Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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Here’s the fastest way I know, to increase your sales and profits!

If you want to generate high quality sales, extremely quickly, here’s a suggestion. It’s based on an idea I have used and seen used, many times, with amazing results.

3 Facts and a question

I want you to consider the following 3 facts about your clients:

  1. Your clients trust you.
  2. Your clients are used to trading with you, receiving invoices and paying them.
  3. Because of the previous 2 points, making additional purchases from you is seen as low risk or no risk.

Now answer this question:

What additional, useful product or service could you offer to your existing clients (or customers)?

Here’s why this works so well

Selling to your existing clients has 2 massive advantages over selling to strangers:

  1. The process is very quick, because of the 3 facts I just mentioned.
  2. By offering more, high value services to your clients, you become more valued as a provider. This makes them less likely to switch to an alternative provider.

If you’re looking for the quickest, least expensive way to generate far higher revenues and profits, this may be it. If not, it’s pretty darn close.

Yes, it requires a little creativity, but WOW – the results are worth it!

PS: Here’s some advice on how to create a new product or service, which people will love.

Here’s a delightful, profitable way to do business

What daily habits do you have?

I’d like to suggest you add one more daily habit to your list. It’s easy to do, takes very little time, yet is extremely rewarding. It’s simply this:

Find something you can do each day, which will delight one of your clients or customers.

There are just 2 rules:

  1. You need to delight them, by doing something that’s not a normal part of the service they receive from you.
  2. You need to delight a different customer each day.

Going beyond what’s expected

Yes, I know you work hard to look after all your clients, all the time. That’s NOT what I am referring to here. Your clients expect that and rightly so. I’m referring to going beyond what is expected, in a small but meaningful way.

For example:

  • Send them a hand written note, to thank them for their continued custom.
  • If you have discovered a website or application, which you think they will find useful, share it with them.
  • Recommend their business to your contacts.
  • Link to them from your website.
  • Send cupcakes.
  • Offer to meet them for a quick coffee, when you’re next in their area.

You get the idea. It’s not about spending lots of time or money. It’s the thought behind what you do that counts.

Delighting a different client every day

All of your clients or customers deserve to feel special… to be delighted.

The nature of human relationships, is that we bond better with some people then others. In business we need to go beyond that. It’s about building wonderful working relationships with all our clients, not a select few who we gravitate toward.

Why bother delighting your clients?

It matters. It really matters. We each have an inbuilt need to feel recognised and appreciated. When people show us recognition and appreciation, it dramatically improves how we feel about them. Yes, in purely commercial terms, that’s a strong enough case to justify delighting our clients — clearly, the stronger your client relationships are, the better.

I believe it’s about more than that!

As business owners, we work hard and we often work long hours. So, it makes perfect sense to improve our working environment… to make business as enjoyable as possible.

A superb way to achieve this, is to combine the excellent service you provide, with an ongoing commitment to delighting your clients.

PS: I recommend you read this – How to lift your business to a whole new level.

Let your past make you better, not bitter!

What do the following have in common?

  • Parents.
  • Money.
  • Education.
  • Contacts.

They are all excuses I have seen people give recently, for failing with a business or a project. Interestingly, we find that other people with those same challenges, succeed.

An important decision

Ultimately, we are all faced with the same important decision:

Do we allow our past to make us better or make us bitter?

This is one of the biggest decisions we will ever make. It will help determine our happiness and how much of our potential we reach.

If we choose wisely, we will find ourselves looking for reasons to succeed, rather than excuses to fail. The impact this has on our results is immeasurable.

5 Ways to build a massively valuable newsletter list

Here are 5 tips, to help you build a valuable newsletter readership or list. I used each of these ideas when growing my own newsletter, which had 45,000 subscribers when I published the last edition.

Newsletter Tip 1: Go easy on the pitches

Make sure it’s a newsletter and not a badly disguised advertisement. Here’s the thing: People avoid advertising. We skip the commercials on TV. We pay developers to remove the ads from the free version of their apps. We see advertisements as unwelcome interruptions.

If your newsletter reads a little too much like a sales pitch, it will be largely ignored. This leads nicely into the next point.

