Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Category: Blogging (page 1 of 39)

Are you building a tribe or writing drive-by content?

Many people who write blogs, newsletters, email marketing, etc, think they are growing a tribe or community, when in fact, they are doing the opposite.

Allow me to explain.

Content marketing… and buckets

The problem with trying to fill a bucket, which has a big hole in the bottom, is that the water flows out just as fast as it flows in. It’s a never ending task, unless you get a new bucket or fix the hole.

Most Content Marketing, including that written by many so-called experts, is based around the idea of treating your content marketing, like a bucket with a hole.

  • It’s about attracting drive-by readers with ‘killer’ headlines.
  • It’s about SEOing your thoughts, rather than expressing your thoughts.

Marketing thought leader Seth Godin put it extremely well:

The copywriter/editor who trades in meaning for lists, using calculated SEO keyword loading and sensationalism designed to attract the drive-by audience, earns the privilege of doing it again and again, forever.

It’s like trying to fill that broken bucket. It’s also the total opposite of growing a tribe.

They drive by

The thing about drive-by readers, is that they drive by. They are attracted to hyped up headlines and quickly go from one “25 ways to write like a rock star” piece to the next. If your content marketing is based around chasing them, you’re making life way too hard for yourself.

Grow a great community

To grow a great community or tribe around your work, you need to attract the right people and retain their attention.

It means showing up regularly with useful information, rather than sensationalist, predictable content for the drive-by crowd.

It means expressing your ideas, rather than a keyword loaded version of what you think.

It means being brave enough to stop chasing easy, but low value, drive-by ‘traffic’.

It means building deeper connections with people who will value your work, share your work, call you, email you, hire you or buy from you.

How to write great content every day!

If you find it hard to write articles, blog posts or newsletters, I have a quick tip for you. It will help you write more frequently and in a way that people will understand.

Drum-roll please…

Write the way you speak

Think about it: When you talk, people understand you. They listen to you. You engage them.

You don’t get talkers-block either!

So, don’t treat your written words differently from your spoken words. Just type them, rather than speaking them. This is the approach I used when I started as a writer and it has never failed me. And yes, the more you do it the better your writing will become.

The challenge with this approach is that it robs you of any excuse not to write more frequently. Sorry :)

Tip – Read this: Bloggers: Are you 1 question away from 10,000 daily readers?

The opportunity you always wanted is already here!

As a business owner, you have more power and potential today than ever before. In fact, there is an opportunity right under your nose, which was impossible to imagine until recently.

Allow me to explain

Just a decade ago, we were very limited in the number of people we could reach with our marketing message. To send a mailshot to just a few thousand people would cost us a small fortune. A nationwide radio campaign was way out of our budget.

There was no scalable, affordable way to reach all our prospective clients.

This gave the big guys a massive advantage over us. However, everything has changed and if you’re willing to embrace the change, there’s no real limit on what you can achieve.

The world is your oyster

Thanks to the advent of the Internet and free, global communications, the only barrier between you and your marketplace are the limitations you place on yourself.

What an amazing opportunity.

Of course, the challenge you now face is that the same zero cost marketing opportunity is open to everyone. This is why we are bombarded every minute of the day with interruptions. Social network updates, emails, text messages… all these and more combine to create a wall of noise.

Noise is your barrier today. Not money!

In other words, the only thing between you and the ability to market your services to thousands or millions of people, is your ability to make it through the noise.

It’s not about money any more. It’s not about knowing the right people. It’s in your hands, rich or poor.

So, what next?

Here’s what we know about those who fail and more importantly, those who succeed:

  • Those who fail are adding to the noise. They are the people who spam you, cold call you, pester you on social networks and junk-text you. They are the average businesses doing average work for average clients and average fees.
  • Those who succeed cut through the noise like a hot knife through butter. They attract attention by doing something meaningful. Next, they earn permission from the people they attract, to share useful information with them — usually by getting them to subscribe to a newsletter or blog. They then keep re-earning that permission, by remaining a source of value.

Make no mistake, it’s all in your hands. If you are willing to do what is required, the world is your oyster!

Here’s the challenge: You can either find this opportunity interesting or you can do something with it. Opportunity is knocking on your door, but only you can decide whether you will let it in or let it slide.

How to grow your business in a uniquely valuable way!

The Internet has presented business owners with a series of benefits and challenges. One challenge, is that it is now extremely easy for competitors to discover and copy one another’s best ideas. It’s little wonder then, that providers in just about every industry now offer an almost identical range of services.

Today, I’m going to show you how to overcome this challenge and build a massively valuable marketing asset for your business.

How to stand out in a meaningful way

Some things are easy to copy. For example, if a local restaurant starts opening an hour earlier and then attracts an extra hour’s worth of profitable trade, it’s simple for competing restaurants to do the same.

However, some things in business are extremely difficult to copy because they’re based on unique, human experiences. A wonderful example of this is the use of a newsletter or blog, to showcase your expertise and knowledge.

Here’s why it works

You are unique. You have a unique collection of life experiences, which your unique mind processes in a unique way. When you write (and speak) your communication style is unique too.

This uniqueness allows you to stand out from the pack and connect with your future clients!

