Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Page 18 of 195

How to find the answers you need

Here’s a powerful, creative thinking tip, to help you the next time you need answers or ideas.

I’m going to start by asking you a question:

How often do you give yourself space, in order to focus exclusively on the answers you need?

The incoming

Emails, text messages, social networks, rolling news and phone calls etc., fight for our attention. They interrupt us. They shift our thinking to whatever they want us to focus on. This makes it extremely hard for us to focus on the ideas and answers we need.

Those interruptions happen all day long, unless we deliberately choose to disconnect from the incoming.

How to disconnect

The next time you find yourself wrestling with an idea, turn your phone off and go for a walk. When you unplug your mind from the incoming, you can focus without interruption on what matters to you.

That uninterrupted focus, combined with the psychological benefits of walking, will allow you to think differently than if you stayed at your desk. I have used this technique for years and it has improved my creative thinking immeasurably. It can do the same for you.

Tip: There are hundreds of free, creative thinking ideas and resources for you here.

How to turn your wishes into results

When you wish for something, you’re just 2 steps away from making it happen.

Wishing + Learning + Action = Success

We all wish for things, from time to time. However, by adding 2 components to what we wish for, we stand a great chance of turning the wish into a reality.

We need to back our wish up with:

  • Learning (or education).
  • And action.

For instance, when my wife and I found ourselves wishing we lived in the countryside, we decided to do something about it. We were living in London and knew it meant making some tough decisions and backing those decisions up with action. So, we learned what needed to be done. Then, we determined to do whatever was required.

Within 12 weeks, we were living in a tiny village. Our wish came true.

Some examples

  • Don’t wish it was less expensive — learn how to earn more. Then take action.
  • Don’t wish it would happen sooner — learn how to make measurable progress in reasonable time. Then take action.
  • Don’t wish it was the weekend — learn how to make every day enjoyable. Then take action.
  • Don’t wish your business was in better shape — learn how to make better decisions. Then take action.

In short: The next time you find yourself wishing for something, try adding those 2 steps. Learn whatever you need to know, then take action.

Tip: You can download my audio program and learn how to motivate yourself to take action. It runs for almost 2 hours and is narrated by me!

A tested, proven way to attract more sales leads

Today, I want to help you attract more high quality sales leads and referrals, with a tested and proven idea.

I need to start by asking you an important question: How easy is it for people to describe what makes your service special?

Here’s why this question is so important.

Make it easy to spread your message

If you want people to spread the word about your business, you need to make it as easy as possible for them. You also need to ensure they share the correct message, so the marketplace gets the right impression of what makes your business remarkable.

Whilst many small business owners develop an elevator pitch, a script they can use to quickly describe their business to a stranger, very, very few create a script for their clients or customers. As a result, it’s hard for people to know what to say about you. They may tell their friends that they value working with you or that they recommend you, but that’s way too vague.

What you need, is for people to have a very short, powerful script that inspires interest in you. Something that will motivate people to check you out!

A very different kind of script

I’m not talking about handing your clients a script and telling them to recite it to their friends.

No.

I’m talking about creating a 4 or 5 word script that follows your work. Something that is printed onto your packaging, added to your emails and featured prominently on your website or blog.

Do not confuse this with one of those generic mottos or tag-lines you see some businesses using! It’s pointless to say “we try harder”, “we’re obsessive about quality” or “we always go the extra mile”. EVERYONE makes those claims.

This is an example of how to get it right.

A finger lickin’ good message

Here’s how an international brand used this idea with huge success:

The team behind Kentucky Fried Chicken wanted to give their diners a simple way to describe how tasty the chicken was. So, they made it super simple. They placed a short, powerful script on all their packaging. It described their food as, “finger lickin’ good”. Those who ate and enjoyed their chicken, now knew exactly what to tell their friends. Moreover, they were delivering an amazingly powerful, professionally written script!

Regardless of what you happen to think about deep-fried chicken, the mental imagery conjured up with that script is powerful. The idea of people enjoying their food SO MUCH that they licked their fingers, would surely motivate their hungry friends to give KFC a try.

And that’s what happened. Millions of times. Worldwide.

Your script

Take some time to think about your business and what you would like people to say about you. Then, spend as much time as necessary crafting a powerful, extremely short script that captures the key benefit of your product or service. You may find it helps, to research the scripts already used by successful brands in different industries to your own.

