Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Category: Social media marketing (page 19 of 39)

More engagement and more fun too!

How do you invest your time, when connecting with people online or publishing content?

I ask this, as over the past week, I made a few minor adjustments to the way I spend my time, which I would like to share with you.  The end result has been extremely valuable and a lot of fun too!

Over the past 7 days, I have probably connected with more people, than in any 1 week period since I started using the ‘net back in 1994.

Here’s what I have been doing

What I did, was to adjust the way I invest my time, so that rather than using it primarily to develop content for this site, I spread it more evenly across a few other activities.

So, as well as writing here, I have really enjoyed blogging for my other site; Internet Marketing Jam.   I also connected with more and more great people over on Google+.  In addition, I have been commenting on other people’s blogs a lot more too; something I love to do, but have not had time for in ages.

I will work on improving my spread of activities again next week…. and the week after.

Photo: zoutedrop

How to get your prospective client’s attention

If you want to earn the attention of your marketplace, you need to give them something important to focus on.  Here’s the thing.  They will only focus on what’s important to them, not what’s important to you.

convert traffic, convert readersA lot of marketing tends to do the complete opposite and focus on the provider, rather than the prospective client.  We see lots of broadcasting about how great they are, how great their service is yet very little emphasis placed on solving the specific challenges facing their prospective clients.

That’s the wrong balance.

Earned attention

Broadcasting your special offers will never earn you the attention of your marketplace.  The key word there is earn.  You earn people’s attention by delivering them-focused information – Information that is all about helping them.  My focus here, for example, is to deliver as much useful marketing and business development information to as many small business owners as possible.  I don’t write post after post about me and what I want from MY business.  I know that people come here for answers and ideas, so that’s what I work hard to provide.

By focusing on the needs of my readers, you connect with me and allow me to be a part of their business development.  A subset of you will hire me, without me emailing you with “special offers”.  There’s real magic there.

How can you earn the attention of your marketplace?

Give! Give them as much genuinely useful information and help as you can.  Then give them even more.  Help them solve problems, so they learn to regard (position) you as the go-to person in your industry.  This takes time rather than money; creativity rather than force.  Connect with people.  Educate, don’t sell.

Get this process right and it changes everything.  You start attracting qualified, high quality inquiries from people who already know you are a specialist in your field.  It’s one of the most enjoyable, profitable and professional ways to grow a business.

Reaching out

What do you currently do, which reaches out to your prospective clients and helps them?  What could you be doing to reach them and connect?

Share your experiences or questions with a comment!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Nina Matthews Photography

Google+ Not me too!

A lot of people have asked me if I will be writing a review post this weekend, about the new Google+ service.  I managed to get an invite on day 3 of the pre launch and have been very impressed with it.  However, this early on, all anyone can say for certain is that it looks interesting.  You can join me on Google+ here.

But no, I am not going to review Google+

Here’s why!

There are already hundreds of posts written about Google+ saying almost the same thing.  For me to simply add to that noise would be of no value.  I spent 30 minutes this morning, reading 10 posts about Google+.  If you had read any one of those posts, you would have had no need to read the other 9. They all offered a very similar breakdown of all the key features and then the blogger either said it would fly, or flop.  That’s all anyone can say now.  None of the posts I read offered anything original; just comparisons to Facebook etc, lists of features and what’s great and what they think is missing from the product.

Me too posts

I try and avoid writing what are called me too posts.  Me too posts tend to be very similar (hence the name) and I believe that my posts should offer you something original or at least an original view point.  Anything I wrote today would have been me too. That kind of review post is great for news blogs (and Google+ IS big news).  I see little point, however, in me too saying that Google+ rocks or sucks and telling you what the features are, yet with no user data or ‘stats, that’s about as deep as anyone can go, today.  Plus, that post has already been written hundreds of times in the past 24 hours.

Of course, any posts written today will also be inaccurate and outdated extremely quickly, as the Google+ team are rolling out changes very fast right now.  I have already seen one big change in the past 12 hours alone, (which those reviewers all missed.)

Over the coming weeks, as more people are invited to join (it’s mainly geeks and early adopters now), we will start seeing some worthwhile data.  We will also get an idea as to how fast (or slow) Google+ is growing.

I will be talking about Google+ in the near future, but not until opinions can be formed on facts and hard data (rather than guesses and first looks).

If you are using Google+ I’d love you to connect with me here.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Blogging: Seth Godin and I are doing it wrong!

