Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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Increase your blog’s readership the easy way!

Here’s a quick marketing tip, to help you increase the readership of your blog.  To get started, I would like to ask you a quick question:

“Do you offer people the option to subscribe to your blog, via email?”

If not, you should!  Why?

Reading blogs via email RSS

Email is one of the single most popular ways for people to read blog posts.  For example, over 50% of this blog’s subscribers, read this blog via email – NOT via the Internet!  That box on the upper right hand side of the blog, allows people to have this blog delivered to your inbox and that’s exactly what they do.  I’m suggesting you offer your readers the same option.

How to offer YOUR blog posts via email

feedburner, rss, how to,I use and recommend a very popular free service called Feedburner, for delivering my blog posts via RSS (Really Simple Syndication.)

Feedburner allows you to do a lot more than just deliver your blog posts via email or RSS readers.  For example, it offers lots of useful stats, to show you how people read your posts, which links they click and dozens of other metrics.  You can also tell Feedburner when to send your posts via email, allowing you to reach your readers at just the right time.  It’s a great service.

The key thing is not to worry too much about the terms I’m using here, it’s simply a matter of setting up a Feedburner account and following the set-up process.  Here’s a nice guide to setting up your Feedburner account, though there are also YouTube video tutorials, if you prefer a more visual approach.

Make your RSS options visible

Once your Feedburner account is active, make sure it is highly visible on your blog.  If you check out most professional marketing blogs, you will see that we place our RSS subscriber options very close to the top of the page – so EVERYONE can see it.  You can also publicise your Feedburner RSS feed in the signature file of your regular business emails, using a simple piece of code.

The bottom line:  If you have not been offering your readers the opportunity to subscribe to your blog via email, I strongly recommend you start.

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

Why I believe it’s wrong to “give until it hurts!”

Have you ever heard the saying; “give until it hurts” and wondered what it means?

I believe that many misunderstand the statement.  They think that it means we should just give, give, give and only stop when we are out of resources; (time, money, energy etc.)

The wise man or woman knows that the time to stop giving, is BEFORE they feel the pain of giving so much, that they end up hurting – and unable to help anyone else.

Andrew Carnegie, perhaps one of the world’s best known philanthropists, is reported to have decided as a young man, that he would spend half his working life building a massive fortune, so that he could spend the second half, giving all his billions away.  Yes, he helped people along the way, but not to the point where it hurt him or his business so much, that he was unable to help all those millions of people later in his life.

This may sound like a contradiction, but I believe the key to successful giving, is to help as many people as you can!

Help as many people as you can, but as efficiently as possible

Through this blog, I provide free marketing tips and advice to thousands of people.  At the moment, I spend around 3 hours a week writing content; which I can do without it “hurting” or harming my business.  Just think how much LESS of an impact it would have, if I used those same 3 hours each week, to give 3 people an hour of my time.  If you are currently giving until it hurts, you may want to consider a similar approach.  Try putting your expertise in one place and then allowing as many people as possible to benefit from it. 

I believe we each owe it to our families and ourselves, to get the balance right – So that we learn how to help as many people as we can, without the pain of neglecting our families or our own businesses in the process!

Do you have any experience, of giving too much away or giving until it hurt, which you would like to share with us?

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

The marketing power of confidence

Have you ever noticed that it’s easier to attract new clients or customers when business is already going well, and that it’s harder to attract them when your business is struggling.  One of the primary reasons this happens, is that business owners tend to act, communicate and make decisions very differently, when times are good than when times are tough.

Marketing in good times: Typically, business owners act with confidence when times are good.  They speak in positive terms about their business, their marketplace and their future.  They make decisions based on what they want to achieve.

Marketing in tough times: Typically, business owners act with trepidation when times are tough.  They speak in neutral or negative terms about their business, their marketplace and their future.  They make decisions based on what they fear.

Marketing and confidence

Confidence plays a massive part in the success of any business, for example:

  • We buy from people, who we feel confident about.
  • We recommend people, who we feel confident can deliver.
  • We follow people, who we feel confident can lead.
  • We buy products that we are confident we can trust.

When we listen to people who speak with confidence, we tend to believe in them.  However, when we listen to those who lack confidence, we don’t.  In both cases, the speaker transfers either their confidence or their lack of confidence to us, depending on their disposition.  This is why leaders in every area of life, are those who can inspire confidence in their message; be that in a boardroom or sports arena.  By the way, I wrote about another aspect of marketing with confidence here.

The great news, is that confidence starts from within.  WE get to decide whether we project confidence or concern.

