Exciting times

Business development, marketing tips, biz dev

These are wonderful, exciting times.

It has never been easier to build a great business. You have opportunities that previous generations could not have imagined.

Think about it:

  • With a laptop and an internet connection, you can tap into an unlimited marketplace.
  • Your website can be a 24/7 lead generating machine. Not just that, a lead generating machine that sends you highly targeted prospective clients.
  • You can create digital products and sell them while you sleep. I do this here.
  • You can get a message in front of your prospective clients in seconds.
  • Your current clients can use social networks to spread the word about you. And none of that costs you, or them, a penny.

So long as you do the right things correctly, it’s relatively easy to grow an amazingly successful business.

The opportunities are all around you. Like delicious, ripe fruit just waiting to be harvested.

The question is, what are you going to do with all this potential… what’s your plan?

Why marketing blogs remove the dates from their posts

content marketing, blogging, newsletters, articles

A lot of popular marketing blogs now hide the dates of their posts from their readers. A number of you have emailed me to ask why this happens and why Jim’s Marketing Blog doesn’t remove the post dates.

Firstly, here’s why so many marketing blogs have removed the dates: It’s a proven way to increase the number of times an old post is reshared on social networks and linked to.

It works like this:

  • One of your friends shares a post on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • You see their update and click the link. It then takes you to the blog post.
  • With no date to guide you, you assume this newly shared post is current.
  • You then share it, thinking the information you’re sharing is up to date.
  • And in doing so, you’ve just shared inaccurate, potentially damaging information with your friends.
  • The blogger gets the extra traffic and social links.

As you can see, it’s all about the blogger. It’s 100% selfish. More importantly, it’s extremely reckless.

Why marketing blogs need dates on their posts

Marketing blogs offer information, which hard working people use in order to build their businesses. If a business owner makes decisions based on inaccurate marketing advice, it can seriously damage their business.

For example:

Imagine you have found a marketing blog post, on a blog that hides the dates from its readers. Unknown to you, you’re reading a post on how to get organic traffic from Facebook Pages, which was written in 2010. Back then, Facebook Pages were a great driver of organic traffic. Today, Facebook Pages are a terrible source of organic traffic. That post is not only out of date, it’s highly toxic. If you follow it you will waste your time and your money.

Marketing is not an evergreen subject

If you write on an evergreen subject, like baking, the date of a post is less important. A dessert you make from a recipe that’s 5 years old, will taste just as delicious today.

But marketing is not an evergreen subject. The tools change, as with that Facebook Pages example. And things change regularly too. Just last month, Apple decided to allow the blocking of ads on iPhones and iPads — changing the face of online advertising in the process.

By deliberately hiding the date of a marketing blog post from his or her readers, the blogger intentionally removes a vitally important element. They remove the data the reader needs, to know whether the advice is current or not. And they do this, just to get some extra traffic and social network links.

Here’s the thing about THIS marketing blog: I don’t like the idea of trying to fool people. I want you to know if you’re reading something I wrote in 2008 or something I wrote this week. That helps you evaluate the information more accurately.

And that means more to me than an increase in traffic.

PS: Here’s my approach to blogging and business. [And how it can work for you].

Blogging: Here’s why your readers are already your clients

blogging, content marketing, blog tips, marketing

Thank you for being a client. Yes you!

Think about it: A client is someone you provide a service to. I regularly provide you with ideas to help you grow your business. And you pay me. You pay me with your attention. [That’s why they call it paying attention.]

So, I’m the service provider and you’re the client.

More importantly

How might your attitude to writing your newsletter or blog improve, if you saw every reader as a client? [Remembering that a subset of your reader-clients will become fee paying clients].

And how might that client-focused approach improve your results? Well, the only way to find out for certain… is to do it.

Recommended reading: 25 Reasons to write a business blog.

Totally unoriginal. Wholly unremarkable

Professional development, business, improvement, marketing tips

You can optimize anything. If you want to.

