Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Category: Social media marketing (page 1 of 39)

Photos: What everyone needs to know about ageing online

Tammy was shocked when she emailed me today.

She explained that she had been following a business expert on Twitter for years. Then today, he suddenly aged by around 15 years!

15 years older in just 24 hours

Of course, the guy is just a day older today, than he was yesterday. The thing is, he’d been using the same photo on his online profiles for the past decade and, apparently, it was a few years old when he started using it. Yesterday, he decided to update his profile photo and like all of us, he looks very different than he did back in the late 1990′s.

He has told his Twitter followers he needed to change the photo, as he was tired of people not knowing who he was, when he met them face to face for the first time.

[I wrote about ageing online here: To age online or not to age, that is the question!]

The issue this guy now has, is that his brand is strongly associated with an image, which no longer exists. By failing to invest in a professional logo and failing to update his profile photo every year or two, he’s facing a totally unnecessary challenge.

We all get older

However, until recently, business owners were connected to people who either saw them pretty regularly or who were seeing them for the first time.

In the digital age, we are represented online by photographs, which are a snapshot of how we looked when the photo was taken. If these are seldom updated, we risk facing the same problem the business expert now has.

Keep people in the picture

If you do not already, consider updating your profile photos and avatars every year or so.

Even better, invest in a professional logo and use the logo alongside your picture. This allows you to change your photo, with the continuity of your branding intact.

Tip: Here’s a great video about what makes a logo memorable and valuable!

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.

A valuable business lesson, from Twitter!

Twitter

If you want to learn from the success of others, copy their strategy rather than their tactics.

Just like Twitter

Twitter succeeded because it was the first, mass market, micro blogging service.

The hundreds of start-ups who tried to copy what Twitter did, failed. They copied Twitter’s tactics, rather than their strategy. Twitter’s strategy was to create a unique form of communicating and connecting.

If those start-ups had built their own, unique way to communicate and connect, they would have created something with the potential to succeed. Instead, they failed, because the people who wanted a service that was just like Twitter… used Twitter!

It works like this

By copying the tactics of a successful business, we become a clone. A copy. Something unremarkable.

By copying the strategy of a successful business, we can create something of our own. A remarkable original. A valuable proposition.

Tip – Here’s the best post I’ve written on this subject: My name is Jim Connolly and I am a freak!

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.

When the vision pulls you, you don’t have to be pushed

Steve Jobs vision

Following yesterday’s post about building a successful blog, a number of readers emailed me with the same question. They wanted to know how I motivate myself to write and publish blog posts as often as I do.

Here’s the answer.

Push or pull?

This quote from the late Steve Jobs answers that question beautifully:

If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.

– Steve Jobs.

If your vision of blogging is that it’s a necessary evil, you will fail on every metric:

  • You will fail to write as well as you can, because when you work through gritted teeth, it shows.
  • You will fail to show up with new information, often enough.
  • You will fail to engage people.

My blogging vision was different

I saw it as a professional and personal development opportunity. I knew that in order for me to share useful information regularly, I needed to keep feeding my mind with useful information regularly. I quickly found another massive benefit to blogging, which is that writing regularly makes you a better communicator — a huge asset for anyone in business.

So, even if I failed to attract a commercially valuable reader community, I’d still be better informed and a better communicator, than I would have been had I not written all those articles. This made it impossible for me to fail.

If you’re struggling to publish posts regularly enough, don’t carry on working through gritted teeth — change your vision.

Yes, this works on every area of your business and your life… not just blogging.

Bloggers: Why too few people read your blog and how to fix it!

marketing blogs

This is a very important post.

If you want to get more from your blog, you may find the following information extremely useful. It’s the answer to a question, sent to me by one of my readers, Shannon. As it’s an extremely common problem, I offered to answer Shannon’s question via this blog post.

With her permission, I’d like to share a key part of her email with you:

“I’ve been blogging for close on three years now and have found the results frustrating to say the very least! [...]  I have no idea what I’m doing wrong and I’ve followed the advice from (she mentioned a very well known blogging program) totally.  I’m just about ready to quit.  Can you take a look at my blog and tell me what I’m missing?”

I did take a quick look at her blog and it’s exactly the same as millions of other business blogs, following the same, general blogging advice.

Here’s what the challenge is and how to resolve it!

Blogging is exceptionally effective

I’ve worked in marketing since 1987 and nothing I have used, studied or witnessed, comes close to the marketing power of an effective blog. Period.

So, why has Shannon and the vast majority of business owners, seen such poor results?

Without doubt, the main reason is that blogging is often touted, incorrectly, as the written equivalent of painting by numbers. In other words, you follow a set of rules and success will follow. This myth persists because it’s repeated by affiliate marketers, selling generic guides and programs on how to grow a successful business blog.

The polar opposite is actually true. The closer you follow the same ineffective set of rules as everyone else, the less likely you are to get anything worthwhile from your blog.

Here’s how I built one of the world’s most popular marketing blogs, by avoiding the rules.

I found rules, then broke them

Here are just a few of the things I noticed on Shanon’s blog, which are extremely common on struggling blogs – along with why I decided not to do the same.

