How to turn strangers into customers

marketing tips, marketing ideas, sales

Here’s an opportunity for you to gain a significant advantage over many, perhaps most, of your competitors. It’s about something I call attraction marketing.

I was prompted to write this after a business owner contacted me on Twitter. Within 5 minutes, he’d sent me several Direct Messages and then an email… each one asking me if I wanted to know about a business proposition.

The guy is a total stranger to me. All I know about him, is that he’s the kind of person who sends business proposals to strangers.

  • He could be a decent and honest man.
  • His business proposal could be genuinely valuable.
  • He may be scratching his head right now, wondering why no one is interested in his amazing idea.

The thing is, pestering people is extremely ineffective. It’s far more likely to damage his reputation, than it is to make anyone check out his business proposal.

More common than you may think

Whilst you may consider that guy’s approach to be a little extreme, many small business owners make the same kind of mistake with their marketing.

Here are a few common examples:

  • They pester us on social networks.
  • They fake interest in us at networking events, then hit us with a sales pitch.
  • They buy lists and send us spam marketing messages.
  • They add us to their newsletter list, without our consent.
  • They cold call us at work, when we’re busy.
  • They cold call us at home in the evenings, when we’re relaxing with family or friends.

Here’s the thing: Our prospective clients are programmed to ignore selfish requests, from people they don’t know. They actively avoid pests. Because of this, pests tend to get extremely poor results, which causes them to pester even more people, even harder.

If we, as legitimate business owners, adopt any of the pestering tactics used by those guys, we too will encounter the same resistance.

Thankfully, there’s zero need for you or me to pester anyone with our marketing.

Thankfully, we have a way to send people information they have asked us for, which is also commercially beneficial to us.

Thankfully, it’s not that difficult to do!

Smart entrepreneurs get it

The smartest entrepreneurs take a non pestering approach. It looks like this:

  • They focus on building relationships with people.
  • They strive to be useful.
  • They are all about bringing value.
  • They look for opportunities to earn [and re-earn] trust.

Once there’s a relationship in place and trust has been established, their messages will be welcomed. Their proposals will be taken seriously.

The marketing power of business blogging and newsletters

Business blogging is the most powerful tool I have ever known for small business owners. Newsletters come a very close second. Both are extremely powerful marketing tools. Each provide us with almost unlimited potential to reach targeted prospective clients or customers. They also allow us to earn the trust of our marketplace, as a recognised expert in our field. No pestering required!

Though you will need a strategy to make this work, the 130 feet view looks a little like this:

  • Produce useful information that’s targeted to the wants and needs of your ideal profile of client or customer.
  • Make sure there’s a short marketing message, like the one at the foot of this post, so interested people can get in touch with you when they need help.
  • Make your post or newsletter interesting and easy to read.
  • Do this regularly.
  • Soon, your first 5 readers will subscribe.
  • They will each get you 5 more.
  • This repeats over time.

Do it correctly and hundreds, thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people, will eagerly want to hear what you have to say.

By showing up regularly you have demonstrated your knowledge and eagerness to help. You have also demonstrated your reliability. These combine to help you earn the trust of your readers.

Here’s why this is so valuable to you and your business: Your readers are just like you. They hire [and buy from] people they know, value and trust.

Note: Read this. It will help: 25 Reasons to Write a Business Blog

Attraction marketing

Regardless of the marketing tools a small business owner chooses to use, one thing remains the same. Pestering people for what you want is extremely ineffective. When people push their message at us, we push back. We block or mute their social networking accounts. We delete their emails unread, as soon as we see the sender’s name. We hang up the phone, as soon as we hear them start their pitch. We avoid them at networking events.

So, focus on attracting clients or customers, rather than pestering or pursuing them. Build a reputation, a big reputation, for your expertise and the contribution you make to your marketplace.

Oh, and make it easy for prospective clients or customers to contact you… because after you create an attraction marketing strategy, that’s exactly what they will do.

5 Great ways to make time work for you

timing, time management

In today’s post, I’m sharing 5 ideas with you that are all based on the same important theme… time. Here they are, in no particular order.

  1. Consistently showing up on time, is a great way to build a reputation for reliability. The marketplace values people who can be relied upon to turn up. It’s also one of the hallmarks of a true professional.
  2. Sending your mailing or newsletter out at the right time, is essential if you want to maximise its effectiveness. Despite what some people claim, there is no set time, which is correct for every business or every industry. You need to test different times and measure the feedback. In a relatively short time, you’ll know exactly when to publish.
  3. Learning how to get the most from your work time, is the key to exceptional productivity. Much has been written on time management. The key thing is to learn how to do first things first. Rather than respond to the day and the whims of others, set your day out, in order, and make that your framework. It also pays to regularly ask yourself; “Is this the best use of my time, right now?” If the answer is No, go and do whatever you should be doing.
  4. Showing respect for other people’s time, is an important professional development skill. Here’s why: People are busy. As a result, they’re instantly turned off those, who waste their time.
  5. Finishing projects on time, is so rare that it sets you head and shoulders above the competition. In this post, I explain how you can also build trust using this simple idea.

