3 Reasons why NEW is overrated

marketing tips, marketing ideas, marketing advice

New is overrated. At least when it comes to marketing.

There are 3 reasons for this:

  1. The newest service is a risky bet. At best, it’s a bigger gamble than the trusted incumbent. At worst, the customer feels like a paying guinea pig.
  2. The newest service is seldom the best. It lacks the improvements that come with time.
  3. New doesn’t last for long. This makes it a short-term marketing message. Anything that’s new is only new for now.


Offer something, which is proven to motivate your marketplace to hire you or buy from you.

For example, instead of offering them a new way to do something, offer them:

  • A faster way.
  • A more enjoyable way.
  • A greener way.
  • An original way.
  • A safer way.
  • A cost effective way.

The fact your service is new is only of interest to you. So, focus on what matters to your prospective clients. Remember, people buy for their reasons. Not yours.

Blogging: Here’s why your readers are already your clients

blogging, content marketing, blog tips, marketing

Thank you for being a client. Yes you!

Think about it: A client is someone you provide a service to. I regularly provide you with ideas to help you grow your business. And you pay me. You pay me with your attention. [That’s why they call it paying attention.]

So, I’m the service provider and you’re the client.

More importantly

How might your attitude to writing your newsletter or blog improve, if you saw every reader as a client? [Remembering that a subset of your reader-clients will become fee paying clients].

And how might that client-focused approach improve your results? Well, the only way to find out for certain… is to do it.

Recommended reading: 25 Reasons to write a business blog.

Totally unoriginal. Wholly unremarkable

Professional development, business, improvement, marketing tips

You can optimize anything. If you want to.

  • You can automate your blog posts, newsletters, tweets and Facebook updates, so they are published at the optimal time.
  • You can use the optimal number of words or characters too, if you’re really keen.
  • You can use calculated keyword loading, to optimize your website content for SEO.
  • You can use clickbait titles for your blog posts and social network updates, to optimize traffic.
  • You can smash visitors to your website in the face with a pop-up box, to optimize sign-ups.

And in doing so, you’ll be like every other clone working the same tricks. You’ll be sheepwalking into anonymity. Totally unoriginal. Wholly unremarkable.

There’s an alternative approach, which some of us find extremely effective.

Rather than optimize everything, we turn up regularly and try to be useful.

The thing about turning up regularly and being useful

The idea is too simple for the content marketing gurus to sell a course on it. It requires way too much long-term thinking, for the growth hacker crowd to embrace it. And it takes a lot more courage, than many business owners feel comfortable with.

Yet somehow it works. And it works beautifully.

Are short blog posts a good idea?

blogging, content marketing, blog tips, marketing

Olivia noticed that my previous blog post is just 54 words long. She said she really enjoyed it, but wanted to know if it’s a good idea to write such short posts.

Here’s my answer. I hope you find it useful.

54 word posts are a bad idea

If you write for SEO, 54 word posts are a bad idea.

If you want to defend every point you make, to try and appease the critics, 54 word posts are a bad idea.

If you are too lazy to condense your thoughts, so they don’t waste the reader’s time, 54 word posts are a bad idea.

54 word posts are perfectly fine

If you write for humans rather than search engines, then 54 word posts are perfectly fine.

If you are brave enough to write what you think, then 54 word posts are perfectly fine.

If you are prepared to embrace brevity and eliminate the fluff from your message, then 54 word posts are perfectly fine.


If you want to connect with people, then write for people. If you want to connect with Google, then write for Google.

If you think you’re doing both, you’re doing neither particularly well.

Be the author. Not the envelope

pro dev pngs

It’s hard to attract people’s attention, when you have nothing new to say. But that doesn’t stop business owners from trying.

Social networks are flooded with famous quotes, posted by people who have nothing to say for themselves. They lack either the creativity, the guts [or both], to tell us what they think. And in doing so, they rob themselves of their voice.

They are simply a carrier. A delivery mechanism. Much like an envelope.

What happens when you receive a letter? You throw the envelope in the waste paper basket. The message matters. The author matters. But the envelope has no lasting value. Even so, the massive majority of business owners choose to be the envelope.

Sharing a famous quote is simple. Think about it: whether a letter inspires you or pisses you off, you never blame the envelope. You blame the author of the message. The author is responsible.

So we each have a choice to make

We can be a voice or we can be an echo. We can be the author or we can be the envelope. We can be noticed or we can be invisible.

That’s not much of a choice. And if we want to be noticed, there’s no choice at all.

Important: If fear of criticism is holding you back, here’s how to overcome it!

