Show them who YOU are and what YOU stand for

In business, do you lead or follow?

Leadership is one of the most used words in business, yet it is one of the least practised disciplines. It seems the massive majority of business owners prefer to blend into the background.  Ironically, this includes many of those who refer to themselves as leaders.

This presents those business owners with the courage to confidently be themselves, with an opportunity to gain the visibility essential for commercial success. If you can fully appreciate the value of what I am saying here and then act on it, you can gain a huge commercial advantage in your marketplace.

The marketing power of being yourself

It was my late mother, who explained to me the importance of standing up for myself and what I believed in. It’s a lesson that has served me very well and one that paradoxically, has made my progress through business (and life in general) a lot easier.

By having the courage to be myself and the confidence to share my own thoughts, I have developed a unique, very visible position in the marketplace. This has helped me build a very successful business and attract amazing clients for my services.

I want you to enjoy the same results, hence this post.

The world of the invisible sheep

Amazingly, even in my own profession many people get it wrong. They copy what each other are doing like sheep, and become camouflaged. As a result, they constantly struggle to attract clients.  That’s why you see marketing people attending networking events, frantically handing out business cards to strangers. It’s why you see marketing (and PR) people on social networks, ass-kissing those they think may pass them traffic or leads. It’s hard to look both competent and needy!

Camouflage is self-sabotage

In an overcrowded marketplace, sheep-like business owners will always struggle. Whilst it may feel comfortable to be part of a flock, that same camouflage will make you invisible. Taking what seems like the easy route, will simply sabotage your chances of success.

Camouflage is useful if you are a chameleon, seeking to avoid being eaten by a predator, but it’s a stupid move for the business owner, seeking to be discoverable.

Here’s an alternative approach, for the courageous business owner:

  • Be yourself. You are just as good as that guru, author or social media rock star!
  • Share your own ideas. This is what makes you unique.
  • Stand up for yourself and what you believe.
  • Don’t suck up. Suck-ups lose the respect of everyone, especially those they suck-up to.

Show your marketplace who YOU are and what YOU stand for!

Reliable?

How reliable do your prospective clients think you are?

  • If you use social networking sites, can they rely on you to show up regularly and contribute?
  • If you write a newsletter, can they rely on you to get each edition out on time?
  • If you write a blog, can they rely on you to publish posts on a regular basis?

Until they have the opportunity to work with you and discover how wonderful you are, prospective clients only have your marketplace facing activities, like those I just mentioned, with which to assess how reliable you are.

Building a reputation for reliability is extremely valuable, as it helps you earn the confidence of your marketplace.  Use your most visible marketing efforts, to show them that no matter how busy you are, you can be relied upon to show up.

Revealed: The marketing idea that changed my life!

Almost 25 years ago, I discovered a marketing idea which changed my life.  It allowed me to go from being broke at the age of 21, to financially secure for life in around 8 years. 

Today, I am going to share it with you!

Marketing and me: 1987 style

When I started out in marketing, one of the many marketing experts I studied was Jay Abraham.  Unlike most of today’s top marketing authors, who tend to focus on sharing interesting concepts, Jay focused on making money.  Jay would give you a nugget of information, which you could pick up and use there and then, to start making more sales.

Ironically, although Jay was working in content marketing a decade or more, before today’s Internet marketing gurus appeared, he hasn’t embraced social media and many of you will never have heard of him.  It was one of Jay’s real world marketing ideas, which started me off in content marketing:  Though back in 1987 we called it consultative selling.

The idea behind consultative selling was simple:

  • You operated as a consultant – Not as a salesperson.
  • You shared knowledge – You didn’t sell.

I focused on building a reputation as a knowledgeable expert, by sharing valuable information or content.  I did radio interviews.  I wrote articles for business magazines.  I spoke to groups of business people.  Remember, this was pre Internet.  It’s a lot easier today!

Pretty soon, I had influential decision makers calling me, because they automatically associated me with whatever industry I was working in at the time.  I was able to meet with people that the sales guys couldn’t get near.  I was also able to build a huge referral network, because people were always happy to refer me to their contacts; knowing I didn’t push anything on anyone.

