Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Category: Social media marketing (page 7 of 39)

Blogging, social networks, newsletters: Your prospective clients are watching you

Thanks to social networks, blogging and newsletters, your prospective clients or customers can see what you’re doing, like never before. As a result, the basics of developing your business today are extremely simple.

small-eye

It’s all about DOING rather than SAYING.

  • If you want to be regarded as a leader, stop talking about leadership and start leading.
  • If you want more followers, stop asking people to follow you and do something worth following.
  • If you want people to talk about your business, stop pestering them for referrals and build a business worth talking about.

Hard to hide

Yes, you can call yourself a leader, beg people to follow you or pester people for referrals. The thing is, it doesn’t work! Why? Because your prospective clients or customers can see what you do on social networks, what you say on your blog and what you write in your newsletter. If there is a disconnect between what you claim and what you do, they notice it.

Once they smell bullshit, they’re gone – and rightly so!

The opportunity

That same exposure offers an incredible opportunity, for those who are prepared to lead, prepared to do something worth following and prepared to create a business that’s worth talking about. Just as it has never been harder for the fakes to hide – it has never been easier for the best people to get noticed.

So, with all that exposure out there, what should we do?

  • It’s easy to be a sheep. That’s why it’s so common.
  • It’s easy to offer a range of services that are just like all your competitors.
  • It’s easy to quote your favourite business guru, rather than tell us what you think.

It’s easy, but there’s no value there. There’s nothing to inspire your prospective clients. There’s nothing to justify why they should follow you, talk about you or hire you.

The decision

Every business owner today is presented with a decision, based on the following 2 options:

  1. Build a presence that confirms your leadership, originality and value.
  2. Follow the flock and always struggle; struggle to be noticed, struggle to grow your business, struggle to earn above average fees and struggle to be taken seriously.

I recommend option 1. If you think it’s the hardest option, consider the cost of being regarded as a sheep, by your prospective clients and customers.

This post is sponsored by Women’s Development Expert, Jane C Woods
Thinking of expanding your training business? I can help you.
To find out how, click here.

3 Things to focus on if you want to quickly see amazing results

How is business?

If you would like to attract more high quality clients or make more sales, here are 3 areas that can produce massive, immediate results. They are based on 3 of the areas I work on, when I start marketing a new clients business.

three 3

1: Why should someone hire you or buy from you, rather than one of your competitors?

Failing to answer that question correctly, is the most common mistake small business owners make, yet it’s the single most important element of your marketing.

Why? Because unless you can answer that question correctly, you’re wasting your time trying to market your business. Until you know what sets YOUR business apart from the others, you have no marketing message. There’s no compelling reason for someone to buy from you or hire you, rather than one of your competitors.

If you sound just like your competitors, the only way someone can judge your value, is to compare your fees or prices to your competitors. Remember, your competitors all promise a great service and they all have impressive testimonials. What sets you apart, needs to be something that not everyone else can claim.

This is the very first thing I would work on with you if you were my client, because it improves every element of your marketing. It also helps you attract the best clients and the most rewarding fees. Getting this right can be a game changing moment for you. This is especially the case, if you find people are fee sensitive when you speak with them or you find you attract too few word-of-mouth referrals. If this sounds familiar, fix it now.

2: How compelling is your written marketing or copy?

Maybe once a month I see a piece of small business marketing, which has been written correctly. The rest is clearly written by a keen amateur and is failing the business horribly. What’s the point of going to the time and expense of having a website, brochure, blog, email campaign or newsletter and then wasting the opportunity with ineffective marketing content? None!

If you want to motivate people to buy from you, hire you, visit you, email you or call you, your written content needs to compel people. It needs to inspire them. It needs to be so much more powerful than the average marketing message. I’d work with you on this at the very start, because it’s so extremely important. It’s almost certainly losing you business on a daily basis right now, as it stops people contacting you. You and I would review your marketing messages and work to make them perform massively better for you and your business.

When applied to your online marketing, the copy you and I produce could lead to great results very quickly – as all those readers, whose inquiries you are currently losing, feel compelled to take action and get in touch.

3: How effective is your website, at attracting new client inquiries or sales?

Within an hour of this post being published, I will start attracting inquiries from people who want to know how or when I can start helping them and their business. They will read this post, click on the link about how to hire me and then get in touch.

YOUR website or blog should be doing the same!

Your website should be a regular source of highly targeted business inquiries or sales. As mentioned above, it should be expertly written, so that when people find your website they are compelled to take action. It should inspire them to go from being a reader, (passive), to being someone who gets in touch with you, (active).

