Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Page 34 of 191

What everybody needs to know about experience

Many people confuse time with experience. However, there’s a huge difference between the two.

  • Some people work for ten years in an industry and gain ten years worth of experience.
  • Others work ten years in an industry and gain one years worth of experience… which they repeat ten times.

Experience is a combination of time and professional development. That’s worth considering, the next time you want to hire an experienced person.

I have to share this coincidence with you!

Effective marketing often looks like a series of coincidences. I was thinking of this earlier, when I was emailed by a new reader.

Here’s part of what she said:

“[...] I’d never heard of you until my marketing director shared your blog with me yesterday. Then this morning my boyfriend retweets you on Twitter. What a coincidence!!”

Let’s think about that…

It’s not magic… just marketing

She explained that her boss and boyfriend both work in marketing. This makes it quite likely that they would read marketing related content and follow marketing related people.

So, there’s nothing coincidental or magical. It’s just what should happen (often), when you become known within your marketplace or profession. When it happens though, it has a massive, positive impact on people.

Why not market your business in such a way, that your marketplace coincidentally keeps connecting with you? It not only captures their attention… it gives them a story about you that’s worth sharing with their friends.

Why most small businesses go broke AND how to avoid it

Many people ask me why it is that most small businesses fail. Although there are a number of sub reasons, there are 2 connected reasons behind every failed business I have ever studied.

Today, I am going to share these with you, along with some examples. I am also going to try to inspire you NOT to make the same, fatal mistakes.

The sun and the rain

When you starve something of the resources it needs, it dies. Starving a seed of the sunshine and moisture it needs, kills the seed. Starving a business of the resources it needs does exactly the same thing.

Yet, that’s what the majority of small business owners do. As a result they go broke or spin their wheels… then go broke.

Why do they do it?

I have asked a number of former business owners this question. They always (literally 100% of the time) gave the same 2 answers.

  1. To save money. They see all money out as a cost and don’t understand what an investment is.
  2. To avoid risk.

By refusing to invest in their businesses correctly and avoiding anything with a perceived risk, they ironically made it impossible to succeed.

How to kill a business

Here are some common areas, where former business owners refused to invest and paid the price:

  • By refusing to hire a great accountant, they had unnecessary cash flow problems.
  • By refusing to pay for a professional looking website, they lost sales leads and looked like amateurs.
  • By refusing to insure their business correctly, they lost everything when hit with a big, uninsured loss.
  • By refusing to hire a copywriter for their marketing, their response rates were 100’s of percent lower than they would have been.
  • By refusing to pay a designer for a professional logo, they looked amateurish. People don’t trust amateurs.
  • By refusing to buy the correct software and hardware for their business, they lost valuable time.
  • By refusing to invest in professional quality web hosting. (I use WebFusion. That’s not an affiliate link, but they do sponsor my site.)
  • By refusing to pay a lawyer for the right legal advice, they lost everything when legally challenged.

There are many, many more examples.

The answer?

The answer of course, is as easy and as hard as this: Give your business the resources it needs. Learn the difference between a cost and an investment… not on a surface level, on a deep level. Think about the ultimate cost of starving your business of what it needs.

Just as importantly, ask yourself why you’re not investing where your business needs it. If your answer is “to save money and avoid risk”, I urge you to reconsider. Why? Because you are doing neither and simultaneously making it impossible for your business to succeed.

PS: Here’s some detailed advice with examples, on How to build a successful business.

The secret to terrible, ineffective, marketing!

Today, I’m going to share one of the key factors behind terrible, ineffective marketing with you. Don’t worry, I’m also going to show you how to stop it from hurting your business.

First, the basics

If you want something to work you need to do things in the correct order.

For example, the correct way to hit a target is to use the ready, aim, fire approach. You get the weapon ready, you then take aim at the target and finally you fire. Now imagine someone doing that in the wrong order, using a ready, fire, aim approach.

Firing without aiming means they will never hit the target.

Small business owners and the need for speed

I see small business owners using that ready, fire, aim approach with their marketing all the time — making it impossible for them to succeed.

Here are some common examples:

  • They send people marketing emails before getting permission to do so.
  • They begin a project before putting the foundations in place.
  • They start building social networks before deciding who they want in their community.
  • They try to sell to people before they have earned that person’s trust.
  • They expect word of mouth publicity before giving people a story worth sharing.

Take some time today to look at any of your marketing activities, which are not generating the results you want. In almost every case, you can massively improve your results by adopting a strict, ready, aim, fire approach.

How can I be so sure? Because 27 years in marketing has proven to me, that marketing success comes from doing the right things, correctly.

When work isn’t working

… it feels a lot like fun.

In other words, when the work you do is something that inspires and fulfils you, it’s hard to tell work from play.

Paul: The hard working 71 year old

There’s a 71 year old man right now, still working in the same industry as he was when he was a teenager. He’s still working hard too. In fact, he’s just created a new product and is working like crazy to promote it.

