Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Page 3 of 194

How the Brooklyn Bridge changed my life

Brooklyn Bridge

I’d like to share a personal story with you today.

I was eating my lunch one afternoon, looking out the window at the Brooklyn Bridge. I was a 22 year old kid from London, learning all about marketing the hard way, in my new career in a new country. I wasn’t having a great week and my manager decided to help me gain some perspective.

Here’s what he told me.

“You know Jim, it took over a decade to build that bridge. It was hard, dangerous work and almost 30 people died during its construction. Now, remind me what it is about your job that has you feeling so sorry for yourself today?

Suddenly, the 22 year old me understood that in the grand scheme of things, life was good. Life was great, in fact. I was living away from home on a great adventure, in a country I had been fascinated with all my life. The land of opportunity was there in front of me and it was my job, to make the very best of every moment.

It changed my life completely.

The power of perspective

I never looked at life, work or marketing in quite the same way again. What I discovered was that it often takes a shift in perspective, for us to identify the opportunities around us. A shift in perspective can also help us summon the courage and motivation required, to turn opportunities into wonderful outcomes.

Usually, the business opportunities we need are right there, under our noses. To see them and benefit from them, we simply need to look at things from a fresh perspective.

In short — Just as “old ways won’t open new doors”, old perspectives won’t lead us to new opportunities.

What everybody ought to know about Business Advice

decide

There has never been more business advice available than there is today. Among the gems, there’s a huge amount of bad advice. Even worse, a lot of it is toxic. That’s why it’s extremely important for you to filter the advice you receive.

For example:

  • You need to question it.
  • You need to credential the source. “Does this person have the credentials to offer me valuable advice on this subject?”
  • You need to consider their intentions. “Is this person looking out for my best interests?”
  • You need to apply common sense.
  • You need to do the research.
  • You may need to get a 2nd or 3rd opinion, if the advice is related to a major decision or challenge.

Then, if the advice stacks up, it could be worth acting on.

Important

Just because someone says it with sincerity, doesn’t mean it’s correct. It’s possible to be sincerely wrong.

Recommended reading – How to make the right business decisions.

Marketing Tip: Be where their attention is!

cellphone train

The next time you’re on your way to or from work, try this.

I want you to take a look at the people around you; car passengers, bus passengers, train passengers or pedestrians. Notice what they are paying attention to? No, they’re not looking at billboards.

They’re looking at a phone or a tablet.

Be where their attention is

There’s a huge opportunity for you here. That is, so long as you’re willing to publish useful information, such as blog posts, podcasts, videos or newsletters, which your prospective customers will want to consume, to combat the boredom of a dull journey.

There are a couple of things to remember, before you invest your time and effort getting onto their mobile device.

Firstly, make sure you publish something that’s useful to them. If you do, they’ll share it. Your audience will grow. Your name and reputation will spread. Soon, you’ll be a familiar advisor to your marketplace. Don’t publish thinly veiled advertisements and offers. If you do, people will ignore you. No one shares a newsletter, blog post, video or podcast, which is basically a sales pitch.

Secondly, make sure that whatever you publish is mobile friendly. Most small business blogs still look like crap on mobile devices and that’s just not good enough. If you want to engage readers, give them a great reader experience. If you want to engage viewers or listeners, make the audio-visual experience crisp and clear.

The payback?

When you have earned the attention and trust of your audience, and you have a business announcement for them (a new product, offer, service, event, book etc.), they will listen. And because they know your work and trust you, the response rate can be off the charts.

The opportunity is here. The financial cost of reaching all those prospective customers is tiny. The question is, what are you going to do about it?

Tip – If you want to know what your website or blog looks like on various phones and tablets, read this.

How to turn your ideas into bankable results

If you want to start turning your ideas into bankable business results, this quick tip could be exactly what you need!

Geoff sent me an email this morning, which contained the following, powerful statement.

“I waited so long to get things perfect that by the time I was ready to go, it was too late and the opportunity had passed.”

Perfection isn’t required

Geoff is not alone. The road to perfection is littered with lost opportunities and broken dreams. The crazy thing is, not only is perfection pretty-much impossible, it’s never even required!

Think about it, is there a single product or service, which cannot be improved upon in some way? No. Nothing in the marketplace is perfect.

So, here’s a suggestion

Instead of planning until everything is perfect, plan until you have something that will work, then, as Steve Jobs used to say, “ship it!” That’s all you need.

Take a look at an idea you have been working on, which isn’t quite perfect for the market yet. Then, consider what you need to do, in order to make that idea good enough to work. Remember, you will be able to refine and improve it as much as required, after it’s launched. That’s what every successful business in history has done.

In short — Stop aiming for the impossibility of perfection. Instead, focus your thinking power on the achievable goal of making something, which is good enough to work.

Tip: Here’s how Google used this approach to build one of the world’s biggest companies.

Why Time Management didn’t work for you AND how to fix it!

clearity

I want to share something important with you today. It’s something that has helped my clients achieve amazing results for almost 20 years. It has helped them master time management and make massively more progress than ever before.

Here it is.

Never enough time?

The average small business owner complains that they never have enough time. This is factually incorrect. They have 24 hours available to them every day, just like the most successful business owners.

What the average small business owner lacks isn’t time.

