Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing tips & ideas to help you grow your business, by Jim Connolly

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Achieving bankable results!

As regular readers will know, I’ve made a career out of helping businesses and entrepreneurs achieve measurable sales results.

Recently, I have started to use the term “bankable results” to refer to my style of marketing. This phrase was commented on by one of my readers and regular contributors, Robin Dickinson. So, I thought I would quickly explain to you, what I mean by focusing on bankable results. (Oh, and I have a question for you in a moment too!)

Bankable results

It’s great to meet interesting people at networking events.  It’s wonderful to have lots of traffic to your company’s site and tons of fans on Facebook or followers on Twitter.  However, the businesses I work with, and write this blog for, want to know how to transform their marketing efforts and hard work into MONEY.

They enjoy “being part of the conversation,” connecting with people and sharing ideas via social media; but they know that in order for their business to thrive (or even survive), they need results that they can take to the bank. That’s what I mean by bankable results.

As you are reading this, it’s safe to assume that you are interested in generating bankable results for your business.  I admire you for that.  For my part, I promise to share as much useful content as possible with you.  This is where you come in!

What do you want from me in 2010?

So, what topics would you like to see me cover here?

What sales, marketing or business development challenges would you like me to blog about?

I asked this question recently and got some amazing answers, which have shaped the content of my posts. If you didn’t get around to giving me some suggestions before, please take a moment to let me know what you want from me and this blog.

I’m listening!

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

Photo: Mindluge

What’s on the outside counts too!

This post is all about the importance of how you present and deliver your marketing messages.  Content may be king, but if that content is delivered inappropriately, no one will read it.

Here’s a recent example of what I mean.

I was emailed today by a company that wanted me to buy some software.  I could tell that from the subject line of their email.  However, I have no idea what their software does or even how compelling their offer was.  That’s because I never read their marketing message.


Because they emailed me using the free version of an emailing program, which inserted advertisements all over their marketing message.  It immediately drew my attention away from their marketing message and caused me to wonder why they were using such a low class way of marketing their services. After all, emailing software is not expensive these days.

I drew a number of immediate, negative conclusions about the company that was trying to market to me.  After all, how professional are they likely to be?  They have just shown me, (and everyone else on their list), that they either think it’s OK for pictures of semi naked women advertising online casinos to be plastered all over their messages, or they were too unprofessional to check first.  In either case, I was unimpressed.

My conclusions may or may not have been correct, but that’s not important.  What’s important is that the way they delivered and presented their marketing to me, caused me to ask myself questions about them that they could easily have avoided.

More importantly, and the reason for this post, I was unimpressed before I even knew what they were offering!

The way they chose to present and deliver their marketing was enough in itself, to ruin any chance they had of winning my business.  You might think that this is a rare example, but I see it many times every day.  All day long I see people, who make such a mess of how they present and deliver their marketing message, that their message never gets the oxygen it needs, in order to work.

Here are some very common examples:

  • People who email you marketing messages, without your permission. They just add your email address to their list and spam you.
  • People who cold call you, reading from a script, showing you no respect for your individuality or needs.
  • People who have never previously connected with you, sending you messages on Twitter, with a link to a sales page for their wonder product.
  • People who walk up to you at a networking event and give you a sales pitch, whilst looking over your shoulder, eyeing up their next ‘victim.’

The bottom line here, is that if we want people to take our marketing seriously, we need to create a powerful, professional impression.  We need to do everything possible to encourage them to trust us – and that includes the way we present and deliver our marketing messages, not just the content of those messages.

What’s your take on this?

Photo: Mysza831

Your marketing check list!

Here’s a marketing check list, for those of you who want to start seeing some fast, measurable marketing results.

Your answers to the questions of this simple check list, will give you some idea of just how ready you are to successfully compete for business, in today’s highly competitive marketing environment.

Ready? OK, let’s go!

Marketing check list

  • Do I have permission to market to these people?
  • Is there a genuine reason why they should buy from me, rather than their current provider?
  • How motivating is that reason – Is it powerful enough to compel them to switch?
  • Will my marketing message REALLY stand out among the avalanche of marketing offers being directed to these people right now?
  • Am I going to use a strategic approach, where a series of preplanned messages are delivered in order to generate a compound effect – or will I ‘just try’ some one-off marketing emails, mailshots, ads etc ?
  • If people decide to check out my website or blog after receiving my marketing, will it project the kind of polished, professional image required to gain their confidence and their business?
  • Will the message they get from my site compel them to want to take action; to call me, email me, visit my premises etc?
  • If not, should I think about getting my marketing copy writing written by a professional?
  • Do I have a social media marketing strategy, which will attract bankable results, (rather than just follows / adds / friends etc?)
  • Do I have a way to effectively measure my marketing results?
  • How worried would my competitors be right now, if they knew my answers to the above questions?