According to just about every blogging expert out there, I’m doing it all wrong.  But that’s fine with me.  Apparently, Seth Godin is doing it all wrong too.  It turns out that when it comes to blogging, Seth and I are as clueless as our heads are hairless.

What I discovered whilst ruining this blog

Although I’m doing it all wrong, here’s what I’ve discovered; whilst building a daily readership of thousands and making a six figure income from this blog:

  • Your blog posts do not need to be lengthy.
  • You don’t need to use video on your blog.
  • You don’t need to offer a “weekly round-up” of your posts every weekend.  It’s perfectly fine to write something original or post nothing at all.
  • You don’t need to review every piece of crap that’s sent to you.
  • You don’t need to be an associated blogger.  It’s fine to be independent; plus you look less like a sheep when you are not part of a flock.
  • Your posts do not need to be Search Engine Optimized every time or even most of the time.
  • You don’t need a complicated commenting policy or special commenting software.  Seth doesn’t even have comments.
  • You don’t need to spend a fortune on blog design.
  • You don’t need to write a newsletter, just because other bloggers do. (In fact, it’s best NOT to do anything, just because other bloggers do.)
  • You don’t need to use SEO software, to help you write your posts.
  • You do not need to use guest bloggers.
  • You don’t need to drop the F bomb or be deliberately confrontational, in order to stand out.
  • You DO need to find out what works for you, based on what you want to achieve; then do it YOUR way.

Tip: It’s probably NOT going to help you, if you follow the pack.  If your current approach to blogging isn’t working, dump it and consider breaking a few rules.

Me?  I’m going to look for more and more rules to break and more ways to do it wrong.

Why?  Because each time I do, something wonderful happens.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

How to kill your business!

A key factor in every failing business I have ever studied, is that the business owner dabbles.

Rather than get the professional help they need, they decide to crush their chances of success, by dabbling with their marketing.

Some common examples include:

  • People dabble with promotional offers: They make unattractive offers, to the wrong people, at the wrong time, using the wrong message and the wrong medium.
  • People dabble with social networking: They set up accounts, usually on too many social networks and then copy what they see other people doing.  They spread themselves too thinly and have no effective strategy.  As a result, they miss all the great opportunities.
  • People dabble with blogging: They set up a blog, with no clear idea of what they want to achieve.  They then fill their blog with “me too” posts (posts that simply repeat what millions of other people are saying) and then quit after a few months, because (it) didn’t work.
  • People dabble with email marketing: They buy a list or add people to a list (without their consent), and email them sales messages.  They waste months angering people with unwanted email, that the recipients never requested, and wonder why it didn’t work.
  • People dabble with advertising: They place the wrong message, in the wrong area of the wrong publication, at the wrong time.  They use the wrong typography, the wrong call to action and then proclaim; “advertising doesn’t work!”
  • People dabble with mail shots: They send a marketing letter, written usually by themselves rather than a copywriter (to save money), to a list they bought or built from contact data they found.  The mixture of amateur copywriting, bad targeting and no compelling reason for the reader to do anything, makes this a total waste of time.

Then there are enlightened small business owners

These business owners decide to build a successful business, so they invest in the professional marketing help they need.  They do the right things correctly and enjoy the rewards.

They have figured out that in the most challenging economy in living memory, the dabblers are simply dabbling their way out of business.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Jonny2love

The slow demise of the clueless social media rock star?

I’ve written previously about the way some social media gurus are totally clueless when it comes to anything, other than building impressive looking social media followings.

Well, even though influential people like Steve Rubel and Shel Israel are talking about the end of the road for social media consultants / gurus, some things never change.  I’m talking about the massive number of clueless social media gurus.

Clueless

I spoke yesterday with a web developer, who told me about an email he received from a well-known social media figure.  This person was trying to bag themselves a free website from him and unknowingly, sent the same begging email to a number of developers, who knew each other.  The email was forwarded on to me and I assume lots of others.  It is one of the  most cringe inducing emails I have ever seen.

It was also strangely familiar.

You see, one of that person’s closest social media associates called my office a few months ago, also looking for a freebie.  They promised to retweet all my posts and recommend me to their huge online network, if I would “just” give them a free marketing consultation. That’s the exact same offer their friend made in their begging emails to the web developers!

I politely said “no.”

NB: I find it’s common for people whose own time is of little financial value, to assume others give their time away too.

