Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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I’m having lunch with Megan Fox!

When it comes to communicating, it’s often what a person elects NOT to say, that has most impact on the way their message is received.

Lunch with 2 beautiful women

In 45 minutes time, my wife and myself shall be having lunch with Megan Fox.  I don’t mean we will be having lunch, whilst watching Megan in a movie; we will be sitting at the same table, talking with Megan – Just like we did on Sunday.

Here’s the thing:  Megan Fox isn’t Microsoft!

There’s only one Microsoft, but there are thousands of people called Megan Fox, including my family friend.  My friend is not Megan Fox the actress, she’s Megan Fox, who works at my pal’s restaurant.

It would have been 100% accurate for me to have told you that my wife and I will be meeting with Megan Fox for lunch today, and just left it at that.  However, it would also have been totally misleading.

Many business owners elect to selectively omit key information when marketing their services.  For example, in the UK, broadband Internet providers were recently told they had to stop advertising their fastest possible speeds as their headline speed, because only a small number of their users would actually receive that fast a service from them.  The vast majority of their users get a much slower service than that headline speed.

With the advent of social media / social networks, this is a very risky strategy.  The marketplace is better connected today than ever before.  The marketplace also has a voice, with consumers increasingly proactive in sharing their experiences of providers.  The companies that mislead the marketplace risk losing everything, however, those who who are genuinely exceptional have an opportunity to generate more word-of-mouth referrals than ever before!

What’s the answer for these companies?

Here are a few suggestions that will grab the marketplace’s attention and turn their clients into passionate advocates of their company:

  • Build a great service and tell people how great it is.
  • Develop a wonderful product and tell people how wonderful it is.
  • Offer exceptional customer service excellence and tell people how exceptional your customer service is.

What am I missing from this list?  Please share your ideas.

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

Consider it done? You’ve GOT to be kidding!

One of the things you really don’t need in business, is a reputation for being unreliable.

Although we often hear people discussing the well-known business development adage; that we should under promise and/or over deliver, few people talk about the commercial consequences of the exact opposite.  Few people discus the often serious consequences to one’s reputation, of over promising and/or under delivering.

Over promising or under delivering

Right now, there are approximately 200 trees around my home, which are at least 25% too high.  They were supposed to have been trimmed in July, then again in August.  In both cases, the businesses who said they would do the job, wasted weeks of my time before admitting that it was too big a task for them.  They were small local businesses, which I wanted to support with my custom.  It’s a big, expensive, profitable job and I am a passionate advocate of helping small businesses.  Each business owner chose to tell me that they could do the work and would do it, even agreeing start dates; before eventually admitting it was out of their league and they couldn’t hire the manpower needed.  They over promised and failed to deliver.

The marketing value of a reputation for reliability

In an ever-changing world, there is a HUGE commercial benefit, for those of us who develop strong reputations for reliability.  Every time we tell a client or contact that we will deliver a great project by a certain date or time, and we do, we increase our value to that person enormously.  Every time we tell someone that we will call them / email them in 2 hours and we do, again, we elevate their perception of us.

The opposite is also true and in my experience, far, far more common – So much so that those people / businesses that deliver a quality product, on time actually stand out! 

How stupid is that?  We are working in the toughest economic climate in living memory, and you can still shine within your industry, purely by doing what you said you would!

What do you feel, about companies and people, who regularly under deliver?  If someone is good at their job, but is known as being unreliable, would you still recommend them to your clients, contacts or friends?  Maybe you would feel that the damage that it could cause to your reputation by recommending an unreliable provider is just not worth it?

Let me know what you think!

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

Photo: Kriss Szkurlatowski

Act first, think second, regret third!

If you take a look through the settings on Gmail, there’s a feature which allows you to “undo” the sending of your email and stop the email being delivered.  This feature has been so popular, that last week they announced it has been extended and improved.  It seems a huge number of people send emails and then decide they have made a mistake.  They act first, think second.

They click send – THEN they think about what they just did!

