What do you think about this email?

I wrote recently about copycat marketing.  That’s where someone copies the marketing of someone else, hoping that it will work.

After writing that post, I received a lot of email and comments, from people who had personal experience of copycat marketing going wrong.

Here’s one email, which I would like to share with you and hear your thoughts on.

“Here’s what happened to me, Jim.  Please share it with your readers to avoid them making the same mistake.

I found a local guy last year; with a well ranked, well read blog.  He blogs and teaches people how to make money and generate business from social media.  So, in view of his huge readership and massive following, I decided to copy what he did and apply it to my web design business.  Sure enough, his ideas were interesting, but after wasting months doing what he said, I had still not generated a single, tangible asset. Nothing. Zip.

So last month he emailed me, to ask a favor.  We’d met at a tweet up and we got on real well hes a great guy.  Anyhow, he emailed to ask me if I could loan him a monitor as his was screwed and HE COULDN’T AFFORD TO REPLACE OR REPAIR IT!  I did have a spare, which I dropped off for him.  Over a coffee, this likeable guy confessed that he was unable to monetize what he did and that he didn’t even have a marketing or business plan in place.

Here’s the thing Jim.  This guy has thousands of RSS subscribers and followers and a kick-ass blog plus a whole bunch of very well known buddies.  I was copy cat marketing someone who looked like he was doing great, but wasn’t making a dime. Its set my marketing back like 6 months. Ive been a jerk for sure but want others to avoid making the same dumbass mistake as me so that my experience wasn’t a total waste of time. Check people out. Followers or reader numbers don’t always equal $$”

Link Building on blogs: Keep it personal!

Have you noticed how some of the people who comment here, do so without using their name?  The reason you are seeing this, is because they are trying to build links back to their websites or blogs, which contain anchor text, that will help their SEO.

From an SEO perspective, this can be effective, however, by commenting with a marketing phrase, which does not include their name at all, it makes the comments seem impersonal.

It’s hard for the readers or myself to build a dialogue or connect with someone in the comments, who calls himself “Cheap PC Spares!”

I like to see commenters here include their name or nickname in the anchor text they use when commenting, not just a SEO friendly phrase. Especially as this blog uses CommentLuv, which will include a contextual hyperlink back to your blog or website, every time you comment here anyway!

In future, if you want a comment published here, please include your name or even a nickname or your company name.  Feel free to include some SEO friendly words if you want to, but let the readers know there’s a real person there too.

Photo: atp tyresus

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

10 ways to get massively more sales leads!

more sales leads, get more sales, marketing

Sales leads or enquiries, are an essential part of the marketing process.  After all, a steady flow of good quality sales leads, when acted upon correctly, can lead to a regular stream of lucrative business and allow business owners to plan ahead with confidence.

This brief post, contains 10 popular, effective lead generation ideas, which you may want to add to your marketing arsenal.

more sales leads, get more salesWhy bother?

Many small business owners make the mistake of relying too heavily on just 1 or 2 sources of leads.

The problem with that approach, is that if one of those lead sources slows down or stops delivering, you are in BIG trouble!  It’s far better to develop a wide spread of inbound, sales lead opportunities.

So, let’s get started!

Sales Leads via Word of mouth

If you want to get the marketplace talking about you to their friends, give them something to talk about!

The golden rule of generating leads via word of mouth, is that you need to be remarkable if you want people to remark on you!

Sales Leads via Email marketing

This is easily one of the most powerful forms of lead generation I have ever used.  For very little cost, a professionally copy written email marketing campaign can generate a steady supply of high quality, targeted sales leads for your business.  Don’t do like most small business owners and use amateur marketing copy, but it doesn’t work.

Sales leads via Twitter

I have personally generated well over £100,000 for my business, directly via leads I attracted via Twitter.  Sadly, I have met just a tiny number of people, who use Twitter correctly, as a form of lead / business generation.

Here’s a tip:  Be selective and don’t just follow every person and every “trend” you see!

