Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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Why I welcome and value your emails

I recently added my email address to every page on this blog. Very soon after, lots of you asked me why I did it and what the results have been. So, here’s your answer.

Why I value your emails so much

Ever since I started this blog, I have published my email address (and my office address / phone number) on my contact page. This means I was already used to receiving email from readers.

My decision to publish my email address on every page, was to make it easier for you to contact me and also to demonstrate that I welcome and value your emails.

What type of emails do readers send me?

When people email me, they tend to do so because they either want to share something with me (around 95%) or to make an unrealistic request for free, specific marketing advice (5%). I can’t do the latter, it simply doesn’t scale because of the time required.

The variety of emails I receive, is huge. For example:

  • I get emails from readers who want to update me on the progress of their businesses and emails that let me know when a reader has spotted a typo.
  • I get emails asking if I will cover certain topics and emails thanking me for something a reader learned from the blog.
  • I get emails asking why there are no advertisements here and emails from people who want me to share their stories with you.

A wide variety of emails, from all kinds of people. I value them enormously!

The value of a 1-to-1 connection

Although every email I receive is different, they ALL have one very important thing in common: They open up an intimate, 1-to-1 communication between you and me.

If you want to connect with me, you are welcome to do so and it has never been easier. I look forward to hearing from you.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

When we work through gritted teeth, it shows!

You can always tell if someone is really enjoying what they do or if they are simply phoning it in – just going through the motions.

I spoke with the owner of an independent jewellers recently, who clearly loved her work. I was buying my wife some earrings and asked the owner for some help. She spoke with genuine passion and interest and her knowledge was incredible.

As I paid for the earrings, I told the owner that it was clear that she loved what she did. She replied that she has been fascinated with jewellery since she was a child and had always wanted to work in the profession. She started off working in a jewellers as a Saturday job when she was a kid, then got a full time job, slowly working her way up to store manager, before buying her first shop.

When we are not interested in what we do, it also shows

Just as a passion for what we do is reflected in our performance and results, when we do something we don’t really enjoy it also shows.

For instance, I love using Google+ and have a network of 17,000 people there. Google+ drives more visitors to my sites than all the other social networks combined and is a constant source of creative inspiration and business leads. I also love to use Twitter and 7,000 people connect with me there.

Then there’s Facebook. As anyone who knows me will confirm, I really don’t like using Facebook. And it shows! Just 1,000 people have ‘liked’ my Facebook page, because I deliberately do very little to promote it and chose to focus my energy on Google+ and Twitter instead. I know how to develop great social networks, but when it comes to Facebook, I dislike the experience too much to spend the time required there.

An alternative to doing what you dislike

If there are areas of your business that you don’t enjoy, consider replacing them with better alternatives. If you dislike selling, do what I do and attract leads instead. This blog drives sales of my audio program and client inquiries every day. If you dislike doing the paperwork, hire someone who loves it and watch your productivity and profitability improve.

In short: We have two options. We can learn to fall in love with the elements of our business that we currently dislike. We can find better alternatives. Simply going through the motions is a low leverage approach.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

How to avoid limiting your potential

The main obstacle we need to overcome in order to move our business up another level… is ourselves.

The beliefs you have about what you are capable of, formed by the stories you tell yourself, determine where you set the bar on your potential. This is why business owners find their turnover or revenue grows until it reaches a certain point, then plateaus.

It looks something like this

They start their business by doing everything they believe is within them. Their business then grows from day one, to wherever they have decided their limitation is. From that point onward, when they need to make a big decision in order to grow their business, they will either dodge the decision or decide that whatever it is, it’s too risky. Of course, this starves their business of the investment and resources it needs in order to grow – so they get stuck in an uninspiring and dangerous slump.

If you see a friend self-sabotaging their potential in that way, remind them of this wonderful quote:

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
~ Vincent van Gogh

Be aware of the stories you tell yourself and the huge impact they have on you. Those stories determine what you believe you are capable of and set the limits of what you can achieve.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Setting your sail for 2013

There’s a lot of wisdom in this wonderful, old saying:

It’s not what life throws at you that determines your results – it’s what you do with it that counts.

The setting of your sail

Jim Rohn used to talk about the importance of setting your sail correctly. The winds of change, both positive and negative, blow the same for everyone in your profession or industry. A minority will set their sail correctly. Most will just carry on and hope things improve. Hope is essential, but it is not a business strategy. Progress comes from a mixture of intelligent planning and action.

Lucky?

I was prompted to write about this today, as I am currently working with my clients on setting their sail, so they can go into 2013 with confidence.

I spoke with a client of mine yesterday morning, who managed to increase her fees by around 350% and earn a bigger share of the marketplace, whilst her industry is in free-fall. She was referred to as ‘lucky’ by one of her competitors, who dabbles with her own marketing and wondered why she was working hard, going nowhere. No one saw the work we put in behind the scenes, to transform my client’s results.

