Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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Here’s a quick way to make Twitter much more useful!

How useful is Twitter to you and your business?  In this brief post, I share what I have found to be the best way to get the maximum results from your Twitter account.

Twitter is a great tool, but the magic is in the people

Many business owners seem to think of Twitter almost exclusively, as a way to build networks, drive traffic to websites and share interesting links and messages with their followers.  As I saw yet again recently, Twitter can be so much more than that.  The key for me, is to remember always that Twitter is just a tool and that the REAL magic of Twitter, is in the people behind those @usernames and avatars.  These people can be pure gold.

Let me just quantify that: The people who network with me on Twitter are one of the most valuable resources my business has.

Twitter & targeted crowd sourcing

As some of you may already know, yesterday 10-10-10, I launched a new social media project on the Jim Connolly website.  It’s really exciting!  Anyhow, because this project is based on a new idea, I needed to find a way to explain it to people, as clearly as possible.  After writing the initial draft of the site’s about page, which explains everything (you can read it here), I asked people, via twitter, for their feedback.  I wanted to know what the message said to THEM. I received responses from people in different areas of industry, different countries, different ages – You get the idea.  They were also the exact kind of people (small business owners) who would most benefit from this new social media project.

As a direct result of the feedback I received, I was able to launch the site and project yesterday, knowing in advance that I had a clear message.  As a result, the launch was as smooth as silk and the response was fantastic!

Twitter and human engagement

In my experience, Twitter only becomes truly valuable to you and your business, when you focus on the people and NOT the tool itself.  All day long, I see business owners on Twitter obsessing about plugins, apps and sites that measure their influence.  They look for software that automates their Tweets and automates their following and unfollowing.  I even saw a top social media guru asking his followers if it was “OK” for him to send some automated tweets.

It’s correct, of course, to use the right tools but only if they help the real you, connect with the real people that are interested enough to follow you and engage with you.  The automated experience may attract others with a similar approach, but it will miss the mark completely, with those REAL people, who want to connect on a more human level.

What kind of people do YOU connect with on Twitter and why?

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

Think like a lottery winner

Yesterday, someone in the UK won £113m on the euromillions lottery.  I just heard a short extract from a radio station, where they asked listeners what would be the first thing they would do (not buy), if they won all that money.

Each of the 4 replies I heard could be achieved without a lottery win, yet these people seemed to think only a huge cash windfall would make them possible.  You can quit a job you hate or travel to Peru, without being a millionaire.  You can also find the partner of your dreams or start a great little business, without millions in the bank (I did.)

Bogus limitations

Most of the limitations we place on ourselves are completely bogus.  As soon as we apply some thought, it’s clear that with a little planning and a lot of commitment, many of the things we believe to be beyond us, are actually well within our reach.  It’s all about raising the bar on what we believe we are capable of and learning the difference between something that is impossible for us to achieve and something that is challenging.

What bogus limitations are holding you back?

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

How to think with clarity and make more progress than ever before!

Do you ever find yourself suffering from what I call MIND FOG?

This is where you have so much going on that it’s hard to focus with complete clarity, on what you want to achieve.  You end up with lots of lists and even though you seem to be getting things done, you are not making the kind of commercial progress that you want.

Would you like some help?  Great.  Here are 3 questions, designed to remove that foggy thinking and set you on track to clarity and the bankable results you need:

1. If my business was already perfect for me in every way, what would it look like?

Write your answer down, in detail.  Include everything, from what your turnover and profits would be and how many hours you would work, to the profile of your ideal clients and the kind of service you would provide.  Then, each time you have a commercial decision to make, simply ask yourself: “Is this going to take me closer to my ideal business or further away from it?”

Your answer to this simple question provides you with a destination and a direction.  One of the reasons so many businesses spin their wheels and get nowhere, is that they lack that kind of pinpoint focus and clarity.  It’s impossible to identify the right opportunities, unless you are crystal clear about what you want.

2. What is my desired outcome here?

Here’s one of the best pieces of business advice I was ever given: Before you do anything, ALWAYS start with the end in mind.  Don’t waste a minute of your time, an ounce of your energy or a penny of your money, until you know what you want to achieve from something.  For example, most small business owners will set up a Facebook / Twitter / Linkedin account because they think they should or because someone tells them they should – but they have just a foggy idea of what their outcome is.  As a direct result, they have no idea who to connect with or how best to use these tools.

I get emails regularly, from business owners with lots of social networking followers, but nothing in the bank to show for it.  Their foggy thinking at the start, means they connected with the wrong people, in the wrong way, and now use their social network as light relief, rather than a business generating asset.  That’s what happens when you start something, without knowing your outcome in advance.