Sales Leads via Tele Marketing

Whilst I do not recommend you try this yourself, you might want to consider using a professional telemarketing company as a source of lead generation.  This works better in some industries and countries, than others; so look before you leap.  Check out ANY telemarketing company before you consider using them and ask for references.

Sales Leads via Networking

I choose to do all my networking online these days, but whether you choose online or offline networking, the key is to network with the right kind of people.

Form associations with people, who either have a need for your services or access to people, with a need for your services.  Let them know what you do and the kind of people you work with, so they know who to recommend you to.

This will greatly increase the volume and quality of leads you get.

Sales Leads via Mail shots

Mail shots, (sometimes called direct marketing) has become an increasingly powerful way to generate leads.  With more and more marketing moving online, a hand signed letter from a fellow businessperson these days REALLY catches the reader’s attention.

Sales Leads via your Website or blog

Bottom line: Your site should be a lead generating machine for your business.

Look at the rectangular box below this post.  Every day, people read that message and click the link.  This helps produce leads for my business 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  Get your site’s SEO right and get it professionally copy written, so people feel compelled to click YOUR links and get in touch.

Also, make it easy for people to contact you.  Publish your phone number and email address.  If you use a contact form, just ask for their name, email address and message.  You don’t need anything else to begin with and every extra piece of info you ask for, massively LOWERS your conversion rates!

Sales Leads via Joint Ventures and Endorsed Relationships

I have just written posts about each of these.  To find out about Joint Ventures and Endorsed Relationshipsclick the appropriate link!

Sales Leads via Newsletters

Newsletters are a great way to generate leads.  I have found that a well written newsletter, which resonates with your audience, is a very effective way to position yourself as the person with the answers, to their problems.  Then, when they decide to get professional help with their problem, you are already the natural choice.

Just make sure you are approachable and that you let your readers know that you are happy to speak with them.  Tell them that they are under no obligation by contacting you and that you will treat their email or call in total confidence.

Sales Leads via Advertising

The right message, placed in the correct advertising vehicle, can produce fast, measurable results.  The reason so many small business owners claim advertising doesn’t work, is that they use amateur copy and put it in the wrong place.  I assure you, advertising works!  However, an uninspiring message sent to the wrong people, at the wrong time, doesn’t work (how could it?)  If you are thinking of advertising and you have tried before and found it didn’t work, either get a professional in – or leave it!  You can waste a lot of money with ineffective advertising.

Obviously, there are far, far too many proven ways to generate leads, than can be covered in a blog post.  However, I hope those above have got you thinking about investing in some new, lead generating activities.

I’d love to hear what you have tried in the past, either successfully or otherwise.  Please leave a comment and share your feedback.

The most powerful form of marketing on the planet?

Endorsed relationships

Endorsed Relationships, have been referred to by marketing experts, including Jay Abraham, as the most powerful form of marketing in the world.  I totally agree.  This brief post, will show you what endorsed relationships are and how you can use them to market your business.

Endorsed relationships: What are they?

An endorsed relationship, in marketing terms, is simply a relationship you form with another person / company / brand, where they endorse (or recommend) you and your services to their clients, customers and contacts.  This can come via literally any form of marketing.

The most powerful form of endorsed relationship comes when someone, who already has the trust of a network of people, personally recommends you and your services to them.  Unlike a testimonial, which is usually placed on YOUR website or in YOUR marketing, an endorsed relationship sees the endorser recommending you to THEIR clients and friends – People they have a strong, existing relationship with.

This is where the real magic is and why this is such a powerful and effective form of marketing!

I have personally used endorsed relationships for over 20 years, to generate millions of pounds and dollars worth of new business, for my clients.  I have OFTEN seen them generate over 50% positive response rates and occasionally, over 80/90%!

