Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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To age online or not to age: That is the question!

Jim Connolly

Yesterday, I had some new photos taken for use on my blogs and social networking accounts. I asked the photographer to take honest photos… photos that reflected exactly what she saw. I’m happy with the end result. It’s me.

Honest photos?

Not everyone uses a recent or even accurate photo online. It’s understandable too. Whenever I change my photo, at least one person will feel compelled to criticise how I look. Here’s why people criticise you and how to deal with it!

It’s a great idea to use a complimentary photo you feel comfortable with. However, the photo should accurately reflect who you are and what you actually look like. If not, you could find it hurts you and your business, when people see the real you and wonder what else you’re hiding from them.

This reminds me of a recent story I heard from my friend Kelly in California. Whilst extreme, it’s something I have experienced to a lesser degree many, many times.

Picture this

Kelly is an attorney and recently visited a new client for the first time. When she arrived at his offices, she introduced herself to the receptionist and explained she had a 9:30am appointment with the CEO.

Kelly was taken to the meeting room, where a man in his 60′s was already sitting. This seemed odd as there was supposed to be just the CEO and herself attending. She was then stunned, when the guy in the room introduced himself as the CEO. He looked nothing like his photo on the company website, which was at least 10 or 15 years out of date.

She told me that her first thought was: ‘I wonder what else he will hide from me?’

To age online or not to age online, that is the question!

Thanks to photo editing software, we can instantly lose our wrinkles. However, we don’t have to. The decision is always ours. If we choose to, we can use kind but honest photos and change them every year or two, so we age online just as we do offline.

…. or we can stay eternally young online and fool ourselves into believing that no one will notice, when they meet us.

The new Yahoo Logo: Why expert opinions are irrelevant!

Yahoo! yahoo new logo

The new Yahoo! logo has been revealed and it’s fair to say opinions have been mixed.

The new Yahoo! logo and expert opinion

Some design experts have said that retaining the same colour and general look of the old Yahoo! logo is a master stroke. There is, after all, 18 years of brand awareness behind it. Other design experts have said the design is poor, with one saying that it could have been created by anyone, using a random font generator.

You can read more expert opinions here.

The new Yahoo! logo and a lesson in design

As any good marketing professional will confirm, not only is it impossible to keep everyone happy with a design — we shouldn’t even try. You see, design professionals may think the new Yahoo! logo sucks or is amazing, but it doesn’t really matter.


Because the purpose of the new logo is not to appeal to professional designers!

The purpose of the logo is to be relevant to Yahoo!’s users and future users. Their response is what matters. Only then will we find out if the new logo is helping or hindering the ongoing rejuvenation of Yahoo!, under Marissa Mayer. Then, and only then, will we know for sure if the new design is effective or not.

You can read Marissa’s thoughts on the new design and how it was developed, here on her blog.

It shouldn’t matter


No, it shouldn’t matter that your website has a typo.

It certainly shouldn’t matter that your latest newsletter uses an apostrophe incorrectly.

It shouldn’t matter, but it does matter!

Making judgements

A prospective client who doesn’t know you, starts making judgements on you based on the limited information in front of them. If they’re reading a piece of your marketing and spot a typo, it adds to the mental picture they are building of you and your business.

It’s heartbreaking to lose sales because of a typo or misplaced apostrophe. Thankfully, it’s totally avoidable with just a little extra attention to detail.

Show people, don’t tell them!

quote marks

You can tell them you’re reliable or show them you’re reliable.

You can tell them you’re a leader or show them you’re a leader.

You can tell them you care or show them you care.

Whenever possible, show people — don’t tell them. It’s people of action who are rare, not people who chatter.

Perception: The key to improving every area of your business


How do you feel about your business and the work you do? That may seem like an odd question. However, the way you feel about what you do has a huge impact on the quality of your work and how others feel about you.

For example, think about those people you see from time to time, who are going through the motions with their work, but clearly not enjoying it. You can spot them instantly. That’s because it shows in their energy, their body language, their attitude and their output.

Now, think about the opposite. Think of those people who clearly love what they do. It’s just as easy to spot them. That’s because people who work with passion have a super-attractive quality, which stands out and makes us feel good about them. Their enthusiasm is infectious. That’s what I want to share with you today — how you can improve every element of your work, with a slight shift in your perception about what you do.

Allow me to explain.

Improve your perceptions and you improve everything

Around a decade ago, I realised that work was no longer as enjoyable as it used to be. I was stuck in a dull routine. So, I made a decision to change my perceptions about my business.