Here’s an example of what I mean. Both Seth Godin and I write about marketing, yet we write very differently:

  • Seth grew up in a very wealthy family and was educated at Stanford — along with the CEO’s of many of the world’s leading companies.
  • I grew up in extreme poverty, the son of penniless immigrants.

It would be extremely difficult for either one of us to write like the other. For instance, when Seth thinks about being broke, he (thank God), won’t recall his mother begging for food to feed her children, the way I do.

So, when Seth and I write about business owners experiencing hard times, we will see the hard part extremely differently. This is reflected in what we write and how we write.

Your unique voice

Your life experiences will cause you to write very differently from your competitors. The only caveat here, is that you need to allow your personality to shine through your writing. If you try and sound like someone else, you lose your unique voice — the very originality that will allow you to stand out.

Now, compare that to the generic approach most business owners take with their newsletters and blog posts. Instead of delivering useful, valuable information from their own unique perspective, they churn out a series of thinly-disguised sales pitches. They then wonder why it isn’t working.

Allow your unique voice to communicate value. These brief tips may help:

  • Learn about the challenges facing your marketplace. A great way to do this is to connect with them on social networks and listen. [Compare this approach, to the typical service provider who uses social networks to broadcast.]
  • Provide answers to the most pressing challenges facing your marketplace. This positions you in the mind of your prospective clients, as a source of expert help and advice.
  • Share case-studies of how you have helped people, who had similar challenges to your prospective clients.
  • Turn up regularly! Treat your newsletter or blog as a high priority business activity. If you think it’s hard to write regularly, remember that writing is a lot like speaking — and you speak every day.

The unique connection these prospective clients form with you, is a massively valuable marketing asset.

Think of it like this: Who are they going to hire?

  • Some stranger they find on Google.
  • … or you, someone they feel a connection with and whose expertise and knowledge they already know about.

Yes. You win!

PS: This will help you — How to get more clients from your newsletter or blog.

Is your website hurting your business? Quite possibly!

I have a question for you: What do prospective clients think, when they visit your website or blog?

[You do know they check you out online, before they decide to get in touch with you, right?]

Just as you check out a potential provider’s website, so do your prospective clients. What they find will either position you in their mind as a professional they feel they can trust… or plant toxic, seeds of doubt in their mind.

Even low traffic sites are checked by prospective clients

Many small businesses make the mistake of thinking that the only people who check their websites out, are those who tell them they found them via the website. For many small business owners this is a tiny percentage of the leads they get, so they assume their site isn’t helping or hurting their business.

What they seem unaware of, is that the people who hear about them via; referrals, word of mouth, email marketing, advertising, social networks etc., also check their website out, before deciding whether to get in touch or not!

Here’s the thing:

  • We wouldn’t eat at a restaurant, which had dirty tables.
  • We wouldn’t hire a fitness instructor who was out of shape.
  • We wouldn’t by a car, which looked like a wreck.

In the same way, we can’t expect a prospective client to believe we are professional if we operate behind a cheap looking website. A badly designed, dated or poorly-written website says 2 things about us.

  1. We think it’s fine to operate behind an unprofessional website.
  2. We can’t afford anything better.

Both of those messages are extremely toxic. Combine them and you end up with a message that causes enormous damage to your business and your reputation!

The kicker here, is that websites today need not be expensive. An entry level, professional website will cost you hundreds not thousands.

That’s a tiny price to pay, to stop turning away all those prospective client inquiries. Right?

Tip: Read this – Is your website ready for the fastest growing group of Internet users?

How to get more clients from your newsletter or blog

Leigh asked me a great question yesterday. She wanted to know why her newsletter, which has over 5000 subscribers, generates very few client inquiries for her consultancy.

As Leigh was making a mistake, common to lots of newsletter publishers and bloggers, I thought I’d share my answer with you.

Building your list

The root cause of Leigh’s problem, is that she is doing everything possible to build her list. This is the mantra of pretty-much every content marketing guru and newsletter / blogging course out there.

It’s also total, utter bullshit.

The numbers

If the purpose of your newsletter or blog is to generate business leads from prospective clients, then your focus should be on quality, not quantity. It’s about building meaningful, deep relationships with the right people, not shallow relationships, with a wide, vague readership.

For example: If you have just 50 engaged subscribers, who value your newsletter or blog and are a perfect fit for your services, you have a valuable list.

If, like Leigh, you have 5000 poorly-targeted people on a list, who you gained using list building techniques, you’re wasting your time and money.

An alternative approach

Get out of the list building mindset. Stop chasing the wrong numbers.

Instead, focus exclusively on earning the attention of your prospective clients. Learn about their most pressing challenges. Then, publish answers and ideas, which will help them. Become a valuable asset, before they need your services.

If you get too few client inquiries from your newsletter or blog, it’s probably because you’re building a list, rather than creating connections with prospective clients.

In short: Go deeper. Not wider.

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…

How to do your best work

Here are a few things worth remembering, if you want a successful business.

  • People don’t give you their email address when they subscribe to your newsletter. They loan it to you.
  • People don’t give you their loyalty when they buy from you. They loan it to you.
  • People don’t give you their trust. They loan it to you.
  • People don’t give you their attention when they follow you on social networks or subscribe to your blog. They loan it to you.
  • People don’t give you their endorsement. They loan it to you.

You do your best work when you accept that you have to earn, then RE-EARN, all those assets.

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