Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Page 4 of 195

Is there a business case for human kindness?

We are encouraged from childhood to be kind to others. However, is there a business case for human kindness? Here’s my experience after almost 20 years of running an extremely successful business!

Your clients, former clients, prospective clients and never-to-be clients will remember how you treat them, when they’re going through a tough time. Your kindness will remain with them long after your actions have finished.

Of course, many of the people you help during their hour of need will turn things around. They will come out on top. They will become hugely successful. They will be in a great position to help you when you need it most.

But that’s NOT the reason to extend kindness to others

The reason to help people when they’re going through tough times, is because it’s where you can make the biggest, positive difference. It’s where you can have the greatest impact. It’s where your influence is valued most. Plus, you’re a good person. Being kind will make you feel better.

Helping those who don’t really need it… that’s a different story.

Think about it: If you help someone when they’re doing great and have no real need for your help, it makes very little difference to them. You invest just as much time, effort or money, yet your impact is minimal.

A business case for human kindness?

Is there a business case for helping people when times are tough for them? I believe the answer is a resounding “yes”.

I’ve found that business becomes easier and more pleasurable, when a growing group of people respect you for helping them when they needed it. This is without even considering the power of reciprocity.

The connections I have made with people, who were struggling when I helped them, are among the most commercially valuable. Many of these great people have repaid my initial kindness. Sometimes, without even telling me. Often they have repaid me to a higher degree than my initial kindness.

Business is all about people. In our rush to automate the business of business, it pays to remember the real wins usually come from the human touch.

2 Powerful tips from marketing that stinks!

stinks

I’d like to share an example of shockingly bad  marketing with you today. In fact, you could say this marketing stinks! However, there are 2 great lessons to learn, which you can apply directly into your business.

Smelly marketing

I’ve used the same brand of deodorant for years. Recently, my brand wasn’t in stock, so I looked for another brand and noticed for the first time that they all claim to offer 48 hour protection.

Think about that for a moment.

Clearly, there are very few people who only shower or wash every 2 days; whose armpits remain unwashed for 48 hours. And if you’ve ever stood close to someone with such bad hygiene habits, you’ll know these people don’t buy deodorant! Sadly.

But that’s OK. The ridiculous 48 hour claim on the packaging has nothing to do with deodorant. It has everything to do with uncreative marketing.

Here’s how it happened

The marketing people behind one of the brands decided to use a bigger number on their product (48 instead of 24), to make it look more powerful.

The others followed suit. The number remains, even though it’s now totally meaningless. No one needs 48 hour protection and having that number no longer generates additional sales, because they all use it.

As a marketing tactic, it stinks. It fails on every level.

There are 2 useful lessons here

Firstly, if you want to make your product or service stand out from the competition, make it meaningfully different. Provide something that adds genuine value. Something your marketplace will get additional utility from.

Secondly, if you want to really stand out, get creative. Because the first deodorant brand with the ridiculous 48 hour claim simply moved the dial on the number, every competitor could follow suit almost instantly. Any competitive advantage would have quickly been lost. So choose something that is harder for others to copy and you will maintain your competitive advantage for far longer.

Avoid gimmicks

To consistently stand out from the crowd in a meaningful way, you need to continuously look for opportunities to make your product or service worth talking about. This requires creative thinking.

Yes, it’s easier to come up with a gimmick. Gimmicks require almost no creativity and anyone can copy them, which is why they’re of so little value.

Remember — the less creative your marketing is, the easier it is to copy and the less remarkable it will be.

How to make better buying decisions

iphone 5s

I’ve been thinking recently about how it’s easy to make a costly mistake, when investing in new technology. As new devices hit the market, the temptation can be strong to always opt for the latest version of something, simply because it’s new.

However, there are times when the latest thing is not the correct thing for you or your business.

Here’s an example of what I’m referring to, based on a decision I made recently.

The new iPhone that’s not so new

My friend asked me why I bought a new iPhone 5s last week. He knows I am a technology geek and that I was going to buy my first ever iPhone. He wondered why I’d buy a brand new phone, based on a design that’s 12 months old, rather than the iPhone 6.

Here’s what swayed my decision.

Yes, the iPhone 6 is a big, beautiful phone. However, like millions of android customers, I’ve been using phones with the same large screen as the iPhone 6 for years.

I needed a smaller device.

