Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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You’re just 5% away from the success you want. Here it is!

My mentor, the late great Jim Rohn, used to say:

‘Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.’

The 5% that matters

Most business owners will do 95% of what’s needed, in order to achieve the results they REALLY want. They work hard. They work long hours. They make sacrifices for their business. The challenge, is that the missing 5% is the magic that turns a living into a fortune. It’s the 5% that means we get to build a wall of financial security around us and those we love, which nothing can breach. It’s a very important 5% indeed.

Now, it may not always be 5%, it may be a little higher or lower. That 5% represents the small number of things, which we know we need to do in order to blow the lid off our potential. Thankfully, as my mentor taught me, the 5% bridge, between where we are today and where we want to be, can be spanned with discipline.

The magic of discipline

  • The discipline to spend less time watching TV and more time feeding our brain with rich, mental protein.
  • The discipline to embrace our uniqueness rather than play it safe and look like our competitors.
  • The discipline to lead rather than follow.
  • The discipline to focus on what we want, rather than what we fear.
  • The discipline to listen to what our business results are telling us and invest in the help we need.
  • The discipline to give ourselves permission, rather than wait for someone to pick us from the crowd.
  • The discipline to do work that matters, rather than work that pays.
  • The discipline to accept responsibility for our business and stop blaming the economy, the weather, the competition etc, for our lack of progress.
  • The discipline to stop accepting less than we deserve.

A great place for us to start, is with the discipline to do all the work. Not just the 95% that every business owner does.

Photo: Hugo90

5 Ways to grow your business!

If you want to grow your business, there are 5 ways to do it. They are:

  1. Increase the transaction value of your existing clients. In other words, sell them more products or services each time they buy from you.
  2. Increase the frequency of your clients purchasing. Instead of them buying from you 4 times a year, allow them to buy from you once a month.
  3. Attract more clients.
  4. Increase your prices or fees.
  5. Retain more clients (also known as attrition management.)

Marketing is more than just attracting new clients

Most small business owners focus on number 3 and  number 4. They are always looking for new clients and ways to increase their fees, unaware that they can massively increase their revenues and profits, from their existing client base.

In working with my clients, I have helped some develop their existing client base to the point where they have increased profits by over 700%, without them having to win a single new client.

For example, you can develop additional products and services, which compliment what you already offer. This allows you to bring greater utility to your clients and as a result, additional revenue streams to your business too. It’s quicker and easier to sell additional products or services to existing clients, than to people who don’t know you. It’s usually more profitable too, as the lead-in time is shorter and the potential for non-payment almost nil, as you already know their payment history.

Increasing the purchase cycle

Business owners often limit their revenues and profits, by sticking to needless purchasing cycles.

For example, I recall a DIY company that made the massive majority of it’s sales from a bi-annual catalogue. They had always done things that way and were used to having 2 busy months each year, which sustained the business. By simply turning that catalogue into a quarterly publication, they were able to almost double their sales.

Client retention and acquisition

Another benefit of building your service, so that it’s of greater value and of greater utility, is that you will encourage clients to stay with you for longer. This helps take care of point 5 on the above list; client retention. When clients are getting a better, more inclusive service from you, it makes it harder for a competitor to win their custom. Similarly, the increased value and utility of your service, will make it more attractive when you market it, which will help you attract more new clients too.

Yes, it makes perfect sense to attract new clients and look for ways to offer a better service, so you can charge stronger prices or fees. But never underestimate the potential for huge windfall revenues, when you focus on delivering excellence and increased utility to your existing client base.

Photo: Kirsty Hall

Doing the work

With any project, you plant the seeds of success at the beginning, when it’s difficult, when there are no guarantees.

It’s easy to get up and write a blog post, when you know that 5,000 or 10,000 people will read your work that day. The reward justifies the effort. Everyone writing to that kind of readership did something a lot harder at the beginning, though. We turned up and wrote useful posts, knowing just 5 or 10 people would read us that day.

Decide what you want to achieve.

Do the research.

Then do the work.

Photo: Ljubisa Bojic

Are you sitting comfortably? Then read this!

Here’s a great question, to help ensure you’re not mistaking activity for progress:

“Is my marketing based on doing the right things, correctly OR doing things I feel comfortable with?”