Marketing tip: Take a look at the information you currently feed into your marketplace.  This includes your interactions on social media sites, as well as marketing-specific messages and business conversations.  Now, check them to see how likely they are, to inspire confidence in you or your services.  If you think there’s room for improvement, seek to inject a more positive, confidence inspiring message from here on!

What makes you feel more confident about a potential provider?  What can providers do, to help you feel more confident about them and their business? Share your thoughts!

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

Marketing ideas and answers at your fingertips

There are thousands of marketing ideas and answers here on the blog, spread over hundreds of pages and that number is growing daily.  Of course, as new material is being added, it can get harder and harder to find what you are looking for.

So, to make it easier for you to find the marketing ideas and answers that you need, I have added a new search box – That’s it on the right.

Give it a go

If you haven’t already used it, give it a go – Just type in some words that are related to your marketing query and watch the results!

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

Steve Jobs, iPhone 4 and the Apple marketing experience

Steve Jobs and Apple in general, never cease to amaze me.  This week, Apple announced their latest product, the iPhone 4 and received, as always, millions of dollars worth of free publicity.  I watched a live video of the iPhone launch event at the World Wide Developer’s Conference, and saw journalists (literally) cheering and shouting as Steve Jobs listed features of the phone.

iphone 4, steve jobs, apple marketingWithin minutes of Steve Jobs’ presentation, there were thousands of iPhone 4 news reports and blog posts.  People were guessing how many millions would sell in the first year and how the new features would change the way people use phones.  The coverage Apple received was something that other businesses and brands can only dream of.

Steve Jobs and Apple – It’s more than a brand

People who buy and use Apple products tend to be more than users – They tend to be advocates or ambassadors.  If you DARE to mention something negative about Apple or any Apple product, in a blog post, article or on Twitter, for example, you will quickly get chastised by Apple users, who will quickly tell you that whatever you said was wrong.  This kind of brand loyalty is gold dust.  It’s not born from smoke and mirrors either, Apple make some amazing products, but they fuse their great products with equally good marketing and PR.

What Apple can teach small & medium sized businesses

Apple offer great quality: Your services or products need to be excellent quality, if you want people to rave about them.  It’s hard work and really low leverage, to market average quality products or services.  In fact, if all you have to offer the marketplace is a similar sounding service to your competitors, stop reading this and start looking for ways to massively improve the unique value of your offering.

Apple have a network of advocates: The Apple team has crafted a network of people, who proactively cover and recommend their products.  I suggest you do the same!  Start getting to know the bloggers, newsletter providers and networkers, who have access to your prospective clients and customers.  When you have something interesting or newsworthy, share it with them.  (This is a subject I will cover in future posts.)  This is a great way to generate word of mouth publicity.

Apple remain relevant: Just as Apple have continued to evolve their design and product lines over the years, you should too.  If your service has remained largely unchanged for a year or more, it’s time to check that it’s still relevant to the marketplace.  We live in a time of great change.  The most successful businesses know this and adapt their offering accordingly.  If your competitors are still offering a stale set of services and you adapt your services to be more relevant, you give yourself a powerful advantage!

Steve Jobs speaks with passion: When I saw Steve Jobs take the stage, a year or so after a liver transplant, and then speak with such passion about the new iPhone, I was left with a feeling of awe.  I hear from businesspeople all day, who are in great health and have 1% of Jobs’ drive and passion.  Have something worth saying and say it like you mean it.  If you are not clearly passionate about your business, products and services, no one else will be!

Your thoughts

I would be interested to know what your thoughts are on the coverage Apple get.  Equally, what are your thoughts on how small and medium sized businesses can learn from what much larger companies do?  Let us know!

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

Photo: Benm.at

How to avoid fee sensitive or cost conscious clients

Why would one person earn 10 times more than someone of the same age in the same profession?

I’ve spoken with service providers in the same town, serving the same marketplace and yet one person is out performing the other by over 1,000% in financial terms.  They work the same number of hours, so why would one of them be earning so much more than the other?

To have more, we must first become more

Although we are all equal as human beings, in the marketplace, we each have a market value.  This market value is determined by the amount of value we bring to the marketplace.  The greater the value, the higher we are rewarded.  The solution to earning more, is to become more.

This is why it’s so important NOT to follow the crowd and emulate what you see your competitors doing.  The more you comply to what’s seen as your industry average, the more average your market value will be and thus your results.  The more generic advice you take, the more you will develop a generic business.  That’s why people like me exist!

