Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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How to get the results your business deserves

decide

You work hard. You offer a wonderful service. You care about your clients or customers. However, that great business of yours isn’t getting the results you want. If that sounds familiar, today’s post is just for you.

I was prompted to write this, after receiving an email from a small business owner. He explained that he’d tried email marketing and, “it doesn’t work”. I’m guessing he didn’t read how I helped Irene make over $32,000 in 9 days, with email marketing. He then went on to say “[…] marketing doesn’t work for our business”.

What he meant was that ineffective, amateur marketing doesn’t work.

Marketing that fails

Marketing is like everything else in life: If you do it incorrectly, it doesn’t work. At least 99% of the small business marketing out there is totally ineffective. Think about it, you’re being pestered by bad marketing every day on social networks, by email, traditional mail, text messages and cold calls, etc. This shapes how you feel about marketing.

More worryingly, if you’re a typical small business owner who dabbles with marketing, you will copy some of these tactics assuming they must work, at least to some degree. They don’t work. They simply interrupt people and make you look needy. That’s a bad look.

So, what’s the answer?

The answer is to understand that ANY good business can be marketed successfully and can thrive. Really thrive.

Let me be perfectly clear on this:

If your business offers a good quality service and it isn’t growing the way you want it to, it’s because your marketing isn’t working. Start marketing your business correctly and it will grow. Moreover, it will grow the way you want it to. That’s what professional marketing is all about.

Business success is a decision

The great news here is that the success of your business is in your hands. There’s nothing elusive about building a very successful business. You can start the process of improving your business and your future today, right now, by making a decision.

Decide to choose success and then act accordingly. To choose success, yet follow the same amateur business development path as the failing masses, is insane.

What story are you telling yourself about your business?

If you want to see a massive, measurable improvement in your business, today’s post is just for you!

I want to start with an interesting question: Why do businesses in the same industry, serving the same marketplace, have such different results? Some will thrive, whilst others stagnate, struggle or go broke.

One way to understand why this happens is to consider the following scenario.

Imagine you’re at a boating lake

You spot someone, who is standing with one foot in a boat and the other foot on the bank of the lake. Instead of either stepping into the boat or stepping onto dry land, they can’t decide what’s the best thing to do. So, they stand there between the two, flailing their arms around trying to keep their balance. Unless they take decisive action, they will fall into the lake.

Business owners who struggle are like the person trying to balance between the boat and the lake. They know their business needs them to take decisive action, but they don’t want to leave their comfort zone and do what’s required. So, they have one foot in their comfort zone and one foot in their business. They want improvement without change. Improvement without change is impossible.

The stories we tell ourselves

Every day I hear business owners complain about their business, as if their challenge was somehow unique or unsolvable. They have a story they share. You’ve heard it too. They say, “I’ve tried everything to grow my business, but nothing worked”.

What they really mean is that they tried everything within their comfort zone and nothing worked.

Rather than leave their comfort zone and grow, they choose to tell a story to themselves.

They say that their business somehow defies the laws of business… that marketing only works when other businesses do it. They repeat this story, instead of accepting that their DIY marketing is a waste of time and money. They repeat the story, because it’s easier than leaving their comfort zone to get the help they need. They see less risk in doing what’s familiar, even when it’s failing, than doing what’s right.

Two questions you need to answer

What story are you telling yourself about your business? More importantly, how well is that story working for you and your business? If you want better results, it’s time to make better decisions. Tell yourself a story about your business, where you are in control of your future.

Then make the decision to take action. To do what’s required. To leave your comfort zone and get the help you need for your business to succeed.

How to build a massively valuable client list

If only your prospective clients knew how great your service was, they’d hire you. Right?

Well, I’m going to show you how to totally overcome that marketing challenge!

How your competitors ruin your marketing promises

Almost every small business owner claims to offer an amazing service. Especially the really terrible providers!

