Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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TGIF: A really bad marketing move!

It’s easy to understand an employee, taking a job they don’t like because of urgent financial need.

It’s harder to understand a business owner, building a business they don’t like.

Yessss! TGIF! It’s the weekend at last!

Yet, every Friday, social networks are illuminated with business owners, who are so relieved to finish work for the week that they have to shout it from the rooftops. Exclamations of “TGIF” (Thank Goodness It’s Friday) ring out from business owners.

Their sense of relief is baffling. We wonder why the heck they built a business, which leaves them living for the weekend. They probably decided to work with the wrong clients too.

Here’s the thing: Telling their clients, customers and contacts that they can’t wait to get away from their business, isn’t going to help them or their business.

If they thought about it, they’d quickly see it’s a really bad marketing move too!

How would you change your business, if you didn’t need to earn a penny?

There’s real power in that question.

Why? Because it causes you to think about your business in a new way… through fresh eyes.

Removing the money filter

Many business owners fail to discover potentially valuable ideas, simply because they can’t immediately see where the money will come from. The reason we need to free our thinking when it comes to developing ideas for our business, is that the money isn’t always obvious at the conception stage.

If it’s obvious, everyone else is already doing it and it has little value. For example…

Twitter

Twitter was a great idea, which would never have happened if the founders applied the money filter to their initial thinking. In fact, for years, journalists and media experts never missed an opportunity to say that Twitter couldn’t be monetized.

As advertising revenues rocketed and new commercial services were built into Twitter, the naysayers changed their tune.

Your route to zero competition?

I’ve been asking people to think more freely about their business for years, using that powerful question and the results have been amazing. I have seen commodity service providers build massively valuable niches.

Lawyers, trainers, accountants, web designers, marketers, coaches, architects, dentists, copywriters, IT professionals and many others, elevated themselves beyond their competitors, by working on the answer to that question.

Two of the three largest revenue earners for my business were created after I asked myself that question and answered it.

Now what?

I suggest you take some time out and give it a try. Ask yourself: “How would I change my business, if I didn’t need to earn a penny?”. Then, start writing. Write everything down, no matter how silly or non viable it may seem.

Then, review your answers. At this stage, you can start looking at how the idea can either directly or indirectly be of commercial benefit to you.

How it worked for me

For instance, when I answered that question for my own business, I decided to start Jim’s Marketing Blog: a site that gives useful information away for free and has no ads. The monetization came when readers started asking if they could hire me. Readers see how effective my free ideas are and figure out the transformation I can create for their business, when working directly with them.

Why not give it a try?

Ask yourself that question and get to work on the answers. Who knows what amazing ideas you will come up with!

Are your clients killing your business?

What box have your clients put you in? That may seem like an odd question, but it’s extremely important.

You see, a huge part of the way your prospective clients will feel about working with you, is defined by who you already work for.

Allow me to explain

When a prospective client checks your portfolio or testimonials, they get an immediate insight into the size and quality of clients you’ve worked with. If you’ve worked for clients who failed to give you the freedom you need to do great work, this too will be super-visible to prospective clients. Your clients will have placed you in the average box.

Equally, if you allow yourself to work for clients who don’t pay you on time, you will always have cash flow problems. This leaves you constantly desperate for income. Prospective clients can smell desperation a mile off. They will either be put off working with you or they will use it to drive your fees or prices down. Your clients will have placed you in the needy box.

Pick your clients and choose wisely

Working for anyone who will pay you fails you in the short term (you’re miserable), the medium term (you’re not fulfilled financially or professionally) and the long term (the process keeps looping). This is how negative cycles are created and allowed to persist.

Yes, it’s tempting to grab whatever work you can get. However, it’s not the solution.

This could be…

How to set up a positive cycle

Thankfully, the opposite is also true. When you work with great clients, on inspiring projects and your time is valued, it places you in the VIP vendor box.

