Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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Targeted marketing: See how easily you can make more sales!

This post is all about targeted marketing and why YOUR marketing needs to be targeted, if you are serious about developing your business.

targeted marketing, target marketing, focusHere’s a great example of targeted marketing for you.  I am around 99% certain that you are a business owner.  In fact, I believe you either own a business, or are a consultant or a freelancer.

I was spot on or pretty close, wasn’t I?

How was I able to be so sure?

Targeted marketing

I have grown the readership of this site, via targeted marketing.  Everything I have done in order to develop this blog, has been based around attracting the attention of intelligent, small business owners who want better sales results for their businesses.  The content here is also targeted, with everything I have written, focused on the subject of marketing and business development.

As a direct result, I have a highly targeted readership of small business owners; the exact profile of people who use my marketing services.

Targeted marketing and time wasters

Just as targeted marketing delivers targeted results, the opposite is also true.  Small business owners, who use a less focused approach to their marketing, tend to attract a little of everything.  As a result, they typically get fewer business inquiries and many of the inquiries they do receive, are from the wrong kind of people.

For example, I spoke with a business owner recently, who told me how frustrated she was with all the time wasters who contacted her.  I asked her what she meant by time wasters.  Was she referring to people who were asking her for free advice?  No.  She said she was referring to the number of people who contact her looking for help in areas that she doesn’t cover.  Similarly, I receive emails all the time, from people who complain that their prospective clients are too fee sensitive.  With a little investigation, I often find that they are marketing a premium quality service, to people who buy bargain bucket services.  That’s what happens when you fail to target your marketing correctly.

If you find that you are attracting the wrong kind of inquiries, or enquiries from the wrong end of the market, it’s entirely possible that the focus of your marketing needs to be improved.  If you use social networks to randomly connect with people because they look interesting, that’s a GREAT strategy for socialising; however, it’s less effective if you are looking to build a targeted network of great business contacts and prospective clients.  It’s like attending a networking event and randomly talking only to the first 10 people you see; rather than being a little wiser and connecting with the 10 most suitable people in the room.

Targeted marketing messages

When you write, do you write for as wide an audience as possible?  Do you try to tell everyone who could possibly buy from you, every benefit of your services?  If you do, you are making a mistake!  Your marketing needs to be targeted to your prospective clients and their needs.  That’s all.  By trying to be vaguely relevant to everyone, your message becomes weakened.  In order to compel or inspire people to call you, visit you, email you or click your links, your marketing needs to motivate them to take action.  This means delivering targeted marketing messages to the right people!

If you want to be able to confidently predict who sees your marketing, and therefore contacts you, get specific.  Don’t focus on the size of your network or the number of leads you generate, until you are attracting the right people.

Your feedback

How targeted is your approach to marketing? Do you write exclusively for your target market, or for everyone who could possibly buy from you?  How confident are you, that 95% of your readership are the exact people you need to market to?  Please take a moment to share your feedback.

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

What everyone needs to know about success and failure!

My mentor, Jim Rohn, used to say that we must each experience one of the following:

  • The pain of discipline.
  • Or the pain of regret / disappointment.

The pain of discipline weights ounces.

The pain of regret weighs TONS!

As business owners, we each have the opportunity to REALLY go for it and see just how far all our ideas and hard work can take us.  However, to benefit from our best ideas, we need to give them the wings they need in order to fly. This means putting them into action.

There’s a risk involved here, because we may well fail.  In fact, we could end up failing a number of times, in order to find and benefit from the ideas that lead us to the major breakthroughs that are required for extraordinary success.

How willing are you to get it wrong?

How prepared are you to throw all your energy into something, without the guarantee of success?  It has been my personal experience that the more willing you are to accept the occasional knock-back, the greater your chances are of achieving your full potential.  It has often been said, that if you want to achieve more, you need to increase your failure rate.  Whilst this may sound counter-intuitive, it makes perfect sense.  The only people who seldom fail, are those who do nothing.  They listen to advice, attend the classes, read the books – Then do nothing.

Gather your best ideas and put them into play.  Give them everything you have got.  Make the phone calls, write the emails, make the connections, meet with the people.  Do whatever is required, to give your ideas the opportunity to succeed.

I’m telling you, the results can be life changing!

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

Jim Connolly and Facebook: Back together again!

jim connolly facebook

I’ve decided to rejoin Facebook, after an absence of a couple of years.  My decision comes following the recent changes Facebook have made, regarding user privacy and their decision to allow users to get all their information back, if they delete their Facebook account.  These latest moves suggest to me that Facebook is finally starting to take the needs of it’s users more seriously.

Jim Connolly on Facebook

If you would like to connect with me, there is now a Facebook Page for Jim’s Marketing Blog, which you can join me on if you want even more free marketing and business development info.  Of course, I also have a Facebook account, where we can be friends if you want to connect with me and share ideas.

I look forward to connecting with you and getting to know you even better!

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

The secret to achieving your best results ever in 2011!

As you get within touching distance of a New Year, you are presented with an amazing opportunity.  You can either watch your business get a year older or you can help your business become a year better.

