business needs a story.

How to avoid wasting money on advertising

Here’s how to avoid a common advertising mistake, which loses small business owners a fortune.

Who (not how many) are you reaching?

The next time you are thinking of advertising, remember that the numbers come second.

Most small business owners buy advertising, based on the number of people who will read, watch or listen to the advertisement. That’s how to buy ineffective advertising. You see, it’s not about the number of people who will potentially see or hear your ad. It’s about who those people are.

The ad reached 125,000 people for just $475!

I was prompted to write today’s post, after a reader emailed me to say she had recently paid for an advertisement that went into a newsletter, with a readership of 125,000 people. She explained that whilst the readership “wasn’t an ideal fit”, she thought $475 to reach all those people was a bargain.

Her advertisement generated 9 responses and no sales.

Here’s what she got, in return for $475:

  • 7 responses came from pushy advertising salespeople, trying to sell her more ads.
  • 2 responses came from people who were totally unsuitable for the service she was advertising.

Like most small business owners, she was seduced by the number (or reach) of the advertising, rather than who the advertising was reaching.

In short: Before you invest a penny on advertising always, always find out who your ad will reach, before you concern yourself with how many it will reach.

Tip: Here’s some useful information, with examples, on how to get your advertising right.

What everybody ought to know about being boring!

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.

Alternatively

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.

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