Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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Here’s a proven way to get people talking about your business

Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of attracting referrals, rather than pestering people for referrals. You can read that post here. Today, I’d like to share a proven way to get people talking about your business for all the right reasons.

Let’s look at enthusiasm

When we speak and act with enthusiasm, it spreads like a virus. It changes the way people think and feel about us.

Here are just a few examples:

  • It captures people’s interest.
  • It motivates people to want to know more.
  • It inspires people to talk about us.
  • It creates confidence, which makes people feel comfortable recommending us (and buying from us).

Of course, the opposite is also true.

Let’s look at pessimism

When we speak with pessimism, it spreads like a virus to everyone around us. Pessimism also changes the way people think and feel about us, this time in a totally negative way.

For example:

  • It causes people to feel pessimistic about us.
  • It destroys confidence in our business.
  • It repels motivated, inspirational people.
  • It attracts others, who are similarly pessimistic.

Most small business owners sit somewhere between enthusiastic and pessimistic. They neither inspire people or drive them away. This neutral position is hurting their business and it’s 100% unnecessary.

Fire up your enthusiasm

If your business isn’t attracting the word of mouth referrals you need, try cranking up your enthusiasm.

Remember: No one is going to feel enthusiastic about our business, until we transfer our enthusiasm to them.

How to work a room at a networking event

Someone just asked me for tips on how to work a room at a networking event.

Not the advice he expected

I explained that I wouldn’t spend too much time learning how to get the most from networking events.

No.

I’d focus on why I needed to go to networking events. I’d figure out, very quickly, why my clients, website, newsletter, customers and contacts weren’t providing me with the referrals and leads I need.

Create a story worth sharing, by providing a remarkable service. Then, the word will spread. People will talk about you, because that’s what we do when we encounter something that is remarkable.

Attracting word of mouth referrals is vastly more effective, than offering an average service and having to pester people for leads at networking groups.

Tip: Here’s how to make your business remarkable, so people spread the word!

2 Powerful questions every business owner needs to ask

Stop marketing your services. Seriously. Stop it!

Savoy

Afternoon tea at The Savoy in London is over £110 and there’s usually a waiting list.

Of course, no one pays The Savoy all that money for afternoon tea. No. They can buy tea and cake from a shop down the street for 90% less. However, it’s not the calories people pay for.

They pay for The Savoy experience: The outstanding service. The amazing quality. The story they can share with their friends.

Sell them the experience

The vast majority of service providers sell the calories of what they do. These coaches, accountants, designers, trainers etc., offer the same predictable services and make the same predictable promises. They have turned their service into a commodity. They then attract fee sensitive clients, because clients buy commodity services based on price or fee.

However, the best service providers in every industry use the same approach as The Savoy. They discovered that they could massively improve their income and profits, by making the experience of working with them so uniquely valuable, that people will pay a premium for it.

If you’re having to compete on fees or you’re finding it hard to stand out from the crowd, invest in creating an amazing experience, then sell the experience. Get this right and it will improve your business beyond recognition.

Tip: You will find this post extremely useful: The number 1 thing your business must know in order to succeed.

Just get rid of the crappy stuff!

I wrote yesterday about how to run a very successful business, working just 20 hours a week. I emphasised the importance of cherry-picking your clients, so you only work with the right kind of people for the right kind of fees.

Today, I want to share why it’s also very important for you to be extremely selective, regarding the products or services you offer.

Just get rid of the crappy stuff — Steve Jobs

One of the cornerstones of Apple’s success, is their decision to focus on a small number of products, which they excel at. They pour all their considerable expertise into creating market-leading products, which hundreds of millions of people buy and love.

Here’s a wonderful example of what I mean. Nike CEO, Mark Parker, talked to Steve Jobs on the phone, shortly after becoming Nike’s CEO:

“Do you have any advice?” Parker asked Jobs. “Well, just one thing,” said Jobs. “Nike makes some of the best products in the world. Products that you lust after. But you also make a lot of crap. Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.” Parker said Jobs paused and Parker filled the quiet with a chuckle. But Jobs didn’t laugh. He was serious. “He was absolutely right,” said Parker.”

Source: Forbes.

The lesson?