A year better

To make your business a year better, you need to do two things:

  1. Collect every business lesson you have learned this year.
  2. Invest what you have learned into 2011.

In real terms, this means making a few tough decisions.  It means accepting that there are things you do (and have probably done for years) which are not helping your business, but are somehow “comfortable”.  Success comes from doing what is right, rather than what is easy, which is why so few people ever achieve real success.  The easy route is exactly that: Easy.  It’s also pointless, from a commercial development point of view.

People taking the easy approach do not get a New Year on the first day of January.  They simply get another chance to relive the same old year over again!

The world is full of business owners, who complain but stay the same.  They want things to improve, but they keep doing what’s easy, rather than fixing what’s broken. The challenge here, is that this form of neglect is so subtle.  You see, these errors in judgement, repeated each day, seem to have little negative impact on us in the short term. It’s only when we pull back and look at our overall progress (or lack of progress) that we see the cumulative damage caused.

What areas of your business are silently begging for your attention?

Find them.  Put a plan together to fix what’s wrong and work that plan!  If you know there’s something wrong in a particular area of your business, but you are not sure what it is or how to fix it, speak to someone who has the answers you need as soon as possible. Expert advice from a great; accountant, business advisor, marketing professional or IT consultant etc, can help you turn things around and get your business moving forward.

Remember this wonderful old saying: “If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got!”

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

 

Photo: Junichiro Aoyama

What could possibly be better than an extra hour asleep?

Here in Europe, the clocks went back 1 hour last night.  In essence, this means that there’s an extra hour today, for people to use however they please.

What I find interesting, is that it sounds like most people seem intent on spending this extra hour ASLEEP!

Assuming Bob went to sleep at the usual time last night, there’s no physical need for him to have an additional hour’s sleep today.  However, if Bob is like most people, he would benefit from using that extra hour in a different way.

  • He may invest an extra 60 minutes today, in quiet contemplation.
  • He could invest those 60 minutes, calling someone he hasn’t spoken to for a while, who may need to hear a friendly voice right now.
  • Or what about investing those extra 60 minutes, in spending more time today with the people he loves?

Sleeping is an important part of being fit and healthy.  Sleeping for more hours than you need, just because it’s the most obvious way to “invest” that extra hour, isn’t.

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

How NOT to get what you want!

It was 5:15pm on a Friday evening when I received his call.

He told me his name, then said;

“Hi Jim, I read your blog and have a site which I would like you to link to.”

Now, he seemed like a nice guy, but I had no idea who he was – Just what he wanted from me.  I have no idea what his site was about, whether it was packed with malware, filled to the brim with viruses, overflowing with inaccurate content or even if it was legal.  There was clearly no way I would link to it.  All I know is that he called me, at the end of business, on a Friday and completely unprepared.

A little forward planning goes a long way.

Although this was an extreme example of how not to get what you want, I see many people make at least one of those errors every day.  If we want our requests to be taken seriously, we need to be a lot more measured and professional in how we approach people.  No one really gives a rats-ass what YOU want, which is why we can’t just demand our way to success.  We need to work WITH people.  We need to form relationships.  We need to show OUR willingness to help and support others.

Then maybe, just maybe, people will feel that they want to help us too.

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

What everybody ought to know about building a successful business!

Have you ever wondered why some business owners refuse to invest in your services, even though they really need them?  Here’s what I have discovered, having worked with thousands of small business owners.

I was prompted to write this post, after speaking with 3 people recently, (purely by coincidence), who were each failing in their attempt to make a living as “life coaches.”  It’s little wonder.  Their services looked identical, just like (literally) hundreds of thousands of other life coaches, and there was nothing at all to motivate someone to hire THEM as opposed to anyone else in their industry.  None of them had any marketing experience and all 3 confirmed that they were earning practically nothing from their failing businesses.

Even so, all 3 were committed to developing their businesses without expert help, during the worst economy in living memory, knowing they were going broke.

Why?

All 3 gave me the same answer: Lack of money.

That’s the wrong answer, by the way!

Think about it for a moment: Almost every successful business starts off with little or nothing in the bank. Their challenge is not a financial one, if it was, only well funded businesses would succeed and that’s very much not the case.  In fact, some of the world’s most successful businesses, including Facebook, started off with little or nothing.  Facebook famously started off with just $1,000.

To give you a picture of that mindset in action, you need only look at the answer one of the life coaches gave me, when I asked him why he refused to invest in getting a local marketing guy in to help his business, when he so desperately needed marketing help.

I simply asked him: “You said that local marketing providers were too expensive for you to work with, how much did they quote you?

His answer: “Oh, I have no idea.  I haven’t spoken with any marketing people, they charge too much!”

That’s right, he had no clue what the cost was.  He just decided that whatever it was, it was going to be too expensive!  His barrier wasn’t financial, it was a mental block around investing in his business.  That may sound odd to you, but it’s an extremely common response from people who have decided that whatever the cost of expert help, it’s always going to be too much.