Prospective clients see that you work with great people. They see the projects you’re involved in. They draw the conclusion that people like you don’t come cheap. You then attract more great clients, you get paid what you’re worth and this too creates a cycle.

A great, profitable and enormously rewarding cycle!

What’s next Jim?

Here’s a free, 3 part series I wrote for you, on how to work for the best clients and the highest fees:

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees – Part 1.

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees – Part 2.

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees – Part 3.

Easy is overrated

Usually there are 2 options open to us, when making business decisions:

  1. We can do what’s easy.
  2. We can do what’s right.

Yes, sometimes the easy option and the right option are the same. However, most important business decisions are not easy. They require risk. They cause you to leave your comfort zone. It’s how all meaningful, commercial progress is made.

easy

Easy… but wrong

Why do business owners operate behind a crappy looking, dated website? Because it’s easy to let it slide. It’s easy to fool themselves that it doesn’t matter. It’s easy to pretend that potential customers won’t notice how cheap their business looks. It’s easy… but wrong.

Why do business owners persist with a strategy that means they work too many hours for too little reward? Because it’s easy to go with the flow. It’s easy to stick with what they’re used to. It’s easy… but wrong.

Ironically, the easiest way to build a successful business is to make the right decisions. It’s the easiest way, because it’s the only way.

How much does Jim Connolly charge?

Every day I get emails from people, asking me: “How much do you charge for your 1 Year Marketing Service?”

Here’s my answer, plus the reason why there’s no fee quoted on this page.

You only pay for what you need

There isn’t a set fee for the service! You only pay for the amount of my time, which I believe you will need during our year together.

I do it this way, because people’s requirements differ massively. For instance, I have clients right now, who need 3 times as much of my time as others, because of the complexity of their marketing challenges.

Other clients need just a little of my time, so they pay a fraction of the average fee.

Quoting your fee

After someone has contacted me with a genuine interest in working with me, I arrange a brief, informal phone call / Skype call with them. Once I speak with them and learn what their unique situation is, I can quote them a fee.

This way, no one pays more than they should, so you get amazing value for money.

It’s essential for me to get your fee just right, as I cap the fee for the whole year in advance. So, once we start working together, you get no more invoices from me.

For more information, here’s how how I can help you and your business, via my extremely effective  1 Year Marketing Service.

Are you edging it?

The middle ground feels safer. That’s why it’s so crowded. However, the real value comes from pushing what you do to the edges.

There isn’t an area of your business, which you can’t edge. For example:

  • Pushing your copywriting to the edges, so it motivates people to take action.
  • Pushing your service to the edges, so it’s of unique value to people.
  • Pushing your quality to the edges, so your brand becomes a byword for excellence.
  • Pushing your communication skills to the edges, so people are motivated when you speak.
  • Pushing your leadership to the edges, so people follow you.
  • Pushing your creativity to the edges, so you can find the answers and ideas you need.
  • Pushing your courage to the edges, so you do what’s right rather than what feel safe.
  • Pushing your commitment to the edges, so your business gets the resources it needs.
  • Pushing your visibility to the edges, so prospective clients can find you.

Let others embrace the middle ground. Let them offer average services, to average people, for average fees. You deserve batter than that!

The middle ground is not for you

How do I know? Because the people who read my work are those in search of fresh ideas and answers. You’re not interested in struggling in the middle ground.

Embrace the edges, my friend. Embrace the edges and show your marketplace just how remarkable you are!

Money without happiness… you’re still broke!

How’s business?

Many business owners will answer that question based on how profitable things are… how their order books look, how cash flow is flowing.

Yes, that’s one measurement

However, even if profits and cash flow look great, it only shows a small part of the picture. Many business owners are making money, but they are losing something else. Something more important. Something bigger than their business.

Business owners often find their work life balance is pretty unbalanced. They are often stressed, working too many hours and working on uninspiring projects for clients who don’t appreciate them. Somewhere along the way, the need to make money was replaced by the need to make money… even at the expense of their happiness, health, family life. Maybe all three.