Act first, think second

Many of the marketing problems people talk to me about, are examples of this act first, think second approach to business development.  For example, they send an email or 2 to a list of prospective  customers, get little if any response and then ask me why; rather than speak with me first or do some research.  Had they done a little marketing research, they would have discovered that one-off emails seldom work.  They would have seen that they need an email marketing campaign if they want worthwhile results; where each email builds upon the previous one.  Marketing in isolation is rarely effective.

There is an old saying that advises us; “act in haste, repent at leisure.”

Yes, it’s good to get things done, but not if speed comes before quality. Otherwise, we risk confusing movement with progress and end up working hard, yet achieving little by way of results.

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

What type of business are you building right now?

Developing a successful business is challenging enough, when you know precisely what you are working toward.  However, when you are unclear about your commercial end game, you make it massively more difficult to succeed.

It’s like setting off on a trip somewhere you’ve never been before, with no directions.  You just end up following whatever roads look most promising; not knowing if they are taking you closer to, or further from, where you need to be.  This may work as a strategy for a Sunday afternoon drive, but it makes for commercial chaos when applied to business.

If you haven’t done this for a while, why not take some time out to get specific about just what you want to achieve commercially in the long term.  Be as specific as you can be and use as many numbers as you can.  For example:  Avoid terms like “I want to build a business that will make me financially independent” and find out what figure you would need to have, in order to achieve financial independence.

Without knowing your end game, you find yourself reacting to whatever the working day throws at you.

When you know what your end game is, you can take control and proactivey make decisions based on what you want to achieve.

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

People are venting but is anyone listening?

When you get bad service from a provider or a product lets you down, what do you do?  Increasingly, people are venting their frustration or anger via social media.

For service providers, who care about their customers (which is more than you may think) this presents an opportunity.  Using very simple, freely available tools, they can track mentions of their brand, service or product names and learn from what their customers are saying.  They can interact with their customers before greater damage is done to the relationship.

Of course, in order for this to work, they need to be listening.

The brands that elect not to listen, are not only missing out on some incredibly valuable feedback, they are also missing out on the opportunity to reach out to their customers and retain their business.  It’s a lot less expensive to retain a customer than it is to win a new customer or motivate someone to switch brands, so it makes sense on many levels for companies to monitor and interact with their marketplace.

The savvy business owner is always listening

He or she not only monitors what their own customers are saying, but also what their prospective customers are saying.  They know that if they spot a common problem among their prospective customers, which is causing people to want to vent their frustration, they can adapt their offering to answer that problem and stand a real chance of winning that slice of dissatisfied people.

Whilst most of the marketing emphasis regarding social media, seems to be about building your follower / friend numbers, it’s also important for you to listen to your marketplace.  The rewards can be amazing.

Do you monitor what your marketplace is saying via social media?

What tools do you use and recommend?

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

What have you got cooking?

In seconds, I can spot a small business that is being marketed without professional help.

That’s because there is a recipe, which all struggling small businesses follow, when it comes to marketing.   Here are 3 of the most common examples from the recipe for small business marketing failure:

  1. Use a similar approach to marketing and make similar promises about service, as your competitors.  This leaves your prospective clients with your price or fee as the only way to differentiate you from your competitors.  Equally, by blending into the background, you attract fewer leads too.  So, that’s fewer leads and they come from people who are fee sensitive. That makes this one a lose, lose.
  2. Insist on using amateur copy writing to market your services, rather than having your material written professionally.  I’ve seen professional copy out perform copy written by an intelligent business owner, by thousands (THOUSANDS) of percent – Even though they were sent to the same database and had the exact same offer.  By “saving” a few pennies, the small business owner is usually missing out on thousands or much, much more.  It’s insane.
  3. Having a website that looks nice, but is little more than an online brochure; rather than a dynamic, lead generating machine.  I’m totally lost why small business owners keep on getting this one wrong.  Is it that hard to figure out that the Internet is where your customers are and the place where well over 95% of all customers research new suppliers?  Get your site visible through effective Internet marketing and have it professionally copy written, so that it inspires or compels people to get in touch.

