Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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Why your business needs to be Meaningfully Different

Despite what many people believe, small businesses are not merely smaller versions of big businesses. They are different in one very important way.

Here’s the difference

The largest companies, from Apple to MacDonald’s, have to stick to a standardised way of doing things. It’s all about consistency. There is a company way of doing things and the employees need to operate within that framework. iPhones and Big Macs look the same at every store and the way they are served to you is also as close to identical as possible.

With a small business, success comes from doing the exact opposite. It comes from individuals within the small business, being human and expressing themselves… doing work that is meaningfully different.

The most successful small and medium sized businesses provide products, services or experiences, which are only available from them. They have figured out that by creating something that is meaningfully different, they become the only show in town, for clients who want that meaningful difference. They create a special value, which is only available from them. It works. Beautifully.

Most small business owners don’t get this

In fact, the massive majority of small businesses within the same niche, look almost identical.

  • They offer the same predictable range of services.
  • They make the same predictable marketing promises.
  • They have the same predictable looking websites, blogs and social networking accounts.
  • They offer the same predictable guarantees and have the same kind of testimonials.

They become cookie cutter duplicates of their competitors, then wonder why prospective clients are so fee sensitive. Clue: When you look just like the competition, prospective clients use your fee as their way to determine your value.

Embrace your uniqueness

Build a business that is meaningfully different. Not only will you have no competitors, you will be free to charge what you are worth, to clients who value the meaningful difference you provide.

PS: For more information on how to attract the best clients and fees, read this.

Bloggers: Are you 1 question away from 10,000 daily readers?

In this post, I’m going to share what is easily the single best piece of blogging advice I know.

Here it is – Drum roll please…

If you would like more great people to read your blog, start off by asking yourself the following question:

If I already had 10,000 prospective clients reading my blog each day, how much time and money would I be prepared to invest in developing it and delivering great content?

When I ask people that question, they often say things like:

  • Wow… with 10,000 readers each day, I’d invest as much time as I possibly could in the blog and make it a priority.
  • I’d invest in a professional design for the blog. With all those readers, I wouldn’t want to look cheap.
  • I’d publish posts most days and really work hard to make the content as useful as possible.
  • I’d invest in some good quality hosting, so the blog always loaded fast and was reliable.

Cause and effect

After listening to their answers, I sometimes take a look at their blogs and usually find that they have not invested much time, money or energy into them. They want a highly valuable blog, but they won’t make the commitment required, untilĀ after their blog is a success.

That approach is a little like a restaurant owner saying she refuses to serve great food, until after her restaurant if full every night!

My mentor used to say that it would be crazy to walk up to an empty fireplace and expect heat. We know we need to do the work of building the fire and lighting it, before we can enjoy the warmth.

We don’t need to be geniuses to build a successful blog, but we do need to be wise enough to understand that our results will be guided by our actions.

A leap of faith

The people that already have thousands of daily readers, did the work and made the investmentsĀ before their blog was a success.

That takes a huge leap of faith, but unless you show faith in your blog, you can’t expect others to.

PS: If you’re thinking of starting a business blog, I believe you will find this useful: 7 Benefits of business blogging.

A very personal message

For many small business owners, 2014 is already starting to look a lot like 2013.

The good intentions of just a few weeks ago are starting to fade, as the average business owner lowers their sights. They slowly slip back into the comfort of settling for average again. Maybe next year they will take their business seriously. Maybe next year, they will drop their employee mindset and make decisions like an entrepreneur.

As a business owner, you need to choose:

Here’s something to remember: The clock is ticking. You may delay, but time will not. None of us, regardless of our age, can afford to repeat the same old year over again.


If you are happy with ‘average’, you’re really wasting your time and my bandwidth, reading my work. Feel free to unsubscribe.

HOWEVER: If this post has inspired you to make some important decisions — or you are already committed to being the best you can be, I salute you. You are my kind of person. You inspire me to write.