  • You can automate your blog posts, newsletters, tweets and Facebook updates, so they are published at the optimal time.
  • You can use the optimal number of words or characters too, if you’re really keen.
  • You can use calculated keyword loading, to optimize your website content for SEO.
  • You can use clickbait titles for your blog posts and social network updates, to optimize traffic.
  • You can smash visitors to your website in the face with a pop-up box, to optimize sign-ups.

And in doing so, you’ll be like every other clone working the same tricks. You’ll be sheepwalking into anonymity. Totally unoriginal. Wholly unremarkable.

There’s an alternative approach, which some of us find extremely effective.

Rather than optimize everything, we turn up regularly and try to be useful.

The thing about turning up regularly and being useful

The idea is too simple for the content marketing gurus to sell a course on it. It requires way too much long-term thinking, for the growth hacker crowd to embrace it. And it takes a lot more courage, than many business owners feel comfortable with.

Yet somehow it works. And it works beautifully.

How to sell your services to huge companies

Professional development, marketing tips, business

Have you ever considered selling your services to huge corporations? If you haven’t, then maybe it’s time that you did. I’m going to show you how to remove the main barrier, and make it far easier for you to land extremely valuable clients.

Once you understand what I am about to share with you, you may find it easier to gain a $100,000 client than a $1000 client.

Allow me to explain.

It’s amazing what big companies spend money on

I was prompted to write this, after receiving an email from a friend. He’s a head of department for a massive corporation. Last week, he sat through what he called a “cringe-worthy” motivational talk from a former, professional sports person.

Apparently, the speaker:

  • Had no business background.
  • Had no idea about the challenges they face.
  • Didn’t understand their industry.
  • Didn’t offer a single idea for how they can improve things.
  • He “shared a few funny stories, dropped a few famous names and finished with a predictable, self-improvement pitch”.

My friend wanted to know, why do such people get hired as speakers by huge corporations?

Here’s why that guy was hired

The reason people like that get hired to speak is simple. More importantly, it also explains what motivates massive corporations to spend money on any kind of product or service.

That speaker may have been a waste of company money, but he was a very safe bet. An easy hire, with no risk attached.

Hang on Jim, if the guy is a waste of money, how can hiring him possibly be a very safe bet?

That’s a great question! :)

Here’s how it works:

  • The decision maker [who hired the guy] isn’t spending his or her own money. The money comes from a budget, which they need to spend.
  • The decision maker’s priority is to spend their budget every year, without screwing up. So they “invest” in what they hope will be the safest, least risky option.
  • The risk with a speaker like this is close to zero. That’s because it’s hard to measure the impact of a talk in any meaningful way.
  • Bonus: The decision maker can’t be blamed even if the speaker is demonstrably terrible. After all, they did hire a famous person!
  • So, decision makers eagerly grab any opportunity to spend lots of money on these low value, but 100% risk free, speakers.

The lesson here?

I think there are a couple of lessons.

1. Corporations should reward courage

Corporations need to stop rewarding decision makers, for making lousy, but safe, decisions. Instead, they need to reward courage. They need to reward decision makers for advancing the company with smart investments.

Until then, former sports people [and social media “gurus”] can fill their boots with very easy money. At least until their impact is measured and they are no longer a safe bet for decision makers.

2. It’s easy [really easy] to sell into huge corporations

Here’s what you need to know.

If you’re selling into a billion dollar corporation, remember that the decision maker is frightened. They will only buy from you if you can convince them that you’re a very, very safe bet. If they see you as a close to zero risk, they will pay you thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands. And if you’re better than average, they’ll pay you regularly too.

Of course, in order to sound as safe as possible, you need some supporting evidence. Former sports people have their fame. Social media gurus have their huge follower numbers, [most of which are the result of following hundreds of thousands of strangers, using software].

If you’re neither famous or a social media sleaze bag, you will need to work on building your brand, like the rest of us.

If the decision maker hasn’t heard of you, you’ll sound risky. So get your name out there for all the right reasons. Highlight notable media mentions, accomplishments and anything else, which will reduce or eliminate the decision maker’s fear.

Then remember the following, before you market your services:

  • You’re never selling to a billion dollar corporation.
  • You’re always selling to an individual, whose priority is not to make a mistake.