So, as you are one of the few who genuinely produces work, which is meaningfully different, your marketplace needs to know. They need to know that you are the real deal. That it’s not just words or empty promises.

How?

It works like this:

  • Put your work out there, where people can see it. Use either a blog or newsletter to showcase what makes you meaningfully different from your competitors.
  • Show us, without holding back, exactly how your work is meaningfully different. In other words, don’t just make claims about how great your services are — show us. Remember, your average competitors all claim to be great.
  • Make your blog posts, articles or newsletters visible and make them easy to share. If you are doing great work, people will want to tell their friends. Make this as easy as possible, with a small number of reliable sharing options.

Why bother doing all this? Because as I am about to explain, it is extremely effective.

Something about me you never knew!

For the past year, I have successfully provided a service, which I have never (even once) marketed to anyone.

What is it?

I write articles and marketing material. My fee is £1000 for an article or marketing piece (around $1600 USD at today’s exchange rate). There is currently an 8 week waiting list for the service. All that, without marketing the service even once.

Instead, people have come to me.

Why? Because they read my articles and blog posts, see the value and want their magazine, website, blog or whatever, to be just as valuable.

Others needed to see sales results from their marketing. They figured out that if they hire me to write the main conversion page of their website, it could be the difference between them motivating potential clients to hire them — or being ignored.

Why would any savvy business owner risk losing out on a fortune, by using ineffective, amateur copywriting? Exactly!

Show them who you are and what you do

The marketing promises and claims you make are largely ignored by your prospective clients. They have seen them too many times before.

If you want to earn the trust of your prospective clients, (which is essential if you want them to hire you), you need to demonstrate what makes you better than your competition.

No one hires me wondering if I can deliver. They already know me and my work.

Now show YOUR prospective clients what YOU are capable of.

3 Questions worth answering

What additional, valuable product or service could you offer to your existing clients? This is the fastest way to increase your turnover and profits. It’s also a wonderful way to be of even greater service to your clients. Win, win!

Is [whatever you’re doing] the best use of your time right now? If it isn’t, go and do something more valuable.

When was the last time one of your clients recommended you? If it was too long ago, you need to know why. Ask them for their feedback on how you’re doing. A lack of referrals is usually followed by client retention issues.

I hope you find these questions useful. More importantly, I hope you pick at least one of them and work on it.

How to create marketing that people will believe

trust

One of the most important questions in business, is this:

“Why should a prospective client [or customer] trust me?”

Here’s why that question is so important.

Trust and belief

Unless people believe what you say, none of your marketing is worth a dime. Trust is what builds belief. Trust is essential before someone will hire you. Trust is also what makes people feel comfortable recommending you. Trust is the foundation of your marketing. Period.

Take a look at your marketing and consider the following:

  • Are you building trust with supporting information [like this] … or just making a series of marketing promises?
  • Are you telling people how good you are… or showing them proof from past projects, media mentions, awards and case studies?

The bottom line here is clear. Without trust there is no belief and without belief, your marketing promises mean nothing.

Here’s a fun way to attract enquiries and sales leads

fun

If you want to grow your business, your network, your influence and really enjoy the process, you will love this simple, yet effective idea.

It’s simply this: Be helpful, often

Think about this for a moment:

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

By regularly 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.

I’ve learned that looking for ways to connect people, share ideas, open opportunities, etc, can become a natural part of your day. It isn’t that time consuming either. Even if you want to help thousands of people every day, you can do it without it eating into too much of your time.

Allow me to explain.

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 wonderful 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 thousands of people.

The payback?

Firstly, running a business from a mindset of contribution is a lot more fun. I get wonderful emails all day from people who find my work useful. I’m one of the few business people I know, who enjoys getting well over 100 emails a day.

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. I started my business back in 1995 and have never needed to attend a networking event. I have no need for a Linkedin account either.

That’s because I get client inquiries all day from business owners I’ve helped with the marketing ideas I freely share. These good people know me, without ever meeting me. My work went before me. So, when they decide it’s time to get expert marketing help for their business, they get in touch. It’s that simple.

