Jim's Marketing Blog

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

Page 18 of 176

When work isn’t working

… it feels a lot like fun.

In other words, when the work you do is something that inspires and fulfils you, it’s hard to tell work from play.

Paul: The hard working 71 year old

There’s a 71 year old man right now, still working in the same industry as he was when he was a teenager. He’s still working hard too. In fact, he’s just created a new product and is working like crazy to promote it.

He isn’t in it for the money. Sir Paul McCartney has been financially secure for decades.

Unicorn tears

I don’t prescribe to the theory that if you just do what you love, you can make a successful living. However, I have seen countless examples of people, who have transformed their work into something that is extremely enjoyable. Something that inspires, motivates and compels them.

The way I built my business is an example of this. Allow me to explain.

Marketing can be stressful, dull and prescriptive

I got into marketing in 1986 and immediately found it fascinating. However, working as a marketing consultant bored me to tears.

  • Dull, over-long meetings.
  • 12 hour work days.
  • Lots of time wasted in traffic.
  • Predictable clients with average products or services.

I knew there had to be a better way. So, when I started my own marketing business in 1995, I changed everything. In many ways, I haven’t worked a day since. I hand-pick my clients, so I only work with people I like, who have a business worth marketing. I work from a great home studio, which means I get to spend lots of time every day with my eight year old son. I work with business owners worldwide, but let technology do all the travelling.

I do what I love and I love what I do. If God gives me the strength, I hope to be doing this when I am Paul McCartney’s age.

Your business model

You deserve to own a business, which makes you feel excited, motivated and inspired. This means picking your clients and not allowing them to pick you. It means eliminating tasks from your work flow, which are dull — either through delegating them, changing them or eliminating them.

It means telling yourself a different story about what it is to OWN AND RUN a business. You’re in control. You get to pick and choose who you work with and what you do. So, make choices that are worthy of you.

Promises, promises!

Promises: easy to make, harder to keep.

In a crowded marketplace, becoming known as a promise keeper is a great way to earn trust.

Do you want to get ahead even faster? Make BIG promises and deliver on them… regularly, reliably and with enthusiasm.

Could this be one of the best kept secrets in business?

Maybe.

After all, can you think of a successful business owner, who got that way by failing to deliver?

Something to remember when times are tough

When times are tough, it’s easy to feel negative. The thing is, so long as you’re still in the game — still working smart, your situation can improve at any moment.

Think about it:

  • You could be one email away from a great, new client inquiry.
  • You could be one phone call away from converting an inquiry into a paying client.
  • You could be one meeting away from making an amazing new contact.
  • You could be one appointment away from the largest contract of your life.
  • You could be one blog post away from going viral.
  • You could be one idea away from making a life-changing breakthrough.

Work smart. If you need help, get help… but never, ever lose hope.

PS: Here’s some useful information… about YOU!

Forget the easy wins!

Easy come, easy go… at least when it comes to business.

  • Gain a new client because your fees are lower than their current provider, then lose them as soon as someone undercuts your fee.
  • Add a pop-up box to your website to increase sign-ups and you’ll attract people, who can’t resist pop-up boxes. So, your newsletter gets sent to an overflowing inbox and is seldom read. Why? Because it’s in there with hundreds of other pop-up subscriptions.

That’s the problem with focusing on the easy wins. Their attention is easy to capture and just as easy to lose. Growing a business that way is like trying to fill a bucket, which has a hole in the bottom.

The sustainable alternative

Long term business success comes from learning how to attract the kind of people who need convincing. These are intelligent people. So, their attention is harder to earn. They don’t fall for gimmicks. They don’t fall for pop-up boxes.

Yes, it takes a little more work than attracting the easy wins. However, isn’t that a small price to pay, for growing a sustainable business?

PS: You may find this useful. It’s packed with examples and ideas you can use – How to build a successful business.

4 Expensive mistakes you need to avoid

I’ve given 4 pieces of important business development advice recently, which I’d like to share with you. Hopefully, it will help you or someone you know, to avoid making some costly mistakes.

Think long and hard before you do any of the following…

Take advice from a self proclaimed guru

Self-proclaimed gurus are exactly that: Self-proclaimed. There’s a world of difference between the fakes and those who other people proclaim to be a guru or thought leader.