If you don’t have the time or expertise to get this right, pay for a professional to do it for you. Just don’t miss out on great word of mouth referrals or targeted sales leads, because people aren’t sure how to recommend you.

Tip: Here’s some advice and examples, on how to attract word of mouth referrals – Why your business needs a story.

How to feel inspired every day

The best way to feel inspired, is to inspire others.

Why? Because by giving inspiration, we become a source of inspiration.

We become the source of what we need!

An unending cycle of inspiration

Look for opportunities to inspire the people you connect with. This sets a positive cycle in place, which benefits you and those around you.

Tip: What is inspiration? Steve Jobs and Picasso provide some insights!

Are your competitors controlling your potential?

Most small business owners compare their business, to their competitor’s businesses. This is why the fees, promises and range of services offered by competing businesses in any industry, are strikingly similar.

Here’s the challenge with that approach: It places a very low ceiling on your potential.

Allow me to explain

By competing against the standards of your competitors, you set your bar extremely low.

The vast majority of small businesses in any sector are uninspiring, to say the least. Statistically we know that most are struggling, with many going under every day. Very, very few are doing anything exceptional.

It clearly makes little sense to allow your competitors to regulate your potential.

So, compare yourself to the best instead

One of the finest ways to build a successful business, is to learn from the best.

  • Compare your customer service to Disney.
  • Compare your design quality to Apple.
  • Compare your distribution to Amazon.
  • Compare your build quality to Rolex.

Choose who / what you compare your business to, based on the quality of what they do and it’s effectiveness. Set your bar higher than your competitors. Demand the best. Be remarkable.

A powerful business lesson… from Google!

How often do you review, refine and improve your products or services?

Many small business owners get comfortable with what they offer. It feels familiar to them. Their clients or customers seldom complain. So, understandably, they keep things as they are.

Here’s the thing: In doing so, those business owners are missing out on a huge opportunity. They are also putting the future of their business at risk.

Why? Because the marketplace is always changing. It’s in a constant state of flux. The providers who fail to embrace the changing landscape, tend to have their lunch eaten by their more agile competitors. As competitors develop products and services that offer increasing value, the business owners who stand still, find they lose clients and fail to attract as many new clients.

Google and Perpetual Beta

One of the keys to Google’s success was their commitment to constant improvement. They embraced a concept known as Perpetual Beta. The term Perpetual Beta, refers to software or systems that are in a development stage for an indefinite or extended period of time. Google create a product and then constantly look for ways to make it better. Gmail, for instance, was a beta product for over 5 years and is still regularly updated.

What this means to you

The best businesses adopt a similar approach to Google. They are consistently looking for ways to improve what they do.

I suggest you do the same and review your current products or services. Look for ways to increase their value to your clients and prospective clients.

If you look hard enough, you will find something to improve. How can I be so sure? Simple. There’s no such thing as the perfect business, which means you will always be able to enhance, improve and advance.

Tip: Read this – How to build a successful business.

Do you make these 7 mistakes with your blog?

If you want better results from your blog, this post is just for you.

I was prompted to write this, after receiving an email over the weekend, from a reader with a question. Here’s what he wanted to know:

“I started blogging 2 years ago, but have very few readers. I think my blog is as good as many in my industry, but I only get around 25 readers a day. Why isn’t anyone reading my blog, Jim?”

Because the mistakes he’s making are common to lots of blogs, I thought I’d answer his question here, via 7 blogging tips. In no particular order, here are 7 key areas to focus on, if you want to build a great blog with a hugely valuable readership.

Blog Tip 1: Have something to say, which is worth reading

People have never been busier than they are today. Equally, there has never been so much choice regarding what they can read. For a blog to attract readers and then retain those readers, it needs to offer something, which is meaningfully different. The majority of blogs don’t do this. They are predictable. They have no distinct voice. They offer no motivation to read them.

The key is to tell us what you think. Give us your opinion… not an echo of what everyone else is saying. Allow your personality to shine through your words. Only by embracing your unique perspective can you hope to stand out, grab people’s attention and then inspire them to keep coming back.

Blog Tip 2: Turn up regularly

The guy who emailed me hadn’t published a new blog post for over 4 weeks. Here’s the thing: We can’t expect people to return to a blog, even a well-written blog, if there’s seldom any new content for them to read.

If you want people to visit your blog regularly, publish new content regularly. Keep your blog fresh. The more often you publish useful content, the faster your readership will grow.

