Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Category: How to (page 1 of 25)

Bloggers: How to be an overnight success

blog letters

My wife’s blog has become an overnight success. Here’s how she did it.

Sharon started her blog around 12 weeks ago. Her first post was read by over 2000 people. Thousands of people now read her work every week. Not bad, especially as it’s her first ever attempt at blogging. It’s worth mentioning that Sharon hasn’t paid for advertising, hasn’t done any kind of SEO or asked anyone [including me] to share her posts or link to them.

So, what’s the secret of her success?

Before my wife published her first post, she had already built an audience for her blog. She is the admin of a history group on Facebook. Sharon spent time connecting with like-minded people, answering their questions and sharing ideas.

By the time she published her first blog post, there was a community of people who were interested. They already knew who she was and that she’s an expert in her field.

Compare that to what most business owners do, when they start blogging.

  • They write a post.
  • They share their post on their main social networks.
  • However, because they haven’t built a community of people around their work, very few people take notice.
  • They decide to publish some more posts and hope things will improve.
  • Fast forward 3 months… they still have very few readers.
  • So, they try some tricks they find on blogging websites. [They don’t understand that this is the perfect way to ensure your blog remains invisible.]
  • Eventually, they assume that blogging is a waste of time.

Here’s the thing: If you want to build a successful blog, you need to build a community.

You need to find a way, like Sharon did, to connect with your target audience. It takes time. It takes effort. But that’s why she already has thousands of readers. It’s why her 12 week old blog has a bigger daily readership than the massive majority of established, small business blogs. BTW: It’s the same approach I used to build Jim’s Marketing Blog, though I used Twitter rather than Facebook.

Great blog posts alone are not enough

Writing great blog posts is just part of building a successful blog. Without investing the time required to build a reader community, a blog will remain largely invisible.

Important: You build a community by connecting with people in your target group. Join in the conversations. Answer questions. Communicate. Notice something there? None of those are achievable through automation software. Broadcasting quotes and spraying links via your social networks is easy, but very ineffective when it comes to building human connections.

How long does it take to do it correctly?

Some of my clients have achieved measurable success within 3 months. Others have taken a whole year. Is it worth it? Well, over 80,000 people will get notified when I publish this post today.

What would it be worth to you and your business, if you were able to reach a growing targeted audience of thousands of potential customers every week… without paying for advertising? Think about that for a moment.

If you decide its worth the investment, find out how to do it correctly and get moving!

How to keep people interested in your marketing

How to

If your marketing is attracting fewer enquiries than you need, you may want to consider mixing things up a little.

Here’s why.

A marketing lesson from farming!

12 years ago, after a lifetime of living in cities, my wife and I bought our current home in the countryside. It’s surrounded by farm land. One of the first things I discovered about farming, is the effectiveness of crop rotation. The farmer plants different crops each time, because it keeps the soil fertile and produces a better harvest. Planting the same crop time after time produces a poor yield.

It struck me that the same is true when it comes to marketing. The marketplace soon gets tired of seeing the same marketing from the same people. It fails to capture their attention. Soon, they pay it no attention at all.

The answer

The way to avoid this costly marketing error, is to mix things up a bit.

  • Try different timing. For example, if you use email marketing, send your emails on a different day or time of day.
  • Try different images in your marketing material.
  • Try different language — the kind of words you use to communicate your marketing message.
  • Try different offers.
  • Try asking for a different response.
  • Try different marketing formats.

You get the idea.

In short: Marketing rotation can help you retain people’s interest. And an interested marketplace is far more likely to respond to you!

P.S. Here are dozens of marketing ideas you can use, from the most popular page on my blog.

How to avoid an expensive copywriting mistake

writing

After reading Tuesday’s post, Amanda emailed me with a great question.

Here’s an excerpt:

[…] “I often see you recommending the use of professional copy writers.  This can cost a few hundred dollars and maybe more. I guess my question is when is it worth investing in a pro rather than write your own stuff?”

3 Situations where you should hire a copywriting expert

The best answer to that question I know, came from something I heard at a marketing meeting a few years ago. It makes the point extremely well. Here are 3 situations where it pays to get expert copywriting.