If your site is attracting people but they are not getting in touch with you, it’s failing on one or all of the above points. In other words, your lack of a compelling difference between you and your competitors and your lack of effectively written copy, is hurting your business. As a new client, I would show you how we can apply to your website, the same ideas that grew this site from zero, to one of the most popular marketing sites in the world.

Now what?

Those are just 3 of the things you and I would work on, if you were one of my clients.

If the opportunity to develop your business with the help of one of the world’s best known marketing professionals appeals to you, I currently have just 3 spaces 2 spaces ONE space available on my Marketing Mentor Program, where you and I work together for a whole year, on the development of your business. Here’s how it works. I recommend you get in touch as soon as possible, to avoid disappointment.

Stop writing for Google. Really. Stop it.

As a passionate advocate for small business owners, I want to make a plea to you: Stop writing your blog posts and web copy primarily for Google.

google

Earlier today, I spoke with a business owner who wanted to know why the ‘traffic’ to her website and blog was not converting into business or sales leads. According to her analytics software, around 400 visitors arrive on her sites each day, then leave again without making a purchase, making an inquiry or subscribing.

She wanted to know what was wrong.

As her problem is extremely common, I thought I would share what I found with you, along with how to avoid falling into the same trap.

Keyword stuffed nonsense doesn’t convert people into customers

Within seconds of seeing the sites concerned, it was clear why they were so ineffective, why they had not attracted a single sales inquiry in 9 months. It’s simply this: They were primarily written for Google and not for people. Her content was keyword stuffed – here’s Google’s definition of keyword stuffing.

Her content was over ‘optimized’ for SEO and not written to appeal to prospective customers. For example, her website had the same 3 word phrase repeated 41 times on the home page alone! The services page on her blog has the name of her service repeated 39 times in just 350 words. It read horribly. It reflected poorly on her and her business. It was toxic and she has been paying the price.

In her eagerness to get ‘traffic’, she forgot about customers, prospective customers and what they would find when they actually arrived on her sites.

Effective SEO should be based around making great content easier for search engines to find and read. It should not be about producing keyword stuffed junk, which people can’t understand or connect with.

Writing for people

It’s hard enough to write compelling content, which will motivate people to buy from you, call you, email you, visit you, link to you or share your work. If your content reads poorly because it’s stuffed with keywords and key-phrases, you stand no chance.

You may get fewer visitors from search engines then those who stuff their content with keywords, but you will engage your readers. That’s what attracts customers, generates sales leads and (ironically) motivates people to link to and share your work – which massively improves your search engine rankings, anyway.

Photo: Danny Sullivan.

7 Benefits of business blogging

Here are 7 benefits of writing a business blog. Some of them may surprise you!

benefits blogging, Benefits business blogging,

1. Blogging is a great tool for building a tribe

Blogging is the best tool I’ve ever known, for building a community or tribe. Blogging allows you to show your leadership, rather than claim it. By being brave enough to write YOUR point of view, you demonstrate your ability to lead – rather than follow.

This is, of course, a double-edged sword. Most bloggers simply amplify what the most popular opinion is on their subject. However, for those who genuinely are prepared to show their leadership to people, via the work and words they share on their blog, it represents an amazing opportunity.

2. Blogging and relationship building

Blogging allows people to get to know you, before they call you, email you or hire you. I get calls and emails daily from people I don’t know, who tell me they feel like they already know me. This has massive commercial value and leads into the next point…

3. Blogging helps you attract new clients and sales inquiries

Blogging is a great way to attract highly targeted inquiries from potential clients and customers. By blogging regularly about your core areas of commercial interest, you position yourself in the mind of your readers as an authority in your field. Then, when they need expert help they can trust, you become a very attractive option – far more attractive than going to Google and looking for a stranger or taking a chance on someone they don’t know, who’s recommended to them.

4. Blogging helps you communicate

When you write a blog post, you really need to think about what you are going to publish. You need to question the information you are about to share, for value, accuracy and clarity. I’ve found that by writing regularly for small business owners, it has massively improved my copy writing, when writing any commercial communication.

In short: Blogging is a superb communications training asset.

5. Blogging gives you an enormous reach

Blogging allows you to share ideas with an almost unlimited number of people. Your blog gives you the potential to build your own media asset – your own publication, with as large a readership as you are capable of building. This is an opportunity that was unthinkable for small business owners even a decade ago.

This alone makes blogging a wonderful business investment.

