Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Category: Social media marketing (page 7 of 39)

The Microsoft Xbox One marketing lesson

xbox one u-turn, microsoft

There is something democratizing about marketing these days, as Microsoft’s launch of their Xbox One console demonstrated beautifully.

That’s because today, the marketplace, your prospective clients and customers, have a voice like never before.

The barrier has never been lower

A small business owner with a superb product, who knows how to market it correctly, can harness the power of online communication to attract thousands or millions of potential customers. There are countless examples of businesses, products and services, which have become massively successful, without spending megabucks on advertising or huge launch events.

Microsoft Xbox One back track

Conversely, a multi billion dollar company can misread the market and get their message horribly wrong, as happened with the launch of Microsoft’s Xbox One.

All Microsoft’s money and influence was not enough to save them from an embarrassing U-turn, when users got news of some extremely unpopular ‘features’. The Xbox One team are now trying to repair the damage caused and it will not be inexpensive or easy.

The Xbox One marketing lesson

Whatever line of business you are in and whatever size your marketing budget is, never underestimate the power of combining a great product, with effective marketing.

Unlike the Xbox One team, listen to your marketplace… THEN give them a superior product and a compelling reason to talk about it.

3 Ways to grow your business for pennies

A lot of small business owners are struggling financially right now. So today, I am going to give you 3 ideas you can work on, which will help you grow your business for pennies or less!

free marketing tips

1. You can delight your customers more than your competitors do

This is one of the smartest marketing investments you can make. By delighting your existing customers, they become a superb source of new, high quality business. When someone receives an exceptional level of service from you, they tell people. They spread the word about your business.

Additionally, you will find that you retain your existing customers. This is really important. Otherwise, developing your business is like filling a bucket, which has a hole in it.

The key thing to remember here, is that the process of giving and receiving starts with giving.¬†If you want your customers or clients to tell the world about you, you need to deliver an experience that’s worth talking about, first.

2. You can outsmart your competitors

Creative thinking costs nothing. By improving your creative thinking skills, you can get ahead faster and fly higher. You can spot opportunities that most people miss. You can solve problems faster and with better, more profitable answers.

Some people claim they are not creative, which is factually incorrect. We are born creative. However, to tap into our creativity and get the best results, we can all use a little help.

That’s why I have written dozens of creative thinking articles for you, on my creative thinking website. It contains dozens of free articles and videos, to show you how to think creatively, generate ideas and solve problems.

3. You can engage with your marketplace & learn what matters to them

Social networks make it easier than ever to connect with your future customers or clients. The majority of small business owners use these networks to sell or they automate their activity. They treat social networks as a broadcast medium, rather than a communication medium.

The smartest people use a human approach to social networks. They build relationships with people and listen to the needs of their marketplace. My best advice is to reach out in a human way. It works!

Bloggers: Social search and the freedom to focus on quality

Social search is changing the game for business owners who blog and create content. Thankfully, it’s changing things in our favour and that’s what today’s post is all about.

Even the best search engine is flawed

Whilst regarded by many as the best search engine available, even Google search is extremely easy to fool and still often rewards frequently updated content, over high quality content. As a result, people like myself who find it easy to write regularly, and those who use super-smart SEO to game Google, often outrank far better writers.

The answer is here… well, almost!

Thankfully, traditional search is becoming less and less relevant, as social search, (recommendations from our social networks), soar. I can either go to Google or Bing and search for what a machine ‘thinks’ is a great article about marketing – or I can see what my friends, the people I know and trust, recommend.

Google themselves really get social search and have spent hundreds of millions of dollars (maybe more) on the development of their own social network. Whilst the Google team do not call Google+ a social network, it’s a place where you can network and share ideas with like-minded people. I connect there with almost 20,000 people and it certainly feels like a social network – a darn good one, too! You can join me on Google+ here.

Social recommendations from people you trust

Even if your prospective customers are not asking their networks for recommendations, it has never been easier for them to find what their friends recommend.

With the advent of Facebook’s social graph, you will soon be able to get that information extremely quickly. Twitter search and Google+ search are already there and make it simple to see what your friends recommend. The image below is a screen shot of what I saw, when I did a Google+ search, to see what business books were being recommended by people I know.

I trust this far more than a search result, which could well have been gamed.

social search

 

Freedom to focus on quality

I believe that those who have been put off blogging, because they either lacked the inclination to publish regularly or the time / money to get their SEO ‘right’, should reconsider.

I suggest they change their approach, so that they focus on publishing useful blog posts, when they have something useful to share – then share it on their social networks. If they are writing something of value, their friends will share it with their friends and a subset of THEIR friends will share it…

Ironically, if enough of their friends link to it and share it, it may also do well in search engines. This is especially the case if you use basic SEO (and you should).

For WordPress bloggers, I recommend Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin. It gives you the freedom to write exclusively for humans, whilst making your work visible by getting the basics right.

Google doesn’t own your voice!

Google is just a company, a huge and influential company, but just a company. Don’t give them too much control over what you have to say. You own your voice – not Google.

  • Tell us who you are and what you know.
  • Tell us how you can help.
  • Answer our most pressing questions.
  • Become a valued online resource.

The search engines may or may not ‘rank’ all that value. However, people will and it’s people who hire you and buy from you. It’s the model I have used here for almost 6 years and it works extremely well.

Social Business: Before you publish, press pause and think

online reputation

I want you to think about the following for a moment:

  • The last tweet you sent.
  • The last blog post you published.
  • The last marketing email you sent.
  • The last blog comment you made.
  • The last Facebook status you wrote.

First impressions count

Each of those actions, could easily be someone’s first exposure to you. If so, it will form their first impression of you. First impressions count, even if they are inaccurate. First impressions count, even if you are having a bad day.

In business, the impact of a bad first impression can be huge. That’s because you often don’t get a second chance.

So, hit pause and think

It always pays to pause for a few moments before you publish anything, especially if you are angry or in a bad frame of mind. Think. Never underestimate the impact of an angry tweet or a caustic blog comment, etc. Once it’s published, it’s out there. It’s in play. It’s carrying your name. It’s carrying your reputation.

Today, prospective clients and customers habitually research us via search engines and our social networking accounts, before contacting us. Thankfully, we have total freedom over what we say and thus, what we think is perfectly acceptable for prospective clients and customers to discover about us.

Our freedom of choice on this speaks volumes about us – and it does so all day, every day.

I can help you build a massively successful business. To find out more click here!

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
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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.

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