Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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It’s all about them!

Why do so many marketers focus on what THEY want in their marketing messages, rather than the needs of their marketplace?

I was looking through my inbox earlier, and found several emails from people, who have been hounding me for business.  Not only have they been emailing me too frequently, but the tone of their emails is all about them, them, them.  Here’s what I keep seeing, from various people marketing AT me, right now:

  • THEY WANT the opportunity to show me their wonder product.
  • THEY WANT just 10 minutes of my time.
  • THEY WANT to add me to their mailing lists.
  • THEY WANT me to call them before Friday, when THEIR sale ends.

Guess what?  The marketplace does not care what THEY WANT!

It’s all about the customer

One of the golden rules of effective sales and marketing, is that it needs to be customer focused.  We need to look for ways to help our prospective clients or customers, using our products or services as part of that solution.  As a wise man once told me;

“To a guy with severe toothache, who is in constant pain and has not slept in 2 days, the pain of that toothache is more relevant than the news that scores of people perished in a disaster on the other side of the world.”

The more relevant something feels to us, the more inclined we are to give it our attention.  This is just as true with marketing.  A well targeted marketing message, which focuses on helping the reader improve their situation, is far more powerful, than a self-focused sales pitch.

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

The marketing power of giving

Whilst I had not planned to write any new blog posts during my holiday, (I’ve been sending out scheduled posts since last Thursday), I really wanted to share this with you.  It’s all about the power of small, simple human connections – the kind that are easy to forget, yet can be so powerful for you and your business.

What follows is a recent example, of how taking a few moments to think about another person’s situation and then offer some help, in even a very small way, can totally change that person’s day and the way they think about you.

It’s cool to help

On Saturday, I took my family to visit a castle in North Yorkshire.  It was a hot, sunny day – around 80 degrees.  The place was packed.  The castle shop and ticket office were looked after by a very warm looking man, who I would guess was in his early sixties.  He was busily working hard, to get everyone into the castle, whilst serving the gift shop’s customers too.  I took a moment to speak with him and handed him a cold drink, which I’d got from the drinks machine.

His face lit up!  He told me that in 14 years of working there, no one had ever done that before.

On our way out, the guy came over to us and thanked me again.  The queue in the shop had gone and he was looking a lot cooler.  He then gave my son a quick lesson on the castle’s history and handed all three of us, free tickets to a medieval jousting and falconry display; taking place there that evening.  These tickets had been sold out for ages; we knew this because we tried to buy some before we set off on holiday!

The marketing power of giving

When I started out in sales, a former boss of mine told that it was important to help as many people within our marketplace as possible.  He said these should be small, easy things – acts of kindness or help, which didn’t take too long to deliver – but were hard to forget.  It worked.  In fact, it worked extremely well and has continued to do so for the past 24 years!

Now, back when I started out proactively looking for ways to help prospective clients, it was almost exclusively with a focus on what I would get in return.  Interestingly, after just a few weeks, I found that it had become a natural part of my daily routine and not just limited to business.  I started looking for ways to help people, no matter who they were and without any thought of how it might benefit me (hence the castle example above.)

Most people will help someone in distress.  This is different! This is about helping people, who may not be standing with their arms waving for help – those whose need may be less obvious or less vocal.  If you have not previously tried this approach, I suggest you give it a try.  As I wrote previously, small things can have a massive positive impact on your results AND make work a lot more fun too!

I would be interested to hear if you have had similar experiences to mine or what you think about this simple idea.  Get in touch and let us know!

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

Quick blog announcement

This is just a quick note, for regular readers and especially those, who comment here.

As you may already know, I’m on holiday until Friday 28th.  This is just to let you know that although I will be publishing blog posts this week, I won’t be available to reply to your comments until I get back.

Be good while I’m away and enjoy the posts ;)

Some signs to help you to the top!

This post is designed to help you advance further, faster – by helping you spot some warning signs, before they become a major issue.  You know what’s great about this?  When you spot a warning sign and act on it correctly, it is transformed from a warning sign, to a highly positive leap forward in your business!

Warning signs and flashing lights

I was prompted to write this post, after a conversation with a friend, who had been ignoring a warning light in his car.  He checked the handbook and thought that as it seemed like a very minor fault, that he would leave it “for a while.”  Fast forward 3 months and his car was broken down with a major engine problem!  Apparently, has he heeded the warning light, he would have been able to avoid all this, with a small fix and for a very small fee.

The problem with the warning signs in business, is that they don’t come with flashing lights, like those in our cars.  This means a lot of people miss them while they are still tiny problems – Then, like the car story above, they end up with a much bigger, costlier challenge on their hands.