Who are you selling to? The answer may surprise you!

content marketing, blogging, newsletters, articles

Are you selling to yourself?

That may seem like a silly question, yet it’s one of the most important questions in marketing. Why? Because business owners tend to market their products as if they were selling to themselves, when they should be marketing to their prospective clients or customers.

Now, if you are a lawyer and your prospective clients are lawyers, that works fine. However, if you sell to people whose needs and wants are different to your own, you need a different approach.

For example:

  • Read the marketing of most accountants and you will find lots of statistics and graphs. This is what accountants love, but not their prospective clients. The prospective client wants to know what the accountant can do for them and their business. They want to know why they should hire this accountant and not an equally qualified competitor. They want the story behind the stats. They want to know how the accountant will help them build a better business.
  • Read the marketing of most web designers and it’s filled with jargon and buzzwords. They talk about things like; HTML5, Java, CSS, standards compliance and responsive design. These are things designers know are important and love to talk about. However, those terms mean nothing to their prospective clients. Their prospective clients want a professional looking site. They want a site that is an asset to their business. They want to know how a new website will help them commercially. They want to know they can trust the designer to do a great job.

Anyone using that approach is leaving money on the table. Don’t let it happen to you.

Match your message to their wants and their needs

Take a look at your marketing from your prospective client’s vantage point. If possible, ask a prospective client to read your marketing and tell you what it says to them. Determine if you’re marketing based on what they need to hear, or what you assume matters.

Also, check to see if you are using their language or yours. Sometimes we get so used to industry terms and buzzwords, that we forget they are meaningless and confusing to everyone else.

In a nutshell: The better you communicate how valuable your services are, the easier you will find it to attract great clients or customers.

P.S. Here’s why you should never use buzzwords in your marketing.

A powerful marketing lesson from a 19th century artist

marketing tips, marketing advice, advise,

Back in the 1800’s, Edgar Degas said: “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see”.

The same is true of great marketing

Successful marketing paints pictures in the mind of a prospective client. It doesn’t list a series of facts or features. Instead, it talks directly to the needs and wants of your clients. It shows them how you can help them. It also shows them that you’re passionate about helping them. Everything is rooted in what’s best for the client. Everything.

Ineffective marketing paints a picture of the provider. It’s all about their business and the products or services they offer. It reads like a 1990’s sales brochure. It’s dry. It’s dull. It’s forgettable. It’s also extremely ineffective.

The message, my friend, is simple: If you want to attract better clients… paint better pictures.

How to grow your business in a uniquely valuable way

marketing tips, visibility, attraction

You are the biggest asset your business has. Those are not just kind words. They are based on fact.

Allow me to explain.

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.

The most incredible article about headlines you’ll ever read!

content marketing, blogging, newsletters, articles

Here are some ideas, which you can use to massively improve the results of all your written marketing.

It’s all about the marketing power of headlines.

Your headline has to capture the reader’s attention

It doesn’t matter how great your message is, people need to read it in order for the message to have the desired impact. That’s where your headline comes in. The headline’s primary job is to attract attention and motivate the reader to carry on reading.

Think about it… the headline is what inspires prospective clients to open your email. It’s also what motivates them to read your blog post or article, when someone shares it on a social network. It’s what grabs their attention and interest when they see one of your advertisements.

Advertising legend David Ogilvy was in no doubt regarding the importance of headlines. He famously said: “When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.”

Treat your headlines with the importance they deserve. Give yourself plenty of time to craft the best headline possible. The following tips and examples will help you get the balance right.

Your headline should accurately reflect the theme of the content

Because headlines play such a huge role in getting your content noticed, it’s tempting to over exaggerate them. [Yes, the headline of this post is a tongue in cheek example of what I mean].

Sometimes called link bait or click bait, these attention grabbing headlines are proven to generate trafficThe reason I strongly recommend most people reading this not to adopt that headline strategy, is this:

Your headlines make a promise, which your content needs to deliver on.

Make your headlines as inspirational as you can. Use words that will compel people to read what you have to say. But make darn sure that your content backs up the promise of the headline.

Your headline needs to be written for your target market

Your marketing message is intended to connect with a very specific group of people: Your prospective clients or customers. The headlines you use should do the same. This means speaking their language and addressing their concerns and opportunities.

Here’s why this matters:

  • By focusing your headlines around the interests of your target market, you help your marketing message to attract the attention of the right people.
  • Conversely, by using headlines that attract the attention of a wider group of people, you cease to be directly relevant to your target market.

In other words, use headlines that are directly relevant to your prospective clients.