  1. If you are going to invest $20,000 on an advertisement, it’s worth investing a few hundred on expert copywriting.
  2. If you’re going to invest $2,000 on a new website, it’s worth investing a few hundred on expert copywriting.
  3. If you’re investing $50 on an adwords campaign, it’s also worth investing a few hundred on expert copywriting. If the ad copy works, it will repay you… every time you run the ad.

In a nutshell, the time to invest in expert copywriting, is whenever you want your written marketing to work.

How to get your marketing noticed

marketing 101

Today’s post is all about how to attract more sales or enquiries.

Their are 2 types of marketing that get noticed:

  1. Marketing that is hand crafted or personal. An example of hand crafted marketing, would be a letter sent to you, which has your name and address handwritten on the envelope and a message tailored to your exact requirements, signed with a handwritten signature.
  2. Marketing that is highly polished and professional. An example of polished marketing would be a website or blog, which is expertly designed and where the content was produced by a copywriting professional. The quality builds trust and the content motivates people to take action.

Almost all small business marketing is outside of those 2 categories. It’s neither personal or spectacular. It’s neither memorable or impressive. It’s neither thoughtful or motivating.

Different approaches lead to different results

The successful minority of business owners invest in expertly produced, motivating and highly personalized marketing. It’s no coincidence their results are so impressive. Cause and effect.

Conversely, the typical small business will go broke within a few years or struggle on for years, working long hours and making little real progress. That’s because a casual approach to marketing causes casualties. Cause and effect.

No business owner sets out to struggle or make little meaningful progress. It is, however, a choice they have made, albeit an unconscious one.

At some point, the struggling business owner decided to relegate marketing to an low-level task. They did this unaware that everything their business does is marketing. As a result, they are dabbling with the development of their business. This produces predictably poor results.

How to turn things around

If your business is not growing the way you want it to, it’s time to take heed. Because whatever you believe about the quality of your marketing, it’s clearly not working.

The great news here is that by adopting the same attitude to marketing as the most successful business owners, the law of cause and effect comes into play. You can have the business and financial security you have always wanted, so long as you do the right things, correctly.

Read this, it will help: Everything your business does is marketing.

How to make your business massively stronger

How to

Today, I’m going to show you how to protect your business, so that it will still thrive, even if you lose your biggest customer.

I need to start by asking you a question. It’s an important question, so take some time to consider your answer:

In financial terms, what would happen if you lost your biggest customer or client?

Many small business owners are heavily reliant on just 1 or 2 main customers. These major customers often account for a hefty percentage of their income. When [not if] the customer leaves or ceases trading, the vendor is left in an extremely precarious position. Despite this, small business owners will usually wait until the worst happens, before they proactively seek out new, major customers.

Why does this happen?

Small business owners understand the seriousness of their situation. It’s just that when times are good, there’s little motivation to invest in marketing or business development. So, they tend to put it off. Then, when they lose a major customer, they enter panic mode. They rush. They often make bad decisions, as fear influences their thinking.

This causes what is widely known as the feast and famine cycle.

A far better approach

The most successful business owners have a different mindset. They understand that the time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining. So, they make business development decisions from a position of strength, rather than wait for disaster to strike. They avoid the feast and famine cycle, because marketing is an ongoing part of their business.

I hope the sun is shining on your business right now. If it is, this is the perfect time for you to focus on attracting more high value customers or clients.

How to beat your biggest competitor

winning

Your main competitor is seldom an alternative provider.

Your main competitor is usually apathy… the decision to do nothing.

Before working out how you compare to competing providers, measure your service against the decision to do nothing.

  • Why should people risk placing their trust in you?
  • Why should they give you their attention?
  • Why should they go through the hassle of hiring you or buying from you? [Tip: This will help.]

Answer those questions correctly and you will have crafted a clear, motivating story for your prospective clients.

How to be successful without even trying

It’s an interesting fact that very few of the world’s most successful businesspeople, set out with money or success as their primary target.