I hope you found these useful. If you did, invest some time putting at least one of these points into action.

How to avoid wasting money on advertising

advertising

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

I’d like to start by asking you to consider the following question.

Who [not how many] are you reaching?

When it comes to advertising, relevance is more important than numbers.

Most small business owners buy advertising, based on the number of people who will read, watch or listen to the advertisement. It’s understandable, because that’s how ads are usually pitched to them. Those selling the ads know that when they approach a small business owner, who desperately needs to generate sales or enquiries, the BIG numbers sound very attractive.

What you need to know, in order to protect yourself from buying ineffective ads, is this:

It’s not about the number of people who will potentially see or hear your ad. It’s about who those people are.

Here’s an example of why the numbers are only a small part of the advertising equation. It’s from a reader who asked me to share her experience with you.

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

I was prompted to write today’s post, after Kelly 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 a great 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. This is common. Advertisers look for business owners who are buying ineffective ads. They know these are the easiest people to sell ads to.
  • 2 responses came from people who were totally unsuitable for the service she was advertising.

Like most small business owners, Kelly was seduced by the number (or reach) of the advertising, rather than who the advertising was reaching. Please don’t let that happen to you.

The sweet spot you’re aiming for is a well written ad, which reaches a targeted, large audience.

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

Successful marketing leaves clues

success leaves clues

When it comes to marketing, success leaves clues. By following these clues and learning from them, it’s possible to significantly improve your marketing.

For example, spend a few minutes thinking about the following:

  • The last marketing email, which you were motivated to open because it had a powerful subject line.
  • The last marketing email you read, which persuaded you to take action. [To ask for information, pick up the phone, make a purchase, etc.]
  • The last blog post you read, which you were motivated to bookmark, save or share.
  • The last advertisement you saw or heard, which led to you making a purchase.
  • The last service you experienced, which impressed you so much that you wanted to tell your friends about it. Read this. It will help.
  • The last newsletter you received, which you forwarded to your friends.

Turning clues into results

Each of those examples contains a clue. To uncover the clue, you need to answer this question:

What can I learn from this example of marketing success, which I can adapt and apply to my own marketing?

By studying marketing success, it’s possible to make better marketing decisions. The good news here is that there are examples of successful marketing all around you.

Bonus: You can also learn a great deal by studying terrible marketing and uncovering why it was so ineffective. Knowing what to avoid is enormously valuable, too.

Email marketing: How to massively improve your results

email marketing

Email marketing is extremely effective. So why do almost all small businesses get such uninspiring results from it?

That’s what this post is all about!

Email marketing: Free and easy?

The cost of marketing has changed massively over the years.

For small business owners, the cost of sending a marketing letter [direct mail] to just 1000 prospective customers was considerable. There was the price of the stamp, the printing, the ink and the paper. Then, you paid someone to fold all the letters and stuff them into the envelopes.

Today, sending a marketing email to 1000 prospects [or 100,000 prospects] takes seconds. There’s no paper, no ink, no envelopes, no envelope stuffing and no stamps.

The cost of email marketing is close to zero. Except… it isn’t. You now risk paying a different, far higher price!

Allow me to explain.

Different prices and different thinking

In 1995, my London-based marketing business was paying around £1000 to reach 1000 prospective customers via traditional mail. I used high quality stationery and printing, but that was still quite an investment.

Before spending that kind of money, small business owners used to think long and hard.

  • They made sure they were contacting people with a potential need for their offering.
  • They checked that the contact name and address were correct.
  • They used to work hard to optimize their copy or content. It needed to be just right.
  • They removed prospective customers from their list, if they failed to get a response after a set number of interactions. [Unlike now, where the person receiving spam email has to ask to be removed!]

Now think for a moment about the poorly targeted emails that flood your inbox.

It’s clear that way less thought goes into them. The vast majority are junk and totally irrelevant to you or your needs. You regard those who send these unwanted emails as pests.

And this is where the cost comes in for email marketers in 2015!

Reputation points: The price you pay for average email marketing

Every time you send a poorly conceived email marketing message to someone, you pay a price.

However, unlike before, the cost to you isn’t directly monetary. You pay with something even more valuable. You pay with your reputation. You pay using the currency of reputation points.

For example, when you decide to add someone’s name to your list without their consent, you lose reputation points. When you email people too often, you lose reputation points. When your message is pushy or needy, you lose reputation points. When your offer is irrelevant to the recipient, you lose reputation points.

Business owners who service a regional marketplace can soon find their name and reputation seriously damaged. They can only alienate their marketplace so many times, before people get sick of them.