Blog Tip 3: Create the right impression

The guy who emailed me was using a very tired looking, poorly designed blog theme. It created a terrible initial impression, which told me lots about his attitude to his blog.

It has never been easier or less expensive to have a professional looking blog. Despite this, many small business owners use ugly, dated blog themes and as a result, look amateurish. People tend not to treat information on amateur looking blogs very seriously. We expect professionals to look professional.

Think about it, there are only 2 reasons why a business would operate behind an amateur looking blog:

  1. They think it’s OK to allow poor quality work (design) to represent them and their values.
  2. They can’t afford a professional looking blog.

Neither of those options reflect well on the blog owner!

If your blog looks dated, invest in a new, professional blog theme. This allows you to create a great first impression and sets a professional tone for what your visitors are about to read.

This leads on nicely to the next point.

Blog Tip 4: Be visible on mobile devices

An increasing number of people view the Internet using their phones or tablets. If a site is hard to read on their mobile device, they leave. Despite this, an alarming number of blogs are not mobile ready. In other words, they are hard to read or navigate when using a mobile device.

Would you like to see what your blog (or website) looks like on various mobile devices? Then use this free app – Screenfly by Quicktools. It’s extremely easy. Just enter the address of your site and then click the various options in the menu bar, to see what your site looks like on different, popular phones and tablets.

If your blog doesn’t perform well on mobile devices, you will lose visitors before they even start reading what you have to say. Depending on your industry, you could be offering a bad user experience to 50% or more (and growing), of your readers!

Blog Tip 5: Stop selling

Most small business bloggers turn almost every post into a sales pitch. Instead of being interesting and offering useful information, these posts read like a series of thinly-disguised advertisements. The challenge with that approach is that people are not interested in reading ads, linking to ads or sharing your ads with their friends.

Focus instead on using your posts to position you as an expert in your field. Provide valuable information, which people will want to read, link to and share.

This is the exact approach I use with Jim’s Marketing Blog. I share my ideas and expertise, for free, with the intention of being as valuable to my readers as possible. Then, when they decide they need expert marketing help, a hefty subset email me or give me a call. Readers also share my posts and link to them, allowing me to reach new readers every day.

Blog Tip 6: Make blogging a high priority business activity

A successful blog can be an exceptionally valuable asset for you and your business. So, give it the investment it needs.

For instance, my blog has provided me with opportunities I could never have imagined, prior to blogging. It has allowed me to attract the interest, and custom, of some of the world’s biggest brands. It has also allowed me to build a fantastic network among my readers, eliminating the need for me to have a Linkedin account or do any form of networking.

Give your blog the time, effort and money it needs and you can build an asset, which grows in value every day.

Blog Tip 7: Play the long game

Even if you are doing everything correctly, it takes time for you to attract (and keep re-earning), the attention of a sizeable readership.

Once a reader has found your blog, the key to motivating them to hire you, buy from you or recommend your work with their valued contacts, is for you to demonstrate your reliability… over time. This is how you go from being yet another blogger, to a professional who they feel they can trust.

In closing

Those are just some of the main areas to focus on, if you want to get the best results from your blog. I hope you find them useful. More importantly, I hope you do something with them.

What every business owner needs to know about Visibility!

invisible 2

I would like to talk with you today, about the visibility of your business.

I was prompted by an email I received this morning, from one of my long time readers. With his permission, I’d like to share a little of what he told me:

“Back in March, I closed my business and took a job working for a former competitor of mine. […] As I’d long suspected their service is inferior to what I was offering, but they market it way better than I did. They are making a ton of money and I couldn’t even make a living.”

How visible are you?

Sadly, an average service that’s well marketed will always generate massively more money, than a great service, which too few people know about. Think about it: People can’t hire you, if they don’t know you exist — regardless of how amazing you are.

Just consider those painters, composers and writers, whose genius was only appreciated after their death. They produced classics, yet lack of visibility stopped them receiving the recognition they deserved, during their lifetime.

A great example is Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick. Melville was unable to make a living as a writer, so he worked at various jobs, including working on the New York docks. It was decades after his death that a revival of his work took place and the world became aware of Herman Melville’s huge talent. The talent was always there. The books were always there. His work simply lacked the visibility it needed.

Take your marketing seriously

You do amazing work. You care passionately about your clients or customers. You work hard.

Don’t allow ineffective marketing to rob you of the success you deserve.

This will help: Here are my top marketing tips, together in one place!

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