The industry average is substandard

Those who achieve at the highest levels in any industry, do so because they have cultivated their value accordingly.  They see the industry average as substandard.  You know what?  They are right!  The only people who actively seek out an average kind of service, are those who are focused on price.  These people have no understanding of value – so they buy services based on the lowest prices.

Naturally, the providers in every industry who offer an average service, are attractive to these fee-sensitive or cost conscious people.  They complain about people being fee sensitive, yet they do nothing to attract business from the higher end of their marketplace.

They leave the cream, to those providers who have increased their market value.  It’s insane!

Become more

Take every opportunity to increase your skills, especially those skills that boost your market value.  If you work in a highly competitive industry, like most of us, look for ways to add unique value to your services.  By continuously investing in yourself, you will become a more valued provider and will attract enquiries and leads from people who are focused on value, rather than fees.

What are you doing right now, to increase your market value and attract the right kind of clients?

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

Social media marketing – A more social approach

Some people have asked me, why I place so much emphasis on building a community rather than a following.  Yesterday, within a 30 minute period, I received 2 emails from people enquiring about my services.  I believe the way these emails begin, (see excerpt below), demonstrates the marketing value of community.

Email 1:
“Dear Jim,
You don’t know me, but I feel I know you very well through reading your blog for some time now.”

Email 2:
“Hey Jim,
I read your marketing blog and although we have never met I feel like I’ve known you for years.”

Clearly, in both cases the person enquiring felt comfortable writing to me.  There was no barrier in the way – I was approachable.  Equally, in both cases, the writer said that they felt like they knew me.

This is REALLY important!

Why?

Because one of the reasons so many business owners and marketers fail to transfer their online networks and social media activity into bankable results, is that they place too much distance between themselves and the people they network with.  Even if they do try and build a community, it’s a community that has them positioned as the leader, rather than a host.

I’ve written about the host approach to social media before.  Here’s a brief overview.

Social media hosts

For the past few years, business owners and marketers have been told to build a following or tribe and then market to them.  I’ve always been uncomfortable with that.  So, I use a very different approach, which is based on the idea of a level playing field, where everyone is equal – No tribal leaders.

Think of the host at a really enjoyable party.  He or she greets guests when they arrive and spends the evening mixing with everyone and making sure that a great time is had by all.  The host of the party is not the leader, but rather an attendee; with a responsibility to ensure that everyone has the best experience possible.  They are eating, drinking and dancing alongside you.  They are talking with you and laughing with you.  When you leave the party, you leave with a great, positive feeling.  My approach to social media marketing, is based on that same host model.

The pay off?

The pay off for the kind of approach I advocate, was demonstrated in those 2 emails from yesterday.  By developing a network of people around your work, who feel that they know you and that you are approachable, you also build a deep and wide prospective client pool.

I would really like to hear your thoughts on the whole idea of social media rock stars.  Is it time for a more social approach to relationship building?

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

You are on your way – But where?

In 3, 5 or 10 years time, your business will truly arrive!

The question is; “where?”

Over the past 15 years, I have worked with thousands of business owners all over the world and in my experience, people tend to focus too much on instant gratification.  They are unwilling to invest in ideas unless they believe there will be a super-fast return. This is why so many scammy products exist; offering us super-flat abs in 3 weeks or Internet millions in 3 months!

Paying the price in advance

I’m fortunate to know many self-made millionaires and one of the major differences between them and the other 99.9%, is that the most successful businesspeople are prepared to pay the price for success, in advance.  They know that before they can reap, they have to sow.

For example:

  • They take time to learn the business of business.  They know how a successful business is supposed to work.
  • They take time to research the needs of their marketplace and the best way to service those needs, with the most value possible.
  • They take time to deliberately build contacts with the right people – Not the people who just happen to attend networking events.
  • They take time to understand the meaning and value of integrity.
  • They take time to read the success stories of other successful people, so they can develop their own recipe for success.
  • They know that success is not about money, but lifestyle.  You won’t find them jetting off all over the world doing business, missing their kids growing up.  That’s not success.  It may lead to financial wealth, but success is valuing the things that money can’t buy WAY MORE than the “toys” that money CAN BUY.

For most businesspeople, January does not signal the start of a new year.  It’s simply another chance to live the same old year, all over again. The same financial frustrations.  The same business worries.  The same bullshit that they hope, will one day “just stop.”

If you want a better future, you have to be smarter than that!  This starts with a commitment; to spend less time looking for quick fixes and more time deliberately planning (and working toward) the kind of future you REALLY want.

Never, ever settle for less.  You deserve far more than that!

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

Photo: Carlos Freita

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