Anyhow, during our call, the guru explained that although they are regularly featured on all kinds of lists and in some top blogs, they earn almost nothing and spend most of their time speaking at conferences, for which they are usually paid little more than expenses, often nothing at all.  Commercially, this guru admitted knowing “very little when it comes to strategy!” Their only ability is to know how to build what seems to be a large following, which generates low pay – No pay speaking gigs.

The problem with clueless social media gurus, as opposed to genuine social media experts

The reason this matters, is that those 2 clueless social media gurus have a combined following of over 150,000, who they offer business development advice to; something they have demonstrated very little knowledge of!  No wonder we are now seeing social media rock stars moving into salaried jobs.

Before you decide who to listen to when it comes to the development of your business, check them out.  That means more than counting how many followers they have.  Some of the smartest people in business and social media have modest sized social networks, but extremely successful businesses!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Is blogging something you fit in after the important work is done?

A reader emailed me recently, to say she is about to start a business blog.  She wanted to know how I find the time to keep this blog updated as frequently as I do, with useful content.

blogging, copywriting, content marketing

Image: Maria Reyes-McDavis

The answer is that I don’t have to “find time” to write here!

Let me explain: I see business blogs a little differently from most people.  I regard business blogs as massively valuable assets.  So, I give this site high priority within my business.

To me, business blogs are online magazines, which provide articles to interested people; with an opportunity for the readers to connect with the author and their fellow readers.

Just as you can’t play around and accidentally produce a worthwhile business magazine, you can’t play around with a business blog and expect it to develop a great community of highly valued readers.

Magazine thinking?

Think of any great business blog.  It provides valuable articles for people interested in their niche, just like any high quality business magazine.  For example, Brian Clark from copyblogger refers to his site as a media asset and his posts as magazine style content.  I have always been of the same mindset.  I see this site as a genuine media asset and I treat it with the respect it deserves.

  • It’s not a hobby.
  • It’s not a passtime.
  • It’s not a gesture.
  • It’s not something I do when there’s no real work that needs doing.
  • It IS an extremely valuable business asset.  Look at this!

This site never needs me to have spare time to invest in it.  If it did, it would be another infrequently updated business blog.  I regard Jim’s Marketing Blog and the reader community here as an integral part of my business, so it gets worked on ahead of many other less important (to me) business activities.

  • People who just write posts when they have spare time, after the important work is done, end up with a site which reflects that level of investment.
  • People who regard their site as the important work, treat their site very differently and see very different results.

The bottom line:  It’s a question of priorities.  Professionally, I place an extremely high priority on developing this site, so it always gets the time and attention it deserves.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees: Part 2

Photo: Aaaarrrrgggghhhh

This is the second post in a series on how to attract the very best clients and work for the highest fees.  You can read part 1 of this post here if you missed it.

One of the cornerstones of every successful business is that the business owner knows the difference between what people pay for and what people buy.

Paying and buying

Smart business owners understand that people pay for the product or service you offer, but they buy the experience.

For example, when people go into Starbucks, they pay for the coffee.  The reason they pay for the coffee, is that they buy the experience of being able to drink coffee in a space, with other people, who also like to drink coffee and read or work or surf the web etc.  They are part of what Seth Godin would call the coffee tribe.  You can buy equally good coffee from your local store and make it at home for a fraction of the cost of drinking it at Starbucks, however, at home, you don’t get the same coffee tribe experience.

It’s the experience that justifies the 300% extra you pay for drinking coffee at Starbucks, rather than making it at home.  Starbucks don’t try and win your business by selling you coffee cheaper than your local grocery store.  They sell the experience and charge a premium.  There’s a very big lesson here for anyone, who is sick and tired of fee sensitive clients.  Your experience needs to improve, if you want to avoid attracting those low value inquiries and competing on fees.

What experience do you offer?

So, what kind of an experience do you offer your clients or customers?  What do you do for them, which makes it compelling to do business with you, regardless of your fees or prices?

If this is not something you have previously given much thought to, I strongly suggest you start.  Thanks to Google, people can find the least expensive provider in your niche, in minutes.  Thanks to social networking sites, people can learn about the providers in your niche, who offer the most remarkable customer experiences.

Unless you want to sell your services by being the least expensive (and you don’t), you better start thinking about being that provider in your niche, who everyone is talking about.  If you do, you will attract more word of mouth referrals than ever before and never have to compete for business based on your fees.  This is what I help my clients to achieve.  I strongly suggest you get to work on it too.

This is a subject I am going to be covering a lot in future posts, so remember to subscribe to the blog for free, if you don’t want to miss out!

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees part 3.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

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