By the age of just 29, I had made so much money that I was able to leave a highly paid job, to set up my marketing business.  Of course, 16 years on we now have; blogs, newsletters, webinars, podcasts and social networks to share knowledge and consultative selling has been rebranded as content marketing.

I can honestly tell you that since the day I started this business, have never had to actually sell anything to anyone or spend a penny on advertising.  I have always attracted 100% of my clients via content marketing and today, I show business owners like yourself how to do the same.  It’s a great way to build a highly successful business.

The name may have changed from consultative selling, to content marketing, but the results have remained consistently amazing.

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

Attract more business inquiries than ever before with these 6 powerful marketing tips!

Do you want more client inquiries from your marketing?  Would you like to make your marketing more compelling, so it encourages more people to take action when they read it?  If you would, then read on!

Most marketing content is written to capture the attention of, and then inform, a targeted group of people.  Great marketers add a 3rd element.  They capture.  They inform.  They compel!

Compelling marketing

Average marketing leaves people thinking, “so what?”

Compelling marketing encourages people to take action.

Compelling marketing is focused on “them” not you. It’s about their needs and solving their problems and making their experience of you and your business as good as possible.  Them, them, them.

Compelling marketing messages

One of the reasons small business owners find their written marketing far less effective than they want, is that it fails to inspire the reader enough, to motivate them to take the desired action.  Here’s an example of compelling copy, which I wrote for a marketing company that had been really struggling to get enough people to subscribe to their newsletter.

Boost your sales and profits starting today, with a free subscription to our marketing newsletter.  Subscribe now and I’ll send you a FREE…..

Previously, they were doing what 99.9% of newsletter providers do; simply asking people to:

Subscribe to our marketing newsletter and receive a copy of our marketing check-list

The new message, which out-performed the old one by over 850%, was all about the reader and giving value.  It starts with a promise, to help them make more sales and increase their profits.  It then gives them a direct request to take action now.  If you want people to take action at all, ask them to take action NOW! It then finishes with the promise that if they take action now, as well as all that valuable newsletter information, they will also receive more great value, in the form of a marketing check-list.

Compelling marketing: 6 quick tips to motivate your prospective clients to take action

Here are some ideas to make your written marketing more compelling:

1  Scarcity: Whenever possible, give people a reason to take action now rather than later.  This comes from the principle of scarcity.  The fear of losing out on something is an extremely compelling reason for people to get moving!

2. Study your target market: The more you know about what’s important to them, the easier it is for you to understand what’s most likely to motivate them.

3. Avoid the use of generic terms: Generic terms simply wash over people.  The most overused word in this category is the word “solutions.”  It’s OK to use the word in context within a longer message (such as a blog post.)  However, using it on your “about” page, social media bio or profile will hurt your response rates.

Telling people something like; “we provide solutions to the XYZ industry” means nothing and is not compelling in any way.  If you build websites, which make companies look fantastic online and helps them attract throngs of eager clients – TELL THEM!  Don’t say you “offer integrated website solutions.”

4. Headlines matter most: This one is simple.  No matter how amazing your marketing message is, if no one reads it, it can’t convert.  The headline or title of your marketing is what compels people to read it.

Why do you click certain links on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin etc?  It’s because the title makes the link sound compelling enough to check out.  The title sells the link.  Why do you open certain emails and not others? Again, the title or subject line compels you to open it.  I recently blogged about how to attract more traffic from Twitter using attractive headlines.  That post has some useful headline writing tips.

Tip: Keep a list of the next 50 links you click via social networks and study them to see what compelled you to take action.

5. Add to your marketing vocabulary: Having a limited vocabulary and trying to inspire people with your messages, is like having half the ingredients missing from a recipe and trying to make the meal taste right.  Business owners always seem to assume that they have a great vocabulary.  The reality, as you see every day for yourself, is the exact opposite.  Most small business content and general marketing is written using an extremely limited palette of uninspiring words.

6.  Embrace brevity: The fewer words in your marketing message, the more impact you can create.  Most of the marketing copy I see is at least 50% too long; often 75% or more.  A targeted, information rich message that is packed with value, will out-perform a long winded, meandering message that drags on, which few people even finish reading!  In today’s marketplace, where people have more to do than ever before, short marketing messages have more impact than ever.