3. Is this the best use of my time, right now?

One of the core reasons that small business owners fail to reach their potential, even though they work long hours, is that they waste too much of their time on low value activities.

I have seen a £150 an hour lawyer, waste 3 hours of his time trying to fix his email; rather than pay someone a fraction of that amount to do it for him.  Had he asked himself this simple question; “Is this the best use of my time, right now?” he would have immediately realised that it wasn’t, and would have avoided wasting his time, energy and money.  Make it a habit to ask yourself this question throughout the day.  Whenever you find yourself answering; “No, this is not the best use of my time right now”, go and do something that’s of greater value to you and your business.

With so many daily distractions all fighting for your attention throughout the day, it’s important to be in control of your time and that means gaining control of your focus.  This simple question helps you do just that!

(Those 3 questions are a very brief example of the kind of things I work on with my clients, there’s more here.)

It’s just too easy to mistake movement for progress.  It’s also unnecessary, yet without a crystal clear idea of exactly what you want to achieve and the ability to get things done, it’s impossible to make much progress no matter how hard you work.  Like they say, if hard work were the secret to success, our grandparents would have been millionaires.

I hope you found those 3 questions useful.  If you did, please share them with your friends!

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

If you don’t do this NOW, you will hate yourself later.

Every small business owner is gifted the same fantastic opportunity:

“Do I do whatever is required in order to offer an exceptional service, or just offer a ‘good’ service like all the others?”

If they elect to take it easy, life can be hard!

Great marketing is not enough to encourage people to fall in love with an average service.  Even so, small business owners will happily waste hours each month, trying to market an average service so that it sounds a little more attractive.  How many small business owners take this route?  The majority!  Just look at all those average providers you see.

If they elect to get serious, life will be easy!

Great marketing combined with a superior service is the secret behind the success of every business.  No matter how enigmatic Steve Jobs is, the iPhone would not have been an international best-seller unless it was a superior product.  How many business owners take this route?  Very few!  That’s because it requires you paying the price for success in advance.  It requires making a product or service exceptional, and that means thinking, planning, studying and taking the action required.

Decide NOW to make your service so uniquely valuable, that when people hear about it they become immediately attracted to it.  Make it so attractive that people will bug you because they desperately want to be your customer.  I’m telling you: Armed with that kind of proposition you can achieve anything with your business.

Is it easy?

No, of course not!

Is it possible?

Yes, of course it is!

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

Is guest blogging right for you?

I’m often asked why this blog does not have guest bloggers; usually by people who want to write here.  I would like to share the answer with you, because I think it may be useful to those of you who are wondering whether to have a multi-authored blog or not.

The first thing to say, is that there is no universal right way or wrong way to run your blog.  Single authored blogs and multi-authored blogs can both work extremely well.  It all depends on what you want to achieve.  Let’s start off with why this blog is a single authored blog.

Guest bloggers: Why I don’t use them here

This site is what’s known as a positioning blog or authority blog.  It’s purpose is to help me build a relationship with you, where I give you lots of free marketing and business development ideas.  Then, when you decide you would like professional help with your marketing, you already have a relationship with me, where I am positioned as someone that you can trust for effective marketing results.  Through the blog, you get to see the quality of my work on a regular basis and also connect with me with comments and emails.

Whilst some positioning blogs DO use guest bloggers, I find that this often makes the quality of the content erratic.  Equally, because there is no relationship between the guest blogger and the readership, readers can be left wondering if the guest blogger is qualified to give them advice.

If I go to Seth Godin’s blog, I know exactly what to expect and I trust the information 100%.  That’s the model I use here and it works extremely well for me.

Guest bloggers and multi-authored blogs

Most of the world’s best read blogs are multi-authored.  These blogs are owned by people with a very different business model to my own.  They are not interested in selling the services of the blog’s owner as a specialist.  Instead, they have a business model based heavily on the sale of advertising.  For these guys, it’s all about page views and click-throughs’.  Pete Cashmore’s mashable is a great example of this, as is Michael Arrington’s techcrunch; which was sold to AOL last week for tens of millions of dollars!

Many smaller blogs use a similar multi-author approach, but for slightly different reasons.  Whilst sites like mashable and techcrunch need lots of authors, because they report on the news and are updated many times each day, smaller sites will bring in guest bloggers as a way of building their reader numbers and adding variety to their blog’s content.  This can be extremely effective and many respected sites use this approach.  One very successful example is problogger, which has built a massive, targeted readership using a variety of guest bloggers.

Unlike the big multi-authored blogs, these smaller ones tend to be owned by people who DO sell their services via the blog, but who also offer affiliate products and/or advertising.  In order to make their affiliate programs work, they need to get their blog in front of lots of new readers, on a regular basis.  This is because only a subset of their readers will buy their affiliate products, and once this percentage has been reached, the blog owner needs new readers.  As affiliate fees tend to be relatively small, sites that rely heavily on affiliate income need a regular supply of new visitors.

