Jim's Marketing Blog

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

Category: Business Development (page 12 of 88)

Easy is overrated

Usually there are 2 options open to us, when making business decisions:

  1. We can do what’s easy.
  2. We can do what’s right.

Yes, sometimes the easy option and the right option are the same. However, most important business decisions are not easy. They require risk. They cause you to leave your comfort zone. It’s how all meaningful, commercial progress is made.

easy

Easy… but wrong

Why do business owners operate behind a crappy looking, dated website? Because it’s easy to let it slide. It’s easy to fool themselves that it doesn’t matter. It’s easy to pretend that potential customers won’t notice how cheap their business looks. It’s easy… but wrong.

Why do business owners persist with a strategy that means they work too many hours for too little reward? Because it’s easy to go with the flow. It’s easy to stick with what they’re used to. It’s easy… but wrong.

Ironically, the easiest way to build a successful business is to make the right decisions. It’s the easiest way, because it’s the only way.

How much does Jim Connolly charge?

Every day I get emails from people, asking me: “How much do you charge for your 1 Year Marketing Service?”

Here’s my answer, plus the reason why there’s no fee quoted on this page.

You only pay for what you need

There isn’t a set fee for the service! You only pay for the amount of my time, which I believe you will need during our year together.

I do it this way, because people’s requirements differ massively. For instance, I have clients right now, who need 3 times as much of my time as others, because of the complexity of their marketing challenges.

Other clients need just a little of my time, so they pay a fraction of the average fee.

Quoting your fee

After someone has contacted me with a genuine interest in working with me, I arrange a brief, informal phone call / Skype call with them. Once I speak with them and learn what their unique situation is, I can quote them a fee.

This way, no one pays more than they should, so you get amazing value for money.

It’s essential for me to get your fee just right, as I cap the fee for the whole year in advance. So, once we start working together, you get no more invoices from me.

For more information, here’s how how I can help you and your business, via my extremely effective  1 Year Marketing Service.

Are you edging it?

The middle ground feels safer. That’s why it’s so crowded. However, the real value comes from pushing what you do to the edges.

There isn’t an area of your business, which you can’t edge. For example:

  • Pushing your copywriting to the edges, so it motivates people to take action.
  • Pushing your service to the edges, so it’s of unique value to people.
  • Pushing your quality to the edges, so your brand becomes a byword for excellence.
  • Pushing your communication skills to the edges, so people are motivated when you speak.
  • Pushing your leadership to the edges, so people follow you.
  • Pushing your creativity to the edges, so you can find the answers and ideas you need.
  • Pushing your courage to the edges, so you do what’s right rather than what feel safe.
  • Pushing your commitment to the edges, so your business gets the resources it needs.
  • Pushing your visibility to the edges, so prospective clients can find you.

Let others embrace the middle ground. Let them offer average services, to average people, for average fees. You deserve batter than that!

The middle ground is not for you

How do I know? Because the people who read my work are those in search of fresh ideas and answers. You’re not interested in struggling in the middle ground.

Embrace the edges, my friend. Embrace the edges and show your marketplace just how remarkable you are!

Money without happiness… you’re still broke!

How’s business?

Many business owners will answer that question based on how profitable things are… how their order books look, how cash flow is flowing.

Yes, that’s one measurement

However, even if profits and cash flow look great, it only shows a small part of the picture. Many business owners are making money, but they are losing something else. Something more important. Something bigger than their business.

Business owners often find their work life balance is pretty unbalanced. They are often stressed, working too many hours and working on uninspiring projects for clients who don’t appreciate them. Somewhere along the way, the need to make money was replaced by the need to make money… even at the expense of their happiness, health, family life. Maybe all three.

Decide what matters then go for it

If any important area of your life is suffering because of your business — stop! Even if you are making tons of money, you’re always going to be broke.

Why?

Because history is littered with stories of business owners, who were SO BROKE… all they had left was their money.

OK Connolly, what next?

Try this.

Decide how many hours you want to work, in order to have that essential family and friends time. Determine how much you want to earn, the kind of clients you want to work with and the type of projects you want to work on.

