Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Category: Professional development (page 1 of 84)

Here’s a fun way to attract enquiries and sales leads

fun

If you want to grow your business, your network, your influence and really enjoy the process, you will love this simple, yet effective idea.

It’s simply this: Be helpful, often

Think about this for a moment:

  • The process of sowing and reaping, starts with the sowing part.
  • The process of cause and effect, starts with the cause part.
  • The process of giving and receiving starts with the giving part.

By regularly looking for opportunities to help your clients and your prospective clients, you put a series of processes into play, which improves how people feel about you. As business is all about people, improving the way people feel about you has a measurable, positive impact on your business.

I’ve learned that looking for ways to connect people, share ideas, open opportunities, etc, can become a natural part of your day. It isn’t that time consuming either. Even if you want to help thousands of people every day, you can do it without it eating into too much of your time.

Allow me to explain.

Being helpful scales to infinity

Thanks to the technology at our fingertips, being helpful scales. In fact, it scales beautifully. Using what I call the one-to-many approach, you can help dozens, hundreds or thousands of people every day.

It works like this: You invest one piece of your time, which helps many people.

An wonderful example of this one-to-many approach is blogging. The reason I write for you on Jim’s Marketing Blog and via the email version of the site, is that it allows me to be helpful to many people, using just one block of my time. In the time it would take me to reply to one specific email for marketing help, I can be of service to thousands of people.

The payback?

Firstly, running a business from a mindset of contribution is a lot more fun. I get wonderful emails all day from people who find my work useful. I’m one of the few business people I know, who enjoys getting well over 100 emails a day.

Secondly, it’s an extremely rewarding and effective way to grow your business. That’s because people are attracted to those who help and encourage them. I started my business back in 1995 and have never needed to attend a networking event. I have no need for a Linkedin account either.

That’s because I get client inquiries all day from business owners I’ve helped with the marketing ideas I freely share. These good people know me, without ever meeting me. My work went before me. So, when they decide it’s time to get expert marketing help for their business, they get in touch. It’s that simple.

Striking the right balance

As with all things, balance is required. It’s really important not to confuse being proactively helpful, with being a doormat. If you think you are helping people by doing lots of unpaid work for them, you are not. You are being taken advantage of.

Occasionally, I will get an email from someone who selfishly asks me to work for them, for free, and solve their specific marketing problems. Of course, I don’t do it. Why? Because for me to get all the information required to help them, then plan out what’s wrong and how to fix it, would take hours. I could invest that same time to write 4 or 5 blog posts and help thousands of people, using my one-to-many approach.

People who ask you for freebies are being wholly selfish. They’re showing zero respect for you or the value of your time. Time is not money – time is massively more valuable than money.

Getting it right

The key is for you to leverage your time and knowledge, so that you can help as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time.

When you get the balance right, more and more people in your marketplace will know who you are. Prospective clients will regard you as a source of ideas, answers and inspiration. That’s a valuable reputation for any business owner to have.

In short: If you are not receiving enough right now… give more. Do it often.

Here’s a tactic to turn your challenges into breakthrough results

breakthrough results

If you are a proactive business owner and you want to improve your sales or attract more high quality clients, this post is for you.

Jennifer, not her real name, emailed me yesterday to book a one-to-one “pick my brain” session with me. [If you read my work via email, you won’t know what that service is – read this.]

Jennifer’s business isn’t attracting enough clients and she doesn’t know what to do. Here’s an excerpt from her email:

“In the past I managed to get by thanks to client recommendations but these are unpredictable in both quality and regularity.” She went on, “[…] I’m tired of waiting for an enquiry to come in but I don’t know what to do.”

This is an extremely common challenge for service providers, so I’d like to share a few thoughts with you, which may help.

Acknowledge the urgency of your situation

The first step in resolving a challenge like this, is to acknowledge the urgency of the situation. That’s exactly what Jennifer has done. A challenge like this doesn’t magically vanish. It needs to be addressed and resolved. Doing more of the same won’t work.

Take intelligent action

The next step is to decide to take intelligent action. Knowing your business isn’t growing the way you want it to is very different from knowing you need to do something.

Many business owners put off taking action for months or years, hoping that things will just get better. I get emails daily from business owners worldwide, who are now almost broke. Unlike Jennifer, they waited too long to do something. Jennifer has a good business and booked a marketing session with me, before her challenge became a problem.

The lesson here is clear. Don’t delay. Once you acknowledge your business needs to improve, do something about it.

[Note: Intelligent action means doing exactly what you need to do, to get the results you want — rather than guessing and dabbling.]

What next?

My marketing business is 20 years old and in that time, I have spoken with thousands of business owners. I’ve found that they respond very differently when faced with the kind of challenge Jennifer has.

Sadly, most will wait until they are forced to do something because of the severity of their situation. They react when they have a problem, rather than act when they only have a challenge to deal with. That’s an extremely risky approach.

Others, like Jennifer, are proactive. They take intelligent action before things get critical and learn exactly what they need to do.

If you’re a proactive business owner and you would like a one-to-one marketing session with me, read this. It includes everything you need to know, including the fee.

Steve Jobs and the power of focus

Steve jobs, focus, ideas

How many new projects are you working on right now?