The bottom line

If you want people to call you, email you, buy from you, subscribe to your blog or newsletter etc – YOU need to motivate them to do so. If you get it right, the potential to attract more inquiries, clients and sales is enormous!

The simple secret to attracting all the help you will ever need

How good are you at attracting the help, goodwill and cooperation of others?  If you think there may be room for improvement, this post is just what you need!

Today’s post is about one of the cornerstones of business success, something called reciprocity.  Here’s a very, very basic explanation of how reciprocity works in business and life generally:

By helping other people, we begin the process of giving and open the channel for receiving.  This giving, starts a positive cycle where we not only make more friends and feel better about ourselves, but ALSO encourage others, without asking, to want to help us too; (to reciprocate.)

Reciprocity in action

Over the past 48 hours, I have experienced reciprocity in action here on the blog.  I have had people from all over the world, help me get the word out about my new content marketing service.  Without asking anyone, they just decided to repay me for the free help I provide here on the blog, by sharing my new service with their friends and contacts.

Of course, their kindness has not gone unnoticed.  I remember those who help me, just like you remember those who help you.  This is one of the wonderful things about helping others.  Every time we do, we plant a seed that has the opportunity to blossom into something magical.

The reciprocity mindset is NOT just about personal or professional gain and if you think it is, you are totally missing the point!

It’s simply an amazing way to proceed through business and life.  It’s the attitude of contribution.  It’s about building relationships with great people, by instigating the process of giving.

It’s beautiful.

It’s simple.

It costs nothing.

It’s also a wonderful way to build a rewarding life and a fantastic business!

Just Launched: The Content Marketing Program

Today, I’m excited to announce the launch of a brand new service, my Content Marketing Program.

The program runs for a whole year.  During our year together, I will show you how to attract high quality clients and inquiries, based on the incredible power of content marketing.  Working with you on a one-to-one basis, I will show you how to use tools like blogging, newsletters, and email marketing etc; to attract targeted inquiries from your ideal profile of client.

It works – Look!

The very fact that you are reading this right now, along with thousands of other business owners, proves how successfully you can reach the right people, with content marketing.  Notice how I knew you were a business owner? That’s because when you use content marketing correctly, as I do here on this blog, you ensure that your messages reach the right people – LOTS of them too!

What kind of tangible results are possible?

In February, I wrote a short blog post, regarding a place that had unexpectedly become available on my Marketing Mentor Program.  In less than 24 hours, that post generated 92 genuine inquiries for the remaining place!

Based on my typical conversion rate, I could have generated at least £90,000 in fees; if I had enough places to fill, just from that single post!

On my Content Marketing Program, I will show you exactly how I did that and how you can put the same super-powerful strategies in place for your business!

I will also show you how I used Content Marketing to generate almost £130,000 in client fees and product sales from this blog last year.

Just imagine what a difference that could make to you and your business.

By the way, if you are the kind of person, who prefers to attract business inquiries, rather than chase people for business, you will find this program especially valuable.

How it works: A quick overview

The program is tailored around your unique needs, resources and goals, so we start off with an initial fact-finding meeting.  This meeting is conducted like all our meetings, via Skype or phone.  We look at exactly where you are right now and then examine what you want to achieve; your goals and business targets etc.

Then, I work with you over the following 12 months, to develop a Content Marketing strategy, to get you from where you are now, to where you want to be.  I will provide you with all the guidance, coaching, support (and clarity) you need; all included in the program’s price.

That’s right: One set fee which covers everything, for the whole year.

Find out more

If you genuinely want to start attracting high quality clients, the way I do here on this blog, I’d love to hear from you.

Simply email me on jim (at) jimsmarketingblog.com (with your contact details) or call me on (+44) 1427 891274, and I will happily answer any questions you have, in complete confidence. Obviously, there are a limited number of places available, so get in touch as soon as you can, to avoid disappointment.  My full contact details are here.

I look forward to hearing from you!

3 reasons why I love helping you and your business!

