Social Business: Before you publish, press pause!

online reputation

I want you to think about the following for a moment:

  • The last tweet you sent.
  • The last blog post you published.
  • The last marketing email you sent.
  • The last Facebook status update you posted.

First impressions count

Each of those actions could easily be someone’s first exposure to you or your business. If so, it will help form their first impression of you. First impressions count… even if they are inaccurate. First impressions count, even if you are having a bad day.

First impressions count, because if you screw it up, you don’t usually get a second chance!

Hit pause… and think

It pays to pause for a few moments before you publish anything. Think about the impression you are creating. Never underestimate the impact of an angry tweet, a needy Linkedin request or a spammy Facebook update, etc. Once it’s published, it’s out there. It’s in play. It’s carrying your name. It’s carrying your reputation.

Today, prospective clients habitually research us via search engines and our social networking accounts, before contacting us. Thankfully, we have total freedom over what we choose to say and the way we choose to act online.

Which is just as well… as our online actions leave a trail that is discoverable in minutes, by everyone who checks us out.

3 Opportunities to massively improve your business

3 three

Here are 3 opportunities, which every business owner should consider. Each one is based on the kind of work I do with my clients.

1. Attract clients, sales or enquiries

Have you ever considered attracting clients, sales or enquiries… rather than chasing them?

When people come to you with their need, you don’t have to sell yourself. You can reply to their enquiry as an expert in your field. They have a need, which they have asked you for help with. You are the expert with the answers they require. It works beautifully and the conversion rates are excellent.

Here’s the thing: When you chase prospective clients the way most small business owners do, that dynamic is destroyed.

You may be a lawyer, designer or accountant, etc., but when you’re chasing people for business, they will see you as a salesperson.

Think about that for a moment.

2. Fire your worst clients or customers

Have you ever considered firing your worst clients? Clients who pay you late or are rude or over-demanding, suck the joy out of your business.

By firing your worst clients and replacing them with great ones, you not only dramatically improve your client list, you massively improve the joy you get from your work. It’s your business, so build something wonderful that inspires you all day, every day.

3. Create and market a downloadable product

Have you ever considered creating a downloadable product? Well, you should.

Digital products require no shelf space. They require no handling, postage or packing. An audio program, book or video that you create once, can earn you a regular stream of income for years.

For example: I created my audio program 8 years ago. It has sold into over 100 countries, just from my blog! I’m making a highly profitable income today, from work I did back in 2007.

I hope those ideas have given you some food for thought.

2 Lessons from a bad idea

Sophie emailed me earlier, to tell me about her new business idea. She explained that she had met with 14 potential investors so far. None of them wanted to invest in her idea, however, that wasn’t the point of her email!

Here’s what Sophie discovered, when she asked the investors what their main reason was for not investing:

  • Half of them said the idea was bad, because no one had done it before.
  • The other half said the idea was bad, because it had already been done before.

2 lessons here

Firstly, every idea falls into one of those 2 categories. It’s either never been done before [though that’s highly unlikely] or it has already been done before.

Secondly, neither of those are valid reasons to say an idea is bad.

The fact remains that you will hear those replies time and again, whenever you try something new. They are bogus, but you need to be prepared to hear them.

Tip — Here’s some useful advice on how to create great ideas.

How to keep people interested in your marketing

genhowto

If your marketing is attracting fewer enquiries than you need, you may want to consider mixing things up a little.

Here’s why.

A marketing lesson from farming!

12 years ago, after a lifetime of living in cities, my wife and I bought our current home in the countryside. It’s surrounded by farm land. One of the first things I discovered about farming, is the effectiveness of crop rotation. The farmer plants different crops each time, because it keeps the soil fertile and produces a better harvest. Planting the same crop time after time produces a poor yield.

It struck me that the same is true when it comes to marketing. The marketplace soon gets tired of seeing the same marketing from the same people. It fails to capture their attention. Soon, they pay it no attention at all.

The answer

The way to avoid this costly marketing error, is to mix things up a bit.

  • Try different timing. For example, if you use email marketing, send your emails on a different day or time of day.
  • Try different images in your marketing material.
  • Try different language — the kind of words you use to communicate your marketing message.
  • Try different offers.
  • Try asking for a different response.
  • Try different marketing formats.

You get the idea.

In short: Marketing rotation can help you retain people’s interest. And an interested marketplace is far more likely to respond to you!

P.S. Here are dozens of marketing ideas you can use, from the most popular page on my blog.

The persistent route to success

persistence

From childhood, we are told about the importance of persistence. And rightly so! We’re told to keep on trying and to work hard. We’re told that quitters never win and winners never quit.

However, there are 2 very different ways to be persistent in business. Both require hard work, yet only one of them can lead to meaningful success.

Allow me to explain.

2 Types of persistence

It looks like this:

  1. Successful business owners know what their goal is and they persistently reach for that goal again and again. They work hard, persistently doing whatever is required to achieve their goal.
  2. The average business owner has an average strategy, which they persistently repeat again and again. They work hard, persistently, even when their strategy isn’t leading to success. That’s what makes an average business, average.

The thing about persistence

Persistence is essential for business success. The key is to make sure you’re persistent in the right areas.

Persist with your goals and persist with strategies and tactics that work. However, if you’re working hard and making too little progress, it’s time for you to stop… and find a better strategy to persist with.

How to avoid an expensive copywriting mistake

writing

After reading Tuesday’s post, Amanda emailed me with a great question.