Decide what matters then go for it

If any important area of your life is suffering because of your business — stop! Even if you are making tons of money, you’re always going to be broke.

Why?

Because history is littered with stories of business owners, who were SO BROKE… all they had left was their money.

OK Connolly, what next?

Try this.

Decide how many hours you want to work, in order to have that essential family and friends time. Determine how much you want to earn, the kind of clients you want to work with and the type of projects you want to work on.

Then, reimagine your business, products and services. Rebuild them from the ground up if needed. Develop them, so they’re of direct interest to high quality clients (or customers). These are the people who will pay you what you’re worth — so you don’t have to work crazy hours to supplement low fees.

Next, direct your marketing exclusively to this targeted group. Speak to them specifically with your marketing messages.

You’ll quickly discover one of the best kept secrets in business: The clients who value your time and pay you well, are the easiest and most rewarding to work with on every level.

Get it right and you’ll also discover how to run a business that rewards you where it matters most… and financially too.

PS - Here are 3 articles, which show you how to attract the best clients and the highest fees:

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees – Part 1.

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees – Part 2.

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees – Part 3.

Get Twitter Direct Messages from people you don’t follow!

Twitter has just made a huge change to the way DM’s or Direct Messages work. You can now choose to allow everyone who follows you on Twitter, to send you a Direct Message.

As you can see from my tweet below, this has generated a lot of interest. (If you can’t see the tweet, click here).

Twitter Direct Messages from anyone who follows you

What’s new? You can now receive Direct Messages from anyone who follows you – without you following them back. It’s that last part that is the big difference. Until now, you had to follow someone, before they could send you a Direct Message. This stopped mass spamming and for most users was a great idea.

Here’s what the setting looks like. You can find it under the ‘Account’ tab.

Twitter direct messages from followers

NOTE: By default, this option is turned off. If you don’t want to be Direct Messaged from people who follow you, you don’t need to change anything. It’s 100% opt-in.

Why I’ve turned the Twitter direct messages feature on

I have (for now) chosen to turn it on. So, if you follow me on Twitter @JimConnolly you can direct message me in private.

Here’s why. Firstly, I am a very public person. I publish my email address on every page of my blog. So long as people are not spamming me or making selfish requests, I love to hear from them.

Secondly, I think this feature could be extremely useful for businesses.

Business benefits of allowing Twitter DM’s from all your followers

Consider customer service. Until now, if someone had a customer service issue with your business, you would need to follow them and ask them to follow you, in order for you to look after them in private. This allowed them to share potentially sensitive information with you, away from the gaze of all their followers. Now, so long as they follow your Twitter account, 100% of your conversation can be handled in private.

Then there are journalists. Pretty much every journalist uses Twitter. Now, if you have a story for them — especially one of a sensitive nature, you can share it privately.

Contacting your political representatives… ditto.

What about Twitter DM spam?

The typical knee-jerk reaction so far has been that this will create a huge DM spam problem. Mainly, it seems people failed to understand they have to turn the feature on. If you don’t like the feature, don’t use it. Simple.

It’s also worth remembering that someone can only send you a Direct Message, if they follow you on Twitter. If someone is spamming or abusing you, you can block them. This stops them being able to follow you or Direct Message you. Unless you actually want to follow spammers, this works fine.

It will be interesting to see how this is received by business users, once they start to realise the commercial benefits.

PS: If you follow me on Twitter, @JimConnolly – feel free to Direct Message me and let me know what you think (or just say ‘hi!’).

UPDATE: 21st December 2013

Twitter eventually answered my question, regarding when everyone will start seeing this feature. I was told that it is “just an experiment”… then refused to comment on the experiment stating company policy.

Around 5 weeks after I wrote this post, I noticed that the “experiment” was missing from my settings. People were also unable to DM me, unless I followed them.

Then… although the setting is still missing from my Twitter account, for some reason it started working again and at time of writing this, 21st December 2013, anyone who follows me can send me a direct message.

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