As yesterday’s post was all about content marketing, I thought today would be the perfect time to explain why I invest so much of my time, sharing ideas and insights with you, here on the blog.

Here are 3 reasons that came to mind immediately.

1.  As a fellow business owner, I respect you

Only a small minority of people have the courage to start up a business.  Whilst there is no ceiling on what you can earn when you are your own boss, there’s no floor either! It takes guts to leave the regular world of salaried employment, for the uncertainty of working for yourself.  You are my kind of person.  We both started out with no guarantees, yet we did it anyway.

It’s a LOT easier writing for people, when they have earned your respect.

2.  I value you and what you have to say

Successful blogging is all about communication, rather than broadcasting.  It’s about the 2-way or multi-way flow of information between people.  Whilst I give a lot of valuable information away here, I receive a lot too.

Your comments, emails, tweets and Facebook messages etc, are of huge value to me.  Through them, I have met people I would never have known.  I have discovered answers and insights, that have been invaluable.  I have found fantastic websites, which I had never heard of before.  I have discovered products and services, which have been of enormous value to me and my business.

Most importantly, I have made a lot of friends all over the world.  If you are a reader of the blog and have not got in touch with me, please do so.  I reply to every email and phone call.  You can email me at jim (at) jimsmarketingblog.com

3. Blogging is commercially rewarding

Business blogging, when handled correctly, can be extremely rewarding for your business.  For instance, by focusing on providing you with as much useful, valuable information as I can, I attract valuable business inquiries all the time.

A perfect example of this happened yesterday.  Yesterday’s post was all about content marketing and at the very end of the post, I mentioned that I am launching a new, content marketing program.  That post alone, was enough for a reader to call me and get the very first place on the new program!  She loved what she saw, like the idea of attracting clients rather than chasing them, and called to book her place.  Ironically, her inquiry and subsequent decision to work with me for a year, is a perfect example of the power of content marketing!  I will be giving details on the new content marketing program in a few days.  If you can’t wait, get in touch!

If you find the blog useful, rest assured that I will continue to work as hard as I can, to be of as much service as I can, to you and your business!

How to massively improve your online marketing results, the easy way!

Do you prefer to attract client inquiries and leads, rather than having to sell your services?

If you do, then content marketing is exactly what you and your business need.  Content marketing is where you use blogs (like this one) or newsletters, podcasts or webinars etc, as a way to deliver valuable information, which gains the attention of your prospective clients.  Then, over a period of time, you get to position yourself as an expert in your field, to thousands of prospective clients.

Content marketing is extremely effective, it costs very little and the results can be amazing, life changing even!  Moreover, the results get better and better over time, as your audience and influence increases.

In today’s post, I am going to share one of the secrets behind the world’s most successful content marketing.  To begin, I am going to answer the 2 most common content marketing questions, which people ask me.  Here they are:

  1. How much free information should I give away?
  2. What quality of information is “just too good” for me to blog about or include for free in my newsletter, webinar or podcast?

Here are the short answers to those questions:

  1. You should give away as much free information as you can.
  2. You should give away as much value as you can.

Allow me to explain!

Content marketing and me

Back in 1995, my fellow marketing professionals said I was crazy for giving away so much marketing information for free.  This was before the Internet went mainstream, so I delivered my free content marketing via; radio shows, magazine articles, public speaking and networking groups.  I then established an enormously successful marketing newsletter, before moving on to blogging.

In short: I gave and gave and gave.  Then, I gave some more.

The more I gave away, the more I was accused of committing commercial suicide.

The more I gave away, the more high quality business I generated!

Here’s one thing that has not changed, over my 16 years in content marketing:  Most people only give snippets of information away for free, or information which they believe is not good enough to charge for.  Their belief is that by giving “the good stuff” away for free, it will reduce their income.  This is the exact opposite of what actually happens!

Here’s why.

By putting a diluted version of their content out there for free, they showcase themselves as being less effective than they really are.  The marketplace positions them in their mind as an average provider, because the free information they give away is average.  They are under-marketing themselves and their abilities.  For content marketing to work, your free material needs to be good enough to inspire people to subscribe to you, get in touch with you and link to you.  It also needs to be compelling enough to motivate people to share your blog, newsletter or whatever, with their social network. People will only do that when the information they receive is valuable enough.

