Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Category: Email marketing & mail Shots (page 1 of 13)

How to do your best work

Here are a few things worth remembering, if you want a successful business.

  • People don’t give you their email address when they subscribe to your newsletter. They loan it to you.
  • People don’t give you their loyalty when they buy from you. They loan it to you.
  • People don’t give you their trust. They loan it to you.
  • People don’t give you their attention when they follow you on social networks or subscribe to your blog. They loan it to you.
  • People don’t give you their endorsement. They loan it to you.

You do your best work when you accept that you have to earn, then RE-EARN, all those assets.

How to avoid wasting money on advertising

Here’s how to avoid a common advertising mistake, which loses small business owners a fortune.

Who (not how many) are you reaching?

The next time you are thinking of advertising, remember that the numbers come second.

Most small business owners buy advertising, based on the number of people who will read, watch or listen to the advertisement. That’s how to buy ineffective advertising. You see, it’s not about the number of people who will potentially see or hear your ad. It’s about who those people are.

The ad reached 125,000 people for just $475!

I was prompted to write today’s post, after a reader emailed me to say she had recently paid for an advertisement that went into a newsletter, with a readership of 125,000 people. She explained that whilst the readership “wasn’t an ideal fit”, she thought $475 to reach all those people was a bargain.

Her advertisement generated 9 responses and no sales.

Here’s what she got, in return for $475:

  • 7 responses came from pushy advertising salespeople, trying to sell her more ads.
  • 2 responses came from people who were totally unsuitable for the service she was advertising.

Like most small business owners, she was seduced by the number (or reach) of the advertising, rather than who the advertising was reaching.

In short: Before you invest a penny on advertising always, always find out who your ad will reach, before you concern yourself with how many it will reach.

Tip: Here’s some useful information, with examples, on how to get your advertising right.

How to grow your list in 3 steps. Warning: Requires effort!

If you write a newsletter or blog and your “list” is growing too slowly, this post is for you.

Toxic advice online

The Internet is packed with bad advice on how to improve the success of your newsletter or blog. So-called content marketing experts focus on things like; the best time to publish your work, how long your articles or posts should be and what kind of images you should use, how to SEO your work, etc.

These generic tips offer the reader no meaningful value. NOTHING that will resolve the actual problem. The reason no one reads Bob’s blog posts or Barbara’s newsletter, is not because they are published on the wrong day or at the wrong time, are the wrong length or lack the right images or SEO.

No.

The reason no one reads their work, is that it offers nothing new. It’s lacking in value. So, when people find it, they are not motivated to return or share what they have found. That type of blog or newsletter will never build an audience.

The actual solution?

It’s as easy and as hard as this:

  1. Have something worth saying and say it well. (In other words, provide massively valuable information and write it in a way that inspires your readers.)
  2. Put it where people can see it.
  3. Make it easy for them to share.

If you do that, your audience will grow. First, just 5 people will read it, but that’s fine. Why? Because they will love what you had to say, then share it with their friends. Some of their friends will value what you have written and they too will share it. Repeat…

To keep that process rolling and your readership growing, you need to focus on regularly having something to say, which people will value and share. This means learning how to write and having the courage to say it in your own unique voice.

So rich. So strange. So new.

I was prompted to share this with you today, after listening to a recording of the great Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. Before Thomas took to the stage to share his brilliance with a packed, New York audience, he was introduced to the crowd.

The MC then described Thomas’ poetry as: “So rich. So strange. So new”. You can listen to the MC here. (It’s just 10 seconds into the audio.)

And it was. No one wrote like Thomas. He had something worth saying. He shared it with, initially, very small crowds. These small crowds of people then told their friends how amazing his poetry was. The media then discovered Thomas’ work and he became a worldwide success, whose work is celebrated today, 60 years after his passing.

Dylan Thomas didn’t succeed because he only wrote works that were a certain length. He didn’t succeed because he only performed or published on certain days. No. He succeeded because his work was too good NOT to share.

If we want to grow a highly valuable audience for OUR work, we need to strive to do the same. To be too good to ignore.

How to build a extremely valuable list, without a newsletter

If you want to build a huge, extremely valuable list, this post is just for you.

I get emails every day from people, who thank me for my free marketing newsletter. Some of you will find that odd, as I don’t publish a newsletter.

So, why does this happen?