Here’s an excerpt:

[…] “I often see you recommending the use of professional copy writers.  This can cost a few hundred dollars and maybe more. I guess my question is when is it worth investing in a pro rather than write your own stuff?”

3 Situations where you should hire a copywriting expert

The best answer to that question I know, came from something I heard at a marketing meeting a few years ago. It makes the point extremely well. Here are 3 situations where it pays to get expert copywriting.

  1. If you are going to invest $20,000 on an advertisement, it’s worth investing a few hundred on expert copywriting.
  2. If you’re going to invest $2,000 on a new website, it’s worth investing a few hundred on expert copywriting.
  3. If you’re investing $50 on an adwords campaign, it’s also worth investing a few hundred on expert copywriting. If the ad copy works, it will repay you… every time you run the ad.

In a nutshell, the time to invest in expert copywriting, is whenever you want your written marketing to work.

A simple, effective recipe for word of mouth referrals

word of mouth, stories

Here’s a 3 step marketing tip, to help you attract massively more word of mouth referrals.

  1. Think back to the last time you received customer service, which was so good that you wanted to tell everyone.
  2. Write the experience down in as much detail as you can.
  3. Then spend some time figuring out how you can incorporate a version of that experience, into your own business.

Get it right and it will give your customers or clients an experience, which they want to tell everyone about.

How to get your marketing noticed

genmarketingtips

Today’s post is all about how to attract more sales or enquiries.

Their are 2 types of marketing that get noticed:

  1. Marketing that is hand crafted or personal. An example of hand crafted marketing, would be a letter sent to you, which has your name and address handwritten on the envelope and a message tailored to your exact requirements, signed with a handwritten signature.
  2. Marketing that is highly polished and professional. An example of polished marketing would be a website or blog, which is expertly designed and where the content was produced by a copywriting professional. The quality builds trust and the content motivates people to take action.

Almost all small business marketing is outside of those 2 categories. It’s neither personal or spectacular. It’s neither memorable or impressive. It’s neither thoughtful or motivating.

Different approaches lead to different results

The successful minority of business owners invest in expertly produced, motivating and highly personalized marketing. It’s no coincidence their results are so impressive. Cause and effect.

Conversely, the typical small business will go broke within a few years or struggle on for years, working long hours and making little real progress. That’s because a casual approach to marketing causes casualties. Cause and effect.

No business owner sets out to struggle or make little meaningful progress. It is, however, a choice they have made, albeit an unconscious one.

At some point, the struggling business owner decided to relegate marketing to an low-level task. They did this unaware that everything their business does is marketing. As a result, they are dabbling with the development of their business. This produces predictably poor results.

How to turn things around

If your business is not growing the way you want it to, it’s time to take heed. Because whatever you believe about the quality of your marketing, it’s clearly not working.

The great news here is that by adopting the same attitude to marketing as the most successful business owners, the law of cause and effect comes into play. You can have the business and financial security you have always wanted, so long as you do the right things, correctly.

Read this, it will help: Everything your business does is marketing.

Here’s why you need to build a happy business

happy

There are 2 ways to think about the work you do.

  1. Something you have to do in order to make a living.
  2. Something you love to do.

Interestingly, the work itself has little impact on the way you feel. However, the way you feel has a huge impact on the work you do and the results you achieve.

In fact, you can significantly improve your success in every area of your business, if you improve the way you think and feel about it.

Allow me to explain

A common example of this happens when someone changes employers. They stay in the same industry and do a very similar job, yet they become far happier and more successful. Their job description, goals and targets remain almost the same. However, their new environment completely changes how they feel about what they do. It nurtures them. It inspires them to do their best work, which is followed by better results.

My friend Joanne did this a few years ago. Although her career had stalled with her previous employer, she earned a series of promotions with her new employer.

My story

Here’s the thing: As a business owner, you’re free to improve your working environment whenever you wish. I know from personal experience how effective this can be.

I decided one day to make what I thought was a relatively small change to the way I work. Instead of working from my office, I decided to rename my office… my studio. Initially, the actual room itself looked pretty similar. However, it immediately improved the way I felt about work. I felt more creative.

Soon, the room I worked from looked totally different. It went from being a traditional office with everything you’d expect, to a creative studio. Suddenly there were pencils, pens, paper and notebooks everywhere. My desk was replaced by a huge table, which gave me more room to create and play with ideas.

It completely changed the way I felt about work. It improved everything. I went from working in an office to making things happen in a studio. That was 15 years ago and remains one of the most productive things I have ever done for my own business.

How to make this work for you

One of the reasons people start a business of their own, is that they want the freedom to do things their way. It’s easy to forget this. It’s easy to wake up one day and find you have created a business, which is far less enjoyable and less rewarding than it could be.

If that sounds like a familiar story, here are a few areas where you can improve things.

  • You can improve your working hours. Make them more flexible.
  • You can start working in a studio, the way I did.
  • You can fire your over demanding clients. [In fact, this one is essential. You can not be successful with lousy clients. Period]. Here’s how to do it.
  • You can create interesting new products or services.
  • … you get the idea.

It’s your business. You make the decisions. So, build a business that you love.

Then watch what happens to your results.

3 Things to focus on the next time you’re worried

Here are 3 things for you to remember, the next time you’re worried about your business:

  1. It’s your business. This means you have ultimate control over what happens.
  2. Any time you decide to, you can start making better decisions. You can improve your strategy.
  3. By making better decisions and backing them up with action, the potential of your business is limitless.

So, stop worrying about what could happen. Instead, focus on improving your strategy.

Then work that strategy.