  • I didn’t SEO my posts. I wrote for my readers, not Google. This gave me the freedom to express my thoughts, rather than SEO my thoughts. Shannon’s blog posts are written using SEO software and it’s robbing her of her voice and individuality.
  • I didn’t guest blog. I focused on building my readership, by producing the most useful content I could and then made it extremely easy for people to share it. It works even better today than when I started in 2008, thanks to the popularity of social networking sites. However, many bloggers waste their best material on other people’s blogs, because their blog guru convinced them it’s a great idea. It’s one way to build your readership, but certainly not the best. Shannon told me that she has guest blogged a lot, with nothing to show for it.
  • I didn’t fill the blog with affiliate links. When I recommend something to a reader, it’s a genuine recommendation and I don’t get a penny for it. The trust of my reader community is worth far more to me, than affiliate money. Shannon’s blog home page has affiliate banners for a well known blog theme and (ironically) the content marketing program she’s following, along with 5 other products. Her posts also carry affiliate links for a predictable series of low value Internet marketing products.
  • I didn’t pump my posts with buzzwords. Disrupt, ruckus, intersection… these words fail twice. Firstly, they make informed people cringe. Secondly, they confuse the uninformed — not a great idea if you want people to understand your message! Shannon’s blog uses lots of Internet marketing buzz words. This, combined with the keyword loading she does for her SEO, means readers have no personality to connect with.

The key thing to remember, is that your blog has no chance of standing out, when it’s just like all the others. Make your blog your own. Do it your way. If you’re following a guide or using tips from popular blogging sites, you will find it hard to be seen.

I made 1 rule and stuck with it

I also made a rule, which I have stuck to since summer 2008. It’s simply this:

I will only publish a post when I have something useful to share and I’ll make sure I find something useful, often.

This means I often write when it’s easier not to. Blogging is a primary business activity for me, rather than something I fit in. As a result, I write when I’m extremely busy, when I am tired and even when I’m ill.

Your rules

The Internet is packed with sites that offer largely the same, general advice on how to build a successful blog.

The advice seems to make sense, until you consider that by following it, you become invisible – lost in an ocean of millions of other bloggers using the same, generic advice. If you’re following what they say, you will be able to identify with Shannon’s situation.

If you want your blog to get noticed and for your content to attract great readers and for your readership to grow, it’s essential to drop the generic approach.

In short: Your blog needs to be as individual as you are. Otherwise, you’re invisible.

Tip: This post asks an important question: Bloggers: Are you 1 question away from 10,000 daily readers?

Social Media Marketing: A lesson from angry customers

Social networks

An unhappy customer today has enormous power. Think about it:

  • She can take her issue to Facebook or Twitter and tell 500 people how badly she was treated.
  • Some of those people will reshare her story, and within no time, 5000 people could be talking about it.
  • Then, some of those people will reshare her story too. Before you know it, 50000 or 100000 people could be sharing her story.

Isn’t that wonderful?

Same tools — different use

You see, the same tools that customers use to share their anger, can be used to share their delight.

So, make it a habit to go out of your way to delight your customers. Look for opportunities to leave them open-mouthed in happy amazement.

They already have the tools to tell the world how great you are. What they need from you, is a story worth sharing!

Tip: Here are some ideas and examples of how to delight your customers.

Internet Marketing: Aim for meaning, not traffic!

traffic

Would you like to turn your website or blog into a massively valuable asset for your business? If you just answered ‘yes’, it’s entirely possible you will need to change the way you think about Internet traffic or visitors and page views.

Allow me to explain.

The thing about traffic

Here’s what we know:

Internet Traffic doesn’t buy from you or hire you. No. It’s engaged people, who buy from you or hire you.

The challenge here, is that almost every blogger or small business owner is fixated on traffic. They have not yet figured out that 10 engaged readers, are of more value to their business, than 10000 people who only visited their site because of a click-bait headline or the latest, meaningless infographic.

As a result, we see people writing blog posts with titles like, “50 Magical Facts You Probably Never Knew About Marketing”, etc. People click the title, then leave. These bloggers then wonder why they get traffic, but no connection… no sales, business leads or subscribers. They think they have a conversion problem, when it’s their whole, traffic first approach, which is screwed.

In a nutshell: Sensationalist, keyword-weighted blog posts and articles attract clicks… not clients.

So, what is the answer?

Aim for meaning, rather than traffic!

Take a look at the titles below. They are the 10 most recent posts on Seth Godin’s blog – which is also the world’s most influential marketing site.

  1. There are Kracos.
  2. In search of meaningful.
  3. Most likely to succeed.
  4. The panda and the bicycle.
  5. Micro marketing and the called bluff.
  6. Worldview and stories.
  7. Even better than an app?
  8. Are you solving a problem or creating a problem?
  9. What if you could love what you get paid for?
  10. It’s not about you.

You will immediately notice that the titles are interesting, not sensational. They are honest titles, which treat his readers with respect. Paradoxically, the honesty of those titles makes them stand out among an ocean of click bait titles. And yes, the posts are always of value, which causes his readers to return and share his work with their friends.

What do you want from your site: Traffic or business?

It’s important to have goals for your website or blog, which are consistent with your business goals. For example, would 1000 more drive-by readers a day actually help your business in a meaningful way?

If what you really want from your site is a regular stream of high quality sales or client inquiries, stop trying to attract drive-by traffic with drive-by content.

Instead, aim to be useful and engaging. Showcase your expertise to your marketplace, by sharing valuable information in a compelling way. They will share your work with like-minded people, helping you reach more prospective clients or customers. Your readership will grow. You will be building a community or tribe, which increases in value all the time.

That’s where the value is — not chasing drive-by traffic!

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