Striking the right balance

As with all things, balance is required. It’s really important not to confuse being proactively helpful, with 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.

Occasionally, I will get an email from someone who selfishly asks me to work for them, for free, and solve their specific marketing problems. Of course, I don’t do it. Why? Because for me to get all the information required to help them, then plan out what’s wrong and how to fix it, would take hours. I could invest that same time to write 4 or 5 blog posts and help thousands of people, using my one-to-many approach.

People who ask you for freebies are being wholly selfish. They’re showing zero respect for you or the value of your time. Time is not money – time is massively more valuable than money.

Getting it right

The key is for you to leverage your time and knowledge, so that you can help as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time.

When you get the balance right, more and more people in your marketplace will know who you are. Prospective clients will regard you as a source of ideas, answers and inspiration. That’s a valuable reputation for any business owner to have.

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

Here’s a tactic to turn your challenges into breakthrough results

breakthrough results

If you are a proactive business owner and you want to improve your sales or attract more high quality clients, this post is for you.

Jennifer, not her real name, emailed me yesterday to book a one-to-one “pick my brain” session with me. [If you read my work via email, you won’t know what that service is – read this.]

Jennifer’s business isn’t attracting enough clients and she doesn’t know what to do. Here’s an excerpt from her email:

“In the past I managed to get by thanks to client recommendations but these are unpredictable in both quality and regularity.” She went on, “[…] I’m tired of waiting for an enquiry to come in but I don’t know what to do.”

This is an extremely common challenge for service providers, so I’d like to share a few thoughts with you, which may help.

Acknowledge the urgency of your situation

The first step in resolving a challenge like this, is to acknowledge the urgency of the situation. That’s exactly what Jennifer has done. A challenge like this doesn’t magically vanish. It needs to be addressed and resolved. Doing more of the same won’t work.

Take intelligent action

The next step is to decide to take intelligent action. Knowing your business isn’t growing the way you want it to is very different from knowing you need to do something.

Many business owners put off taking action for months or years, hoping that things will just get better. I get emails daily from business owners worldwide, who are now almost broke. Unlike Jennifer, they waited too long to do something. Jennifer has a good business and booked a marketing session with me, before her challenge became a problem.

The lesson here is clear. Don’t delay. Once you acknowledge your business needs to improve, do something about it.

[Note: Intelligent action means doing exactly what you need to do, to get the results you want — rather than guessing and dabbling.]

What next?

My marketing business is 20 years old and in that time, I have spoken with thousands of business owners. I’ve found that they respond very differently when faced with the kind of challenge Jennifer has.

Sadly, most will wait until they are forced to do something because of the severity of their situation. They react when they have a problem, rather than act when they only have a challenge to deal with. That’s an extremely risky approach.

Others, like Jennifer, are proactive. They take intelligent action before things get critical and learn exactly what they need to do.

If you’re a proactive business owner and you would like a one-to-one marketing session with me, read this. It includes everything you need to know, including the fee.

Steve Jobs and the power of focus

Steve jobs, focus, ideas

How many new projects are you working on right now?

I ask you this, because one of the fastest ways to massively improve your effectiveness, is to give your full focus to as few projects as possible.

Why?

When you are a small business owner or consultant, you have a limited number of resources. By spreading yourself too thinly, across too many ideas or opportunities, you dilute how effective you can be at any one of those projects.

By deliberately choosing to focus on one good business idea at a time, and saying ‘no’ to the hundreds of other ideas demanding your attention, you get to give your full mental resources to the development of that idea. You also eliminate Mind Fog – that fuzzy thinking, which can come from focusing on too many things at one time.

Steve Jobs on focus

Steve Jobs shared his thoughts on the power of focus, at the Apple Worldwide Developers’ Conference in 1997:

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
– Steve Jobs

In short: Go for clarity of focus. Don’t spread your resources too thinly.

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