Good guest bloggers can bring this kind of targeted traffic with them.

Guest bloggers almost always have their own blogs and their own social networks, followers and fans.  Typically, when a blogger writes a guest post, they will tell their network, many of whom will go and read it.  If the guest blogger is well connected, the traffic they bring with them can be huge.  This provides an immediate traffic boost for the person, who owns the blog they are guesting on.

So, the guest blogger gains access to the blog owner’s readership, whilst the blog owner gains access to a subset of the guest blogger’s readers and contacts.  This strategy is extremely common and is an alternative to being an associated blogger, for those who prefer to be independent.

As you can see, it’s all about matching your approach to what you feel comfortable with and what you want to achieve.  You can use either route very successfully and as I said at the start, there is no right or wrong method.

What works best for you?

Which style of blogging do you use and what do you see as the benefits?  Please share your feedback with your fellow readers and myself.

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

Here’s who I learn from every single day!

Although I have had the privilege of working with, and studying, some amazing people, there is one amazing human being who manages to teach me something new every single day.

  • He is fearless.
  • He is non-judgemental.
  • He is always willing to help and spends some of his time teaching children how to read.
  • He always hugs his friends when he meets them.
  • He is extremely creative.
  • He loves to learn and is always asking questions.
  • He’s great company to be around and people always greet him with a smile.
  • He reads something educational and inspirational every single day.
  • When he laughs, he REALLY laughs.
  • He’s a fantastic dancer!

He’s also my 5 year old son!

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

How to write marketing messages that really work!

Marketing messages that inspire people to take positive action are what every business person needs, if they want to massively increase their sales, revenues and profits.

Here’s a simple idea, which can help you quickly improve your marketing messages and your marketing results.  It’s all about becoming a collector and a student.

Marketing collection

Look through your inbox, RSS reader, mail etc, for any marketing material that inspired YOU to take the kind of action you want others to take, when they read YOUR marketing messages.  So, collect the; emails, blog posts, letters, advertisements and anything else that you read, which inspired you to take action.

Marketing study

Next, study each message and see what you can learn, from the way it was written and presented.  For example:

  • What kind of headlines (sometimes called straplines) did they use?
  • What kind of calls to action did they use?
  • How long was the gap, between each of their marketing messages.  For example, did they email you once a week or three times a week?
  • What kind of promises did they make?
  • What kind of guarantees did they offer?
  • How many words did they use?
  • What kind of carrier did they use?  (In other words, what kind of envelope did the letter come in, what type of theme did the blog use, what style of template did the newsletter / email marketing use, etc.)
  • What was it that they said, which caused you to believe you could trust them?  How did they win your confidence?

In short: Keep a copy of everything that has inspired you to take the kind of action, which you want others to take regarding your business.  Then, study what you have collected and look for the gold.  Apply what you have discovered into your own marketing and see if you can replicate the magic!

By the way, if you found this useful, please subscribe to the blog for free and never miss another post!

Give me 3 minutes and I will improve your marketing results!

Here’s one of the easiest ways to improve the effectiveness of your marketing.  I think I can get the message across to you in less than 3 minutes.  Let’s see!

It can all be summed up in these 3 words: Make it easy!

Make it easy

Make it easy for people to find information on your website. Don’t hide great content; make it findable.  Use simple navigation.  Offer a search option.

Make it easy for people to contact you. This means not only offering them your contact details, but letting them know you want to hear from them.  Show them that you are approachable, friendly and willing to help.  Let them know that they will not be under any obligation when they speak with you.  And NEVER offer people a premium rate number as the way to contact you with a business inquiry.  This is a barrier that most sensible people will refuse to cross.

Make it easy for people to trust you. Don’t subscribe people to your mailing list without their permission, or send them DM spam on Twitter, or use your social networks to simply broadcast your latest deals or offers to people.  Demonstrate, by the way you conduct yourself, that you are worthy of their trust.

One of the reasons I work as a mentor to lots of marketing professionals, is that they trust my integrity.  They know that I will discretely help them to market their own marketing services and give them all my most powerful marketing ideas. Trust is supremely important.

Make it easy for people to see the value of your product or service. Use plain English to point out your most powerful benefits in as few words as possible.  Avoid buzzwords.  Embrace clarity.

Make it easy for people to share your message. For example, when I wrote a marketing newsletter, I had a simple link in each newsletter, which people could use to forward the newsletter to their friends.  Equally, there was also a link their friends could click, which put them on the subscriber list if they wanted to join.

Now, I make it easy for people to share my work, using the social networking options below.  Feel free to test them and share this post!

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

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