So, what is it that causes someone to try and compete in an overcrowded marketplace, during the most competitive economy in living memory, with no expert help?

I have worked with well over a thousand businesses over the past 15 years and have found that many small business owners simply lack the commercial edge required, to make it in business.  They are often passionate about the service they provide and in many cases, offer a great service too, but they are so focused on what they fear (loss) that they are blind to opportunities for growth.

As a result of failing to invest in their businesses correctly, through fear of loss, they paradoxically make it impossible to succeed.

In short: Where a businessperson or entrepreneur will see opportunity, they see only the potential for loss.  With that kind of mindset, it’s impossible to succeed at anything, including business.

The mindset of success

Just as the people I mentioned earlier made a conscious decision not to invest in their businesses, others I speak to, with little or no money, still managed to get the expert help their businesses needed.  These remarkable individuals have a very different mindset.  They make decisions based on what’s right for their business, rather than what’s easy.  They weigh up opportunities based on the potential for gain and loss and if the potential for gain is far greater, they do it.  Their failing counterparts will look for 100% guarantees, so elect to do nothing and thus miss everything.

I have met, spoken with and occasionally worked with, business owners who have had to make some tough decisions, in order to get the money required to get their business the technology, machinery, equipment or professional advice it needed in order to succeed.

They knew what was needed and they did what was required.

Our ability to look at the bigger picture and make the right decisions is ultimately what will determine how far we can go.  Each time we starve our business of the things it needs, we make it harder to survive, let alone thrive.

Thankfully, when we make decisions based on what’s right, rather than what’s easy, we move forward.  If we want to know how well our current mindset is serving us, we need only look at our results.  If we want better results, we need to take better actions and that comes when we make better decisions.

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

4 ways to grow your business!

There are 4 ways to grow a business, which you need to focus on if you want to dramatically improve your marketing results.  Here are all 4, along with a brief explanation of each and some ideas on how to benefit form them:

  1. Win more clients.
  2. Increase the transaction value of your existing clients.
  3. Increase the frequency of your client’s purchasing.
  4. Reduce the number of clients who leave (what we call attrition.)

Your marketing strategy, should include plans for you to grow your business, using all 4 of the above areas.

Grow your business by attracting more clients

The first way to grow your business, is to attract more great clients or customers, (herein called clients.)  You do this by offering your marketplace compelling, uniquely valuable reasons to use YOUR services.  Remember, people will only be motivated to become your client, if YOU motivate them enough.  It’s easier for them to stay where they are, so your messages need to (literally) move them to take action.

It’s not enough to sound just like all the others in your space.  It’s not enough to make the same tired promises or offer a similar range of services or products.  You need to get creative and give inspiring, compelling reasons for people to buy from you.  If you do, they will.

Grow your business by increasing the value of transactions

You should look for ways to increase the value of your clients overall spend with you.  This means introducing new services or products for them to purchase, which will deliver outstanding value and enrich their lives, their businesses or both.  It’s NOT about just increasing your prices or fees every year.

Find out what issues, problems or challenges your clients are experiencing right now and look for ways to help them, with new services or products.  It is far, far easier, and more profitable, for you to sell a 2nd or 3rd service to your existing clients, than for you to successfully win 2 or 3 times as many clients.  This is the fastest way to increase your overall profits and revenue.

As well as looking for new services to offer, I also strongly suggest you offer your clients a platinum or diamond version of your current services.  People are busy and quality never goes out of style.  You may be surprised to discover how highly people value an elite version of your services.

Grow your business by increasing the frequency of your client’s transactions

Check that your clients are buying from you frequently enough, for them to get the very best results.  Jay Abraham used to give a great example of this.  He would say that if you sold water-coolers and you knew that in order for your client’s staff to be fully hydrated and healthy, they needed 5 glasses of water a day, (but they were only buying the equivalent of 3 glasses a day), you had a professional obligation to help them make the right decision and get all the water they needed.  Only increase the frequency of a client’s purchases, when it’s in THEIR interest to do so – Not yours.

Grow your business by retaining more clients for longer

You should seek to reduce the number of clients that stop using your services or buying your products.  We call this your attrition rate.  The bottom line here is that you will grow your business faster and have a far more robust business, if you retain as many clients as possible.

Client retention is all about listening to your clients and taking heed of what they say.  Offer your clients what they want and provide it to them, to the very best of your abilities.  Have a process in place, to connect with clients who have not been in touch with you for a while.  Deal with client issues quickly and thoroughly.  Treat customer service as a marketing component – Because that’s what it is.

Don’t be like those companies, who treat people like royalty during the purchase process, then pass them over to a disinterested “account executive” once they have signed the contract.  Also, whenever a client switches from you to a new provider, ask them why.  Give them an exit call or send them an exit survey.

Listen to them.  Learn from them.

So, those are the 4 ways to grow your business.  Make them the cornerstone of your marketing strategy and it will ensure that you are covering all the bases.

Your tips please!

Do you have any tips for your fellow readers, regarding any of the 4 ways to grow a business mentioned here?  If you do, please share them!

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

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