I have never held back information from this blog, in case it’s too valuable to give away for free.  You know what though?  I do the opposite all the time.  I often refuse to publish posts here, because they are just not good enough for you.  That’s a fundamental of successful content marketing.  Give away as much high quality information as you can, and attract the attention, interest and respect of your marketplace.  Show them what you know.

Content marketing and your business

If you like the idea of attracting clients (rather than pursuing them) and want to know more about content marketing, I have some GREAT news for you!  I shall be making a very special announcement shortly, regarding an exciting, new content marketing program.  This is NOT the typical; ebook, premium blog content and a few webinars – It’s the chance for you and I to work together, 1-to-1, on the development of the perfect content marketing strategy for you and your business. 

If you want to know more, keep an extra close eye on the blog over the coming days!

Twitter: How I attracted more traffic and more followers by doing less

As a marketing guy, I am always testing ways to make things more effective.  What follows is my experience, after a simple 5 day Twitter experiment, which was just a bit of fun, yet led to some interesting results and totally changed the way I use Twitter!

Here’s what I did and what the results were:

I elected not to tweet any links to this blog and then see what impact it had on my traffic.

Here is what happened.  By the way, you can join me on Twitter here.

Traffic from Twitter

Before I started, I expected to see a slight drop in traffic from Twitter.  Surely, if I am not Tweeting links here, fewer people would know about my posts – right?

Wrong!

Instead, traffic from Twitter increased by close to 300% over those 5 days.  This is reflected in the diagram later in the post.  Now, on the first few days, I sent a tweet out, which alerted people that I was not tweeting links to new posts here.  Obviously, those tweets had no links in them and didn’t generate additional traffic, as I monitored real-time traffic from Twitter and there was no measurable increase.  The reason was simply to let people know that nothing was wrong .

So, why the increase in traffic?

It seems this blogs readers and my Twitter “followers” picked up the slack!  Knowing I wasn’t tweeting links to my posts here, they did it for me.  Now, I am not sure how this would pan out if I carried the experiment out over 6 months, but certainly over the 5 days, my online network were a lot more active in promoting my posts.  I also saw lots of new faces showing up in my Twitter stream; people sharing my posts, who I had never heard of or seen previously.

Tuesday saw the highest traffic day to this blog in its history.  This was the result of several factors, ranging from some well connected Facebook and Twitter users sharing that days post, (which ironically was how to get more traffic using Twitter) and that post being featured on a number of popular sites, including webpronews. I have looked to see if these events could be traced to the experiment and it’s impossible to say yes or no with 100% certainty.

I am not a big believer in coincidences and I believe it’s entirely possible that with so many new people sharing my posts this week, it brought my blog to the attention of those publishers, Twitter users and Facebook users.

Here’s what happened to traffic as a result, compared to the past 6 months:

Blog subscriber numbers

One of the challenges with using Twitter to inform people of your latest posts, is that you eliminate the need for your followers, to subscribe to your blog.  In essence, you are training them not to subscribe to your primary social hub! If they decide to stop using Twitter or you decide to drop it for the next big thing, you can lose a lot of readers, very quickly.

For me, this alone is a good reason NOT to train people to use Twitter as the way to subscribe to your blog.

Some caveats

This was just a fun experiment, carried out over a very short time-scale; rather than the kind of marketing research I would carry out to get the heavy detail required for a fully-fledged project.  You should NOT use these conclusions as the basis of a change in your own Twitter use!

It is also extremely important to mention that the results would have looked VERY different, if I did not already have lots of great people, who regularly share this blog with their followers.  In addition, Twitter accounts for a tiny amount of my daily visitors here, behind; Google, RSS, Facebook, back links and Stumbleupon.  Once my largest source of traffic, Twitter has grown slower than all my other marketing channels.  In other words, I wasn’t risking much.

As I hope I have made very clear, this brief experiment was intended to see what the short-term results would be, by not using Twitter to share my new posts each day.  I had no idea that the results over such a short period, would be so interesting; which is why I intend to change my Twitter use over the longer term now, as I explain in a moment.