Then, reimagine your business, products and services. Rebuild them from the ground up if needed. Develop them, so they’re of direct interest to high quality clients (or customers). These are the people who will pay you what you’re worth — so you don’t have to work crazy hours to supplement low fees.

Next, direct your marketing exclusively to this targeted group. Speak to them specifically with your marketing messages.

You’ll quickly discover one of the best kept secrets in business: The clients who value your time and pay you well, are the easiest and most rewarding to work with on every level.

Get it right and you’ll also discover how to run a business that rewards you where it matters most… and financially too.

PS - Here are 3 articles, which show you 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.

Get Twitter Direct Messages from people you don’t follow!

Twitter has just made a huge change to the way DM’s or Direct Messages work. You can now choose to allow everyone who follows you on Twitter, to send you a Direct Message.

As you can see from my tweet below, this has generated a lot of interest. (If you can’t see the tweet, click here).

Twitter Direct Messages from anyone who follows you

What’s new? You can now receive Direct Messages from anyone who follows you – without you following them back. It’s that last part that is the big difference. Until now, you had to follow someone, before they could send you a Direct Message. This stopped mass spamming and for most users was a great idea.

Here’s what the setting looks like. You can find it under the ‘Account’ tab.

Twitter direct messages from followers

NOTE: By default, this option is turned off. If you don’t want to be Direct Messaged from people who follow you, you don’t need to change anything. It’s 100% opt-in.

Why I’ve turned the Twitter direct messages feature on

I have (for now) chosen to turn it on. So, if you follow me on Twitter @JimConnolly you can direct message me in private.

Here’s why. Firstly, I am a very public person. I publish my email address on every page of my blog. So long as people are not spamming me or making selfish requests, I love to hear from them.

Secondly, I think this feature could be extremely useful for businesses.

Business benefits of allowing Twitter DM’s from all your followers

Consider customer service. Until now, if someone had a customer service issue with your business, you would need to follow them and ask them to follow you, in order for you to look after them in private. This allowed them to share potentially sensitive information with you, away from the gaze of all their followers. Now, so long as they follow your Twitter account, 100% of your conversation can be handled in private.

Then there are journalists. Pretty much every journalist uses Twitter. Now, if you have a story for them — especially one of a sensitive nature, you can share it privately.

Contacting your political representatives… ditto.

What about Twitter DM spam?

The typical knee-jerk reaction so far has been that this will create a huge DM spam problem. Mainly, it seems people failed to understand they have to turn the feature on. If you don’t like the feature, don’t use it. Simple.

It’s also worth remembering that someone can only send you a Direct Message, if they follow you on Twitter. If someone is spamming or abusing you, you can block them. This stops them being able to follow you or Direct Message you. Unless you actually want to follow spammers, this works fine.

It will be interesting to see how this is received by business users, once they start to realise the commercial benefits.

PS: If you follow me on Twitter, @JimConnolly – feel free to Direct Message me and let me know what you think (or just say ‘hi!’).

UPDATE: 21st December 2013

Twitter eventually answered my question, regarding when everyone will start seeing this feature. I was told that it is “just an experiment”… then refused to comment on the experiment stating company policy.

Around 5 weeks after I wrote this post, I noticed that the “experiment” was missing from my settings. People were also unable to DM me, unless I followed them.

Then… although the setting is still missing from my Twitter account, for some reason it started working again and at time of writing this, 21st December 2013, anyone who follows me can send me a direct message.

How to lose a new customer

I just experienced a frustrating example, of someone needlessly over promising regarding the service they provide. It was a great example of how to lose a new customer.

Here’s what happened

My wife’s car needed a service, so I decided to try a new garage. The guys at the new garage were helpful and friendly. They quoted me a price to do the work, which seemed too good to be true. And of course, it was.

They did everything for the agreed fee, but took four hours instead of the one hour they quoted. Because they said it would take an hour, my wife didn’t bother to arrange any transport. So, she was stuck in town for four hours. In the rain.