I’m here for you and will carry on providing you with as much value as possible… just as I have since 1995.

3 Tips to help you get massively better sales results

Here are 3 tips, to help you get massively better results from your advertising, email marketing, mail shots and blog marketing messages.

Let’s go!

1. Get your message right


No matter how great your product or service is, unless it’s marketed with compelling copy (wording), you will struggle to achieve the sales results you want. People need to read your message and then feel inspired to take action; to buy from you, call you, email you, visit your store, etc.

Pedestrian copy lacks the impact required to motivate readers to do anything. Either learn how to write great marketing messages or hire someone, who already knows how to. Don’t let your business be one of those, which loses a fortune in sales needlessly, because of ineffective copy.

2. Get your audience right

So much marketing fails, purely because it doesn’t get in front of the right people. Once you know who your prospective clients or customers are, you need to think about the best way to target them, so they see your message.

For instance, Jim’s Marketing Blog is a highly targeted publication, which is read by owners of small and medium sized businesses. If you wanted to reach business owners with your marketing message, this blog would be a great place to do it.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Build a list of readers. Don’t buy the list! If you use email marketing, are you certain that your ‘list’ is highly targeted? Also, if you purchased the list, there’s a good chance that the people on it have had their email address sold to thousands of other businesses and were getting deluged with relentless spam. These people often either set up a strong junk mail filter, allowing only white-list emails through – or they will have abandoned the email address completely. As a result, you may think your email marketing messages are reaching 10,000 people, when they are only being read by a small fraction of that number.

If possible, and it’s always possible, build your own email marketing list. This is a key area I focus on with my clients and I suggest you learn how to build a great list, too.

3. Get your timing right

Great comedy and great marketing have one thing in common… timing! So, here’s a great question to ask yourself, when planning your marketing: ‘How relevant is my message, at the point where people connect with it?’ For example, it’s harder to sell certain products on the 3rd week of a month, than at the very end of a month, because of people’s monthly pay cycles.

Know your market and learn when they prefer to buy. Then focus on getting your marketing message in front of them, at the best possible time.

How to attract better clients and higher fees

Are you tired of attracting fee sensitive clients or customers?

Create a meaningful difference

If you are, answer the following question: How can I make the service I offer, different from what my competitors offer, in a meaningful way?

In other words, create a meaningful difference, then market that difference correctly. If you get this right, you will never need to deal with low quality, fee sensitive clients again.

How to grow your business and REALLY enjoy the process!

If you want to grow your business, your network, your influence AND enjoy the process, there is a powerful idea I would like to share with you.

It’s simply this: Be helpful, often

Think of it like this:

  • The process of giving and receiving starts with the giving part.
  • The process of sowing and reaping, starts with the sowing part.
  • The process of cause and effect, starts with the cause part.

By consistently looking for opportunities to help your clients and your prospective clients, you put a series of processes into play, which improves how people feel about you. As business is all about people, improving the way people feel about you has a measurable, positive impact on your business (and your life.)

Looking for ways to connect people, share ideas, open opportunities, etc, can become a natural part of your day. It takes surprisingly little time to share an interesting newsletter with your contacts. It takes even less time to share a blog post you think they will find helpful.

Even if you want to help thousands of people every day, you can do it without it eating into too much of your day. Here’s how it works!

Being helpful scales to infinity

Thanks to the technology at our fingertips, being helpful scales. In fact, it scales beautifully. Using what I call the one-to-many approach, you can help dozens, hundreds or thousands of people every day.

It works like this: You invest one piece of your time, which helps many people.

An obvious example of this one-to-many approach, is blogging. The reason I write for you on Jim’s Marketing Blog and via the email version of the site, is that it allows me to be helpful to many people, using just one block of my time. In the time it would take me to reply to one specific email for marketing help, I can be of service to many people.

