Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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What every business owner needs to know about cakes!

Developing a successful business is a relatively simple process, based on doing the right things correctly. In fact, with the right strategy, it’s quicker to build a successful business, than it is for a business owner with no strategy, to go broke.

It’s a little like baking a cake

If someone gave you a great recipe for a cake and you followed it closely, you would end up with a delicious cake. If you followed that same great recipe many times, you would be able to bake that delicious cake without the recipe, and get it right every time. No one would claim you were lucky to have baked the cake so well. It would be the natural end result, for someone who has studied the recipe and repeated the correct process successfully, many times.

Some useful questions to ask yourself:

  • What recipe am I using, to ensure I’m doing the right things, correctly?
  • What experienced, highly credible source gave me the recipe for business success, which I’m currently risking my future on?
  • Was my recipe developed for me and my unique needs, experience, resources and goals – or just general / generic info I grabbed from webinars, blogs or books?
  • If things are not working out, how long am I willing to wait before I get the help I need?

The bottom line: Get the recipe for business success, which YOU and YOUR business needs, based on your unique situation, and then follow it. Don’t waste another year guessing, dabbling, hoping or worrying.

Photo.

Social Media: Are you spreading yourself too thinly?

People often ask me, why I am only active on 2 social networks – Google+ and Twitter.

The answer is that with only so much time available every day to connect with people on social networking sites, I had a decision to make. I could either have 2 highly valuable social networking assets or join another 6 or 8 and have a diluted presence.

I think of it like this:

  • If you have just enough coffee to make 2 really good cups, then spread it out across 10 cups, you end up with 10 bad tasting, weak cups of coffee.
  • If you have enough time to be relevant on 2 social networks, yet you spread that time over 10 different social networks, you end up with 10, weaker, social networking profiles. You end up automating. You end up cross posting the same stuff everywhere. You end up vaguely relevant on 10 networks, rather than directly relevant on 1 or 2 networks.

For example, I currently have almost 12,000 people connected with me on Google+, which puts me in the top 1% of users, based on my number of contacts (circles). It’s a network, where I have developed some high quality connections with lots of great people and learned a lot too. Now, if I was also having to spread my time across Facebook, Linkedin, StumbleUpon, Digg, Pinterest, Tumblr, Reddit and Mixx etc, I would have a series of diluted presences. I’d be weak in many areas, rather than relevant in 1 or 2.

Getting the most from your Social Networking time

Yes, if you have a lot of spare time each day, you can be relevant on more networks than me. However, if you run a successful, growing business and time is in short supply, as it is for most people reading this, I believe you will get a far better return from focusing on relevance rather than volume.

Look: Another misleading blog post title!

It just happened to me again! You know, where you see an interesting headline or blog post title, click the link, then find you have been fooled? You reach the post, only to find that it’s clearly not what the title promised.

blogging, copywriting, content marketingThat trick is used a lot, because it delivers short term results. However, there’s limited longevity in fooling people into clicking links. people are not stupid and the next time they see a headline from that blogger, they are far less likely to trust the link.

Headlines are promises

The headline of a blog post makes a promise. If the headline says “5 Powerful Time Management Tips”, we are expecting 5 great time management tips. If the content of that post then fails to deliver on that promise, we learn not to trust the next headline we see from them. They train us to ignore them.

I have regularly heard Internet marketing experts slam people like Seth Godin and Robert Scoble (and me) for writing post titles, which are not sensational every time. They suggest that we would get more traffic, if we made inflated promises with our post titles, rather than focus on titles that are compelling, yet make it easy for the reader to know exactly what the post is about. For me, and I am sure for Seth and Robert too, the trust of our readers is paramount.

Building trust

I reach thousands of people every day, using titles that people trust. That’s because people return to this blog, knowing that the content of my posts will deliver on the promise made in the title. If I over sold or made false claims in the titles, I would possibly attract more new readers, but they would only visit here one time. People really don’t appreciate being tricked.

We should write the best posts we can. We should write interesting, engaging titles too. It doesn’t matter which comes first. However, we must be aware that if the title is inaccurate, we will train people not to trust us. We have to deliver, if we want to earn the ongoing attention of our readers.

Photo: Maria Reyes-McDavis

How to turn your knowledge into power

You have hundreds, maybe thousands of followers and friends on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

You read just about every marketing and business development blog, worth reading.

You subscribe to some great newsletters and podcasts too.

You have a lifetime of experiences and lessons behind you.