From a marketing perspective, here are some early(ish) warning signs that are easy to miss:

  • Too large a percentage of your income is from too small a percentage of your customer base.
  • Too few enquiries from your direct marketing.
  • Your turnover or revenue figure has been static for more than 3 quarters or it has started contracting.
  • Not enough targeted people visiting your website or blog – and little sign of an improvement.
  • Your attrition rate is high.  Your attrition rate, is the rate at which you lose clients or repeat customers.
  • Not enough sales or marketing enquiries from your website or blog.
  • Too few referrals generally – But ESPECIALLY if you are not getting regular referrals from existing customers.
  • A low conversion rate, when dealing with sales leads.

All of the challenges listed above are far easier to resolve, the quicker you take action.  If you recognise one or more of those challenges in your business right now, don’t panic!  With the right help, all of them are relatively easy to resolve.

I suggest three possible courses of action – depending on your resources:

  1. Speak with a marketing professional.  Pick someone you trust or if you don’t already know someone, ask a friend or business contact who THEY use for marketing.  Most marketing professionals will be able to tell you very quickly if they can help and what’s likely to be involved in time and fees.
  2. If you have a lot of marketing knowledge yourself, but have not been using it for whatever reason, get into action!  List the challenges in order of importance and put a strategy together to turn it around.  The key thing here is to get started.
  3. If you don’t have the resources to pay for professional help and you are not an experienced marketer either, check out this post, which lists lots of free information and over 140 marketing ideas and answers.  Also, use the search box on the right hand side of this post and search for other marketing tips and advice.  There are hundreds of pages of answers here and thousands of ideas – all free.

Bottom line: Whatever your current marketing challenges are, they can be 100% resolved with the right action.  You can achieve amazing results and see the kind of rewards that make all your hard work worth while – so long as you do the right things, correctly.

Go for it

As we approach the second half of the year, this is a GREAT time to renew your focus and start kicking the butt of your sales targets for 2010.  Go for it!

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

My name’s Jim Connolly and I am a blogger!

Last month, someone introduced me to one of his friends.

In his introduction, he said:
“This is Jim Connolly, he’s that marketing blogger I’ve been talking about.”

This REALLY made me think!

Why?

This may sound nuts, but here goes:  You see, although I own a blog and write posts most days, I have always seen myself simply as a marketing guy, who uses a blog as a way to share ideas and connect with people.  When I think of a blogger, at least a commercial blogger, I have always thought of those people who attend the blogging shows, have lots of ads around their sites and make their primary income via their blog.

Then it dawned on me…

Maybe I don’t attend the blogging shows or have lots of ads here and no, my primary income is not connected with the blog – BUT I DO market my coaching services here, which is my second largest income stream and what I am best known for.  I also post here regularly and have made a number of fantastic business contacts, directly via this blog.

Perhaps just as importantly, I LOVE blogging.  I see it as a wholly pleasurable experience and something that is actually a lot more important to me than I could have imagined, when I started out 19-months ago.  Of course, all this happened slowly over the course of almost 2 years.

So yes, around 5 weeks ago I came to the conclusion that I am a passionate, commercial blogger.

Interestingly, in the weeks since I changed my perceptions about being a blogger, reader numbers have grown faster than ever before – with a 57% increase in the past 4 weeks alone.  I have also written a lot more regularly than before, and found that the posts have come to me effortlessly.

I always find it amazing, how the way we perceive things has such an enormous impact on our performance and results.

Have you ever experienced anything similar?

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

3 assets worth more to you than money!

There are a number of assets in business, which have greater value than money.  Here are three examples and why I believe they are worth so much.

Self-motivation is worth more than money

If you have the MONEY to hire the best advisors, but lack the motivation to actually use their advice, you will quickly lose the money.  However, the person with the self-motivation to take intelligent action can have as much money as he or she is committed to earning.  This is why people can go from rags to riches and why many rich people, end up not only broke – but broken.

In my business, I work hard to avoid people, who want to hire me as their marketing coach, just so we can have lots of interesting conversations.  This is because I know that unless someone is motivated enough to get off their butt and work with the ideas and answers I provide to them, they won’t achieve anything. However, a self-motivated person working to a great plan, is simply unstoppable!

Faith is worth more than money

No matter how rich a person is financially, if they lack faith in; them self, their spouse, their friends, their company or product etc  – they won’t feel very wealthy.  Personally, I find that during the crunch times in life, and we ALL have those times, it’s also great to have faith in something that’s bigger than we are.  In my case, that’s faith in God.

It’s impossible to move forward, unless we have faith in others and ourselves; from faith that the brakes on your car will work, to faith that if you work hard enough doing the right things, your business plans will work.