  • They aimed to be valuable.
  • They aimed to make the world or the marketplace a better place.
  • They aimed to make a difference.

However, money or success was not their primary focus.

Here’s how they did it!

Steve Jobs famously said:

“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”.

If Jobs was focused primarily on the money or success, he’d have been able to cash in when he was in his 20’s — super rich and exceptionally successful.

When Einstein said,

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value”, he showed where his focus was. Again, it was about the value. Einstein carried on working until his death, even though he could have quit decades earlier with his reputation set in history forever.

To understand how the most successful and wealthy business owners achieved their success, we need to look at why most business owners struggle.

It’s easy to spot someone who is in it just for the money

You can usually tell pretty quick, when you encounter someone who is primarily in it for the money. This makes it very hard for them to succeed.

Here are some examples we see all the time, which you will recognise instantly:

  • They are the salespeople, whose eyes light up like a wolf when they spot a potential sales victim.
  • They are the affiliate marketers, who leave spammy links and comments on blogs.
  • They are the pests, who send us unwanted spam email.
  • They are the pushy business owners, who corner us at networking events. The ones who pretend they want to know about our business, when we know it’s that old, cringe-worthy networking tactic.
  • They are the ill-informed marketing gurus who STILL say the money is in the list, because they haven’t figured out the value is in the community.
  • They are the struggling restaurant owners, who use slightly lower quality ingredients and hire slightly lower quality chefs, and end up with a low quality restaurant that no one recommends.
  • They are the kind of business owners you thought of, as you were reading those examples.

Clearly, there is nothing wrong with being wealthy or successful. My point, is that it’s very hard to be either of those things, if they are our primary focus.

Here’s how to succeed without focusing primarily on the money

Consider for a moment the businesses out there, who struggle. They set financial targets and then push average products and average services to average clients who pay them average prices. These business owners then think people just won’t pay higher fees. This is factually 100% incorrect! People won’t pay above average fees for an average, commodity service. They happily pay above average fees and prices for premium, high value products and services.

Now consider the businesses who earn a fortune and succeed. They offer products or services, which are meaningfully different. Their products and services attract the attention of people looking for that special value.

They end up selling valuable products and valuable services to valuable clients, who pay them extremely well.

The way forward for smart business owners

Focus on value. Create products or services that are meaningfully different from the competition. Solve better problems. Create work you are proud of.

Persistently create value and make it visible. People are extremely attracted to value and they pay a premium for it too. Just ask the owner of any high priced Apple product, the owner of a luxury car or the client of any leading service provider.

Get this right and the money and success take care of themselves.

PS: You will find this useful. It explains how to make more sales or attract more clients, without ever having to lower your fees — Marketing 101: The Race To The Bottom.

Why your marketing isn’t working and how to fix it!

direction

If a ship sets off on a voyage and it’s just a fraction off course, it will soon end up massively off course, unless it quickly adjusts it’s direction.

Why am I sharing this with you?

Businesses are the same

When your business isn’t achieving the targets you set for it, you need to quickly adjust your direction. More of the same is not an option. Doing what you did yesterday, only a little better, isn’t going to work either.

In fact, it could push you further off course. Allow me to explain.

Bankable results

I was prompted to write this, after a reader booked a one-to-one marketing session with me, so I could show her how to “get more traffic” to her website.

She had wasted years going in the wrong direction. Her focus had been on doing everything she could think of, to increase traffic to her website. What she should have been focused on, was how to turn her website into a business generating machine.

Now, her focus is all about how to get bankable results from her website. She’s aiming for new client enquiries, not traffic. The difference is huge. She’s now heading in the right direction.

[Note: You can find out about booking your one-to-one marketing session with me, here.]

Think about it

Marketing success comes when you do the right things, correctly. Most small business owners tend to copy the kind of things they see other small businesses doing. They do this, even though most small businesses go broke and the majority of those that survive earn peanuts. As a result, they end up at best, doing the wrong things reasonably well.

Yes, you can eat a bowl of soup using a fork, but it will take you hours. You could practice how to get the maximum amount of soup onto the fork, but it won’t make much difference. It makes far more sense to use a spoon.

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