6. Blogging is amazingly powerful for market research

Blogging is a fantastic market research tool. You learn the topics your readership is most interested in, very quickly. Thanks to inexpensive or free analytics tools, you can see which of your posts are read the most and shared the most. You also see the posts which generate the most emails from your readers. By learning what your readership is most interested in, you can develop new products and services or adapt existing ones.

You can also improve the effectiveness of your marketing messages, knowing what your readers are most interested in.

7. Blogging allows you to prove your reliability

By showing up on your blog regularly with useful information, you are doing more than showcasing your knowledge. You are also showing prospective clients or customers that you can be relied upon to turn up.

It takes commitment, durability and a great work ethic, to regularly update a blog. Once you have been blogging for a few years or more, you also have a body of work that shows your longevity. We live in an age where people often set up a website and some social networking accounts, with no track record – and claim to be experienced professionals. Many of my clients told me that the fact they could see years worth of my work on Jim’s Marketing Blog, made them a lot more confident that I was an experienced professional.

Please check out this post’s sponsor: WebFusion.
WebFusion provide reliable web hosting, managed servers and great customer support. Find out more here.

A confession about the blog post I published earlier today

I want to share something with you, about the post I published earlier today.

It was written on an inexpensive, Google Nexus 7 tablet, with no special software. I wrote it straight into the web browser, edited it, added the image and hit the publish button.

nexus 7

Here’s why this matters

In marketing, it’s all too easy for us to get hung-up on the tools we use, when we should be focusing on the outcome. The tools alone are not what make us productive. It’s what we do with them, which determines our productivity and our results. For instance, this post is being written in my studio, using a Lenovo machine that cost me more than 10 times as much as that cheap tablet device.

Now, here’s a question… Can you spot the difference between the two posts?

Of course you can’t spot the difference, because there isn’t one.

The ultimate blogging machine?

When it comes to blogging, newsletter writing or marketing in general, it isn’t the computer you use, which people care about. It’s whether you have written something of value to them – that’s what matters.

  • That’s what earns their attention.
  • That’s what positions you in their mind as an authority in your field.
  • And if you do it frequently enough, it’s also what demonstrates your ability to consistently show up and be useful.

Certainly, get yourself the best machine you can. Then, use it as well as you can, as often as you can.

Photo: Google

Launching today!

I have some exciting news, for those who enjoy reading Jim’s Marketing Blog and those of you, who would like to use my blog as a way to market your business.

Big news

More blog posts and additional, free marketing material

As I wrote in December, I am committed to being of more value to my readers in 2013 than ever before. This means writing more blog posts for you and also developing free marketing materials for you – audio downloads and marketing documents etc. I am extremely excited about this opportunity to be of greater service. Of course, all this additional work means I will need to invest even more of my time, developing content you will find useful.

Spending more of my working hours, writing for you

I currently spend 95% of my working hours each week, working with paying clients. I then spend the remaining 5% of my working hours and some of my personal time, writing posts for the thousands of readers who rely on me for free marketing ideas, tips and advice. That 95% – 5% balance needs to shift somewhat, in order for me to have the time I need, to be of greater service to you. This means me working with fewer paying clients and finding a way for me to cover the lost client income.

I believe I have found a superb answer and that’s what this post is all about.

Let’s promote your business!

Starting today, I am offering you the opportunity to advertise to thousands of business owners, by sponsoring one or more of my blog posts. For the past 5 years, every post I have written has had a very effective, small advertisement under it, offering you my services. That advertising space is now available to you! Just one sponsored message will be available per post.

You now have an opportunity to promote your business, products, services or events, to a great community of small and medium-sized business owners. Your 35 word advertising message, including 1 link, will be added to the bottom of a blog post. See the example below.

ad screen pic

The reason I used this approach myself and now offer it to you, is that it provides 2 huge benefits over ‘normal’ advertisements.

  1. Because your sponsored message is added to the bottom of the actual post, it will be visible not only to those who read Jim’s Marketing Blog, but also the thousands of people who read my posts via email and RSS feed readers. It has proven to be extremely effective.
  2. Your advertisement will remain on the blog for the entire lifetime of Jim’s Marketing Blog. Most advertisements expire after days, weeks or months - yours will live here for years to come. This is really important. Many old posts on this blog are still read every day, some are read dozens of times a day; as new people discover them via search engines and social networks. Whilst it’s obviously impossible to say how many times someone will see your advertisement over the years, the fact it’s here means you could be generating results for years.

To find out how it works, including the price, click here.

