Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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Are your fees too high or are you marketing to the wrong people?

aston martin

Yes, your prices or fees could be too high.

Alternatively, you could be marketing to the wrong people.

Insanely expensive or a wonderful deal?

I was with a friend yesterday, who has just bought a car. Someone overheard him telling me what he paid for it and immediately told him, he must be insane and that the price was way too high.

Here’s the thing: The guy that said the car was too expensive, knows nothing about the market value of a 4 month old Aston Martin. The guy who bought the car, is an Aston Martin specialist. He has owned half a dozen of them, he follows the market and he knew he’d just got an incredible bargain. To qualify that, he could resell the car in a week and make £20,000 profit, if he wanted to.

So, here’s what we have

The same car.

The same price.

Yet, one person thinks it’s insanely overpriced. One person knows it’s an amazing deal.

What this means to you

If your business provides a product or service with an Aston Martin level of quality, it will always be too expensive, if you’re marketing it to the wrong people.

In short: Decide who your ideal client is and market exclusively to them. They will eagerly buy from you, because they are in the market for your ‘Aston Martin service’ and value the quality you provide.

PS – Here is a 3 part series I wrote, 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.

What type of clients do you choose to work with?

cycle spiral

Are you working with the right type of clients or customers, doing work that inspires you and rewards you on every level?

Well, you should be!

The challenge here, is that many small business owners and consultants, are not choosy enough to work for great clients. Instead, they decide to work with pretty much anyone who will pay them. In doing so, they create a cyclical challenge, which many never recover from.

It looks like this

They find themselves doing work for people, who don’t give them the freedom to do amazing work. After a while, the great clients won’t hire them, because they want to hire the ones who ARE doing amazing work.

I called this a cyclical challenge earlier. Here’s an example of what I mean.

I wrote about this previously and a reader whose business is really struggling, told me that she will carry on taking whatever work comes her way, because she ‘can’t afford to be choosy’.

After a while she explained what her ‘cycle’, was. She said she was working flat out, doing crazy hours, and so broke that she can’t afford to turn away the low paid work that’s destroying her business. So, she accepts more low quality work and ends up undervaluing her time and doing work that makes her unhappy and pays poorly. The cycle then repeats itself.

Until you decide to take control.

It’s your business: Take control

Sometimes, especially when business is sluggish, it’s easy to forget a few critical facts:

  • The marketplace doesn’t set your prices or fees. You do.
  • The marketplace doesn’t determine how much unique value you provide. You do.
  • The marketplace doesn’t decide who you choose to work with. You do.
  • It’s your choice… a choice you make every working day of your life.

At any point, you can choose to draw a line in the sand and do work that matters, rather than work that merely pays. You can choose to operate at the top of your industry or profession, rather than the uninspiring, unrewarding and overcrowded middle.

The key here, is that YOU get to choose… every day.

It must be true if Mark Twain, Einstein or Will Smith said it


The Internet is packed with interesting, inspiring and meaningful quotes.

It must be true: Using a famous person’s name as a decision making short-cut

People are far more likely to accept an idea, if they respect the source. They use the way they feel about the person, as a short-cut in their decision making process. They are also far more likely to spread that idea (or quote), if they are a fan of the person the quote is attributed to. The bigger the ‘name’ the bigger the impact.

Like Will Smith.

Will Smith has seen his name attached to hundreds of quotes he never said. What started off as a prank, led to fake quotes from the Hollywood superstar, being republished all over the Internet, including some leading online publications.

Albert Einstein, Bruce Lee, Marilyn Monroe and Ernest Hemingway are others, who often have quotes wrongly attributed to them.

The bigger picture

With so much scepticism regarding who said what, it’s easy to miss out on the bigger picture… how useful is that quote to you? If it lifts your spirits, inspires you or causes you to reflect, does it matter who said it?

Yes, if you plan on using the quote for a project, invest the time required to do some fact checking and satisfy yourself you have the correct source.

My point is this: Be your own filter. When you find words that motivate you or inspire you, don’t dismiss them because you’re not 100% sure of the attribution. See the words for what they are… what they mean to you.

Your immediate attention is not required


Look at the updates below and consider how many of them need your immediate, urgent (as in drop everything) attention:

  • Geeta just sent a tweet to you.
  • Terry just liked your Instagram photo.
  • Mary just added you on Google+.
  • Jose just left a comment on your blog.
  • Jon has just invited you to like his new Facebook page.
  • Gill just added you to a list.
  • Ali just sent you a text message.
  • Tony just invited you to join him on Linkedin.
  • Maria just commented on your Facebook post.
  • Lee just favourited your tweet.
  • Louis just IM’d you.

Even though these are non critical events (they would have called you), most of us have our devices set up to notify us instantly, whenever they happen.

The endless stream of interruptions controls our focus, breaks our concentration, eats into our precious time and lowers our productivity. (Here are some ideas to improve your productivity.)

Unless you provide an emergency service…

Consider turning off your notifications, until you are ready for them.

Check them when you have a break. Check them when it suits you and your work flow.

Be deliberate, regarding where you invest your time, focus and energy. Don’t surrender them to instant updates. Your immediate attention is seldom, if ever, required.

Are you building a tribe or writing drive-by content?

drive by

Many people who write blogs, newsletters, email marketing, etc, think they are growing a tribe or community, when in fact, they are doing the opposite.

Allow me to explain.

Content marketing… and buckets

The problem with trying to fill a bucket, which has a big hole in the bottom, is that the water flows out just as fast as it flows in. It’s a never ending task, unless you get a new bucket or fix the hole.

Most Content Marketing, including that written by many so-called experts, is based around the idea of treating your content marketing, like a bucket with a hole.