Endorsed relationships in action

Here is a quick example:

Bob runs a IT repair business.  He encourages his accountant to endorse him, when the accountant next does a mail shot to his 1,000 locally-based clients.  So, when the accountant sends his next mailing, he includes a powerful endorsement of Bob’s IT services and recommends his clients call Bob, if they have an IT problem.

Because the accountant is a trusted advisor to these 1,000 businesses, the endorsement of Bob’s services is extremely powerful.  With a correctly written letter, Bob could generate more new business from this one, simple exercise, than from 2 years worth of networking or thousands spent on advertising!

Endorsed relationships: Some simple guidelines for marketing success

  • Endorsed relationships, like the Joint VenturesI wrote about yesterday, have to be mutually beneficial for them to work.  If you want someone to recommend you and your business to their highly valued clients or customers, there needs to be a good reason for them to do so. People will not “just do it” because it’s going to make you rich!
    • For instance, I once knew a Bank Manager, who recommended me to all his banks clients, because if they worked with me, their businesses grew and so did their need for more and more of the bank’s services.  By recommending me in this way, his clients benefited, he benefited and so did I.
  • The relationship between the person endorsing you and their contacts is pivotal to the success of the exercise.  Getting a highly respected professional to recommend you to a group of people, who value and trust that person’s judgement is marketing gold dust.  Last year, one of my clients generated the equivalent of 25% of her annual turnover in just 12 hours, after a successful endorsed relationship exercise, with a highly respected professional!
  • If the person endorsing you is regularly recommending people to their contacts, their recommendation will be of far less value, than one from someone who is more discerning.  For example, there are well-known self-help / personal development gurus, who will recommend ANYTHING for a fee.  As such, their recommendation means very little.  So, align yourself with people, whose word is trusted and respected.
  • If you are using written marketing for an endorsed relationship, the wording is extremely important.  Because of the potential value to you of the end result, I would STRONGLY recommend you get a copy writer to compose it.  It could be one of the best marketing investments you will ever make.

Think first!

In order for your endorsed relationship to work, you will need to plan it out in advance.  You will need to hand pick the right people, find a motivating way to reward them.  Just as importantly, if you want it to work, you will need to have a process in place, to deal with what is often a massive number of enquiries or leads in a very short period of time.

Although it sounds simple, I strongly recommend you do your homework before diving in.  The vast majority of endorsed relationships conducted by non marketing professionals fail, because of poor planning. I have no doubt that some of the people reading this, will already have experienced what happens, when you pick the wrong partner or they use the wrong message when endorsing you.

So, plan ahead, take your time and do it right!

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

What are Joint Ventures and how do they work?

Joint Ventures, often known simply as JV’s, can be an extremely effective way to generate new business.  This is probably why so many of you asked me for information on Joint Ventures, when I asked you for your marketing questions recently.

The following is a brief explanation of what JV’s are and how they work.

Joint Ventures explained

I’m sure there are a few different definitions of the term Joint Venture, but it’s actually pretty straight forward.  It’s simply a way for 2 or more parties to market their services more effectively.  This usually means reducing the cost of one’s marketing, increasing the reach of one’s marketing or both.  Here’s a common example:

2 or more companies can put a mail shot together, where a piece of marketing from each company is included in the envelope.  The cost of the mailing is usually shared between both companies.  This is most effective, when YOUR marketing piece is being sent to THEIR mailing list.  You should then reciprocate, by offering THEM the same opportunity with YOUR mailing list.  This form of cross marketing can be extremely powerful, if you pick the right JV partner.

Joint Ventures and potential hazards

There are a few things you need to consider, before investing in a Joint Venture.  These include:

  • Never do a JV with someone you don’t know or have not thoroughly researched.  This week alone, I have seen someone on Twitter, openly recommending a well-known con artist to her clients and friends!  Whilst this was not a JV, it is an example of how easy it is to align one’s reputation, with someone that can seriously damage their own good name.
  • Find a Joint Venture partner, who is in a complimentary but non-conflicting industry to your own.  For instance, an accountant could offer my marketing services to her contacts and I could offer the accountant’s services to my contacts.  That’s because neither of us offer a service, which might take business from the other.
  • The most successful JV’s are mutually beneficial.  As with any deal, it’s really important that both parties benefit equally.  If you find that you’re the one getting all the new business and not the other person, there’s no incentive for them to continue.If this happens, consider offering the other person a commission or reward for anything you generate. Keep it balanced and everyone benefits!