  • Something that felt comfortable in my pocket.
  • Something I could hold and operate with one hand, whilst sipping a coffee with the other.
  • Something I could use on a crowded bus or train, allowing me to use my other hand to hold onto a rail.
  • Something with a great camera. I use instagram a lot and the photo quality of the iPhone 5s is great — very close to the iPhone 6. You can join me on instagram and see my photos, here.

So, the small and beautifully designed iPhone 5s was the perfect fit for me. I’ve had it for just over a week now and it’s ideal. I love it and use it more often than I used my more awkward, bigger screen phones.

The best solution for you

When investing in new technology, you need to focus on what’s the best solution for you. The latest version of anything doesn’t automatically become the best option.

Over the years I’ve found that you make better purchasing decisions, when you look at what you need and go for the best fit, based on your requirements. Yes, that is often the latest version of a product, but  not always.

How to earn massively more by solving better problems

Money

I want to talk to you today about money. Specifically, I’d like to share an idea with you about how to earn more money, lots more money, without you needing to work more hours.

Whilst aimed primarily at service providers, all business owners can benefit mightily from this idea.

How to earn more money

If you want to earn more money, the answer is pretty straightforward. You need to either:

  1. Work longer hours. The challenge here is that there are only so many working hours available to you. It doesn’t scale. This puts a low ceiling on your income.
  2. Solve better problems. A brain surgeon earns 2 thousand percent more than a strawberry picker, even though they work the same number of hours a day. Why? Because a brain surgeon solves a bigger, better problem than the fruit picker. The bigger the problem you solve, the greater the financial reward.

As most people reading this are already working long hours, I’d like you to consider the second option. I’d like you to think about working the same number of hours or even working fewer hours, but using those hours to provide greater value by solving better problems.

The opportunity right under your nose

Think about it: You have a lifetime of experiences. Thanks to the Internet, you have access to the combined intelligence of millions of people. You also have access to free, global digital communications. This opens up an incredible resource to you, unmatched at any point in history.

This is the golden age, which business owners have talked about for decades. Today, equipped with the right mindset, a laptop and an Internet connection, you can achieve things unthinkable in previous generations.

Now consider this: What does the average small business owner do with these amazing resources? They focus on solving the same low value problems, as they did a decade or more ago. Sure, they are able to get more done thanks to technology, but their competitors are all able to do the same, so it’s of no additional value to them.

More importantly, what are you going to do with all this potential?

That’s a great question for you to focus on.

  • Maybe you’re going to use technology to allow you to collaborate with new partners, so you can provide a better, more valuable service to your marketplace.
  • Perhaps you will take advantage of online learning, to increase your knowledge so you can solve bigger, more valuable problems.
  • You may decide to leverage tools like Skype and work with clients worldwide, opening up a whole new world of possibilities for you.
  • And you could decide to create some digital products, as many of my clients have, which you can earn additional streams of income from.

It starts with the decision to look for better problems to solve. When you do, the possibilities for you are pretty-much endless. It’s limited only by how far you are willing to go — how big the problem is, which you’re willing to solve.

All the help you need is out there. So, what are you waiting for?

How to stop The Blame Game from destroying your business

you

I spoke with a small business owner earlier, who was blaming his customers for the slowdown of his business. He went on to explain that his customers were fools for turning to other suppliers, who are a little less expensive than him.

He was wrong

Here’s the thing: Blaming your customers for the failure of your business, is like blaming your car for grinding to a halt, because you neglected to put fuel into it. The customers you attract, the amount they spend with you and their decision to recommend you via word of mouth… is all down to YOU.

As the owner of a business, you direct the path of the business.

  • You decide whether to adapt your business based on the economy or blame the economy for the failings of your business.
  • You decide whether you market your business professionally or rely on ineffective, DIY marketing.
  • You decide whether you give customers an experience that they want to tell their friends about, or an average experience.
  • You decide whether to invest in the expert help your business needs or invest in a nicer car / vacation / gadget.
  • You decide whether to sell based on price or sell based on value.

It’s YOU who decides. Always!

That’s what a business owner does. She makes decisions, which direct the course of her business. If she doesn’t like the direction her business is heading in, she adjusts her course.

To blame the marketplace, economy, weather, government, competition or anything else for the failings of your business makes no sense. Why? Because others with the same challenges, do what’s required and overcome them.

Excuses are easy to come up with. And that’s the problem. If you practice making excuses for long enough, your excuses will be so convincing that people, including you, start believing them!

The bottom line: It’s down to you.

Your move!

