Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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How to boost your profits very quickly!

One of the fastest ways to generate a significant increase in your profits, is to find an additional product or service, which you can sell to your existing client base.  These people already know you and trust you.  There’s no need for you to sell yourself to them.  If they see the value in buying an additional product or service from you, they will.

I once helped a London based computer maintenance company, who were 90 days away from bankruptcy, to generate over 20k worth of almost pure profit in just 9 days; by offering a great new service to their existing client base.  The new service was what we now call cloud storage back-up.  A professionally copy written email was sent to his clients, offering to securely back-up their important files every evening, for a fixed annual fee.  The service was provided by a respected 3rd party, and rebranded by my client.

Almost 45% of his client base signed up within 9 days, with a further 17% signing up over the coming 3 months.  In 9 days, this hard working small business owner went from almost going broke, to enjoying his most profitable trading period ever!

Look for new ways to help people

As a business owner, you should always be looking for opportunities to provide the best possible service to your clients.  Part of this, is to look for new ways to help them solve problems.  The bigger the problem that your new product or service resolves, the more help you will be and the more sales you will make.  Equally, by providing an increasing level of help and support to your clients, you are also vastly more likely to retain their business.  They win, you win; everyone wins!

So, I have a question for you: What additional products or services could you offer to your existing clients or customers?

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

How serious are you about the success of your business?

Many years ago, I attended a seminar, where one of the speakers asked the audience a great question.  She wanted to know:
“How serious are you about the success of your business?”

As you would expect, everyone in the room said that they were extremely dedicated to their business and it’s success.  She then asked one of the audience what his business targets were for the next 6 months.  He spoke in general terms about improving sales and moving things forward.

She then asked him another question:
“How different would your next 6 months look, if you knew with absolute certainty that you would win a million dollars, if you could increase your sales by 20%?”

The guy in the audience started listing; people he would call, people he would meet and people he would write to.  He then reeled off a whole series of marketing activities that he would get working on immediately.  The seminar speaker thanked him for his answer and then suggested he did all those activities regardless; because if he did, he would almost certainly become a millionaire anyway.

The point she made was that most of us hold back in key areas, when it comes to the development of our business.  There are things we know we should do, which we neglect, because they are tough or because they require us to step outside one of our comfort zones.  It’s easier for us to work hard doing the comfortable stuff.  You will seldom meet the owner of a small business, who does not work hard.

The thing is, hard work is not the secret of success.  If it was, our grandparents would have been millionaires!

A key difference between the most and least successful businesspeople, is that the most successful ones do what needs to be done.  They do what’s right, rather than doing what’s easiest or most comfortable.  They get the expert advice they need, so they make better decisions and can then work hard, knowing that they are moving forward by doing the right things, correctly.

The majority of small business owners try and forge ahead without the expert help they need and often waste years making little if any progress.  They relive the same year over and over, wondering why their hard work is getting such little reward.

Get serious. Get the right plan. Get working.  Get the rewards your hard work deserves!

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

My new Social Media Project: 10-10-10

On 10th October 2010 (10-10-10) I am launching an exciting, new Social Media Project!

The aim of the project, is to help people who use social media / social networking as part of their business, to get better commercial results and help them improve the resilience of their social networks.

The project will be run from a new site, which you will be able to use free of charge.  This is not some new pay service:  It’s a project I am working on, which I will be sharing with you, 100% FREE of charge!

If you want to know more, you can keep up with the latest news and updates regarding the project, via my new Twitter account: @TheConnollyBlog.  Simply join that account on Twitter, say “hi” and I will follow you back.

I am really excited about this new project and would love to see you get involved!

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

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!

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