The helpful mindset

It’s also easy to be helpful every day, using a one-to-one approach. When you adopt the mindset that looks for ways to be helpful, it becomes a natural part of your routine. For instance, just before I wrote this, I introduced 2 people I know to one another. It took minutes.

Now, sometimes you will help someone and they will ignore it. They won’t even say thanks. That’s all about them… not you. You cannot allow people with no class, to stop you from shining. You can’t allow the ignorant minority to knock you off route. You need to understand that some people are just like that, then when it happens, accept it and move on. You can’t use the mindset of that thankless minority as an excuse not to lead the way, through your contribution.

The payback?

Firstly, running a business from a mindset of contribution is a lot more fun.

Secondly, it’s an extremely rewarding and effective way to grow your business. That’s because people are attracted to those who help and encourage them.

For instance, I get client inquiries all the time, from people I have helped with the marketing ideas I freely share. My readers know me. They value my work. They also appreciate the time I take, to help, support and encourage them. When they decide it’s time to get serious and give their business the professional marketing help it needs, they know they can trust me, so they get in touch.


As with anything in life, balance is required. There is a world of difference between being helpful and being a doormat. If you think you are helping people by doing lots of unpaid work for them, you are not. You are being taken advantage of.

When people email me and selfishly expect me to work for them, for free, and solve their marketing problems, I won’t do it. Why? Because for me to do the research required, put some ideas together and then get them written up and sent to them, would take me hours. I could invest that same time, helping thousands of people using my one-to-many approach. It’s also a selfish request, which shows no respect for me or the value of my time.

The key is to create the balance that works for you.

In closing

Make being helpful a natural part of your work flow. This means being prepared to give before you receive and accepting that some people will not even say thanks.

Help as many people as you can via the one-to-many approach, as this scales to infinity without cutting into much of your working day. Write useful content for your blog or newsletter. Post something useful to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or Google+. People value how helpful you are. They value it enormously.

In short: If you are not receiving enough right now… give more. Do it often.

A world of opportunity is waiting for you

Once, the proximity of your business to your prospective clients, was based on your geographical distance from them. In other words, your clients or customers needed to be within a certain number of miles from your location.

That is no longer the case.

The new proximity

Today, the proximity of your business is not defined by how close you are in miles from a prospective client, but how closely you are aligned with their thinking, needs and values etc. If you want to hire someone because their work is amazing, thanks to low cost or free digital communications, you can.

In short: Geography is no longer a barrier for many service providers. In 2014, it’s about human proximity… not miles.

For example:

  • If you need a copywriter and there’s one whose work you love, but he’s 5000 miles away, no problem. You can work together just fine.
  • If you need a graphic artist and find someone who does great work, the fact they are in a different country makes no difference.
  • If you need someone to translate your work from English to Spanish, you can pick a translator who you trust, regardless of where they are.
  • If you need a great web designer and you find someone, but she’s in a different country, you can work together just fine.
  • In 2013 alone, I worked with clients in; 8 U.S. states, Canada, South Africa, Denmark, Dubai, The UK, France and Germany. All of whom I shared proximity with, although I am located in England.

Are you embracing the new proximity?

So, with proximity now being defined by shared mindsets, aligned outlooks, common values and the love of another person’s work — what are you doing about it? If you offer a service, which can be delivered via digital communications, I strongly recommend that you consider embracing the new proximity.

There’s a world of opportunity out there, just waiting for you.

Attention please

They have subscribed to your newsletter, followed you on a social network or emailed you for information.

You may think you now have their attention, however, you haven’t!

Attention is earned… then re-earned

You have only earned their attention at the point where they subscribed, followed or emailed you. You now have to re-earn their attention, regularly, if you want to remain relevant to them.

If you get too few inquiries from your readers, your subscribers or your networking contacts, focus on re-earning their attention. The challenge of course, is that it takes time, effort and creativity if you want to remain relevant to your marketplace.

No, it’s not easy. But it is required.

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