Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Category: General Marketing (page 1 of 93)

Photos: What everyone needs to know about ageing online

Tammy was shocked when she emailed me today.

She explained that she had been following a business expert on Twitter for years. Then today, he suddenly aged by around 15 years!

15 years older in just 24 hours

Of course, the guy is just a day older today, than he was yesterday. The thing is, he’d been using the same photo on his online profiles for the past decade and, apparently, it was a few years old when he started using it. Yesterday, he decided to update his profile photo and like all of us, he looks very different than he did back in the late 1990′s.

He has told his Twitter followers he needed to change the photo, as he was tired of people not knowing who he was, when he met them face to face for the first time.

[I wrote about ageing online here: To age online or not to age, that is the question!]

The issue this guy now has, is that his brand is strongly associated with an image, which no longer exists. By failing to invest in a professional logo and failing to update his profile photo every year or two, he’s facing a totally unnecessary challenge.

We all get older

However, until recently, business owners were connected to people who either saw them pretty regularly or who were seeing them for the first time.

In the digital age, we are represented online by photographs, which are a snapshot of how we looked when the photo was taken. If these are seldom updated, we risk facing the same problem the business expert now has.

Keep people in the picture

If you do not already, consider updating your profile photos and avatars every year or so.

Even better, invest in a professional logo and use the logo alongside your picture. This allows you to change your photo, with the continuity of your branding intact.

Tip: Here’s a great video about what makes a logo memorable and valuable!

1 Essential word your marketing needs, plus 1 you MUST avoid!

Here’s a quick tip, to improve the effectiveness of your marketing. It’s all about a word you use, which is negatively impacting how people feel about your business.

That word is… change!

People are hard-wired to fear change.

We know that change, good or bad, is a source of stress. Even something as positive as the change that comes from getting married, buying a new home or setting off for a week in the sun, is a cause of stress.

Because of the negative way people feel when confronted with change, it makes sense to remove the word from your marketing. Don’t worry, I am going to give you a massively more powerful, motivating alternative!

Improve rather than change

Whenever possible, use the word improve, rather than change. Improve, is a positive word. It’s an attractive word too, because we are always looking for something better.

For example, look how the phrase below becomes far more powerful, when change is replaced with improve.

“This copywriting tip will change your marketing results.”

“This copywriting tip will improve your marketing results.”

Your prospective clients or customers fear change, but want things to improve. So, stop offering them what they fear and give them what they want!

Tip: Here are over 180 posts, related to copywriting and content marketing. Enjoy!

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 get your marketing noticed by the right people

If you want to enjoy better response rates from your marketing messages, you need to know 2 things.

  1. Your prospective clients have never had so many people, fighting for their attention. Whether they are at work, at home or on the move, their computers, phones and tablets are feeding them endless notifications.
  2. You need to understand how they cope with all those messages. They actually do the same as you — They filter out the noise and focus their attention on those they can trust.

So, adding to the noise is not going to help you.

Earning the trust of your marketplace is a far better strategy.

Here’s something for you to think about

If building trust was the foundation of your marketing messages, how would it improve the way your marketplace feels about you and your business?

Tip: Here’s how to create marketing, which people want to receive.

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…

There are no traffic jams on the extra mile

I heard a great quote the other day: “There are no traffic jams on the extra mile”.

Whilst every business I have ever encountered claims to go the extra mile, we all know that in reality, very few businesses actually do it. They try hard, sure, but they try hard without going a mile beyond what we expect.

So, why does this happen and what can we do, to ensure we’re truly going the extra mile?

I can’t or I won’t?

I have found that there’s some confusion with the words can’t and won’t. People often say they can’t do something, when what they really mean is that they won’t.

Here’s the thing: When a service provider tells a customer (and themselves), that they can’t do something extra, they end the possibility of it happening. Can’t is a dead end. It can’t be done. That’s it.

Here’s an alternative approach, which can help you retain your clients and attract massively more referrals too.

An opportunity to disappoint or to shine

Think about it: When a restaurant stops serving at 2:30pm and you arrive at 2:33pm, to be told they can’t serve you, what they really mean is that they won’t serve you. They can serve you. However, they’ve chosen not to serve you… not to go the extra mile. By pointing to a sign that says they stop serving food at 2:30pm, the service provider has an excuse not to try.

You leave disappointed.

Of course, the best service providers would use that same situation as an opportunity to go a mile beyond what you expected of them. They’d explain that it’s a few minutes after they stop serving, but that they will make an exception for you. In doing so, they would have delivered a great customer experience story, for you to share with your friends.

The lesson here?

Before you tell a client or prospective client that you can’t do what they want, ask yourself if what you really mean, is that you won’t do what they want.

Now, if they are being totally unreasonable or selfishly trying to get you to work for free etc., you shouldn’t allow them to abuse your good nature.

However, if what you are being asked is something you can do and you believe they are sincere, you have a decision to make. You can do what they expect, and refuse.

Alternatively, you can be one of the rare few, who actually goes the extra mile. You can build stronger, deeper bonds with your clients.

Plus… you can give your marketplace a story about your business, worth sharing.

Choose: Fit in or stand out

When it comes to business we have 2 choices. We can strive to fit in or to stand out.

In or out?

From a marketing perspective, most business owners will say they try to stand out. To get noticed. To be outstanding.

Then, you look at what they do and it’s usually designed to fit in. It’s safe. Predictable.

Decision time

Think about the work you do and the way you market your business.

So, are you doing work that fits in or stands out… and is that consistent with what you want to achieve?

Select your prospects then ignore the rest

A business owner has a couple of options, when deciding how to market her business.

  1. Try and appeal to everyone.
  2. Choose the kind of customers or clients you want to service… and ignore the rest.

Many small business owners select the first option

The thinking looks like this: If we try and appeal to everyone, we’ll have more prospective customers.

The reality is very different. By trying to be relevant to everyone, they end up being directly relevant to no one.

Smart business owners take the second option

They figure out exactly who they want to serve. They then focus exclusively on communicating with this highly profitable section of the marketplace. They learn what matters most to this group and learn their language. This allows them to market to prospective customers, with a directly relevant message, which will resonate strongly with them.

As a result, their marketing is massively more compelling… and that’s the kind of marketing, which generates sales.

Tip: Read this – A tested, proven way to attract sales leads.

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