Steve Jobs’ advice to just get rid of the crappy stuff, was maybe a little harsh, however, it raises some powerful questions:

  • Is it possible that by focusing on just a small number of core services (or products), you could be directly relevant to high quality clients, rather than seen as a generalist?
  • If so, how would that change the value you provide and thus the fees or prices you could achieve?
  • Would it be easier for potential clients to get a handle on exactly what you do?
  • Would it be easier for you to grow your business, with the increased focus that comes from specialising in a smaller number of areas?

Take a moment to ponder those questions. It could lead to a decision, which improves your business beyond recognition.

Tip: Here’s some great advice from Steve Jobs, on The Power of Focus.

How to run a successful business working just 20 hours a week!

I work fewer than 20 hours a week, yet earn a very good income. Here’s how I do it and how you can do it too.

I was prompted to write this, after receiving an email from a reader. She is a marketing consultant, who established her business 6 years ago. She’s working long hours for a relatively small income and wanted to know what she was doing wrong.

Not all clients are the same

I asked the consultant about her typical clients and she said they were; “pretty average”. I then asked her about the kind of work she was doing and the fees she charged. It was easy to see why she was working so hard, for so little reward. She was working for the wrong type of clients, doing the wrong kind of work, for the wrong fees.

Allow me to explain.

There are 2 types of client

A tiny fraction of clients are high value clients. The remaining (99% or more) are the more typical, lower value clients.

The most successful service providers focus exclusively on working with high value clients. No late payers. No over demanding or rude clients. No clients who make us miserable. No clients who penny pinch. We work only with great people, who allow us to do amazing work for them. I’ve been operating this model since the 1990’s and seldom work more than 20 hours a week, often fewer than 10 hours a week.

The average service provider works with average clients, on average projects, for average fees. They don’t have the freedom to do their best work, because they charge too little for their time, which means they have to turn work around quickly. So, they work on lots of low value projects, never producing what they are really capable of. This leads to stress, because they need to work way too many hours. It also leads to financial insecurity, as working too many hours for low fees isn’t sustainable — something has to give!

Getting stuck in a damaging cycle

We choose, either deliberately or otherwise, who we work with and what we charge. It seems most service providers start off working for “whoever will pay them” and never quite break free from the cycle this creates.

It looks like this:

  • Money is tight, so I need to accept whatever work I can get.
  • Because I accept whatever work I can get, money is always tight.

Staying in that cycle is the riskiest thing a service provider can do. Ironically, it feels safer than risking a change of direction. That’s why so many stressed, over worked service providers carry on earning peanuts, when they could be earning a fortune.

Switching to a better cycle

If you want to enjoy a great family life, working fewer hours yet earning far, far more, make the decision to change direction. Be selective. Choose your clients and projects wisely. Charge what you know you are worth, so you have the time and freedom to do great work.

Interestingly, this approach also creates a cycle:

  • You are working on great projects for clients who value you, so your clients become a source of valuable referrals.
  • Because your clients are a source of valuable referrals, you’re always working on rewarding projects for great clients who value you.

In short: If we are not seeing the results we want, we need to make better decisions regarding who we work with and what we charge.

Tip: I strongly recommend you read this – How to build a successful business.

Everything your business does, is marketing!

Its all marketing

Everything your business does, is marketing. It gives people an experience, an insight into what you and your business stand for. It creates your story… either a story your clients believe is worth sharing or a predictable story, which they soon forget.

Some business owners get it all wrong

They think that they can offer an average service, to average clients for average prices and use marketing to make average sound amazing. The challenge with that approach, is that it has never been harder to hide bad or average work.

A quick search on Google, Tripadvisor, Linkedin and Facebook, etc., allows your prospective clients to build a pretty good picture of your business and what your business stands for. For example, claiming to offer a professional service, yet operating behind a cheap website, littered with bad grammar, is a huge warning sign to prospective clients.

With the majority of people now checking service providers out online, before contacting them, this is a very big deal.

What’s your story?

Look at your business from the ground up. What story are you crafting for your marketplace, based on:

If you believe there’s room for improvement in your business, rewrite your story. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking you can do it with slick marketing. You can’t!

In short: Marketing is everything you do. The whole picture.

Trust me. This is the truth!

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