Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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7 Proven ways for you and your business to prosper

Here are 7 ideas, to help you and your business prosper.

  1. Work hard AND work smart. You need to do both.
  2. When you have an idea, capture it immediately. Write it down. Then, put it to work. This is what turns ideas into results.
  3. Instead of networking the way most business owners do, learn how to make extremely valuable business contacts instead. Here’s what you need to know.
  4. Increase your failure rate. If you’re not failing enough, it means you’re spending too much time in your comfort zone. If you want something you’ve never had before, you will need to do something you have never done before.
  5. Use your time wisely. Here’s how to get more done in less time.
  6. Do at least one thing every day, which will take your business in the direction of your major goal. If you build enough molehills, you end up with a mountain.
  7. Learn the basics of how to become a millionaire. I explained how in this article.

I hope you find these ideas useful, but more importantly, I hope you do something with them.

How to get what you want from your business

Sadly, most business owners fail to achieve their goals.

A key reason they fail, is that instead of doing one hundred percent of what’s required, they do one hundred percent of what they’re comfortable with.

One hundred percent

To give one hundred percent, is to give everything:

You can’t have what you want to have, without doing what you need to do.

The solution

The solution is always the same.

It’s as easy and as hard as this: Find what you’re avoiding, then summon the courage and knowledge to conquer it.

What everybody ought to know about Strategy

The Internet is full of lists. That’s because they are easy to read and often rich in ideas.

The thing is, a list without a strategy is like having ingredients without a recipe. It’s one thing to know what the 21 habits of successful business owners are — but how do you put those habits into action? How do you make the changes required? Where do you start?

A proven approach

Successful business owners are the same as successful sports people. They have a coach or mentor to guide them. They refuse to waste years going in the wrong direction or going nowhere.

Here are a few examples of extremely successful people and their mentors:

  • Steve Jobs was mentored by Robert Friedland.
  • Jobs then went on to mentor Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Larry Page.
  • Bill Gates was mentored by Ed Roberts.
  • Michael Dell was mentored by Lee Walker.
  • Reid Hoffman, co-founder of Linkedin, was mentored by John Lilly.

Those with time to waste use a different approach

Those who wrongly believe they are time rich, that they can keep throwing months or years down the drain, go it alone.

  • They collect ideas from newsletters, blog posts and books and end up with lots of lists, but no specific strategy.
  • They have no formula to get from where they are to where they want to be, based on their unique situation, challenges or resources.
  • They end up with lots of disconnected ideas, steps, tips, techniques and tricks.

As millions of people will confirm from their personal experience of that approach, it doesn’t work.

In short: Get the help you need, from someone who has achieved what you want to achieve. Life is too short and too precious to waste.

Listen up!

listen

It’s both easy and dangerous, to confuse silence with satisfaction.

Customers and clients who receive an average service, don’t shout about it. An average service isn’t good enough or bad enough, to motivate them to make a noise.

Silence and indifference

Silence is a sign of indifference… and indifferent people tend not to stick around for long.

If your clients, prospective clients, newsletter subscribers or blog readers, etc., don’t say too much, take heed.

How to attract attention and get people talking about your business!

This may be the most useful post I’ve written this year.

As regular readers will know, I often talk about the need for business owners to attract the attention of their marketplace and give them a story worth sharing. Well, I recently experienced a great example of how the process works.

I’m sharing it with you, because it’s so simple that anyone can learn the strategy, then think of ways to apply it into their business!

Here’s what happened.

How I attracted attention, started conversations and connected with people

I decided to have lunch at a coffee shop yesterday. While I was waiting for my lunch to arrive, I took my pen out and started jotting some ideas down. A customer sitting opposite me noticed I was using a fountain pen and commented on how rare it was, to see somebody using one. He asked me what I was writing and we chatted for a while, until the waitress arrived with my lunch.

The waitress heard us talking and said she loved the look of my fountain pen, before asking me if she could try it. I said yes and she remarked on how different it felt, compared to writing with a normal ballpoint pen. As she walked back to the kitchen, I overheard one of her colleagues asking what she was doing, so she told him. The story was spreading.

Here’s the thing: Imagine I’d been using a regular ballpoint pen to write my ideas down. If I had, none of those conversations or connections would have happened. The guy opposite would have just carried on drinking his coffee and Chloe, the waitress, would have served me, smiled and walked away.

