Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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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!

Making a passive income from your site, like I do.

One of the many amazing business opportunities open to most people these days, is that our sites / blogs can have all kinds of extremely valuable options added, at little or no cost.  These can open up not only new marketing opportunities, but whole new income streams too!

For example, I have an audio program, which is available exclusively from this blog and has earned me a regular income for more than 5 years.  The reality is that most people reading this can develop a product, based around their own expertise, and sell it via their site too.

A few ideas:

  • You can have a private membership site, where people pay you to access premium content.  Your site will deliver your content and process the payments for you.
  • If you are a photographer or graphic designer, you can sell your photos or designs direct from your site.
  • Trainers, who want to share their expertise with an international audience, can deliver their work direct from their sites, via; video streaming, video or audio downloads or ebooks etc.

The truth is, most service providers will have something from their expertise, which they can develop and market from their sites, producing an additional income stream.

Just as important, these options allow you to make money whilst you sleep; what some people call passive income. They will all require some additional, effective marketing if you want to see some serious income from them.  However, if you already have an existing client list, newsletter list or a well read blog, you may be able to hit the ground running.

If you would like to know more, get in touch.

What elements of your business could you transform into a new income stream, via your website / blog?

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

Convert your readers into clients!

Would you like to convert more of your readers into paying clients or customers?  If you would, then this post might be just what you are looking for!  That’s because I am about to tell you one of the most common reasons that sites have poor conversion rates and also, how to fix it.

Convert readers into clients

convert traffic, convert readersIn order for a site to convert readers into clients or customers (herein called clients) it first needs to be attracting the correct profile of readers.  You might be the best widget maker in the business, but if your site doesn’t attract people that are interested in buying widgets, it’s never going to convert.  When people think about attracting the right profile of people to their sites, they usually think exclusively of SEO.  So, they get their site’s optimized for the key words and phrases that they believe their target client profile will be looking for.

So far, so good!

However, in many cases, the site owner then shoots themselves in the foot by writing content for their site, which is written for totally the wrong audience!  For example, web designers often have blogs that are filled with posts about the latest coding tricks or the most useful piece of specialist design software.

Here’s the challenge with that approach: The only people interested in those subjects are their fellow web designers. NOT prospective clients!

Keyword density

Not only is that kind of content only going to appeal to fellow web designers, it’s also going to miss many of the words or phrases required, to help them attract the right search engine traffic.  Part of the process Google uses, when determining what words to rank your site for, is something called keyword density.  This is the number of times keywords are repeated within a page of text, in relation to the other words.  When you write your web pages or blog posts for the wrong audience, your keyword density will score too high for the wrong terms and too low for the correct terms.  As a result, your search engine traffic could be largely from the wrong profile of people.

I just saw a web hosting provider’s website, packed from page to page with technical specs, hardware combinations, buzz words and industry slang; rather than messages that their prospective clients will be interested in.  They should be primarily speaking about how their services will help businesses to maintain a fast, reliable online presence.  The software and hardware they use is important, but it needs to be worked into that message.  They should be clearly stating the commercial benefits of using their services and giving people a call to action.

The marketing value of focused copy writing

If you are reading this blog post, there’s an extremely high probability that you are a business owner.  Moreover, you probably own a small to medium-sized business too.  That’s because 100% of the material here is written for business owners.  As a result, this blog ranks highly on search engines for many phrases and terms relevant to business owners, who want to improve their marketing.  Equally, people share the posts here with business owners via social networking sites, because my posts are all written for my prospective client profile; which are small business owners.

So, if you want to convert more of your readers into clients, start off my making sure that you are actually writing for the correct profile of readers.  This means writing in their language, about topics they are interested in and likely to be looking for; such as common challenges within their industry and how you can help them.

(If you are a business owner and you want regular free marketing advice, remember to subscribe to our RSS feed and never miss another post again!)

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

Photo: Nina Matthews Photography

Why you may want to publish that ebook after all!

So, you have some really valuable information, which you would like to turn into an ebook.  The thing is, ebooks are usually either free of they cost very little – so you don’t bother.  After all, if you only make the price of a coffee for each one you sell, you need to make a LOT of sales.

Wrong!