Your headlines should match your medium

If you’re writing a headline that’s intended for a print magazine, newspaper or flyer, you have certain freedoms, which you don’t have when writing for the internet. For example, if you want your internet article’s headline to be fully displayed in search results, you need to use around 55 characters or fewer. Going beyond that limit will see your headline cut short.

If your headline is intended for email marketing, you need to take other things into consideration. For example, if you include exclamation marks!! in your subject line, along with a number and maybe a word that’s in ALL CAPS, it’s highly likely to end up in a lot of spam filters. Email software looks for certain common factors used by spammers and if it sees them in the email headlines you use, it could wrongly treat your marketing as spam.

In short, when it comes to headlines, you need to adapt depending on the medium you’re using.

The only 2 types of headline that matter

There is a lot of debate among marketing professionals, regarding the correct way to use headlines. They take entrenched stances, each insisting that their approach is the only strategy that’s professional or effective. In almost every case I have seen, they totally miss the point.

When it comes to the headlines you use in your marketing, there are just 2 broad categories worthy of your attention.

  1. Headlines that work for you and your business goals.
  2. Headlines that are failing you and your business goals.

You need to find the correct balance for what you want to achieve. And it will differ depending on your brand, your industry and your business model.

For example, Upworthy and BuzzFeed have grown into massively successful media businesses, using a controversial, yet very powerful headline formula. Many have labelled their approach as being link bait or click bait. Here’s a nice piece from The Guardian that looks at Upworthy’s headlines. Now, it’s not a strategy that would work for my business. However, it’s proven itself to be an extremely successful strategy for the Upworthy and BuzzFeed business models. It’s fortunate they ignored the one-size-fits-all mantra. My point here, is that you should leave your options open.

I hope you’ve found this useful. More importantly, I hope it inspires you to improve the effectiveness of your own headlines and titles.

Worth reading: 5 Steps to improve the success of all your written marketing.

This is a marketing message. Really. It is!

content marketing, blogging, newsletters, articles

In today’s post, I’m going to show you how to make your marketing so attractive, that people would miss it if it wasn’t there.

Think about it: Most of the marketing messages we receive are unwelcome. At best, they are the price we pay for being able to watch a YouTube clip or listen to a radio station. At worst, marketing messages are an unwanted, annoying intrusion.

The good news is, marketing doesn’t need to be this way.

How some brands get it right

Some of the marketing we receive is welcomed. For example, when Evernote send me their newsletter, I read it. Always. Why? Because it’s packed with tips on how to get the most value from the Evernote app, so users can organise their ideas and improve their work flow. As a daily Evernote user, these tips and ideas are of huge value to me.

Yes, I have made additional purchases because of the Evernote newsletter. However, they have never sold me anything.

Think about that for a moment. It’s extremely powerful!

Leigh inspired me to write today’s post

Earlier today I received a message from a reader. Leigh said that she reads my blog via email. The reason she got in touch is that she hadn’t had an email from me for 5 days. She wanted to make sure everything was OK. It turned out to be a problem with her new email provider. But that’s not the point.

The message behind Leigh’s email may not sound that important at first glance… but it is. It’s a powerful example of the effectiveness of content marketing.

I’ll explain why in a moment.

The best content marketing delivers value

Just like the Evernote newsletter I mentioned, the best content marketing is packed with independent value. [Note: By independent value, I mean that the content itself delivers value, independent of the reader needing to purchase anything].

When people connect with effective content marketing, they feel like they have gained something. Because of this, they welcome it in a way that’s impossible to achieve with a sales pitch.

A great way for you to get this right, is to ask yourself the following question: “If I stopped publishing my newsletter, blog posts, email marketing or social networking updates, etc., would people miss them?”

This is a marketing message. Seriously!

If you think my blog posts aren’t marketing messages, think again. Yes, I give you useful information for free, without pitching you anything, but consider this:

  • Hundreds of people email me every week, because of something they read on my blog or in the email version of the blog.
  • A subset of these great people will become clients of mine or customers of my audio program.
  • Other readers become advocates and recommend my services to their friends.
  • Some share my blog posts, helping me reach more people.

Now consider this:

Think for a moment how useful it would be for your business, if you were receiving emails and phone calls all day every day, from interested people who already knew all about you and what you do.

What next?

Provide your marketplace with useful information, not sales pitches. Make your content marketing about the reader, not about you. Help them solve their challenges with your expertise. And let people know what you can do for them [like that short message below], so they know where to come when they need expert help they can trust.

Remember… the process of giving and receiving starts with the giving part.

Read this. It will help you: How to make your Content Marketing more compelling!