Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Category: How to (page 1 of 21)

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 be an overnight success

overnight success

Here are some proven examples, of how to be an overnight success.

  • Angry Birds creator Rovio became an overnight success, after 51 less successful games, 8 years of hard work and almost going bankrupt.
  • Harry Potter author JK Rowling, became an overnight success in 1997… though she started writing fantasy stories as a child, more than 20 years earlier.
  • The Beatles become an overnight success, after playing more then 1000 gigs.
  • The fastest selling Kickstarter book ever, was written by Seth Godin. Most people say it took around 3 hours. Godin said it took around 8 years. That’s how long it took him, writing blog posts almost every day, to build a big enough community to reach his Kickstarter target in 3 hours.

The overnight success formula

So, here’s how to be an overnight success in 2 steps:

  1. Choose the date you want your overnight success to happen.
  2. Work hard for years, leading up to that date.

Be extremely cautious of anyone suggesting otherwise.

Why the average business fails and how to avoid it!

Here’s what we know, for certain, about your industry: The average slot has already been filled. There are more than enough average providers, offering an average service.

Trying to out-average your average competitors

This represents a huge challenge, for those who want to grow an average business. How do you out-average all those average service providers?

Of course, you can’t.

This is why the average business goes broke within a few years and why those that survive, only do so because the owner has resigned themselves to working hard, for very little reward.

An alternative approach

Another way to grow a business, is to walk away from average. Average may feel familiar, but it’s not your friend. It’s hurting your business, which means it’s hurting you and your family.

Instead, get specific. Get specific about what you want to achieve and the kind of clients or customers you want to work with. Then, become obsessive about providing that valuable niche with exactly what they want.

It’s a lot more rewarding, than wasting another 5 or 10 years trying to grow an average business.

How to find an extra 35 hours a week

By far, the question I get asked more than any other, is: How do you find the time to write as often as you do?

Here’s the answer

I don’t watch TV. The ‘average’ person watches between 5 and 6 hours of TV a day (it varies from country to country). By avoiding it, I have an extra 35 hours a week available. I use some of that time to write.

Here’s a great question for you: What would YOU choose to do, if you were able to find an extra 35 (or even 5) hours every week?

Bonus question: How would that improve your life?

How to feel inspired every day

The best way to feel inspired, is to inspire others.

Why? Because by giving inspiration, we become a source of inspiration.

We become the source of what we need!

An unending cycle of inspiration

Look for opportunities to inspire the people you connect with. This sets a positive cycle in place, which benefits you and those around you.

Tip: What is inspiration? Steve Jobs and Picasso provide some insights!

How to work a room at a networking event

Someone just asked me for tips on how to work a room at a networking event.

Not the advice he expected

I explained that I wouldn’t spend too much time learning how to get the most from networking events.


I’d focus on why I needed to go to networking events. I’d figure out, very quickly, why my clients, website, newsletter, customers and contacts weren’t providing me with the referrals and leads I need.

Create a story worth sharing, by providing a remarkable service. Then, the word will spread. People will talk about you, because that’s what we do when we encounter something that is remarkable.

Attracting word of mouth referrals is vastly more effective, than offering an average service and having to pester people for leads at networking groups.

Tip: Here’s how to make your business remarkable, so people spread the word!

Marketing 101: How to get your timing right

One of the most common mistakes small business owners make, is that they try to force things to happen too soon.

The challenge with wanting things to happen too soon, is that too soon is… too soon!

Even if you are in a hurry, launching your product or project when it is still full of bugs and broken, is a bad idea. It results in you putting substandard work in front of your marketplace. It creates a terrible first impression. It will stop the initial, eager members of your marketplace from returning.

The thing about timing

Regardless of how soon we want to launch something, if it isn’t good enough for our marketplace, it will flop. After all, there’s zero demand for half-assed products.

Here’s the thing: If the farmer harvests her apples too soon, because she’s over enthusiastic, they will still be way too small and taste sour. No one will buy them. Of course, if she waits too long, those apples will turn to slush.

In a nutshell: Too soon is too soon… however, once it’s good enough to ship, ship it!

How to get things done, earn more AND enjoy the process

time management, productivity, marketing

How much do you value your time and how much do you charge for it?

I mention this, because although we claim to place huge value on our time, many people act in a way that suggests the opposite. The thing is, it’s impossible to build a successful business unless you use your time wisely and charge for your time accordingly!

How to lose time and waste your money

The lawyer who wastes 2 hours trying to repair his IT problem, doesn’t understand the value of his time. He can hire an IT professional for a third less than his hourly fee and get the job done correctly, in half the time.

Instead of using those 2 hours to delight his clients, he’s losing both time and money doing the job himself.

Of course, managing your time is more than just delegating tasks wisely. It’s also about protecting yourself from interruptions, which steal your time and divert your attention.

Losing time and surrendering attention

The business owner who allows themselves to be distracted all day with social network updates and emails, is handing their time (and attention) over to whoever demands it. However, by checking for email or updates at designated times, which suit their work flow, they can get far more done and save a massive amount of time.

How I gain an hour, for pennies!

When I put fuel in my car, I pay a little more for it than I need to. Why? Because the place opposite that charges less for fuel, always has an enormous queue. I can save myself 15 or 20 minutes every week, by going to the slightly more expensive place.

Here’s the thing: The hour or so a month this saves me, costs me pennies (literally). It’s great value, yet the majority of people can’t see it. Instead, they choose to trade their time, the most valuable asset any of us has, for pennies.

Can you spot the mistake here?

Pick any 2 lawyers, designers, dentists, accountants, etc, in your town and their fees will usually be within 10-20% of each other.

Whilst these people claim their time is of huge value, they sell it for average fees. They then end up working too many hours for average clients. That’s the OPPOSITE of how to grow a successful business.

How the most successful service providers do it

The most successful service providers work fewer hours, yet they earn far more than the average service provider.


Because they choose to offer an exceptional service, doing amazing work for high value clients. These high value clients pay them accordingly. So, they don’t need to work crazy hours, the way ‘average’ service providers do. These service providers place value their time in the truest sense, which means they use their time to do the best work possible – not average work, for average clients and average fees.

In short: It’s not enough for us to say we value our time. We need to demonstrate the value of our time in the decisions we make.

Tip: This will help. How to get more done in less time and improve your thinking.

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