Knowledge is worth more than money

If someone dumps a million or two into Bob’s bank account, he better quickly learn how to be a millionaire!  Otherwise, Bob won’t be a millionaire very long.

The reason lottery companies provide financial experts to work with the lottery winners, who win the major prizes, is that they were worried about all the negative stories, of multi-million lottery winners, who went broke and often ended up with less than they started with.  That’s because money without knowledge, tends to disappear very quickly.  A fool and his money, and all that!  Of course, many lottery winners still went broke after getting great financial advice, because they lacked the self-motivation to use what they were told.

My mentor, the late Jim Rohn, used to say that the real value of building a million dollar business is NOT the million dollars.  It’s the learning and knowledge we acquire earning that fortune.  Take a million away from a millionaire, who made that money themselves, and they can make another million.  This has been proven again and again to be true.

So, what would you add to that short list – things that YOU believe are worth more than money?

Let us know!

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

Photo: Orange Tab

Google, link exchanges and you!

Do you get emails from people you don’t know, asking you to do link exchanges with them?  If you do, before you decide to do the exchange, please consider the following very carefully.

Link Exchanges: A brief overview

The reason people want you to exchange links with them is simple: The more links pointing to a site, the higher it will rank with Google and Co.

In fact, the number (and quality) of links pointing to your site, is the single most important part of your SEO (search engine optimization).  So, SEO companies regularly send emails to thousands of people asking for links, hoping to increase the number and quality of links that point to their customer’s websites and blogs.  Usually, the higher your Google Page Rank, the more requests you will get.

Link exchanges: The risks

Link exchanges and the old “Switcheroo”: Increasingly, people are building what look like regular websites and asking for link exchanges.  Then, after a set number have been gathered, the site is transformed into a scam site.

This switch tactic is starting to gather pace and as I will explain in a moment, it’s not a good idea for you to link to sites, which Google considers “spammy”, as they call it. If you HAVE already offered links to people you do not know, it might be worth checking their site out again.

Link exchanges into bad neighbourhoods: Linking to the wrong kind of sites can also see YOUR site penalised (see below.)  Bad neighbourhoods exist on the Internet, just like they do in the off-line world.  In online terms, a bad neighbourhood is a site that is considered by the search engines to be spammy or dubious in some way.

Google does not like link exchanges: If you want to attract visitors from Google, you need to know that Google considers link exchange schemes as a violation of their guidelines and that they will penalise sites, which they believe are involved in them.  You can learn about Google’s policy on link exchanges here – Along with a link that you can use to resubmit your site, if you are already being penalised.

Why is Google so strict on these exchanges?  It sees them as a way of deliberately trying to manipulate their page ranking system.  This system is how they deliver search results, and those results are what keep people using Google – and allows Google to make the BIG advertising bucks!

Legitimate linking?

The general consensus is you should link to people, when appropriate for what YOU want to achieve.  If you want to share other sites, posts, articles or online resources – link to them.

Where do I stand on this?

I get link exchange emails at least half a dozen times every day and I delete them.

Why?

Because I refuse to associate my name or reputation with someone I don’t know.  I don’t really care what Google thinks about my blog, but I DO care passionately about the 15 years I have spent building my business and my brand and I won’t risk negatively impacting that.

Ultimately, you need to do what you believe is right for what YOU want to achieve.  I just think it’s useful to have some additional info, so the next time you get a link exchange request, you can make the right judgement for YOU – NOT the other guy!

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

Photo: DC John

Say it like you MEAN it!

Have you ever noticed how powerful it is, when someone talks to you about something they are passionate about?  It makes a massive difference to the effectiveness of their message and the energy created can be really infectious.

So, why do so many business owners totally fail to inject REAL passion into their communications with people?

Marketing and passion

Whether you are speaking with people, recording a message or writing about your product or service, you should be doing it with passion.  After all, how the heck do you expect other people to be interested in you or your business, if you don’t sound like you are?

I decided to write this post, after watching a video presentation on a guys website, where the guy sounded half asleep.  There was no energy or passion when he spoke.  He talked about his services, like he was reading a shopping list.

Marketing and motivation

Equally, I read copy every day on websites and blogs, which is supposed to motivate the reader to take action – Yet the copy is pedestrian and lacks impact.

The bottom line: If you want to compel people to take action; to buy from you, call you, email you or click a link – you need to inspire them to do so. You need to motivate your site visitors, so they go from being a reader (passive) to a being a participant (active).

So, before you prepare YOUR next marketing message, use your passion to energise what you are saying and get your visitors, readers or listeners to take action!

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

Photo: Caitlinator

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