Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Category: How to (page 1 of 21)

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?

How to build a better business by solving better problems

Think about it… the value of your work and the demand for your work are determined by the type of problems you solve.

This is why one of the best ways to grow your business, is to:

  • Look for better problems than those solved by your competitors.
  • Create a solution to the problem.
  • Offer the solution to your market place.

You can do this by expanding the utility of an existing product or service you provide or by developing something new. It’s up to you. Both can work amazingly well.

Is this easy? No.

Is it worth it? Absolutely!

This will help you get started: How to find the answers you need, Einstein style!

How to find the income, energy and inspiration you need!

Let’s talk about money.

Do you know what’s really, really difficult? Trying to make money by doing something you’re not passionate about.

Yet, that’s exactly what the majority of business owners do. Paradoxically, it’s also why most will go broke or even worse, make just enough to survive in false hope that things will improve… THEN go broke.

Yes, every business needs a viable way to make money. However, money should be the inevitable result of doing what you love, extremely well. Not an end in itself.

Steve Jobs on money

The world’s most successful businesspeople already know this. The late Steve Jobs made the point beautifully:

“I was worth over $1,000,000 when I was 23, and over $10,000,000 when I was 24, and over $100,000,000 when I was 25, and it wasn’t that important because I never did it for the money”.

Do you think Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos or Sir Richard Branson go to work for 14 hours a day, because they need more money? No. Branson was wealthy from birth and has never needed to work! These people already have more money than they can spend. What drives the most successful business owners is the need to do something, which they are passionate about.

The money follows.

Working with great passion

When your work is driven by passion, it shines through everything you do. It gives you the energy and robustness required to do your best work. Passion is contagious too, which helps you attract the resources you need. It inspires customers, clients and investors to want to be a part of your vision.

  • If work is a grind.
  • If you’re working hard for too little reward.
  • If you find yourself lacking the energy you need.
  • If you don’t spend enough time with your family.
  • If you feel too stressed, too often.
  • If prospective clients or customers are unenthusiastic when you tell them what you do.
  • If business leaves you feeling unfulfilled.

… there’s a very good chance you’re not doing something that inspires you. And that has to stop. Seriously. You can’t keep on like that. It’s pointless and 100% unnecessary.

The answer is as easy and challenging as this

Find something you’re passionate about and build a viable business model around it. Work really hard. Then watch your whole world improve.

If this is something you are struggling with right now, let me know. Here are my contact details.

How to get your marketing shared on social networks

The most successful marketing today, is not marketing that’s pushed at people.

The most successful marketing today, is marketing that people share with their friends.

Pestering people is cheap

The reason we receive so many spam emails and see all those unwanted sales messages on social networking sites, is that it has never been cheaper (in every sense of the word) to pester huge numbers of people. There’s no barrier to entry today. Now, if we go back just 10 or 15 years, if you wanted to get a message in front of 100,000 people it was expensive. Today, it can be done for peanuts.

Pestering people is cheap, has little risk attached and requires little creativity. As a result, it’s everywhere – even though people are getting better and better at ignoring it.

The inspiration deficit

Where we see a shortage, is in business owners who have crafted a compelling story, which people want to share. I call this the inspiration deficit.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and other platforms are PACKED FULL of hundreds of millions of people, who are looking for something interesting to share with their friends. We even have a name for people who spend their social networking time sharing other people’s information. We call them curators.

There’s no lack of people willing and ready to share our message.

The deficit is caused by the lack of business owners, who are willing to invest the time, effort, energy and creativity to build a story about their business that’s worth sharing.

The BIG inspiration pay off

As business owners, we must learn to stop pushing an uninspiring story. No, people are not interested in yet another provider, who is just a little less expensive or who delivers just a little faster than average. Instead, we need to learn to feed the marketplace with a compelling story and allow the marketplace to spread our message for us.

Is it worth the extra effort, to create a compelling service or customer experience, which people will feel motivated to talk about? Well, think of it like this. Right now, there are hundreds of millions of people waiting for you to give them a story worth sharing.

That’s a pretty compelling reason to invest the extra effort.

PS: Need some free help on how to create inspirational ideas, products and services? Here are dozens of free articles, just for you!

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.

How to get what you want from your business

Sadly, most business owners fail to achieve their goals.

A key reason they fail, is that instead of doing one hundred percent of what’s required, they do one hundred percent of what they’re comfortable with.

One hundred percent

To give one hundred percent, is to give everything:

You can’t have what you want to have, without doing what you need to do.

The solution

The solution is always the same.

It’s as easy and as hard as this: Find what you’re avoiding, then summon the courage and knowledge to conquer it.

How to attract attention and get people talking about your business!

This may be the most useful post I’ve written this year.

As regular readers will know, I often talk about the need for business owners to attract the attention of their marketplace and give them a story worth sharing. Well, I recently experienced a great example of how the process works.

I’m sharing it with you, because it’s so simple that anyone can learn the strategy, then think of ways to apply it into their business!

Here’s what happened.

How I attracted attention, started conversations and connected with people

I decided to have lunch at a coffee shop yesterday. While I was waiting for my lunch to arrive, I took my pen out and started jotting some ideas down. A customer sitting opposite me noticed I was using a fountain pen and commented on how rare it was, to see somebody using one. He asked me what I was writing and we chatted for a while, until the waitress arrived with my lunch.

The waitress heard us talking and said she loved the look of my fountain pen, before asking me if she could try it. I said yes and she remarked on how different it felt, compared to writing with a normal ballpoint pen. As she walked back to the kitchen, I overheard one of her colleagues asking what she was doing, so she told him. The story was spreading.

Here’s the thing: Imagine I’d been using a regular ballpoint pen to write my ideas down. If I had, none of those conversations or connections would have happened. The guy opposite would have just carried on drinking his coffee and Chloe, the waitress, would have served me, smiled and walked away.

The ballpoint business approach

By default, the average business is average. They are the commercial equivalent of a ballpoint pen. Reliable, yet unremarkable. So, they find it extremely hard to attract people’s attention. Instead, they push a ballpoint pen message, which people are not interested in.

This would be like me sitting in the coffee shop ASKING people to notice me. Instead of attracting attention and engaging people, those same people would have actively avoided me.

Yet, that is exactly how the average business is marketed. Instead of attracting attention, they pester people with an uninspiring, predictable story.

Copy the strategy, not the tactics!

If you are finding it hard to attract the attention of your ideal profile of client, consider adopting the fountain pen strategy. In other words, make at least one meaningful improvement to what you do. As you can see from my example, the key is to do something, which people notice AND want to talk about.

Here’s a tip — Don’t copy the tactics of another provider, who is standing out. However, by all means, copy their strategy!

Think of it like this: If someone copied my tactics and went into that same coffee shop today using a fountain pen, she would attract far less attention. The next person after her with a fountain pen, would attract almost no attention at all. However, anyone copying my strategy, “to do something interesting, which people will notice and talk about”, can attract just as much positive attention, make just as many connections and have just as many people sharing their story.

Yes it takes effort and creativity to build your own strategy, using the fountain pen approach to business. However, it’s the only way to avoid  being yet another invisible, boring, ballpoint business.

If you want to attract the right kind of attention, connect with new clients and give the marketplace a story about your business, which they will want to share, I can help – read this.

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.

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