Joint Ventures can be a useful way to reduce your marketing costs and get your message in front of a stack of new, prospective clients or customers.

However, in my next post, I am going to show you something that’s more powerful than a JV and which can help you generate amazing results very, very quickly!

What’s your biggest marketing challenge?

This blog contains thousands of free marketing ideas and marketing answers, to help you achieve your best sales results ever.  With new marketing material being added all the time, I hope to provide you with an increasingly valuable marketing resource.  However, in order for me to make this blog as valuable as possible to you, I need to know which marketing challenges or problems are most important to you.

For example; lead generation, email marketing, social media marketing, mail shots (direct mail), networking, retail marketing, referrals, joint ventures, etc.

So, I would really appreciate it, if you would take a moment to let me know what areas of marketing you would like me to focus on, by leaving a comment below.

Your feedback will directly influence what I write about and help me to focus on the areas of marketing, which are most relevant to you and your business.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Marketing time for your business?

This quick marketing tip is all about how to improve your marketing results in the medium and long term.  In fact, it will give you one of the marketing foundations behind the most successful businesses in the world.

Marketing & small businesses: Never enough time!

I often hear the owners of small businesses, saying that they don’t have the time to market their services as an ongoing activity.  They tell me that it’s only when they lose a major account, that they have the time available, to dedicate to marketing.

The primary problem with this approach to marketing is that it simply does not work.  It causes a business to reach a plateau or spin its wheels.  This happens because periods of growth mainly come, AFTER there has been a loss of business / revenue / profits.  The loss of business having prompted the marketing.

When I hear the time argument, I explain that when marketing is conducted on an ongoing basis, it actually takes very little time each month.  Unlike panic-based marketing, when there’s been a big, sudden drop in business, working to a marketing strategy takes surprisingly little time.

In contrast, successful businesses of all sizes, work on their marketing all the time. It’s just a normal, ongoing business activity.  The difference between the two approaches to marketing is that one type of business uses tactical marketing, whilst the other uses strategic marketing.

I wrote a post about this, which explains the difference between tactical and strategic marketing and also explains compound marketing / leverage.  Be sure to check it out!

Tailor your marketing strategy to your resources

When I work with my clients, I always start off by ensuring that their marketing strategy is tailored, to match their resources.  It has to be manageable and easy to do.  It also needs to not get in the way of their core business.

Your marketing strategy needs to be similarly developed around your unique situation.  When it is, marketing becomes manageable and easy to implement into your working week.  This is the secret to developing a predictable, confidence inspiring flow of sales / new business.

Marketing and Business: It’s all about the people!

Successful marketing is all about people.

It’s not about; brands, venues, websites, companies or social media tools – Marketing is all about people.  You see, without people, none of those things matter.

I met with a friend of mine this morning, who owns a large and very successful nightclub.  We had our meeting this time, in the nightclub itself, rather than his office, and the sensation was amazing.  I have only previously been there, when it’s been packed with hundreds of people, having a great time and enjoying the music.  This morning, you could have heard a pin drop, as we sat, drinking coffee and talking about his marketing.

You see, it’s not the building, fixtures or fittings that makes his nightclub a success; it’s the people who work there and party there. Without people, the place means nothing. The value is in the people.

I’m sure you have seen what happens, when a great restaurant or bar changes ownership, and suddenly the atmosphere plummets. The building and the surroundings look just the same, but it’s a totally different experience.  That’s because it’s the people that make the difference!