I find it interesting that the past 5 days coincided with my best traffic day ever and a sharp increase in follower numbers, see below.  Note, the numbers were increasing fastest from the 13th, not the 12th, which was the heavy traffic day.

Conclusions

For now, I have decided to only share posts on Twitter, which are related to Twitter (like this one) or posts that I believe have particular relevance to the people I connect with there.  Previously, I shared every post on Twitter twice: Once in the morning and again in the afternoon or evening.

I’m really curious how the numbers will look, over a longer period.  Any marketing professional worth their salt will tell you that you need good data to reach accurate conclusions.  On something like this, you need to be working with a larger set of data.  I will, of course, share my findings with you.

So, for the foreseeable future, I will be using my Twitter time primarily to share YOUR great posts and connect more with you.

IMPORTANT:  If you usually catch up with my latest posts via Twitter and don’t want to miss anything, subscribe to the blog or get new posts delivered direct to your inbox, using the “Free Updates” box at the top right of this page.

Get more traffic from Twitter with these 6 great headline tips

So, you have all those followers on Twitter and yet when you tweet a link to your latest blog post…..nothing much happens!

Why did so few of those hundreds (or thousands) of your followers click your link; after all, it’s a great post?

Your headline let you down!

People will ONLY click your links and read your content, if the headline or title is compelling enough.  If just a small percentage of your followers are clicking on your links, it’s because the headline isn’t selling that link to your followers.  It’s not compelling them enough, to make them want to click through to your site and find out more.  Unless they do that, they will never know how great your posts are, which is why headlines are easily the most important element of your content.

Your headlines or titles are what open the door to your content.  To succeed, your content has to be effective too, but nothing happens until people actually READ what you have written and your headline is what either encourages them to read the first line of your material – Or not.  Get the headline wrong and you make it very hard for your content to get noticed.

6 headline secrets behind yesterday’s post

To show you what I mean, I will use the example of yesterday’s post, which was extremely successful.  It’s title was: Build a great client list with this 1 simple idea.  Here are six of the secrets behind it.

The headline didn’t try and do everything.  There was enough information in that headline to explain what the post was about and get the reader curious.  To discover what the “1 simple idea” is, the reader has to click through.  The more curious you can make someone, the more likely they are to take action; in this case click a link.

The headline was relevant to my readers. It was a marketing related headline and my friends on social networks connect with me because they are interested in marketing.

The headline made a compelling promise.  Every headline makes a promise to the reader.  The promise of that headline, is that if they click that link, I will give them some valuable information, which will help them with a huge problem; attracting better clients.  The post content delivers on the promise, which is essential if you want people to come back!  A great headline, which points to a post that fails to deliver on the headline’s promise, will cause people to feel cheated and stop them trusting your headlines and links in future.

The headline let people know it was easy. Part of the headline’s promise, is that they will learn this valuable information, quickly and easily.  It’s just 1 simple idea.  This requires little time investment from the reader, with the potential to learn some valuable business information.

The headline didn’t keyword stuff. Some people seem to believe that the only way to attract search engine traffic, is to stuff their headlines with keywords.  This is flawed for 2 reasons.

  1. You can SEO your posts, by making the version of the title which people see, different from the version which search engines see.  If you use WordPress, there are plugins that allow you to do this.  If, like me, you use the Headway WordPress Theme, (affiliate link) you don’t need to mess around with plugins, it’s there out of the box (along with a ton of other great SEO features!)
  2. Your content, including titles, should be written for people, NOT search engines.  If you try and write posts that appeal to search engines rather than people, even if someone does find your site on Google or Bing etc, it will read poorly and therefore fail to convert them into subscribers, clients or customers.

The headline wasn’t clever. Some people write clever headlines, which lack any compelling reason for a busy person to click their link.  They are often abstract or cryptic, rather than interest grabbing and inspiring.

Headlines are important so give them the time they deserve

There are very few things in life, which come with a guarantee, however, I can guarantee that if you make your blog post titles more compelling, you will definitely get more traffic from social networks and feedreaders.

Invest as much time as is required, to get your headlines as attractive as possible and just watch the increase in your blogging results.