Grow your business by 200% with this simple idea

As you approach the final weeks of 2014, it’s a great time to review the progress your business is making and look for ways to improve in 2015. Obviously, the cornerstone of your strategy for 2015, should be the growth of your business.

So, here’s something for you to consider if you want your business to grow significantly in the year ahead.

It’s based on an idea I shared with a friend, which saw him increase profits and turnover by more than 200% over the past 12 months.

Meaningful improvements lead to meaningful progress

Here’s what we know: The only way to grow your business in a meaningful way, is to make meaningful improvements. It’s simply not enough for you to do what you did this year, only a little better. At best, that strategy may allow you to tread water. To spin your wheels. To waste another year.

However, it certainly won’t lead you to anything worthwhile.

Add some zeros

My friend Harry saw a 200% increase in his revenues last year, with an even greater increase in his profits. How did he achieve this? Instead of focusing on how to grow his business by 25%, I suggested he should add a zero to his target. He then sat down at the end of last year and set himself an inspiring challenge: How can I increase my turnover and profits in 2014 by 250%?

Harry explained that by focusing on a target of 25% growth, his thinking was limited. A pretty small target required pretty small thinking. The target also lacked any pull — yes, a 25% lift is good, but it wasn’t going to change his life in a meaningful way.

However, by setting himself a huge growth target, one that was 10 times bigger than ever before, he was able to blow the lid off his thinking. He was able to set his full potential to work on the challenge. Plus, because growing his business by 250% would massively improve his lifestyle, he found it exceptionally motivating.

So, he’d set himself an inspiring target that allowed him to think big AND he was more motivated than ever before. He missed his target. Instead of growing his business by 250%, he only managed just over 200%. His business is 3 times bigger and over 3 times more profitable. He’s also pretty sure he can hit that 250% in 2015. I believe him too.

How you can succeed like never before in 2015

Steve Jobs famously said that when you’re working on something exciting, the vision pulls you. I’m paraphrasing there, but the message is both powerful and accurate.

Most small business owners stay small, because they set themselves targets or goals that fail to inspire them. Puny goals restrict your thinking. They also rob you of the energy, which only comes when you’re being pulled by a compelling vision.

So, why not do what Harry did — If you want better results and more energy in 2015 than you had in 2014, add some zeros!

PS: This will help you. How to build a successful business. It’s packed with ideas and examples you can use.

Marketing 101: Make it more attractive, not more annoying!

spam

Around 20 or 30 people email me every day with some kind of terrible sales pitch. They spam me because they think that their email is somehow special. They think that it’s only spam when other people do it.

It isn’t.

The rules apply to all of us

No matter how ethical, important or valuable we believe our message is, the rules of effective marketing still apply to us. Spam is spam, even if we do it.

If you want people to take notice of you, do something worthy of their attention and make it easy for them to share. When your message is genuinely of use or interest, the first 10 people who hear about it will get you another 10, who will do the same, and so on. That’s how every successful product or service spreads.

If you constantly need to pester people, either with spam, cold calls or at networking events, it’s time to improve your strategy.

A better approach

It’s as simple and as challenging as this — focus on making what you do more attractive… not more annoying.

How the Brooklyn Bridge changed my life

Brooklyn Bridge

I’d like to share a personal story with you today.

I was eating my lunch one afternoon, looking out the window at the Brooklyn Bridge. I was a 22 year old kid from London, learning all about marketing the hard way, in my new career in a new country. I wasn’t having a great week and my manager decided to help me gain some perspective.

Here’s what he told me.

“You know Jim, it took over a decade to build that bridge. It was hard, dangerous work and almost 30 people died during its construction. Now, remind me what it is about your job that has you feeling so sorry for yourself today?

Suddenly, the 22 year old me understood that in the grand scheme of things, life was good. Life was great, in fact. I was living away from home on a great adventure, in a country I had been fascinated with all my life. The land of opportunity was there in front of me and it was my job, to make the very best of every moment.

It changed my life completely.

The power of perspective

I never looked at life, work or marketing in quite the same way again. What I discovered was that it often takes a shift in perspective, for us to identify the opportunities around us. A shift in perspective can also help us summon the courage and motivation required, to turn opportunities into wonderful outcomes.

Usually, the business opportunities we need are right there, under our noses. To see them and benefit from them, we simply need to look at things from a fresh perspective.

In short — Just as “old ways won’t open new doors”, old perspectives won’t lead us to new opportunities.

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