Online networking: It’s the people not the tools

In online networking, I see people who are more concerned about how to get their friend / follower / fan numbers up, than they are about actually being human with the people they have already connected with.  For them, it’s all about the tools, not the people.  Their focus is on growing numbers, rather than building relationships with people.

These guys often have very professional looking Twitter profiles and great looking websites / blogs – but very little feeling of community.  That’s because they focus on the tools, not the people.  They may have 500, 5,000 or maybe 100,000 ‘names’ in their online network but they probably know just a fraction of them!

In short: People can enrich our lives or they can keep us poor. It just depends on how we treat and serve them.

It’s time to get passionate

As a marketing coach, I love working with people, who are passionate about their businesses.  Passion is infectious.  Passion is inspiring and motivating.  Passion is power.  You see, no matter how great your plans are, without the passion to see them through, they will simply remain plans.  How sad would that be?  What a waste – To have the ideas and make the plans, but to lack the passion to see them plans come to life.

Here’s what my mentor, Jim Rohn, used to say;
“We each have a decision to make.  We can either pay the price for discipline or the price for regret.  Discipline weighs ounces, but regret weighs tons!”

Business, goals and passion

When we are passionate about our plans, it’s easy for us to discipline ourselves to do what’s required, in order to achieve the results we want.  The challenge is that most businesspeople develop plans that fail to motivate them.  Their plans lack the power required, to give them the inspiration to leave their comfort zones.  Their business plans don’t jump off the paper and motivate them to take action – so they remain plans.

The same is true of goal setting.  People waste a fortune attending seminars and buying products to help them set and achieve goals; when the problem is usually that they simply need to set goals that inspire them and ignite their passion.  The best goal-setting methodologies are worthless to us, if we use them to set goals that lack passion.  It’s the passion, that motivates us to take action and make things happen.

Here’s what I have discovered: Your business plans and goals should be based around what YOU want to achieve.  It’s hard to be passionate by proxy!  Many people set the kind of business goals they think they SHOULD set, rather than the goals that truly get their passions going.

So, why not take a look at some of the plans you have made, which you have still not acted on.  Ask yourself, honestly, if you are truly passionate about them.  If not, there’s a good chance they are the wrong plans for you.  If this is the case, replace them with something that really inspires you.  You will be amazed at the results!

 

Why copycat marketing can hurt your business!

Following on from yesterdays marketing tip, a number of readers have asked me the same question:

“Why do so many people do the same type of marketing, if it doesn’t work?”

Here’s the answer.  Amateur marketers will copy what they see others doing, wrongly assuming that it must be working.  This then gets more and more people repeating the same ineffective marketing, which encourages even more people to do the same, etc.  In other words, they copy what they see the crowd doing.

Marketing copycats and the wisdom of the crowd

I remember speaking with the owner of a hotel, who advertised for a year, paid in advance, in a local newspaper.  I asked him why he did this, as it was perhaps the worst possible place for him to advertise.  He told me that the local newspaper called him to say his largest competitor was advertising there and that the paper wanted to “give him the chance” to advertise there as well. So he did.

Of course, his advertisement didn’t generate a single piece of business.  Apparently, the biggest hotel in the area got their advertisement for free from the newspaper.  The ad sales guy at the paper then used that hotel’s ad, as a way to pressure other hotels in the area to buy advertising. Eventually they got 8  hotels to advertise, when none of them should have even considered it!  That’s the danger of copycat marketing.

Is your marketing on course?

Here’s a useful question to ask yourself:

Who (or what) encouraged you to use the various types of marketing that you use today?

You see, if you are not getting the marketing results you want, it’s entirely possible it’s because you are doing the wrong marketing activities, for what you want to achieve .  Just like that guy, who rows his boat in the wrong direction, no matter how hard he rows, he will never get where he wants to be; because he will still be heading nowhere.  In fact, the harder he rows in the wrong direction, the further away he will be from his destination. This is why so many hard-working business owners earn so little.

The bottom line here is this: If your marketing direction is wrong, you need to change course NOW!