Review what you are comfortable with

Whilst most small business owners have varied working weeks, there are certain things they do routinely. Now, if those routine activities are correct they will work for the business and the business owner will see measurable progress. However, many routine business activities are repeated simply because the business owner feels comfortable with them. They get into a habit of doing certain things a certain way, often unaware that if they improved their approach, they could be enjoying massively better results.

The perfect scenario is for us to become comfortable, doing the correct things. This starts with a willingness to embrace change and let go of ineffective marketing activities. Like many things in business, this is easier said than done. However, those only prepared to do what’s easy in business, place a very low ceiling on their potential.

Quick Tip

If you are not getting enough sales or sales inquiries, take a look at the marketing activities you engage in. How many of them are you confident can generate the results you need? How many of them are you certain, you are doing correctly? Stop anything that isn’t working and either fix it or replace it with something that works. Don’t stick with anything, just because it’s comfortable!

How do people feel about your business?

I heard a guy in my local coffee shop explaining to a friend, why he bought himself an iPhone. “I needed cheering up, so I decided to treat myself to a new iPhone. I had to wait 3 days for the phone to arrive and to be honest, the wait was pretty exciting.”

That’s an example of someone using the purchase of a product, to improve how he was feeling. His feelings about Apple and the iPhone brand are extremely positive and he knew that he’d feel better if he ordered one.

Now, can you imagine someone feeling so strongly about the prospect of working with you, that even the process of waiting was exciting?

Marketing and feelings

Whether you are a service provider or a vendor of products, you need to be aware that feelings have a huge part to play, in the purchasing process. The relationships you forge with prospective clients at the pre sales stage, are extremely important. Equally, the way people feel about the idea of working with you (or buying from you) is a key factor in whether you earn their custom or not.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Do you demonstrate how passionate you are about helping your current clients, to your future clients? In other words, do your marketing, networking and social networking interactions suggest you love working with your clients, or are you one of those who finishes work every Friday, by posting ‘TGIF!’ all over Twitter and Facebook, because you can’t wait to get away from them?
  • Does your reputation showcase you as being friendly and approachable? The balance you are aiming for is professional and human. Business is all about people, so it’s essential to show your human side if you want people to feel good about the prospect of doing business with you.
  • Is there a feel good factor associated to working with you or buying your products? If not, you are losing more business than you can possibly imagine.
  • When people arrive at your website, does it look polished and professional or does it look like something that was done on the cheap? If the latter, you need to think about the image you are creating. If a prospective client sees a cheap looking website, it suggests the person behind that site either doesn’t care about presentation or is unable to pay for professional site. Both of these will hurt your business and lose you money.

Success leaves clues

Take time to think about the businesses, which YOU have strong, positive feelings about. Look at what they are doing, in order to earn that positive feeling from you and see what you can learn from them.

Photo: Ganmed64

Change: Love it or hate it but you can’t avoid it!

How do you feel about ‘change’?

Yesterday, Google released an all new look for it’s Google+ project and the reaction from users is exactly what we see, whenever any major change is made to any major project:

  • Some people embraced the change and quickly adapted their Google+ account to get the best from it. For instance, I changed my cover photo. If you’d like to connect with me on Google+, click here.
  • Some people were just happy to see Google continue to innovate, rather than allow the project to become stale.
  • Some people hated it (their words). They either hated the change because of the way it looked or the way it worked (the UI User Interface.)
  • Others just said they hated it and were leaving the service.

Every person has the right to express what they thought of the new Google+ design and some of that feedback will be acted on to make the Google+ experience better. You usually learn more about how to improve a product from so-called negative feedback, than you do from fans saying they love it.

Change is everywhere and constant

The thing is, we need to learn how to deal with change, because whether we like it or not, the world around us is in a constant state of flux. Everything changes all the time.

Not that long ago:

  • Google didn’t even exist.
  • Myspace was massively bigger than Facebook.
  • The global banking system was seen as reliable.
  • And until the launch of Apple’s iPad, the market for tablet devices was believed to be dead.

The set of your sail

In our businesses and our lives in general, it pays to keep an open mind regarding the changes around us. It has often been said that what determines our success and happiness is less about what life throws at us, but more how we respond. My mentor, Jim Rohn, used to say it was all about the way we set our sail and in my experience, Jim was right.

Your marketplace is changing. Your competitors are changing. The needs of your clients are changing too. If you want to remain relevant, let alone thrive, it’s better to adjust the set of your sail, than to hope that things just stay the same.

