Jim's Marketing Blog

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

Category: Copywriting (page 3 of 23)

Stop using buzzwords in your marketing. Seriously. Stop it.

There is no shortage of buzzwords or people who feel the need to use them.

Intersection.

Ruckus.

Disrupt.

… these buzzwords and many others, are used by people in an effort to appear informed or relevant. Interestingly, buzzwords do neither of these. In fact, they have the exact opposite effect when people read them or hear them.

For example:

  • They make informed people cringe. Not a great idea, if you want your peers to take you seriously.
  • They confuse the uninformed. A bad choice, if you want people to understand your message.

In either case, buzzwords work against you. When it comes to marketing, write your copy in a way that your ideal client will find easy to understand.

Always aim for clarity.

Why?

Because clarity sells!

PS: Here’s how to develop effective, clear, compelling marketing.

How to make your business more human and far more successful too

Human business, focused marketing message

Whether you sell B2B or B2C you’re ALWAYS selling P2P (person to person).

It’s extremely important to remember that.

Why?

Because people will only listen to you, if you have something valuable to share with them, which matters to them. And no… a vague, poorly targeted marketing message is not going to work.

Here’s what we know

The more focused your marketing messages are, the more effective they will be and the more business they will generate for you.

  • A focused marketing message speaks directly to the reader (viewer or listener), in a language they understand. It connects with them at a far deeper level than a poorly targeted message.
  • A focused marketing message makes the reader feel as if you knew exactly what they needed. This makes you relevant to them, which is extremely powerful.
  • A focused marketing message captures the reader’s attention. This is of huge value to you today, when people’s attention has never been so scattered.
  • A focused marketing message has the power to motivate people to take action… to buy from you, call you, email you or visit you.

In short, a focused marketing message has the power to inspire and compel people in a way that vague messages can’t.

Review your written marketing

Look for opportunities to make it more focused, so that it’s only relevant to your ideal profile of client. Be less inclusive. Talk directly to them.

Business is all about people and people really notice, when you’re speaking directly to them, in their language, about what matters to them!

PS: Here’s some advice on how to build a successful business, using a more human approach.

Let’s look at your confidence

Confidence in business

I have an important question for you today: How confident are you, when you speak or write about your business?

The reason this is so important, is that there is a direct connection between how confident you sound regarding your business and how confident people feel about your business.

Here’s why this matters so much… people tend not to do business with those they lack confidence in!

Confidence and competence

When we speak or write with confidence, we make it easy for people to trust us. We make it easy for them to believe that we know what we are talking about. That’s because people associate confidence with competence.

Of course, the opposite is also true.

When someone speaks or writes with a lack of confidence, they give the impression that they don’t really know what they are talking about. Their lack of confidence is projected onto the people who hear or read what they have to say, which generates doubt and uncertainty.

Even experienced experts can look like blabbering fools, if they get this wrong. This is why I work on this with my clients and help them gain the confidence they need, to grow their business.

Try this simple exercise

Take a look at the last few marketing messages you wrote; (marketing emails, ads, mail shots, blog posts, newsletters etc). Think also about the last few business conversations you had with potential clients and existing clients or customers.

Next, ask yourself the following few questions:

  • Do I speak with conviction and calm assurance?
  • Do I write from a positive, confident perspective; explaining the amazing benefits of my service?
  • Do I accept compliments from people with a “thank you” or feel compelled to respond with a joke or quip?
  • Do I attract regular word of mouth referrals from people, who confidently recommend me?

My mentor used to say; “Have something worth saying and say it well.”

You know how amazing your business is and all the tremendous value you bring. That’s something worth saying. Just make sure that you say it well too.

Let your confidence inspire those around you.

If only they knew how amazing your business is

If only they knew how amazing your business is, you would have more great clients.

If only they knew how amazing your business is, you would be able to charge what you are worth.

If only they knew how amazing your business is, you would escape the feast and famine cycle.

If only they knew how amazing your business is, you could look to the future with confidence.

So, let them know!

Explain what makes your business stand out. Highlight the benefits of working with you, rather than an ‘average quality’ alternative provider. Showcase your strengths.

Just don’t expect them to believe general marketing claims. Telling them things like “we try harder”, “we go the extra mile” and “our service is second to none”, doesn’t work. Everyone makes those generic promises.

Show them specifics

If you want prospective clients to know how genuinely amazing your business is, you need to move from generic, to specific. This means providing supporting information for your claims. Show them the difference.