Ebook pricing now reflects value rather than format

ebook marketing, ebook pricesRight now, there are ebooks selling for hundreds of dollars – Some with just a few thousand words!  That’s not much bigger than a few, long blog posts.  If you find what I’m telling you a little hard to believe, take a look at this ebook from AdAge.  It’s just 3,600 words long and costs $249 to download.

Why?  Because the author believes that the information in this ebook is worth it, to the people who need it.  It’s a highly targeted book, with lots of data.  If the ebook’s target audience agrees with the author’s valuation, they will happily pony up with the $249.

Ebooks finally coming of age?

It is certainly beginning to look that way.  Just last month, Amazon announced that they now sell MORE ebooks than traditional hardback books.  It seems that consumers now recognise that the value of the words are just the same, regardless of whether they are in paper or digital format.

The marketplace is increasingly demanding instant access to information and doesn’t necessarily want to wait days or weeks for a book to arrive, if they can download that same book and be reading it in seconds.  Equally, people are also more environmentally aware and are moving away from dead tree media.

So, if you have a great idea, which you would like to turn into an ebook, you may want to reconsider your options.  If your information is valuable enough, people will happily pay a fair price for it.

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

 

Photo: Patrick Feller

Don’t worry – Be happy!

In my experience, happiness is not something you should put off until some point in the future, yet many hard-working business owners do exactly that.  They subconsciously decide to delay their happiness until they have reached a certain financial status or moved into a certain size house or reached some other landmark.

jim connolly

They promise themselves that when they have X amount of money, THAT’S when they will start relaxing and enjoying life.  But right now, in the present, they will just work hard and plough through life.

I discovered a long time ago, that true success comes from learning how to enjoy the whole journey and not just the destination.  I know many people in business, who work long hours building a better future.  That’s great.  The thing is, some of these people have been doing this for 20 years and very seldom taken time out to enjoy their family, friends and all the things that matter.

When they are at the beach, they are still really in the office; or at least their mind is.  You’ve seen them too right?  Sitting with their family, yet checking their email and voice-mail?

It’s commendable to have a strong work ethic and to want a better future.  I would like to think I fit into that category myself.  However, no one said that the journey to the top shouldn’t be fun or include plenty of time to enjoy our family and friends.

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

Photo: Kthypryn

Business blogging: The “get rich slow” approach!

A successful business blog is a great marketing and communications asset.

It’s no surprise then, that so many business owners start blogging.  However, many of them stop blogging after a few months, because they have not seen the kind of results they had hoped for.

It’s like a farmer planting her crops and then trying to harvest them too soon.  The farmer may have planted the crops correctly and tended the soil perfectly, but her crops might take 6 months or more before they’re ready for harvesting.

Building a blog that generates regular sales, leads or opportunities for your business often takes up to a year or more.  Pulling the plug on a blog after just a few months is like giving up on your crops before your seeds had a chance to grow.

Blog development takes time

My first blog post here was read by just a handful of people on the day it was published.  Over the next 2 years, I worked hard to make Jims Marketing Blog as valuable as I possibly could.  I wrote several hundred blog posts, replied to comments, improved the blog design and marketed it to new readers.

Why?  Over the past 12-months alone, this blog has repaid me, by generating over £100,000 in profitable, new business.  Had I stopped after the first few months, because I only had a relatively small number of readers, none of this would have happened and I would have missed what’s become one of the most fun elements of my business too!

Numbers are less important than quality, but you do still need the numbers.

How many readers do YOU need?

That’s easy.  You need enough targeted visitors to your blog each week or month, in order to provide you with a steady, predictable stream of high quality sales or business leads.  Now, in some industries, that may be 5,000 a day.  In most industries you will need nothing like that many! Lots of successful business bloggers do amazingly well with 500 unique visitors a day and others with half that number!

To get you from wherever you are right now, to that magical place, aim for developing a growing, targeted readership, through providing useful, focused content and embracing a good Internet marketing strategy.

The bottom line: Don’t get disheartened by comparing your visitor numbers with anyone else and allow your blog the time it needs in order to grow. If you are looking for a quick fix, business blogging is probably not for you.  However, if you are looking for a way to build an amazingly powerful marketing and communications asset in the medium to longer-term, I suggest you embrace blogging.

What have your experiences been of starting or growing a business blog?  I would really love to hear your feedback!

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

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