Now what?

The point of this simple check list, is to help you identify how prepared you are.  It’s not enough to ‘just’ work hard on your marketing; you need to ensure you are working hard doing the correct things for what you want to achieve.  Whatever you do, don’t be like the masses of small businesses, that look to the future with their fingers crossed – hoping things will somehow “just work out”.

If you are looking for marketing ideas, this post contains links to dozens of marketing ideas and 2 articles on how to develop your own marketing mix.

If you plan ahead and work smart, you can make this a breakthrough time for you and your business – but don’t leave anything to chance!

Photo: Koalazmonkey

Marketing blog experiment

As regular readers will have noticed, the blog looks quite a bit different today!  That’s because I’m running a marketing experiment with a new, more basic looking blog design.

One of the great things about the Internet is that you can easily see, very quickly if a design change is encouraging people to use the site / blog differently.  For example, I will be able to see if there are changes in things like; the number of pages the ‘average’ person views, how long they spend on each page, how many times a page is shared, etc.

I’m really curious if making the blog’s design more basic, will help readers to focus on the actual content; which is what the blog’s all about, after all. Let’s see!

One of the benefits of running this blog, using the Headway wordpress theme (affiliate link) is that I can quickly make changes like these myself, usually in seconds.  As effective marketing is all about testing and measuring, the ability to make changes so quickly, and then adapt based on the feedback, is massively valuable.  Equally, if it’s quickly apparent that the new design needs changing, this can also be done in minutes.  That’s great peace of mind and allows for changes to be made with total confidence.

Sharing my results with you, as always

Because the vast majority of my readers have their own website or blog, I will let you know if the new, more basic look generates an improvement or drop in the blog’s statistics / analytics.  This way, we can learn from my experiment together. I’m guessing it’s going to take a week or so, before I see any relevant data.  Rest assured that as soon as I do, I will pass the findings on to you.

What (if anything) do you think about the new, basic look?  Also, which blogs do you read most often and do you think the design of that blog influences how you read it?  Please take a moment to share your thoughts.

Photo credit: Striatic

Are you prepared to shine?

In many countries around the world, something interesting happens on TV and radio stations over the Christmas period.  The established TV and radio presenters take a break from work and are replaced by their less well-known colleagues.

As the a-list; newsreaders, weather people, broadcasters, DJ’s and announcers relax at home, the people stepping into their shoes are presented with an amazing opportunity.  They are given a shot at the big time – a chance to shine – a chance to showcase their talents to (in some cases) millions of people.

Some of the stand-ins grasp this opportunity with great success and go on to become a star.  They have prepared for this moment. They see this as THEIR time.  Others look ill-prepared; almost awkward.  They lack enthusiasm.  They look and sound like they have been forced to attend a really bad party.

Be a wise optimist

In business, there are opportunities around us all the time.  A chance meeting, an unexpected phone call, an email you were not expecting with an interesting offer, etc.  The thing is, we need to ensure that we not only spot these opportunities, but that we have readied ourselves to fully benefit from them.

An optimist expects the best.

A wise optimist expects the best and is prepared for when it happens!

Photo credit: Nathalielaure

It’s about the journey – NOT the money!

The late, great Jim Rohn was the first person to explain the value of a journey to me.  Jim explained that making a million dollars was NOT about owning the money; it was about the journey.  As usual, Jim was absolutely right!

That’s because the kind of person we need to become, in order to create 1 million dollars worth of disposable income, is where the REAL value is.

The journey is what’s priceless – not the money

I am a very different person today, to the guy who grew up in a slum / ghetto surrounded by violence and destruction.  As a result of my personal journey, I am equipped with the tools that will ensure my son never has to see the things I saw as a kid.  By the time I was just 10 years old, I had witnessed 3 murders and at age 17, I was left for dead after being attacked by a gang armed with axes!

Thankfully, at the age of 21, I discovered the power of personal development and 7 years later, I was financially secure for life.

So, when you set your goals and targets for 2010, feel GOOD about putting a BIG financial figure at the top of your list!  Ownership of the money is fine, but the improvements you will have to make to your lifestyle and thinking is going to help you, and those you love, far more than the money.