Setting your sail or hoping things will improve?

The way you set your sail as you prepare for 2013, will determine whether the economy works for you or against you. If you are passionate about your business and tired of waiting for things to improve, read this and then get in touch with me.

Do we have a deal?

One of the many great things about writing a blog, is that it confirms the overwhelming generosity of people.

How can I repay you?

I get emails every day, thanking me for the ideas I share here and the time I invest in order to help you and your business. Often, people ask how they can repay me and my reply is always the same: Do something with the ideas.

If you find the work I do here useful and would like to repay me, I ask you to do the same. Get working on the ideas. Put some plans together. Create a story about your business, which your marketplace will want to share. Be so good that they can’t ignore you.

In return, I promise to keep working hard to come up with useful ideas for you and your business.

Do we have a deal?

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Stop trying to please everyone

You can’t keep everyone happy and as a business owner, you shouldn’t even try.

Every successful business has one thing in common: They know exactly who their customer is and they focus on making them happy.

Pleasing your target market

  • The people at Apple focus on building products, which people who value their approach to design will love. They don’t offer poorly designed, bargain basement products to try and capture that end of the market. They focus on pleasing the people who ‘get’ what they are about.
  • The people at McDonald’s focus on pleasing people who are in a hurry, who want fast food.
  • The fancy restaurant half a mile away from that MacDonald’s will charge you 20 times as much for the same number of calories, because they are trying to please people who value a top end eating experience.

Who are you trying to please with your business?

If you’re trying to please everyone, you’re lacking direction and missing out on an massive amount of business.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Doing fine or doing remarkable?

If my local Costa Coffee shop closed, it wouldn’t really matter to me. For those of you who don’t already know, they are a national coffee shop chain in the UK, similar to Starbucks.

My local Costa Coffee is typical of what I call a fine business.

  • The service is fine, but not exceptional.
  • The coffee is fine, but similar to other coffee served locally.
  • The atmosphere is fine, but unremarkable.
  • They offer a fine experience, worth what they charge for it.

Going beyond fine

Then there is a small, independent coffee shop that I use, when they have a table available. If they closed or moved out of the area I’d really miss them. I’d miss them, because they go beyond fine.

They focus on being remarkable.

  • The service is excellent.
  • The coffee is the best I have ever had and they sell a great range of premium quality teas.
  • The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming.

A remarkable experience

I happily pay more for my coffee in the independent coffee shop. These guys have a fraction of the resources available to Costa Coffee, but they use everything they have to create an experience that is remarkable.

I would have certainly used Costa Coffee regularly, (they are absolutely fine after all), had the remarkable coffee shop not been here. And that’s my point!

The smallest of businesses can thrive in today’s economy. So long as you are prepared to be remarkable, you can win a highly profitable share of the market, even against large, competent rivals.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Ever thought about firing 75% of your clients?

What would happen if you fired your worst clients and invested all that extra time, delivering excellence to your most valuable clients?

I was thinking about this after recalling a chat I had, with the owner of an extremely successful accountancy business. We were both guests on a local BBC radio show and after the show, we went for a coffee. I asked her to tell me about her business and she told me about a key decision she made.

This decision was the starting point, which transformed her business from one that competed based on fees, to being ‘the’ premium provider in her area.

Firing 75% of her clients was the start of something big

She explained how after competing for a new client and losing out because of a difference of just £50, she told herself that enough was enough. She no longer wanted to serve the fee-sensitive end of the marketplace – they were the most demanding and paid the least. So, she decided to fire the 75% of her clients, who were generating just 25% of her fees. This gave her the time to deliver service excellence to the highly profitable 25%. That exceptional level of service got people talking. It saw her attract more word of mouth referrals from other highly profitable clients.

She never needed to compete for clients based on fees again.

Making the switch

Firing 75% of your clients probably isn’t the answer for you. It may be that you have just one or two clients, who undervalue your time and make you unhappy. What I can tell you for certain, as someone who works on this all the time with small business owners who are tired of being undervalued – is that you will always know which clients to fire.

I’ve seen what it does to small business owners, when they set their fees so low that they have to work too many hours, to reach their income requirement. I have also seen the stress caused, when business owners find themselves with a client base that undervalues them. No one deserves that.

  • Increase your market value by offering excellence: Not great customer service. Excellence.
  • Deliver excellence to your remaining clients and you will become remarkable.
  • Remark-able = worthy of remarking = word of mouth.

It takes courage and the right strategy, to go from competing for business based on fees, to selling a premium service to people who truly value your time. That’s why so few business owners do it. They have not yet figured out that the riskiest thing they can do as we go into 2013, is to follow the flock.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

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