Always free

I have always been inspired to help as many people as possible with my work. This means I never considered switching to a paid subscription model. I want the marketing material I write to be available to everyone who needs it.

By replacing the advertisements for my services on some posts, with a sponsored message, readers will notice no difference to their reading experience. As this is a marketing site, read by business owners and entrepreneurs, I know you will appreciate the contribution my sponsors make, funding the time required for me to make Jim’s Marketing Blog a more valuable resource for you.

To promote your business, products, services or events on Jim’s Marketing Blog, click here.

How approachable are you?

How easy is it, for your prospective clients or customers to get in touch with you?

I’m not talking about how visible your phone number, email address and contact form are. I’m referring to something that is just as important and yet seldom written about: How approachable you sound to a prospective client.

how approachable are you

Are you approachable enough?

For example

  • When a prospective client is reading your newsletter, how approachable do you sound to them? The best newsletters are written, so that the author comes across as friendly and informed. The worst are written by people who come across as lacking in personality or distant.
  • When a prospective client reads the comments section on your blog, how approachable do you sound to them? Some bloggers can be patronising or sarcastic when people ask them questions. This is a bad move, if you want prospective clients to feel comfortable contacting you.
  • When a prospective client reads the about page on your website, how approachable do you sound? Many small business owners write their about page in the 3rd person, rather than speak directly to their reader. Instead of saying ‘Hi, thanks for stopping by. My name is Bob and…’ they start with ‘Bob has worked in web design since 2002…’

If we want prospective clients or customers to approach us for help, we need to do everything possible to let them know that we are welcoming and approachable. Business is all about people, so it makes perfect sense to keep it human.

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

How to protect your business from Freebie Seekers

If you use free offers as a way to generate genuine interest from prospective, paying clients, it’s essential that you take freebie seekers into account.

free-tag

Freebie seekers are those people who grab every free offer in sight, with zero intention of ever becoming a paying client or customer. Their actions can discourage you and cause you to make incorrect assumptions when you check your marketing feedback. Here are a few thoughts on freebie seekers, to help you protect your business from the damage they can cause.

Freebie seekers and free offers

When used correctly, a free offer can be a useful marketing tool. However, it’s extremely important to understand that the second you attach the word free to an offer, you will immediately attract the attention of people, with no interest in ever buying anything from you. Whilst free offers are of some interest to prospective paying customers, they are totally irresistible to freebie seekers. They are mesmerised by the idea of getting anything for nothing.

I was prompted to write this post, after hearing a story that happened in a London supermarket recently. A member of the public had to receive medical attention, after eating half a plate of ‘free cheese samples’. This free cheese was in perfect condition and contained a sign explaining that it contained nuts. The customer had a nut allergy! The store manager waited with the customer until the paramedics arrived and could not believe what he told them. He explained that he felt compelled to risk eating the cheese, knowing it contained nuts, because it was there and it was free. It turned out that the customer wasn’t homeless or broke, he said he saw the FREE sign and couldn’t resist a free lunch, before returning to work!

Whilst an extreme case, it’s a mindset that I see all the time as a marketing professional. As a small business owner, you need to be aware of it so that you can factor freebie seekers into your marketing numbers, get a more realistic picture of your feedback and avoid them wasting your time.

Common freebie seeking behaviours

Freebie seekers are usually the first people to respond to a free offer. Sadly, your highly motivated prospective clients will also often reply quickly, which means the freebie seekers can make conversion rates look far lower than they really are. If you make a free offer in an untargeted way, for example, via messages on a social network – expect a high percentage of freebie seekers. You can reduce the percentage of freebie seekers, by making the free offer in a more targeted way, such as through your blog or newsletter.

On the subject of newsletters, freebie seekers are almost always the first to unsubscribe, when you specifically market your paid services. Just as they are quick to respond to a free offer, they are equally quick to run away, the moment they are asked to pay for anything.

Some small business owners make the mistake of not marketing their products or services often enough in their newsletters or blog posts, because they see people unsubscribe. People seriously interested in what you have to say and what you have to offer, will not unsubscribe just because you mention your products or services. Freebie seekers will. Factor this in, when looking at unsubscribe rates.

Stopping freebie seekers from wasting your time and money

The best way to defend yourself against the problems caused by freebie seekers, is to accept that they exist. The only way to avoid them, is to look at alternatives to ‘free’ offers. There are many ways to attract the attention of genuine prospective clients and customers, other than offering freebies. Any good marketing professional can show you what to do and help you avoid a costly mistake.

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

Photo: Glenn Novak

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