Simple: I give people the option to read this blog, via a free email subscription. As a result, thousands of people get an email with the content of my latest blog post. These emails look and read just like a newsletter.

I suggest you consider doing the same.

Here’s why!

There’s a reason Seth Godin, the world’s most read marketing expert, also uses this approach rather than a newsletter. It’s an extremely powerful way to build a great, super-connected community of readers.

For example:

  • The blog (online) version of your posts get shared on social networks. Yes, this is technically possible with newsletters, but shares of blog posts are far, far more popular. People can then see your work and subscribe to it, knowing exactly what to expect. Newsletters are often little more than thinly disguised sales pitches and people are savvy to this.
  • The blog version of your posts get crawled by search engines.
  • Your blog posts can be found using search engines, when people need the information you provide.
    • These Top Marketing Tips attract traffic from search engines all day. A subset of these readers subscribe to the email version of the blog. It’s a list-builder all by itself, which grows the list all day every day. Again, because it shows people exactly what to expect, a far higher percentage will subscribe, than if I offered a newsletter.

Which is the best route for you?

If your newsletter is mainly special offers and promotions, a dedicated newsletter, marketed via your blog is a better option.

Otherwise, I strongly suggest you consider the benefits of offering a high quality, email edition of your blog posts instead.

  • It costs the same as a newsletter costs to send.
  • It’s a quicker way to build your list, for all the reasons already mentioned.
  • You don’t have to invest time writing a newsletter.

BONUS: It may also motivate you to publish blog posts more often, which will help your reputation, your reach, your authority AND your reader list… to grow!

Are you teaching people to ignore your marketing?

Every piece of marketing material is created from 1 of the following 2 mindsets.

  1. I wrote this, so now I need you to read it.
  2. There’s something you need to know, so I wrote it.

The first approach is selfish. It’s focused on the needs of the writer, not the reader. It’s noise, not value. People ignore these selfish messages.

The second approach is contribution focused. It’s about giving value to the reader. This unselfish approach is so rare that when people see it, it captures their attention and grabs their interest.

Whether you know it or not, every message you send fits into one of those 2 categories. You are either training people to filter you OUT or tune you IN.

Choose wisely.

How to create attractive, memorable marketing

When you market your business just like your competitors, you fade into the background. You lack impact. You become predictable and easy to forget.

For example:

  • Over the years, I must have had thousands of pushy strangers hand me their business card. How many of them can I remember? None of them.
  • Every day I receive impersonal marketing emails from people. How many can I remember? None of them.

That’s because superficial interactions wash over us. They leave no lasting imprint.

The human touch

What we do remember, are the people who sincerely reach out to us with something meaningful to share. We remember the people who recommend us to their contacts and friends. We remember the handwritten notes. We remember the people who respond, when we need feedback or support.

Business is all about people. If you want people to remember you, do something useful and memorable. Something that touches them. Something that requires thoughtfulness.

Hint: You can’t do this with copycat marketing or by automating your business relationships.

Recommended reading – How to make your business more human and far more successful too.

The secret to marketing that spreads AND sells!

arketing spreads, marketing sells

I have a very effective marketing idea to share with you today. You’re going to love this!

I’m going to show you how to create marketing, which people will value and that’s powerful enough to inspire them to hire you or buy from you. It’s based on the work I do with my clients and includes a brief case study, which you can learn from.

So, let’s get started.

Receiving or paying attention?

It starts with understanding that there’s a huge difference between someone receiving your message and someone paying attention to it.

For example, TV viewers are sent targeted marketing messages (commercials) during TV shows. What do most of us do? We fast forward through them or if watching the show in real-time, we go and make a coffee. Just because they send their messages, doesn’t mean we are paying attention.

For your marketing to work, you need to get a great message in front of the right people. In order to get this correct, here’s the key question we need to ask ourselves:

If I stopped my email marketing campaign or I stopped publishing my blog posts, newsletter etc, would people really MISS them?

As a quick look at the marketing you receive every day confirms, for most people the honest answer to that question is NO! We get bombarded with dull, uninspiring sales messages all day and see them as an intrusion, rather than something of value.

Of course, for that tiny minority of small businesses who DO produce marketing, which people genuinely value and would miss if it were to stop, the sky is the limit.

I’m going to share the process required to make this work for your business later in this post.

First, we need to understand why there’s so much dull and ineffective marketing out there.

Dull is cheap. Dull is fast. Dull is simple!