  • It’s about attracting drive-by readers with ‘killer’ headlines.
  • It’s about SEOing your thoughts, rather than expressing your thoughts.

Marketing thought leader Seth Godin put it extremely well:

The copywriter/editor who trades in meaning for lists, using calculated SEO keyword loading and sensationalism designed to attract the drive-by audience, earns the privilege of doing it again and again, forever.

It’s like trying to fill that broken bucket. It’s also the total opposite of growing a tribe.

They drive by

The thing about drive-by readers, is that they drive by. They are attracted to hyped up headlines and quickly go from one “25 ways to write like a rock star” piece to the next. If your content marketing is based around chasing them, you’re making life way too hard for yourself.

Grow a great community

To grow a great community or tribe around your work, you need to attract the right people and retain their attention.

It means showing up regularly with useful information, rather than sensationalist, predictable content for the drive-by crowd.

It means expressing your ideas, rather than a keyword loaded version of what you think.

It means being brave enough to stop chasing easy, but low value, drive-by ‘traffic’.

It means building deeper connections with people who will value your work, share your work, call you, email you, hire you or buy from you.

What if they say your idea is foolish?

If you are working on a new idea or project, here’s some advice. It’s something that has been extremely valuable to me and I hope you find it just as valuable too…

Great ideas are not anointed

People often ditch a new idea before it has a chance to succeed, because the feedback they get is negative. The thing is, no matter how much you value or respect someone’s opinion, their opinion is just that – an opinion. It is not a guarantee of failure or success.

Imagine if scientists worked like that. They would never have to conduct an experiment. They would simply talk to other scientists. If some said the idea was crazy (as they did to Einstein), the experiments would be cancelled… and mankind would have been robbed of most major scientific breakthroughs!

Believe in yourself

If you see potential in an idea and want some feedback from people you trust, by all means talk to them. However, so long as the numbers add up, don’t allow negative feedback to derail you before you even get started.

Show faith in yourself and give your idea the chance to fly. Great ideas are defined by the impact they have and not whether someone anoints the idea before you even start!

Why people buy from you AND how to make more sales


There are a number of things, which motivate people to buy from you or hire your services. This post covers maybe the most important. It’s for those of you who sell products or services to businesses.

Selling your products or services to businesses

7 years ago, I recorded a very successful audio program, which shows you how to motivate yourself and how to motivate others. One of the areas I cover, is how to motivate people to buy from you, when you sell to businesses. You can download it here.

How selling to businesses differs from selling to consumers:

  • When selling to consumers, people are spending their own money. It’s all about value, trust and quality.
  • When selling to the employee of a business, it’s about them keeping their boss happy. It’s about them not screwing up. Then, it’s about value, trust and quality.

Your sales pitch and marketing needs to reflect this.

Make it easy for businesses to buy from you

When selling your services to someone who is spending company money, your approach should be to make buying from you or hiring you, as low-risk as possible. They need something from you, tangible or intangible, which supports their decision to buy from you. This does 2 important things.

  1. It makes them feel more comfortable about buying from you.
  2. If it all goes wrong, you have made it easy for them to justify their decision to their boss. They see it as a safety net.

Ways to reduce the risk of buying from you include:

  • Provide testimonials from named, checkable people.
  • Offer guarantees.
  • Provide insurance policies.
  • Offer risk reversals. (Satisfaction or your money back).
  • Show them any awards you have earned.

Value and quality matter

Just because the primary motivation of someone spending company money is to avoid making a mistake, value, trust and quality are still extremely important.

In fact, the better you can demonstrate the quality of your product or service, the more comfortable the prospective client will be about spending the company’s money.

Be a safe pair of hands

My point here, is to incorporate risk reduction into your sales pitch and associated marketing. Show them that you are a safe pair of hands. Earn their trust. Make it so that they know their boss would understand them hiring you, if things went wrong.

If you simply tell them about cost savings or a unique selling point you have, you will achieve far fewer sales. It’s essential to make it crystal clear, that you are a low risk or no risk option.

You can learn more about how to motivate others (and yourself) by downloading my Motivation Master Class audio program.

How to get the most from the feedback you receive


One of the master skills for business success, is understanding how feedback works – why people say what they do.

It’s all about the lenses they use, to view the world around them.

The lenses people use

We each see the world through a unique lens. Our lens is created from our lifetime of experiences. It’s created from what we know and how we feel about what we know. So, when we look at the feedback we get from clients or prospective clients, it’s important to consider the lens through which that feedback is being delivered.

A great example of this is the feedback you receive, when you talk to a prospective client about your fees.

Let’s assume you charge a little above average, for the services you provide:

  • If a prospective client looks at life through a lens, which tells them that ‘cheap’ is the same as great value, it’s likely that your fee will be too expensive.
  • Similarly, if they look at life through a lens, which says value is all about great quality, they will be far less fee sensitive.

Your fee is the same in both instances. All that changed was the lens each person used, to look at your fee.

Everyone says it’s going to fail

Some years ago, a friend of mine decided he was going to start a business. When he told his colleagues about his decision, every one of them told him he would fail. He went home and told his wife what happened and that he was now reconsidering the decision to become his own boss.

His wife said something extremely powerful, which gave him the courage to start what was to become a multimillion dollar business. ‘Well of course they think you will fail, honey. None of them are entrepreneurs. They only see the risk.’

Check the lens before you take the advice

Whenever you get feedback from anyone regarding your business or your plans, always, always take their lens into account.

Even when people are being completely sincere with their feedback, check their lens. Don’t confuse sincerity with truth. It’s possible to be sincerely wrong.

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