Here’s the thing: Had the guys quoted their fee and said that it would take a whole morning, we’d have been fine. We would still have used them, but arranged transport. Instead, they over promised. They promised to match the level of service offered by our former garage, when they couldn’t come close. So, our first customer experience with them was also our last, as they lost our trust.

It wasn’t the price

Notice, the price was not the key factor here. It was the promise they failed to deliver on — their assurance that they would match the one hour service we were used to. Their price for the four hour service was very reasonable. They had no need to fake it.

I know that no one intelligent enough to read my work would ever be stupid enough to over promise in that way. However, there’s still a valuable lesson here.

It’s about baking marketing into your business! This means creating so much value, that your product or service is irresistible… without any need to add lofty promises or claims

PS — You should find this useful: How to bake marketing into your business.

Why most small businesses go broke AND how to avoid it

Many people ask me why it is that most small businesses fail. Although there are a number of sub reasons, there are 2 connected reasons behind every failed business I have ever studied.

Today, I am going to share these with you, along with some examples. I am also going to try to inspire you NOT to make the same, fatal mistakes.

The sun and the rain

When you starve something of the resources it needs, it dies. Starving a seed of the sunshine and moisture it needs, kills the seed. Starving a business of the resources it needs does exactly the same thing.

Yet, that’s what the majority of small business owners do. As a result they go broke or spin their wheels… then go broke.

Why do they do it?

I have asked a number of former business owners this question. They always (literally 100% of the time) gave the same 2 answers.

  1. To save money. They see all money out as a cost and don’t understand what an investment is.
  2. To avoid risk.

By refusing to invest in their businesses correctly and avoiding anything with a perceived risk, they ironically made it impossible to succeed.

How to kill a business

Here are some common areas, where former business owners refused to invest and paid the price:

  • By refusing to hire a great accountant, they had unnecessary cash flow problems.
  • By refusing to pay for a professional looking website, they lost sales leads and looked like amateurs.
  • By refusing to insure their business correctly, they lost everything when hit with a big, uninsured loss.
  • By refusing to hire a copywriter for their marketing, their response rates were 100′s of percent lower than they would have been.
  • By refusing to pay a designer for a professional logo, they looked amateurish. People don’t trust amateurs.
  • By refusing to buy the correct software and hardware for their business, they lost valuable time.
  • By refusing to pay a lawyer for the right legal advice, they lost everything when legally challenged.

There are many, many more examples.

The answer?

The answer of course, is as easy and as hard as this: Give your business the resources it needs. Learn the difference between a cost and an investment… not on a surface level, on a deep level. Think about the ultimate cost of starving your business of what it needs.

Just as importantly, ask yourself why you’re not investing where your business needs it. If your answer is “to save money and avoid risk”, I urge you to reconsider. Why? Because you are doing neither and simultaneously making it impossible for your business to succeed.

PS: Here’s some detailed advice with examples, on How to build a successful business.

The secret to terrible, ineffective, marketing!

Today, I’m going to share one of the key factors behind terrible, ineffective marketing with you. Don’t worry, I’m also going to show you how to stop it from hurting your business.

First, the basics

If you want something to work you need to do things in the correct order.

For example, the correct way to hit a target is to use the ready, aim, fire approach. You get the weapon ready, you then take aim at the target and finally you fire. Now imagine someone doing that in the wrong order, using a ready, fire, aim approach.

Firing without aiming means they will never hit the target.

Small business owners and the need for speed

I see small business owners using that ready, fire, aim approach with their marketing all the time — making it impossible for them to succeed.

Here are some common examples:

  • They send people marketing emails before getting permission to do so.
  • They begin a project before putting the foundations in place.
  • They start building social networks before deciding who they want in their community.
  • They try to sell to people before they have earned that person’s trust.
  • They expect word of mouth publicity before giving people a story worth sharing.

Take some time today to look at any of your marketing activities, which are not generating the results you want. In almost every case, you can massively improve your results by adopting a strict, ready, aim, fire approach.

How can I be so sure? Because 27 years in marketing has proven to me, that marketing success comes from doing the right things, correctly.

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