The solution

It starts by accepting that email marketing isn’t free or easy. There is a hefty price to pay for a casual approach — both in reputation damage and lost opportunities.

So, get permission to email prospective customers. Then send them targeted, expertly written, relevant information. Do this only as frequently as they need it to be.

It works. Here’s how I helped Irene make over $32,000 in 9 days, with email marketing.

How to get your marketing noticed

Get noticed

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.

4 Inspiring reasons to write regularly

Pro development topics r

There are many compelling business reasons to write regularly. For example, blogging can be massively valuable as a marketing tool. The same is true of newsletter writing.

Here are 4 less obvious benefits to writing regularly, which seldom get mentioned. In many ways, these are just as valuable.

  1. Writing makes you a better observer. As a result, you notice more of the world around you. You experience more from life.
  2. Writing helps you think with greater clarity. The process of getting ideas out of your head and onto the page, is a wonderful antidote for foggy thinking.
  3. Writing is a powerful development tool. To write effectively on any subject, you need to know about that subject. Even better, to write about a subject regularly, you need to constantly learn more.
  4. Writing is an act of contribution. When you share your ideas or stories with others, you invest in them. You also connect with them. How might that help your business? Think about that for a moment.

PS: Here are 25 reasons to write a business blog.

Does email marketing work? Part II

email work

If you want to massively increase the success of your email marketing, [better open rates AND higher conversion rates], these 2 quick tips will really help you.

By the way, this is part 2 of a 2 post series. You will find the link to part 1 at the end of this post.

1. Increase your email open rate

Look at the recent emails you’ve opened, which were from people or companies you didn’t know.

I’m asking you specifically to focus on emails from those you don’t know, because these are the emails that you’re least likely to open.

Now, ask yourself why? What was it that motivated you to open that email, rather than delete it. After all, it was from a stranger.

  • Maybe it contained some compelling words in the subject line.
  • Perhaps the timing was right.
  • It could be that the subject line made you curious… curious enough to open the email.

Once you’ve had a think about what inspired you to open those emails, look for ways you can adapt that strategy, to increase your email marketing open rate.

2. Increase your email conversions

It’s great to have more prospective customers or clients opening your emails, but it’s if no value to you unless they take some kind of action.

This time, I want you to look at the last 20 emails you received, [regardless of who they were from], which motivated you to take positive action. By action I am referring to things like:

  • Making a purchase.
  • Clicking a link.
  • Replying to the email.
  • Calling the sender.
  • Subscribing to something.
  • Following the sender on a social network… any positive action whatsoever.

Now, look for ways to adapt the approach they used, into your own email marketing.

That simple 2 step process is a useful way to quickly discover valuable tactics, which can be incorporated into a wider, super-effective email marketing campaign.

But that’s not all…

Important

Here’s something you really should read. It’s how I helped Irene make over $32,000 in 9 days, with email marketing.

How to get people to respond to your marketing, in just 2 steps!

marketing tips, marketing ideas, sales

Are you tired of prospective clients or customers, who don’t get back to you when they say they will? If you are, then the following short post is just for you.

The biggest lie in business

When that person said they didn’t have the time to meet you, return your call or consider your offer… they were lying.

They had the time! They had time to do all the urgent or important things. They also had time to do the things that interested them or captured their attention. What they lacked wasn’t time.

What they really lacked was the motivation to do whatever you requested. It wasn’t important enough to them. It wasn’t a priority. So, it didn’t get done.

2 Steps to get people to take action

To get your prospective clients and customers to take action, you need to do the following:

  1. Make your offer as attractive as possible. Look at what you’re asking people to do and make it more captivating. More interesting. More motivating. More curious.
  2. Give them a deadline. Deadlines focus the mind. This is why so many kids do their assignment the night before it’s due.

Nothing inspires people to take action more than a highly compelling offer with a deadline. Get those 2 steps right and you’ll find the marketplace will always have time for you.

Stop using buzzwords in your marketing. Really. Stop it.

Content Marketing, copywriting, coppy, writing

There is no shortage of buzzwords or people who feel the need to use them.

Intersection.

Ruckus.

Disrupt.

Paradigm.

… these buzzwords and many others, are used by people in an effort to appear informed, fashionable or relevant. Interestingly, buzzwords do neither of these. In fact, they have the exact opposite effect when people read them or hear them.

Here’s how buzzwords work against you:

  • They make informed people cringe. Not a great idea, if you want your peers to take you seriously.
  • They confuse the uninformed. A bad choice, if you want people to understand your message.

In either case, buzzwords work against you. When it comes to marketing, write your copy in a way that your ideal client will find easy to understand.

Always aim for clarity.

Why?

Because clarity sells!

PS: Here’s how to develop effective, clear, compelling marketing.