The ballpoint business approach

By default, the average business is average. They are the commercial equivalent of a ballpoint pen. Reliable, yet unremarkable. So, they find it extremely hard to attract people’s attention. Instead, they push a ballpoint pen message, which people are not interested in.

This would be like me sitting in the coffee shop ASKING people to notice me. Instead of attracting attention and engaging people, those same people would have actively avoided me.

Yet, that is exactly how the average business is marketed. Instead of attracting attention, they pester people with an uninspiring, predictable story.

Copy the strategy, not the tactics!

If you are finding it hard to attract the attention of your ideal profile of client, consider adopting the fountain pen strategy. In other words, make at least one meaningful improvement to what you do. As you can see from my example, the key is to do something, which people notice AND want to talk about.

Here’s a tip — Don’t copy the tactics of another provider, who is standing out. However, by all means, copy their strategy!

Think of it like this: If someone copied my tactics and went into that same coffee shop today using a fountain pen, she would attract far less attention. The next person after her with a fountain pen, would attract almost no attention at all. However, anyone copying my strategy, “to do something interesting, which people will notice and talk about”, can attract just as much positive attention, make just as many connections and have just as many people sharing their story.

Yes it takes effort and creativity to build your own strategy, using the fountain pen approach to business. However, it’s the only way to avoid  being yet another invisible, boring, ballpoint business.

If you want to attract the right kind of attention, connect with new clients and give the marketplace a story about your business, which they will want to share, I can help – read this.

7 Habits of highly successful leaders

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to work with some incredible leaders. Here are 7 habits, which are common to all of them:

  1. They don’t compare themselves to their competitors. They compare themselves to the work they did yesterday, and then commit to do better today.
  2. They show, rather than tell.
  3. They encourage others.
  4. They show up, even when it’s easier not to.
  5. They listen.
  6. They are keen to take responsibility.
  7. They spend their prime-time with friends or learning, not watching TV.

Tip: Here are 21 Powerful habits behind highly successful business owners!

Photos: What everyone needs to know about ageing online

Tammy was shocked when she emailed me today.

She explained that she had been following a business expert on Twitter for years. Then today, he suddenly aged by around 15 years!

15 years older in just 24 hours

Of course, the guy is just a day older today, than he was yesterday. The thing is, he’d been using the same photo on his online profiles for the past decade and, apparently, it was a few years old when he started using it. Yesterday, he decided to update his profile photo and like all of us, he looks very different than he did back in the late 1990’s.

He has told his Twitter followers he needed to change the photo, as he was tired of people not knowing who he was, when he met them face to face for the first time.

[I wrote about ageing online here: To age online or not to age, that is the question!]

The issue this guy now has, is that his brand is strongly associated with an image, which no longer exists. By failing to invest in a professional logo and failing to update his profile photo every year or two, he’s facing a totally unnecessary challenge.

We all get older

However, until recently, business owners were connected to people who either saw them pretty regularly or who were seeing them for the first time.

In the digital age, we are represented online by photographs, which are a snapshot of how we looked when the photo was taken. If these are seldom updated, we risk facing the same problem the business expert now has.

Keep people in the picture

If you do not already, consider updating your profile photos and avatars every year or so.

Even better, invest in a professional logo and use the logo alongside your picture. This allows you to change your photo, with the continuity of your branding intact.

Tip: Here’s a great video about what makes a logo memorable and valuable!

1 Essential word your marketing needs, plus 1 you MUST avoid!

Here’s a quick tip, to improve the effectiveness of your marketing. It’s all about a word you use, which is negatively impacting how people feel about your business.

That word is… change!

People are hard-wired to fear change.

We know that change, good or bad, is a source of stress. Even something as positive as the change that comes from getting married, buying a new home or setting off for a week in the sun, is a cause of stress.

Because of the negative way people feel when confronted with change, it makes sense to remove the word from your marketing. Don’t worry, I am going to give you a massively more powerful, motivating alternative!

Improve rather than change

Whenever possible, use the word improve, rather than change. Improve, is a positive word. It’s an attractive word too, because we are always looking for something better.

For example, look how the phrase below becomes far more powerful, when change is replaced with improve.

“This copywriting tip will change your marketing results.”

“This copywriting tip will improve your marketing results.”

Your prospective clients or customers fear change, but want things to improve. So, stop offering them what they fear and give them what they want!

Tip: Here are over 180 posts, related to copywriting and content marketing. Enjoy!

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