For example, one change I made was regarding the daily grind of working from my office. So, I decided to stop working from my office and start making things happen from my studio. That switch in perception may seem small, but it improved how I felt about going to work. It improved my attitude. It motivated me. Although the actual room I worked in was the same, ‘going to my studio’ felt a lot more inspiring, than ‘going to my office’. ‘Making things happen’ seemed a lot more creative, than ‘working’.

Small changes in my perceptions like that, quickly started to shine through in everything I did. The marketplace noticed too, which resulted in me attracting great clients and amazing opportunities.

How it works

So, how did such a relatively minor change result in such a huge improvement? It happened because people are attracted to those, who are driven, inspired, passionate and who enjoy what they do. By changing my perceptions, it changed how I felt and this created a domino effect that improved every element of my business. It also transformed how others felt about me, including prospective clients.

Whatever line of business you are in, try looking at it slightly differently. Have some fun. For example, don’t work from your officeexperiment from your lab or create from your studio. Instead of working on a big problem try unlocking a challenging puzzle.

In short: When you feel better about what you do, you do your best work and everybody notices it!

Is that ladder you’re climbing leaning against the wrong wall?


After 3 years of hard work, she achieved it.

Yet, she wasn’t happy.

I was emailed last week, by someone whose primary goal for her blog was to get a minimum of 1000 visitors a day, for 30 consecutive days. She achieved this goal after years of hard work, writing content and marketing her blog.

Why so unhappy?

She reached her traffic milestone and realised that she wasn’t in the traffic business. She owns a translations business. What she needs is for her site to generate regular, high quality leads and inquiries for her business, which it is failing to do. Instead, she is attracting zero value, drive-by traffic from Google and social networks.

It’s easy to get seduced by the wrong numbers — especially online. Before you invest years of your time working hard to achieve a marketing goal, make sure it’s a goal that is in line with your overall business objectives.

Otherwise you risk wasting years climbing a very long ladder, which is leaning against the wrong wall.

How to turn time wasters into gold dust

gold bars

How do you feel about people, who either ask you questions about your service or look around your products, then leave without buying?

Some business owners get angry at what they perceive to be time wasters. In doing so, they miss out on a massively valuable opportunity. They leave a huge business asset on the table… untapped.

I’m referring to the feedback these so-called time wasters can provide you with.

Time wasters are attracted to us for a reason

If you’re attracting lots of the wrong kind of inquiries, there’s a reason. It’s usually a sign that:

  • Your marketing message needs to be improved.
  • You are marketing to the wrong people.
  • Or both.

It’s extremely easy to learn which applies to your marketing, so long as you ask these people for feedback.

Before they end the call or leave your premises, ask something like: What was it that prompted you to (visit or call) us today? This will give you some feedback to work with.

For example

If they often say they were looking for a low priced (whatever), yet your prices or fees are average or above average, you need to review your marketing message. Take a look and see if you are overstating how low your prices or fees are. If you are not overstating how low your prices are, then you could well be targeting your marketing message at people with too small a budget. You get the idea…

The key is to try and get as much feedback as you can from those who fail to hire you or buy from you. It will help you improve your marketing message, improve your targeting and generate more business!

In short: Speak with people who don’t buy from you. Listen. Learn from their feedback. Then, make the necessary improvements to your marketing. Don’t just assume that someone is a time waster and therefore of no value to your business.

Their feedback could be commercial gold dust. In fact, it often is!

Marketing Tip: Embrace the edges


It’s coming to the end of our family holiday and I wanted to quickly share a simple, yet extremely valuable marketing tip with you.

We remember the edges

I sat down earlier, thinking through the various things we have done together over the past week and realised something. Each of the memories that stood out, were ‘on the edges‘. In other words, they were experiences that were not what we were expecting, because they deviated from the predictable, middle ground.

Truly great customer service, beautiful buildings, delicious food, outstanding value, interesting people… all of these were only memorable, because they were significantly different from what I expected.

In business, if we want people to remember us, hire us, buy from us and talk about us, we do well to embrace the edges.


A great place to start, is to avoid offering the same kind of experience as your competitors and to focus on being exceptional in at least one meaningful area.

This is especially effective if you offer a service with little perceived differentiation, such as; law, accountancy, training, SEO, copywriting, web design, marketing, etc.

In short: If you want to stand out for all the right reasons, avoid the predictable. Stay away from the middle ground. Embrace the edges!

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