Lasting success for your business

I have been in business for over 20 years and have worked with some of the largest corporations in the world. I’ve learned that lasting success comes from being a safe bet… AND from being someone who provides measurable value and takes the lead on ethics.

Get the balance right and you’ll build yourself a world-class reputation. You’ll also find yourself able to attract the most valuable clients, again and again.

Are short blog posts a good idea?

blogging, content marketing, blog tips, marketing

Olivia noticed that my previous blog post is just 54 words long. She said she really enjoyed it, but wanted to know if it’s a good idea to write such short posts.

Here’s my answer. I hope you find it useful.

54 word posts are a bad idea

If you write for SEO, 54 word posts are a bad idea.

If you want to defend every point you make, to try and appease the critics, 54 word posts are a bad idea.

If you are too lazy to condense your thoughts, so they don’t waste the reader’s time, 54 word posts are a bad idea.

54 word posts are perfectly fine

If you write for humans rather than search engines, then 54 word posts are perfectly fine.

If you are brave enough to write what you think, then 54 word posts are perfectly fine.

If you are prepared to embrace brevity and eliminate the fluff from your message, then 54 word posts are perfectly fine.


If you want to connect with people, then write for people. If you want to connect with Google, then write for Google.

If you think you’re doing both, you’re doing neither particularly well.

Be the author. Not the envelope

pro dev pngs

It’s hard to attract people’s attention, when you have nothing new to say. But that doesn’t stop business owners from trying.

Social networks are flooded with famous quotes, posted by people who have nothing to say for themselves. They lack either the creativity, the guts [or both], to tell us what they think. And in doing so, they rob themselves of their voice.

They are simply a carrier. A delivery mechanism. Much like an envelope.

What happens when you receive a letter? You throw the envelope in the waste paper basket. The message matters. The author matters. But the envelope has no lasting value. Even so, the massive majority of business owners choose to be the envelope.

Sharing a famous quote is simple. Think about it: whether a letter inspires you or pisses you off, you never blame the envelope. You blame the author of the message. The author is responsible.

So we each have a choice to make

We can be a voice or we can be an echo. We can be the author or we can be the envelope. We can be noticed or we can be invisible.

That’s not much of a choice. And if we want to be noticed, there’s no choice at all.

Important: If fear of criticism is holding you back, here’s how to overcome it!

Are you a marketing dinosaur?

Professional development, marketing tips, business

How well do you understand digital marketing and is it providing you with regular, high quality clients or sales?

I was thinking about this recently, when a friend drove me into Lincoln for lunch. We’re around the same age [I’m 50 in a few weeks]. I noticed his car radio was on a station, which plays tunes from the 1980’s and 1990’s. He explained that he only listens to oldies. If you ask people over the age of 45 what they tend to listen to, you’re likely to be told something similar.

It’s as if some people reach a certain age and then close their mind to new musical influences.

Worryingly, I find that many business owners have a similar attitude when it comes to digital marketing.

And it’s losing them a fortune.

Digital dinosaurs

I call these business owners digital dinosaurs. That’s because they are slowly becoming extinct.

  • They know what social networks are, but have no idea how to use them as marketing tools. So, they spray them with links and wonder why nothing happens.
  • They’ve heard it’s vitally important for their business to have a story worth sharing. But they market their services the same way businesses did a decade ago. They end up selling based on price, working for average clients and average fees. IMPORTANT: Here’s why your business must have a story.
  • They know they need a website, but their site looks like a 1990’s brochure — when it should be a lead-generating machine for their business.
  • They think networking is about meeting a room full of struggling business owners over breakfast. They’re unaware that the internet is a huge connection machine. They can now network with massively more valuable contacts, without leaving their desk.

By failing to understand how digital marketing can work for your business, you give a huge advantage to your better informed competitors. They will be faster than you, have lower marketing costs than you and reach massively more people than you.

That’s unsustainable.

How to grow your business in a uniquely valuable way

marketing tips, visibility, attraction

You are the biggest asset your business has. Those are not just kind words. They are based on fact.

Allow me to explain.

