Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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How to get better results without working harder

business development

I have a business development tip for you today, which is essential to the success of your business.

Most small business owners are busy people. They work hard. They work long hours, too. Yet, very few make the kind of progress they would like. All that movement and hard work isn’t getting them where they want their business to be.

That’s because there’s something missing from this picture… something that transforms movement into progress.

So, what’s the answer?

The answer can be found, when we look at those business owners who are making real progress, often working fewer hours than those who spin their wheels.

It looks like this: Those who make progress learn from every experience. Then, they invest what they learn, to make better and better business decisions.

Here’s how you can do the same!

Here are a couple of examples, which show how this works in practice. The same approach can be used to massively improve your success in every area of your business.

Example 1: What was the last marketing email you opened and started reading?

Dig it out and spend some time studying its subject line (or title). Learn what it was, which motivated you to open it rather than trash it like all the others. Then, invest what you learned from that email, so that your next marketing email gets a great open rate.

Example 2: What was the last service you received, which impressed you so much that you had to tell everyone?

Think about that exceptional service, from start to finish. Now, look at what it was, which made that service so different from what you were expecting. Then, look for a way to incorporate something similar into the experience you give to your own clients or customers. Congratulations… you’ve just massively improved the volume and quality of the word of mouth publicity you receive!

In short: Don’t just get through the day. Get from the day.

PS: I wrote an article for Microsoft.com yesterday, which gives you another 5 habits of successful business owners.

Create some momentum

new day today

Today could be just another day for you. Alternatively, you can use the opportunity today brings, to create some real momentum.

For example, you can:

  • Start reading a book today, which will educate or inspire you.
  • Publish something on a blog or social network today, which will be useful for your marketplace and showcase your expertise.
  • Learn the meaning of a new word today, which will widen your vocabulary.
  • Make a decision today, which you have been procrastinating over.
  • Invest in something today, which you know your business needs.

If you want to keep the momentum going, do something progressive tomorrow. Rinse, repeat.

Uncovering your unique voice

different

I get a lot of email, from business owners who want to uncover their unique voice. In most cases, they are seeking to improve the quality of their newsletters, blog posts or articles.

They note that most material in every niche seems to be extremely similar — with just a few people writing anything fresh or original.

I have a theory about why this happens and how to avoid it.

My theory

I believe it’s linked to the mass consumption of the same kind of inputs. It looks like this:

We have known for years that if you watch TV, just like the masses, you’re likely to start thinking, just like the masses.

My theory is that the same is true of writers within a niche, who read the same popular books, magazines and blogs. By consuming the same inputs, they work from the same information base. This results in them adopting and sharing very similar ideas. It can also result in very similar writing styles.

Thinking differently

As I said earlier, this is only a theory. However, it’s based on years of study and observation. I am yet to find a unique voice in any field, who feeds her mind with the same mass market material as her peers.

In short: To think differently, we need to feed our mind differently.

PS: You may find this useful. My name is Jim Connolly and I am a freak!

The thing about remarkable work

… is that it is risky, courageous and challenging. That’s what makes remarkable work stand out. It’s also why remarkable work attracts so much word of mouth publicity.

Those who want to attract word of mouth, must pay the admission price in advance. They need to do work, which is worthy of being remarked on or talked about. They need to embrace the risk, summon the courage and rise to the challenge.

Where to begin?

Ask yourself the following question, then take as long as you need to write your answer down:

If people were already talking about my business to their friends, what would I like them to be saying?

Once you’ve come up with your answer, think about it for a while. Next, commit to making the improvements to your business, which would motivate people to say those things about you.

Be the author of your word of mouth referrals

The most successful business owners already do this. They are the authors of what people say about their business.

How?

By creating amazing customer experiences, which people feel they HAVE to share.

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.

Why?

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

typos

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.

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