It’s cheap, fast and simple to create dull marketing and get it in front of a lot of people. As a result, there’s no barrier to entry today.

Things were very different a decade ago. Back then, if a small business owner wanted to send a mail shot to 50,000 people, she’d have to spend some serious money.

  • She’d have to cover the cost of the mailing list.
  • Then she would need to pay for all that paper and the printing.
  • Next she would need to pay a company to get the letters folded and inserted into the 50,000 envelopes.
  • Then there’s the huge postage costs for those 50,000 pieces of mail.

All in all, it would cost many thousands. She would need to think long and hard about the value of what she put into those envelopes. Get it wrong and she would pay a hefty price!

Today, everything has changed

That same business owner in 2013 can hit 50,000 people using cheap email software and her laptop. It costs pennies. If it fails, maybe tomorrows will work. It’s never been cheaper or easier to push dull, uninspired, poorly thought out, uncreative marketing out the door. So, that’s exactly what a lot of people are doing. This is why there’s so much junk in your email inbox and on your social networking accounts.

Here’s what you need to do to get it right!

There is an alternative approach I want to share with you, so people welcome your marketing, share it and hire you or buy from you. It requires that you take the exact opposite approach, to 99% of the marketing you see out there. 

It’s about shifting the focus of your marketing, so that it’s primarily of benefit to the people who receive it and secondarily of benefit to you. It’s about producing content (audio, video, blog posts, newsletters, mail shots, flyers, social networking updates etc), which provide independent value to those who receive it. This means they get genuinely valuable or useful information from it, independent of them needing to spend a penny with you.

An example of how this works, based on one of my clients

Imagine you are a dog owner and after a trip to the vet, you subscribe to their dog owner’s newsletter. It gives you tips and ideas, to help you keep your dog healthy, fit and happy. At the bottom of each email are their contact details, so you can call them when you need a vet. You find this free information so useful, that you send it to 10 of your dog-owning friends.

They subscribe and then do the same… then these new subscribers share it too, and on and on it goes. The amazingly valuable, highly-targeted readership grows and grows.

Soon, that vet (a former client of mine) was talking to thousands of local dog owners and positioned themselves in their marketplace, as THE place to take your dog for all its veterinary needs. Their newsletter was eagerly anticipated by it’s readers… yes, people wanted to hear from them and valued what they had to share.

Compare that vet’s approach to the typical marketing messages we see.

  • That vet doesn’t need to run expensive radio ads.
  • They have no need to buy mailing lists.
  • They don’t need to waste valuable hours at networking events.
  • They certainly don’t need to pester people on social networks or ask strangers for recommendations on Linkedin.
  • They don’t need to invest in anything, other than the creativity required to produce a genuinely valuable newsletter, with useful content.

That example shows how a business can grow a massively valuable marketing asset, by sharing real value — rather than pushing unwanted messages. If you can see the potential of generating this kind of value driven marketing, it can improve your business beyond recognition.

I strongly suggest you make this a priority for your business. If you’d like expert assistance on exactly what to do, I’m happy to help.

Newsletters: A more human approach

In 2011, I shared an idea with my readers, to help them massively improve the success of their newsletters. In the years that have passed, a number of courageous readers have adopted this approach, with great success. Today, I want to share this valuable idea with you.

When is a newsletter not a newsletter?

When you share your news with your friends via an email, your email looks like a regular email. It contains no glossy images, no “buy now” offers. It’s just an email, from you, to them.

When businesses decide to offer newsletters, they tend to do the opposite. There’s usually little if any actual NEWS and the whole thing looks and reads like a poorly disguised advertisement.

So, this got me thinking:

  • What if you treated the people who read your current newsletter, as if they were already friends?
  • What if you sent them actual news and asked how they are?
  • What if you sent it, not on some lame automated schedule, but only when you had something of value or interest to share?
  • What if some of them contained no special offers or sales pitches?
  • What if some were just offering to help?

Business is all about people

Is it possible that this approach would help you develop a deeper, richer relationship with your readers?

Is it probable that it would sound more honest and trustworthy than the usual; “we call it a newsletter but there’s no actual news, I just want to sell you stuff,” approach?

Because if it is, it could massively improve how they felt about you and your business.

Why does this matter?

It matters because business is all about people. People do business with people they like. People recommend people they like.

There’s real potential here, for those with the courage to make their newsletters more human.

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