I ask you this, because one of the fastest ways to massively improve your effectiveness, is to give your full focus to as few projects as possible.

Why?

When you are a small business owner or consultant, you have a limited number of resources. By spreading yourself too thinly, across too many ideas or opportunities, you dilute how effective you can be at any one of those projects.

By deliberately choosing to focus on one good business idea at a time, and saying ‘no’ to the hundreds of other ideas demanding your attention, you get to give your full mental resources to the development of that idea. You also eliminate Mind Fog – that fuzzy thinking, which can come from focusing on too many things at one time.

Steve Jobs on focus

Steve Jobs shared his thoughts on the power of focus, at the Apple Worldwide Developers’ Conference in 1997:

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
– Steve Jobs

In short: Go for clarity of focus. Don’t spread your resources too thinly.

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!

Stop marketing to the wrong people. Really. Stop it!

wrong prospect

Today, I’d like to show you how to massively improve your sales results or attract more clients, with a simple and powerful improvement to your marketing.

Your prospective clients

Let’s start by taking a look at your prospective clients. You see, most small business owners think that everyone with a need for their service is a prospective client. That’s a mistake. An expensive mistake too.

Your prospective client is someone who needs what you offer… PLUS… whose world-view is already aligned with the value you provide.

For example

Apple make billions marketing well-designed products to fashion-conscious people who have money to spend. Apple don’t invest a dime marketing to the coupon crowd. Think about that for a moment.

That kind of clarity allows Apple [and every other professionally marketed business] to create massively more effective marketing. It allows them to talk directly to their prospective customers.

Getting focused

It takes too much time and costs too much money, to change a person’s world-view. So, focus your marketing exclusively on those, who already value whatever your service or product represents.

Shun those who don’t “get it”. It looks like this:

  • If you’re a high quality or specialist provider, focus on the quality crowd. The bargain basement crowd will always find you too expensive.
  • If you’re a fitness service provider, focus on those who want to get fit. Those who are out of shape, who have no interest in getting fit, will ignore your marketing.
  • If you’re a designer of high quality websites, focus on people who already have reasonably nice websites. Those who run a business behind an unprofessional piece of crap, won’t pay for a wonderful, professionally designed website.
  • If you’re a marketing provider, focus on those who know they need expert marketing help. Business owners who dabble with their marketing think they can’t afford you… regardless of how much money they have.

Once you get specific about your prospective clients or customers, you can get equally as specific with your marketing. This allows you to market with clarity.

Just imagine how much more successful your marketing becomes, when you’re putting a clear, compelling marketing message, in front of the right people!

In short: Know your prospective client or customer. Market to them. Shun the rest. You will go broke [and possibly a little crazy], trying to convince the wrong people to buy from you.

Here’s a powerful marketing lesson from my newest client

crushed

I’d like to share something with you today, which you really need to know about. It’s that important. If you have noticed a sudden or gradual drop in business, this could well be what’s caused it.

It starts with understanding a basic truth of business: When you begin to find it harder to attract new clients or your sales numbers are down, there’s always a reason. Everything in business happens for a reason. As scientists say, every effect has a cause. The challenge is identifying the cause.

Here’s one major reason why your business may be struggling, along with exactly what you need to do about it.

Where did all our sales and inquiries go?

Remember yesterday, how I mentioned a new client I’ve just started to work with? Well, her competitors will soon see a significant drop in the number of high quality clients they attract.

They will wonder what’s happening; totally unaware that my client has just hired someone with an international reputation for his marketing results. Her competitors are unable to market against me. My client will win. And she will win big. The last client I worked with in her profession saw an increase of over 370% in revenues and a higher increase in profits.

Which is it to be?

Every business owner faces the same decision. I think the answer is blindingly obvious, yet many business owners find it so hard that they completely avoid it.

The decision is:

  1. Do you become the victim that’s losing business daily to better marketed competitors?
  2. Alternatively, do you become the business that thrives, because you invested in marketing that your competitors can’t possibly compete against?

[Note – Failing to answer that question is exactly the same as choosing option 1.]

Choose wisely.

How to know when the moment is right

I was emailed earlier by someone, who told me she was almost ready to launch a new business. She’s just waiting for the right time.

She went on:

“[…] I’ve been waiting to pull the trigger on this project since April 2014 but things have been hectic to say the least. I’m hoping things settle down this year so I can get started.”

The best time to start

The problem with waiting for the perfect moment is that it never comes. Life is a series of challenges. As one challenge passes a new challenge arrives. Even if you were to find a magical moment where everything was just right… one unexpected phone call or some unexpected news would soon change everything.

The decision to wait for a so-called perfect time is nothing more than a stalling tactic. Call it out for what it is.

Then go and do what you have been avoiding!

How to build a successful business that inspires you

level up

Today, I’d like to start by asking you a question.

Are the people around you, challenging you to take your business to the next level?

Think about your co-workers and clients. Are they inspiring you to do better work? Are they motivating you to try harder and move your business forward in a meaningful way?

Uninspired and average

If not, then maybe it’s time to reconsider the kind of people you work with. Co-workers who fail to inspire you are a liability. The same is true of average clients, with their average demands, average projects and average fees.

Surround yourself with people who push you to create your best work. Make no mistake, the impact this can have on your business is enormous. This will help you.

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