Of course, there is also a recipe for small business marketing success

The reason so few people follow the small business recipe for marketing success, is that unlike the recipe for failure (which is generic) the recipe for success is specific to that individual business, their unique resources and what they want to achieve.  Any small business, using the recipe above will slowly go broke; regardless of their industry or how hard they work.  However, for that same small business to succeed, they need a recipe for success (or marketing strategy), that’s based around their unique situation.

For example; how much time do they have available each week, purely for marketing?  A business with lots of time available for marketing will need a very different strategy from one that has less time. Equally important, different people feel comfortable using different types of marketing.  There’s no point giving someone a marketing technique to use in their marketing strategy, that they simply will not use. An effective marketing strategy, has to be one that’s built around the most effective ideas, that the business owner will use.  That’s why when I start working with a new client, I do a fact-finder; to learn everything I need, in order to build them the right strategy for their unique situation.

The bottom line is to make sure that you are avoiding what doesn’t work; whilst embracing what works best for you and your unique; personality, situation, targets and resources.

What forms of marketing do you most enjoy?

Which do you enjoy the least?

What are the most common marketing errors you see?

Share your feedback!

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

 

The marketing power of ten percent!

If you want to massively increase the number of new clients you attract or the number of sales you make, I would like to introduce you to something I share with my clients.  It’s all about the Power of Ten Percent.

Here are 3 things I would like you to consider for a moment:

  • If you were just 10% more effective at copy writing, how many more sales leads or enquiries would you have gained over the past 12 months?
  • If you were just 10% more effective at negotiating, how many more deals would you have clinched over the past 12 months?
  • If you were just 10% more effective at managing your time, how many additional working days would you have gained over the past 12 months?

Now, imagine you combined all these, so that you had:

  • 10% more working hours – That’s an extra 26 working days or 5 working weeks added to your year!
  • 10% more leads – That’s 10% more leads than you had before you added all those extra working weeks to your year!
  • and you were 10% better at converting all those new leads into clients / sales!

It’s entirely possible you could be several hundred percent or MORE than you earn today!

Those individual 10% improvements are easy for anyone to make, with the correct marketing support.  However, when you leverage all those 10%’s together, you end up with a magical, compound effect; where those relatively minor improvements completely transform your results (and your life!)

One of the major differences between the small businesses that slowly go broke and those that achieve great success, as that the underachievers are always searching for that one nugget of information that will transform their results.  They waste years scouring the Internet for a silver bullet that doesn’t exist.  Conversely, professionally marketed small businesses learn how to generate life changing results, by simply making minimal adjustments.

Learn how to generate those 10%’s from someone who knows, and then watch what happens.  That’s where the real magic is!

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

Your Marketing Goldmine is almost ready!

To mark the 2nd anniversary of this blog, I’m about to make it easier for you to find all my best posts, on the areas of marketing and business development that you are most interested in.

Think of it as your marketing goldmine!

My challenge

I was recently thinking about how the typical date order format of a blog is far from ideal, for people like myself who seldom write time-sensitive posts.  I have posts here, for example, which are just as relevant today as when I wrote them 18 months or 2 years ago.  However, because of the date format used to present blog posts, with the new posts added to the top of the pile, some really valuable marketing material gets hidden away under hundreds of newer posts.

Yes, you can use the blog’s search box to find posts on a particular subject, or click on a category section, but surprisingly few people use them.  I removed the categories tab from the sidebar months ago because it wasn’t getting used.  Most people either find the content here via their RSS feed, a social bookmark or a Google search.  As a result, many readers will be missing out on some of my best, most valuable content.  This is especially the case for newer readers and those who only visit here occasionally.

So, I’m creating a free Marketing Goldmine for you

I’m working on developing a new section for the blog, which will provide you with an index of my most popular posts on certain subjects.  Rather than a category section, which displays everything with a certain tag, this will only include my best posts in each section.

So, keep an eye on the blog!

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

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