For example, instead of  claiming to offer great customer service, show them how you invest in customer service training. Show them the additional opening hours you provide. Show them your customer service awards and notable mentions in the press, etc.

When they know how amazing your business is, you will find you attract the best clients, the most attractive fees and the most rewarding projects.

So let them know!

PS: Here’s a free, 3 part series on how to attract the best clients and the highest fees.

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees – Part 1.

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees – Part 2.

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees – Part 3.

Content Marketing: Is your design killing your content?

The primary design task of any newsletter, website or blog, is to ensure the content is as readable as possible. The design should work like a picture frame and enhance, not hide, your work.

content marketing design

I was on a site earlier, where the design was so loud and busy, that it was hard to find the actual content. When trying to read the content, the rest of the site was so distracting that I left after just 30 seconds or so.

Most newsletters are just as bad. Instead of focusing on the message, they’re packed with distractions. Lots of different font sizes, colours, options, boxes and buttons — all getting in the way and breaking the reading experience. As a result, their actual content gets very little attention… and the newsletter providers wonder why their readership isn’t growing.

The poor readability epidemic

Unreadable design is such a huge problem now, that there are apps that try to combat it. Readability is maybe the best known.

Take a look at the design you use for your newsletter, website and / or blog. If the content is playing second fiddle to the design, change the design. After all, it’s your content that people come to you for and your content, which builds your relationship with your readers.

A quick tip: Clear, big fonts and lots of white space work better than almost anything, when it comes to making your content stand out.

How to get better results without working harder

business development

I have a business development tip for you today, which is essential to the success of your business.

Most small business owners are busy people. They work hard. They work long hours, too. Yet, very few make the kind of progress they would like. All that movement and hard work isn’t getting them where they want their business to be.

That’s because there’s something missing from this picture… something that transforms movement into progress.

So, what’s the answer?

The answer can be found, when we look at those business owners who are making real progress, often working fewer hours than those who spin their wheels.

It looks like this: Those who make progress learn from every experience. Then, they invest what they learn, to make better and better business decisions.

Here’s how you can do the same!

Here are a couple of examples, which show how this works in practice. The same approach can be used to massively improve your success in every area of your business.

Example 1: What was the last marketing email you opened and started reading?

Dig it out and spend some time studying its subject line (or title). Learn what it was, which motivated you to open it rather than trash it like all the others. Then, invest what you learned from that email, so that your next marketing email gets a great open rate.

Example 2: What was the last service you received, which impressed you so much that you had to tell everyone?

Think about that exceptional service, from start to finish. Now, look at what it was, which made that service so different from what you were expecting. Then, look for a way to incorporate something similar into the experience you give to your own clients or customers. Congratulations… you’ve just massively improved the volume and quality of the word of mouth publicity you receive!

In short: Don’t just get through the day. Get from the day.

PS: I wrote an article for Microsoft.com yesterday, which gives you another 5 habits of successful business owners.

Uncovering your unique voice

different

I get a lot of email, from business owners who want to uncover their unique voice. In most cases, they are seeking to improve the quality of their newsletters, blog posts or articles.

They note that most material in every niche seems to be extremely similar — with just a few people writing anything fresh or original.

I have a theory about why this happens and how to avoid it.

My theory

I believe it’s linked to the mass consumption of the same kind of inputs. It looks like this:

We have known for years that if you watch TV, just like the masses, you’re likely to start thinking, just like the masses.

My theory is that the same is true of writers within a niche, who read the same popular books, magazines and blogs. By consuming the same inputs, they work from the same information base. This results in them adopting and sharing very similar ideas. It can also result in very similar writing styles.

Thinking differently

As I said earlier, this is only a theory. However, it’s based on years of study and observation. I am yet to find a unique voice in any field, who feeds her mind with the same mass market material as her peers.

In short: To think differently, we need to feed our mind differently.

PS: You may find this useful. My name is Jim Connolly and I am a freak!

It shouldn’t matter

typos

No, it shouldn’t matter that your website has a typo.

It certainly shouldn’t matter that your latest newsletter uses an apostrophe incorrectly.

It shouldn’t matter, but it does matter!

Making judgements

A prospective client who doesn’t know you, starts making judgements on you based on the limited information in front of them. If they’re reading a piece of your marketing and spot a typo, it adds to the mental picture they are building of you and your business.

It’s heartbreaking to lose sales because of a typo or misplaced apostrophe. Thankfully, it’s totally avoidable with just a little extra attention to detail.

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