The Internet has presented business owners with a series of benefits and challenges. One challenge, is that it is now extremely easy for competitors to discover and copy one another’s best ideas. It’s little wonder then, that providers in just about every industry now offer an almost identical range of services.

Today, I’m going to show you how to overcome this challenge and build a massively valuable marketing asset for your business.

How to stand out in a meaningful way

Some things are easy to copy. For example, if a local restaurant starts opening an hour earlier and then attracts an extra hour’s worth of profitable trade, it’s simple for competing restaurants to do the same.

However, some things in business are extremely difficult to copy because they’re based on unique, human experiences. A wonderful example of this is the use of a newsletter or blog, to showcase your expertise and knowledge.

Here’s why it works

You are unique. You have a unique collection of life experiences, which your unique mind processes in a unique way. When you write (and speak) your communication style is unique too.

This uniqueness allows you to stand out from the pack and connect with your future clients!

Here’s an example of what I mean. Both Seth Godin and I write about marketing, yet we write very differently:

  • Seth grew up in a very wealthy family and was educated at Stanford — along with the CEO’s of many of the world’s leading companies.
  • I grew up in extreme poverty, the son of penniless immigrants.

It would be extremely difficult for either one of us to write like the other. For instance, when Seth thinks about being broke, he (thank God), won’t recall his mother begging for food to feed her children, the way I do.

So, when Seth and I write about business owners experiencing hard times, we will see the hard part extremely differently. This is reflected in what we write and how we write.

Your unique voice

Your life experiences will cause you to write very differently from your competitors. The only caveat here, is that you need to allow your personality to shine through your writing. If you try and sound like someone else, you lose your unique voice — the very originality that will allow you to stand out.

Now, compare that to the generic approach most business owners take with their newsletters and blog posts. Instead of delivering useful, valuable information from their own unique perspective, they churn out a series of thinly-disguised sales pitches. They then wonder why it isn’t working.

Allow your unique voice to communicate value. These brief tips may help:

  • Learn about the challenges facing your marketplace. A great way to do this is to connect with them on social networks and listen. [Compare this approach, to the typical service provider who uses social networks to broadcast.]
  • Provide answers to the most pressing challenges facing your marketplace. This positions you in the mind of your prospective clients, as a source of expert help and advice.
  • Share case-studies of how you have helped people, who had similar challenges to your prospective clients.
  • Turn up regularly! Treat your newsletter or blog as a high priority business activity. If you think it’s hard to write regularly, remember that writing is a lot like speaking — and you speak every day.

The unique connection these prospective clients form with you, is a massively valuable marketing asset.

Think of it like this: Who are they going to hire?

  • Some stranger they find on Google.
  • … or you, someone they feel a connection with and whose expertise and knowledge they already know about.

Yes. You win!

PS: This will help you — How to get more clients from your newsletter or blog.

Marketing tip: Never sell to a stranger again

marketing tips, arketing ideas, marketing advice

Smart people speak, because they have something to say.

Dull people speak, because they have to say something.

And the difference between those approaches is huge!

The same is true in business

When smart business owners connect with their marketplace, they have something interesting to share. When the average business owner connects with their marketplace, it’s usually a selfish sales message or special offer.

Most small business owners connect with their marketplace when they need something. They need more clients, customers or sales… so they interrupt strangers with a sales pitch. They have nothing of interest to say.

Yes, the business owner is interested in gaining clients, customers or sales, but that’s only of interest to the business owner. The marketplace just sees another needy sales message from a stranger… and ignores it.

A far better approach to marketing

The most successful small business owners do things very differently. They remain in contact with their marketplace, on an ongoing basis. They use blog posts, newsletters and social networks to share valuable ideas and information. This keeps the smart business owner front of mind. But it does more than that. It causes their marketplace to think of them as a useful asset to their business.

So, when the smart business owner DOES have a marketing message to share, it’s received with enthusiasm. It’s received by people who, before they even read it, already know and value the source of the message.

And it massively improves their results.

More importantly, it can do the same for you and your business.

Read this, it will help: How to make your content marketing more compelling.