Newsletter Tip 2: Be useful

The more useful your newsletter is, the more your readers will value it and share it. Your ultimate goal is to build a large, targeted reader community, who become either clients, customers or advocates. None of that can be achieved with predictable, pedestrian content.

Useful content is what gives your newsletter wings. It’s what inspires people to subscribe, share and make purchasing decisions.

So, before you hit send on a newsletter, make sure it’s packed with valuable, useful information. Offer answers to your reader’s problems. Share useful tips. Point your readers to useful resources.

Newsletter Tip 3: Get the design right

Even if your content is wonderful, people won’t take it seriously if the design looks poor. The first bite is with the eye. So, pay a designer, the best you can afford, to design your newsletter template.

Always remember, whether your newsletter looks amateurish or is presented professionally, it all reflects back on you.

Newsletter Tip 4: Ask readers to share it

Even if readers think your newsletter is great, it may not occur to them to share it. By reminding them, you plant the idea of sharing the newsletter in their mind at the exact point, where they have just read it and enjoyed it. I used to have a section at the bottom of my newsletter, which said:

“If you have found this newsletter interesting, please share it with your friends”.

When I added that short message to my newsletter, the results were immediate and measurable.

Newsletter Tip 5: Help it spread

Convert people who had your newsletter forwarded to them, into subscribers. Imagine your friend had just forwarded a great newsletter to you. You’d want to get a regular copy, right? You don’t want to have to rely on your friend, remembering to forward each edition to you. So, I added the following sentence to the above message:

“If you have had this newsletter forwarded to you and would like a regular copy, click here.”

Never underestimate the power of a subtle, non-pushy reminder.

In summary

Newsletters can be an extremely valuable marketing asset. Take your newsletter seriously and invest in it accordingly. The rewards for getting it right are huge. No. Bigger than that!

PS: I strongly recommend you read this3 Tips From a World Class Newsletter.

Is your service answering a question, which your ideal clients are asking?

Here’s a simple, powerful tip, to help you create an extremely profitable new product, service or business.

The next big thing

I get emails daily, from people who want me to invest in their new project. Almost all of them are trying to be the next Amazon.com, Craigslist or Twitter, etc.

With little or no funding, no gap in the market and no one looking for a clone business, their projects have no legs. In other words, no one is talking about them or asking to get involved. Why? Because these look-a-like projects are answering a question, which no one is asking.

A better way to succeed

Start by answering a compelling question, which potential customers are asking and willing to pay for the answer to.

A scalable, affordable way to do this is to listen to your marketplace, via social networks. Look for common problems they face — things that frustrate them, cost them too much time, etc. Do the research and see if you’ve identified a gap in the market. Look at the numbers and if it all stacks up, give it the focus and energy it needs.

Building an answer to THAT question, will massively improve your chances of success.

How to beat the feast or famine trap

If your sales results are too erratic or you find yourself in that feast-or-famine trap, this post is written just for you.

Most businesses offer products or services, which people are only interested in when they have a problem. If your business provides the answer to a problem, there’s a very good chance you’re using the wrong marketing approach.

I’m going to explain why and also show you how to get it right.

Knowing you before they need you

Coaches, accountants, designers, dentists, trainers, insurance professionals, lawyers, consultants, etc — are only sought after when someone has a requirement.

Here’s the thing: If they already know who you are, before they need you, you are massively more likely to earn their custom, than some provider they have never heard of.

I once heard Mercedes’ head of advertising say, that if Mercedes focused on showing people advertisements, the week before they were about to buy a new car, it wouldn’t work. So, Mercedes focus on getting their marketing messages in front of us when we’re kids. Then, when we’re 35 and are thinking of buying a luxury car, we think of Mercedes.

Whilst that approach is longer-term than most small or medium-sized businesses need to consider, the advice is sound. It’s all about the client or customer knowing who we are, before they need us.

Switch from short-term gambits to a long-term strategy

Market strategically. Make marketing an ongoing part of your business, not something you do when you lose a client or when sales are down. Remain relevant to your marketplace. Stay in their mind. Keep earning their attention, through strategic, useful, permission-based marketing.

In short: If you want great, long-term results, you need to make long-term plans.

21 Powerful habits behind highly successful business owners

Over the years I have worked with thousands of business owners. Many of these were successful, some were hugely successful.