How do you spot the fakes? Genuine thought leaders never use those words to describe themselves. Why? Because they know it’s not required. They are the real deal.

It reminds me of that saying: The guy who tells you he’s the cleverest person in the room… isn’t.

Assume expertise

Don’t assume someone knows their subject, because they claim to be an author, radio show host etc. Why? Because it no longer means anything.

  • Anyone can claim to be a published author, thanks to services like lulu.
  • Anyone can claim to be a social media expert, when they can buy 50,000 twitter followers for $100 and as many Facebook fans as they can afford.
  • Anyone can claim to be the host of their own radio show, thanks to services like blogtalkradio.

For peanuts, anyone can be a published author, with 50,000 Twitter followers and legions of Facebook fans. Anyone.

Take traffic building advice

Be careful taking Internet marketing advice from someone, who talks generally about building traffic. General traffic is not only worthless, it can waste your time and suck up your bandwidth. As a business owner, you need targeted visits from people, with an interest in (or need for) your services. Not general traffic.

The difference is huge. Really huge!

Mistake a marketing pest for a marketing professional

Never hire a marketing provider, whose own marketing isn’t working. Here’s an easy way to tell the successful marketing professionals from the rest.

  • Successful marketing professionals attract targeted leads, using effective marketing (as you’d expect).
  • Ineffective marketing providers have to pester people for leads. So, we see them pester people for leads at networking events. They pester people with emails they never asked for. They pester people on social networks.

In short — successful marketing professionals attract your attention and earn your permission to connect with you. The others pester and pursue. Avoid the latter.

If you think your friends may find these 4 recommendations useful, feel free to share this message with them.

An alternative way to market your business successfully

Some years ago, the marketing team behind Toys ‘R’ Us in the United States, had a great idea. It provides a lesson, which everyone reading this can benefit from.

Here’s what they did

They sold Pampers, in store, at cost price. Clever eh? These were easily the cheapest Pampers anywhere. So, eager parents went into Toys ‘R’ Us to buy them. These busy parents usually went along with their kids, who would head straight for the section with their favourite toys and then ask their parent for a toy — often with extreme conviction!

  • Did every parent cave in and buy a toy? No.
  • Did enough parents make additional, high profit purchases as a result of the zero profit Pampers offer? You bet!

So, here’s my question for you

When was the last time you did something creative with your marketing?

One of the reason so many small business owners find that their marketing is ignored, is because it’s too linear… too predictable.

Here’s a suggestion for you: Have a think about the magic behind that Toys ‘R’ Us Pampers offer and see if it sparks an idea, which you can adapt for your business.

You may surprise yourself… and your customers.

PS: Here are some ideas to help you find creative answers for your business.

I have some important news for you

I have some news for you. It’s about your competitors. I did a little research and it seems they have really improved the quality of their customer service.

As a result, you now need to improve your customer service significantly, just to be at the service level, where you thought you already were.

So, take time out today — right now if possible, to figure out more ways to delight your clients or customers. Look for opportunities to show how much you care about them.

Hang on…

Sorry, I was wrong

I just looked again and it seems your competitors have not improved their customer service after all. So, your investment in extra customer care could now pay you a huge, windfall dividend. It could encourage massively more of your clients to talk about what an amazing service they receive from you.

Think for a moment about all that extra word of mouth publicity and the endless referrals.

Sounds like a business opportunity to me.

Success seldom interrupts us

It’s my birthday next week… a great time for a little reflection.

On Thursday, I will spend a whole day working on my personal and professional development.

Why?

Because I want to get a year better, not just a year older. So, I will spend the day figuring out how to invest everything I have learned so far, into the next year of my life.

Business and planning

As we approach the final quarter of 2013, some small business owners will be reflecting similarly. They want their businesses to get a year better, rather than plateau for a year. Of course, most small businesses won’t do that. For them, January 2014 will not be the start of a New Year — it will just be another chance to relive the same year over again.

In business and life generally, success seldom interrupts us. It requires deliberate planning. If you want to see better results in 2014, the time to start planning is now.

« Older posts Newer posts »