Your life journey

What have been some of the key lessons you have learned, along your life journey thus far? Please take a moment to share them, so we can all benefit from your experiences.

Photo credit: Terilyn G

Enthusiasm is contagious

As I read the business press, business blogs and even some business owners Twitter feeds, I’m seeing more and more people expressing their pessimism about their business in 2010.

Before people bring this type of negative message to their marketplace, they need to understand the kind of damage it can cause.

Pessimism is like a virus

When times are tough, many business owners share their pessimism and fears with their suppliers, contacts and in some cases, with their clients or customers too.  This quickly spreads like a virus, creating in its wake, one of the most damaging problems a business can face – a lack of confidence!  People are far less likely to invest in, recommend or use a business if they fear that business is in trouble or likely to go under.

Blind optimism is not the answer.  However, once you have decided what you want to achieve in 2010 and developed a plan to make it happen, you should focus your energy and efforts on want to achieve; not what you fear.  You see, enthusiasm is just as infectious as pessimism.

Enthusiasm is contagious too

I was prompted to write this post, after meeting Julie Camm. Julie owns Alveston House Hotel.  She and her team are genuinely excited about 2010 and beyond.  This enthusiasm is contagious and it has spread throughout the whole workforce, onto their guests and their prospective guests and the wider marketplace.

With that kind of stewardship, is it a coincidence that their hotel was one of very few to have enjoyed a good 2009?  No.  That’s because enthusiasm is just as contagious as pessimism.  Whilst many hotels lowered their prices and cut back on staff / suppliers / services, Julie took a very different route.  She decided to face the recession with optimism, a solid business plan, hard work (and great marketing of course!!)  As a result, they have created their own self-fulfilling prophecy.  People feel confident booking with them, which creates additional business for them, which generates a buzz; as their guests see so much positive activity.

It would be nuts to just ignore the fact that 2010 looks like it will be another challenging year for small business; however, once you have planned for the challenges ahead, it’s wise to face that challenge with the correct mindset.

How important do you think it is, to focus on what you want in 2010, rather than your fears?  Please take a moment to share your thoughts on enthusiasm / pessimism in the marketplace.

Photo credit: Carbon NYC

What’s your opinion on this?

Ever wondered why some blog posts get lots of comments and other posts get very few?

I have one post on this blog with almost 700 comments and others with just a few, so why does this happen?  Well, there are thousands of posts around the Internet, offering long lists of what to do in order to encourage comments; however, in my experience, it’s easier than that!

Here are what I have found to be the primary things to consider, if you want to encourage people to comment on your blog.

Ask for feedback

The first thing to do, if you want people to comment, is to ask them.  People like to know that their feedback is welcome.

Show you value feedback

There’s a world of difference between saying you want people to comment or share their feedback with you and showing you value their feedback.  A blogger who really values reader comments, gets into the comments section of the post and communicates with the people there.

I switched from using a website to using a blog exclusively for the comments. I ‘chat’ with just about everyone who comments here, so people can see for themselves that I am reading every comment and listening to them.

Make it easy for people to comment

In an effort to reduce spam, some bloggers force their readers to use what are sometimes called a captcha, before they can post a comment.  This is where the reader leaves a comment and then has to look at an image, with a series of heavily distorted letters or numbers, which they then have to enter into a box.  It’s a pain in the rear end and many people just won’t use them.

I also question how necessary captcha’s are for the average blogger. There are some amazingly powerful anti-spam plugings available, which will catch over 99% of all spam.

Leave the conversation open

If you write a blog post, which finishes by closing the conversation, you make it hard for anyone to find something to add.  I did this in yesterdays post, by finishing the post with a series of links (more on that in a moment.)  The post was intended as a resource rather than a conversation piece.  This is NOT the way to encourage comments, so try to use this approach sparingly, if you want people to give you their feedback.  I’ve only every used it a handful of times here.

In advance of today’s post, I wanted to be able to show you what happens, when a blog that gets regular comments breaks these rules.  So, I wrote yesterdays blog post in such a way that it did not ask for comments.  It also closed the conversation and ended in a series of links.  So, there was nothing there to respond to.

24 hours later, it’s attracted just 1 comment!

What makes you comment on a blog?

What things either encourage you to comment on a blog or stop you from wanting to comment?

Do you think the relationship you have with the blogger is important?

What about the ability to get your comments published immediately – rather than having them held for moderation?

A lot of my readers are bloggers, so your feedback here would be of enormous value to them as well as myself.  Please take a moment to share your feedback.

Photo credit: dbdbrobot

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