Acquiring the habits for success

I noticed that the most successful business owners shared certain habits. They did things, which the average business owner didn’t do. I decided to learn from them… to acquire their habits, to see if it would help me.

It did. It really did. In big, meaningful, measurable ways.

So, in brief, here’s what I learned from them:

  1. They are driven by a passion to do something big. Something that motivates them AND those around them.
  2. They personalise their business, so it’s uniquely theirs. One of a kind. Rare and valuable.
  3. They know success is about more than money… that if you’re rich and unhappy, you’re still broke.
  4. They show people, rather than tell people. Anyone can claim anything, so they walk the walk.
  5. They out-care their competition. It shines through everything they do.
  6. They out-smart their competitors too.
  7. They set standards, extremely high, self-imposed standards… and they achieve them.
  8. They ignore the manual and write their own rules.
  9. They focus on what they want, not what they fear.
  10. They are excellent decision makers. They get the information required, study it, request advice if needed, then decide.
  11. They avoid those costly detours, which come disguised as shortcuts to success.
  12. They work hard. You can’t sleepwalk your way to the top… or even the middle.
  13. They also relax. If you work smart during work time, you can relax when it’s family and friends time.
  14. They seldom watch TV. None (zero) of the most successful people I know, bother with TV.
  15. They are extremely selective who they associate with and who they recommend.
  16. They lead. The world already has enough followers and the followers need leaders.
  17. They manage their time extremely well.
  18. They deliberately build a valuable network of people — before they need them.
  19. They are willing to stand out. They know it’s the only way to be outstanding.
  20. They summon the courage to do what’s required, rather than what feels comfortable.
  21. They make promises… then keep them.

Those are just some of the habits I have discovered and road tested, which improved my business and life beyond recognition.

I hope you find them useful, but more importantly, I hope you decide to try and make at least one of them a habit.

This is a marketing message. Seriously. It is!

Marketing tips, content marketing

Photo: Alice Lim

In today’s post, I’m going to show you how to make your marketing so attractive, that people would miss it if it wasn’t there.

Think about it: Most of the marketing messages we receive are unwelcome. At best, they are seen as the price we pay, so we can watch that YouTube clip we want to see. At worst, marketing messages are an unwanted, unsolicited intrusion.

How some people get it right

Some of the marketing we receive is welcomed. When Evernote send me their newsletter, I read it. It’s packed with tips on how to get the most value from the Evernote app, so users can organise their ideas and improve their work flow.

Yes, I have made additional purchases because of the Evernote newsletter, but they have never sold me anything. Think about that for a moment.

Leigh prompted me to write today’s post

Around 20 minutes ago, I received a message from a reader. Leigh said that she reads my blog via email. She was concerned, because she hadn’t had an email from me for 5 days. Apparently, it turned out to be a problem with her new email provider.

Leigh went on to say:

[...] “One good thing to come from the frustration of changing email providers, is that it made me realize how much your emails help me with my business.”

That may not seem a particularly powerful statement, but it is. I’ll explain why in a moment.

The best marketing brings independent value

Just like the Evernote newsletter I mentioned a moment ago, the best marketing messages are packed with value. When people connect with effective marketing, they feel like they have gained something — something more than a sales pitch.

A great way for us to get this right, is to ask ourselves the following question: If I stopped my; marketing campaign, blog posts, email marketing, newsletters or social networking updates, etc, would people miss them?

If people wouldn’t miss our marketing, they are probably not paying much attention to us. It’s entirely likely our marketing is being seen as an intrusion, rather than a source of value.

This is a marketing message… seriously!

If you think this blog post isn’t a marketing message, just because I’m not pitching you anything, consider this:

  • Hundreds of people email me every week, because of something they read on my blog or in the email version of the blog.
  • A subset of them will become clients or customers.
  • Others become advocates and recommend my services to their friends.
  • Some share my blog posts, helping me reach more people.

None of these busy people would bother, if my posts were a series of sales pitches.

In short: Provide your marketplace with useful information, not sales pitches. Make your marketing communications about the reader, not about you. Help them solve their challenges with your expertise, so they know where to come when they need expert help they can trust.

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