He isn’t in it for the money. Sir Paul McCartney has been financially secure for decades.

Unicorn tears

I don’t prescribe to the theory that if you just do what you love, you can make a successful living. However, I have seen countless examples of people, who have transformed their work into something that is extremely enjoyable. Something that inspires, motivates and compels them.

The way I built my business is an example of this. Allow me to explain.

Marketing can be stressful, dull and prescriptive

I got into marketing in 1986 and immediately found it fascinating. However, working as a marketing consultant bored me to tears.

  • Dull, over-long meetings.
  • 12 hour work days.
  • Lots of time wasted in traffic.
  • Predictable clients with average products or services.

I knew there had to be a better way. So, when I started my own marketing business in 1995, I changed everything. In many ways, I haven’t worked a day since. I hand-pick my clients, so I only work with people I like, who have a business worth marketing. I work from a great home studio, which means I get to spend lots of time every day with my eight year old son. I work with business owners worldwide, but let technology do all the travelling.

I do what I love and I love what I do. If God gives me the strength, I hope to be doing this when I am Paul McCartney’s age.

Your business model

You deserve to own a business, which makes you feel excited, motivated and inspired. This means picking your clients and not allowing them to pick you. It means eliminating tasks from your work flow, which are dull — either through delegating them, changing them or eliminating them.

It means telling yourself a different story about what it is to OWN AND RUN a business. You’re in control. You get to pick and choose who you work with and what you do. So, make choices that are worthy of you.

Promises, promises!

Promises: easy to make, harder to keep.

In a crowded marketplace, becoming known as a promise keeper is a great way to earn trust.

Do you want to get ahead even faster? Make BIG promises and deliver on them… regularly, reliably and with enthusiasm.

Could this be one of the best kept secrets in business?

Maybe.

After all, can you think of a successful business owner, who got that way by failing to deliver?

Forget the easy wins!

Easy come, easy go… at least when it comes to business.

  • Gain a new client because your fees are lower than their current provider, then lose them as soon as someone undercuts your fee.
  • Add a pop-up box to your website to increase sign-ups and you’ll attract people, who can’t resist pop-up boxes. So, your newsletter gets sent to an overflowing inbox and is seldom read. Why? Because it’s in there with hundreds of other pop-up subscriptions.

That’s the problem with focusing on the easy wins. Their attention is easy to capture and just as easy to lose. Growing a business that way is like trying to fill a bucket, which has a hole in the bottom.

The sustainable alternative

Long term business success comes from learning how to attract the kind of people who need convincing. These are intelligent people. So, their attention is harder to earn. They don’t fall for gimmicks. They don’t fall for pop-up boxes.

Yes, it takes a little more work than attracting the easy wins. However, isn’t that a small price to pay, for growing a sustainable business?

PS: You may find this useful. It’s packed with examples and ideas you can use – How to build a successful business.

4 Expensive mistakes you need to avoid

I’ve given 4 pieces of important business development advice recently, which I’d like to share with you. Hopefully, it will help you or someone you know, to avoid making some costly mistakes.

Think long and hard before you do any of the following…

Take advice from a self proclaimed guru

Self-proclaimed gurus are exactly that: Self-proclaimed. There’s a world of difference between the fakes and those who other people proclaim to be a guru or thought leader.

How do you spot the fakes? Genuine thought leaders never use those words to describe themselves. Why? Because they know it’s not required. They are the real deal.

It reminds me of that saying: The guy who tells you he’s the cleverest person in the room… isn’t.

Assume expertise

Don’t assume someone knows their subject, because they claim to be an author, radio show host etc. Why? Because it no longer means anything.

  • Anyone can claim to be a published author, thanks to services like lulu.
  • Anyone can claim to be a social media expert, when they can buy 50,000 twitter followers for $100 and as many Facebook fans as they can afford.
  • Anyone can claim to be the host of their own radio show, thanks to services like blogtalkradio.

For peanuts, anyone can be a published author, with 50,000 Twitter followers and legions of Facebook fans. Anyone.

Take traffic building advice

Be careful taking Internet marketing advice from someone, who talks generally about building traffic. General traffic is not only worthless, it can waste your time and suck up your bandwidth. As a business owner, you need targeted visits from people, with an interest in (or need for) your services. Not general traffic.

The difference is huge. Really huge!

Mistake a marketing pest for a marketing professional

Never hire a marketing provider, whose own marketing isn’t working. Here’s an easy way to tell the successful marketing professionals from the rest.

  • Successful marketing professionals attract targeted leads, using effective marketing (as you’d expect).
  • Ineffective marketing providers have to pester people for leads. So, we see them pester people for leads at networking events. They pester people with emails they never asked for. They pester people on social networks.

In short — successful marketing professionals attract your attention and earn your permission to connect with you. The others pester and pursue. Avoid the latter.

If you think your friends may find these 4 recommendations useful, feel free to share this message with them.

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