What they lack is direction.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, every road will get you there.”

— Lewis Carroll

One of the main reasons that time management training is so ineffective, is that it teaches people how to get things done. Without direction, time management simply shows you how to do more of the wrong things. You end up with to-do lists and journals, with lots of things crossed off – yet you make too little progress. So, you try to get even more things done, thinking that’s what you need in order to succeed.

The net result: You end up working hard, getting stressed and feeling frustrated at your lack of progress.

I’ll let you into a secret

I’ve worked with and studied some incredibly successful people. None of them have a time management problem. Why? Simple. They have direction. They know what they want to achieve and this gives them the clarity to know what they need to do.

This skill is vital to your success, which is why I work on it with my clients. My clients know where they are today and they know where they want to be in; 6 months, 12 months, 3 years, 5 years and 10 years time. This powerful sense of direction allows us to plan ahead with total clarity.

If you find yourself working hard, yet making too little progress, stop focusing on time management and learn how to find the direction you need.

As my clients have found, once you know exactly where you’re going, it’s a lot easier to plot your course!

A few words of encouragement

encourage people

From time to time, we all need a few words of encouragement.

The thing is, people in need of encouragement do not always tell us. On the outside, they may seem fine. Confident and courageous even. However, on the inside, they may really need to hear our words of encouragement. They could be at a crossroads, about to quit or desperately looking for external confirmation that they can turn things around.

Become a catalyst of encouragement

We often underestimate how important our words are, to others. Think about it, even a smile from a stranger can lift our spirits, let alone some words of encouragement from someone we know. I believe we all have the ability to leave the people around us in a better position, than before we spoke to them.

How?

  • If you have faith in a person’s ability, tell them.
  • If you value their input, tell them.
  • If you think they look great, tell them.
  • If they have impressed or inspired you lately, tell them.

Sometimes, just a few words of encouragement can make a world of difference, to someone who needs to hear them. Why not make them your words?

Marketing your business: What you need to know!

Helen from Long Island, New York emailed me with an important marketing question. Maybe the most important marketing question there is! I’m going to share it with you, with her permission, along with my answer, as I believe you will find it interesting.

It’s all about a common attitude small business owners have, when it comes to marketing.

Here’s an excerpt from Helen’s email:

“My husband quit his job 2 years ago and now runs a training business. […] Nothing he tries works when it comes to marketing and so I’m begging him to get some professional marketing help. Without my salary propping up his business he’d have no business. He says that getting expert marketing advice is a waste of money. How can I convince him he’s totally wrong Jim?”

Being amazing isn’t enough

There’s a difference between a best-selling author and a best-writing author. The difference? Marketing. An average author with great marketing behind them will always sell more than a wonderful author, whose work goes unnoticed.

The same is true of your business

If your good work is going unnoticed, your less capable, yet better marketed competitors, will win the best clients and harvest the best results.

Sure, some of your delighted clients will recommend you, but usually that happens too infrequently. This is because they expect a great service from you. So, whilst you’re likely to retain their custom, you can’t rely on them to market your business for you.

Since starting my business in 1995, I have never once met with the owner of a failed business, whose marketing was effective. In fact, I’ve found that marketing is easily the most neglected element of the average small business.

Winners have a very different attitude to marketing

Interestingly, marketing is a top priority in every successful business I have ever known. This is not a coincidence. It’s exactly what you’d expect. Why? Because marketing is what provides the lifeblood of your business. I’m talking about cash flow, sales, clients and customers. Without those, you have no business.

Make no mistake, there is a proven, direct link between what your business achieves and the way you choose to market it. Dabbling with marketing is costly. It’s ineffective. It’s frustrating. It causes you to waste months or years, time which you could be using to market your business correctly.

Dabble with DIY marketing or invest in effective, professional marketing? The choice is yours. Choose wisely.

Business owners: How to enjoy your best year ever!

Your past does not equal your future. With a few improvements, it’s possible to elevate your business to a whole new level — which is what today’s post is all about.

Let’s go!

Question time

As business owners, there are some important marketing questions, which you should regularly ask yourself.

These include:

  • Are you regularly receiving word of mouth referrals?
  • When you tell people about your business plans, are they so excited by what you tell them that they want to get involved?
  • Are you attracting the right kind of clients or customers?
  • If you stopped publishing your newsletter or blog, would people miss it?
  • Are you certain that you are doing the right things, correctly, when it comes to marketing your business?

Questions like those are often tough ones to answer. However, they are extremely powerful when it comes to determining whether you are on course or not. They cause you to think about your results, rather than the activities you do. This is important. It’s important because it’s all to easy to be busy, working hard, with little to show for all the effort.

Try this

Take some time today to consider where your business is right now. Then look at the progress you have made over the past 12 months. Ask yourself if you’re happy with the direction you’re going.

If you don’t want more of the same, you need to stop doing more of the same. Yes, hope is essential, however, hope is not a business strategy.

You need to start doing the right things, correctly. This takes courage, because even though your current situation is not what you want, it’s familiar. It’s comfortable.

Embrace the improvements required. Get the help you need. Leave the fake comfort of your comfort zone. Then commit to making the next 12 months, the most successful, exciting and fulfilling of your life!

« Older posts Newer posts »