The question is: Are you using these assets in order to create something uniquely valuable, or just consuming?

Passive consumers

The Internet is filled with passive consumers. These are the millions of people, who lap up the information, join the social networks and use the latest tools, but do nothing of any real value with it all.

We have to be smarter than that

An alternative approach to passive consumerism? Grab a pen and a pad and write down the 10 most valuable things you’ve learned from all that consumption. Then, go through the list and, one by one, do something proactive with each thing you have learned.

In an instant, that passive consumption is transformed into valuable research. The difference between the two is massive.

Photo: Orphan Jones

Is your marketing message too good to be true?

too good to be true

Here’s a quick marketing tip, for anyone setting their fees or prices at the low end of the spectrum.

It’s all about making offers, which sound too good to be true.

Too good to be true

There’s an old saying that assures us, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. As a result, when your prospective clients see an offer, which looks too good to be true, they are immediately on guard. They know that a great service at too low a price just doesn’t stack up. Great people don’t do cheap work – Cheap people don’t do great work.

So, the prospective client is left wondering what’s wrong with this picture.

  • Maybe the service is just poor quality and they are lying to me with their marketing?
  • Perhaps there are tons of hidden costs?

Whichever it is, when confronted with something that seems too good to be true, your prospective clients get super suspicious. Just like you and I do. This is why marketing at the low end of the fee scale, needs to focus more than ever on reassurance.

Open and honest pricing

A sure sign of amateur marketing, is when we see a small business owner offering something amazing, for what seems to be peanuts. Professionally marketed businesses at the low end of the fee scale, emphasis the value and lay it out in detail, so the prospective client gets to see exactly what is on offer for the money. Their fee structure or pricing is open and honest. They make great use of promises and guarantees, which reverse the risk attached to hiring a ‘bargain’ provider.

Don’t assume that marketing at the lower end of the fee scale is any easier than the high end. Be very aware that when people see a low fee, they become immediately suspicious.

What next?

Read this FREE, 3 part series on how to attract the best clients & the highest fees.

Photo: Cdsessum

Don’t let the critics stop you from standing out

I was 29 years old, when I finally figured out that you can’t keep all the critics happy, no matter what you do. This realisation, gave me the freedom to live and work, without fear. I was never the same again.

Critics

Some critics mean us well and genuinely give us their opinion, in an effort to help. Other critics, especially online, will simply want to attack us in order to satisfy a need they have, which they can’t fulfil in their offline world.

In either case, we can’t do anything of value or substance and keep them all happy.

Nor should we try to keep the critics happy!

Life is too precious for us to waste it, being less than we can be, just so we can be invisible to critics.

Yes, we need to listen to feedback. It may well offer us a valuable lesson. However, there’s a world of difference between monitoring feedback when we are taking action, and allowing fear of criticism to stop us from even getting started.

Photo: Banalities

What everybody ought to know about hard work

It’s pointless telling yourself to work harder, when you know you are already working as hard as you possibly can. A better approach, is to take a leaf from Apple Inc’s book and work different.

Too many hard working business owners work themselves into the ground, trying to get the results they need, from an ineffective strategy.

This then impacts their quality of life and often their health and relationships too.

If it isn’t working, do it differently.

It’s a wiser and more productive approach, than rowing your boat harder and harder, in the wrong direction.

What if it works?

If you want to quickly improve your results, this short post may well have the answer you need!

Many people have great ideas, but the fear of “what if it fails?”, stops them putting the idea into action. It becomes another opportunity, which never saw the light of day.

I suggest a different approach, an approach used by every successful businessperson I have ever worked with or studied!

So, what if it works?

Here’s a question for you to consider, the next time you have a great business idea:

What if it works – I mean REALLY works?

  • How would that improve the future of your business?
  • How would that increase your income and profits?
  • How would that improve the quality of life for you and your family?

It’s natural and important to weigh up the risks involved in any new opportunity. However, we mustn’t allow the fear of failure, to stop us from taking the decisions, which lead to meaningful progress. Very few (if any) legitimate opportunities in business, come with a guarantee. So, if you believe an idea has the potential to work, work on the idea. Do the research. Have the conversations. Get the advice and then, if it still looks viable, put it to work.

  • If it fails, you get the lesson from that failure, to invest in the next idea.
  • If it flies, you get the lesson from that success, to invest in the next idea.

Repeat this process often enough and the quality and quantity of your successes will set you on a path, which nothing can stop.

Photo: Roger Price

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