How to develop clear, compelling marketing that attracts high quality clients

Would you like more high quality clients and a predictable flow of targeted, valuable business leads?

Do you find you attract either too few leads or that prospective clients are too cost conscious?

If you just answered yes to either of those questions, you may find this post useful.

So, exactly who is your ideal client?

When I work with a new client, one of the first things we work on is to build a clear picture of exactly what their ideal client profile is and what these high quality prospects need to hear. This allows us to produce powerful, compelling marketing messages, which inspire the right people to take action. It also eliminates the kind of scrambling tactics you see every day, from small business owners who use all the latest online tools, with no idea why it’s failing to generate bankable results.

Here are just a few, very common signs that you need to make your marketing clearer and more relevant to the right people.

Vague networking: You will find yourself developing networks, with the wrong type of people. If you have hundreds or maybe thousands of ‘followers’ on social networking sites, yet you attract few clients, introductions or referrals from all those people, it’s likely you are connecting with the wrong people and missing the right ones.

Poorly targeted marketing messages: If your marketing is failing to generate enough sales or inquiries, it’s a sign that your marketing messages either lack clarity, are being seen by the wrong people or both. For a marketing message to work, you have to know exactly who you are writing for and what they need. Your marketing should offer a targeted message, to the right person, with a compelling reason to get in touch with you. When you do that, it works. This is why I focus on it so heavily with my clients. The results are immediate and measurable.

Attracting cost conscious or fee sensitive leads: If you find prospective clients are particularly cost conscious when you speak with them, it’s a sign that you are attracting the wrong people. Even if you offer exceptional value, by failing to target your ideal profile of client, you will find yourself regularly speaking to those looking for a bargain basement provider. Remember, one of the qualifications needed for someone to be your ideal prospective client, is the ability to pay you what you are worth!

The good news

If one or more of the above applies to you, there’s some good news. When you develop the right strategy, which eliminates all that fuzzy marketing, everything changes.

Get specific

You’re not going to find the strategy you need from any form of general information, such as books, blogs, seminars or courses. These are designed to be of general use to a wide number of people. Your unique situation, resources, marketplace, goals and even your approach to business ALL need to be taken into account, for this to work.

If more than one of those warning signs earlier related to you and your business, I strongly recommend you speak with a proven marketing professional. Start by asking your friends and business contacts if they know someone they can recommend to you – especially if they have worked directly with the person. Alternatively, if you find my work here useful and would like to find out about us working together, you’re very welcome to email me here. You may also find this useful. I’d be happy to share my most effective marketing strategies with you and show you exactly what you need to do.

Photo: second mouse

2 Things you need to know, if you want massively better marketing results!

Before you send your next piece of marketing to anyone, there are 2 important things you should consider if you want to get the best return on your investment.

Here they are:

1. Do I have permission to contact this person?

A lot of marketing is still based on interrupting people. For example:

  • They send us email because our address is on some list they bought.
  • They send us junk mail because they know where we live or work.
  • They cold call us because they have our phone number.

Yes, you can get people’s attention by interrupting or pestering them, but it’s not the kind of attention they welcome. People repel pests, they don’t embrace them. Walking into a company unannounced and poking the boss in the chest will get their attention, but it’s unlikely to win their willing cooperation or earn their trust.

So, rather than add people to some list and pester the crap out of them, we should earn access to them instead.

A great way to achieve this, is via the type of message you are receiving right now. Everyone reading this blog post, either by email, RSS reader or on jimsmarketingblog.com, has subscribed or searched for the information. It’s seen as useful, not an interruption. I work hard to deliver as much useful, free information as I can and as a result, thousands of prospective clients read my work every day. This blog is what’s called a permission marketing asset.

Permission based marketing delivers the kind of response rates that interruption marketing can’t touch. Newsletters, blogs, YouTube channels, Facebook pages and LinkedIn groups are permission assets that take time to build, but they offer unparalleled potential, for business owners seeking to earn the attention and trust of their marketplace.

2. Am I contacting them with something they need or is it all about me?

Most marketing (and almost all small business marketing) fails because it’s all about the sender and not the recipient. This happens for a number of reasons, but mainly because business owners wrongly assume ALL marketing has to be about pushing a sales message.

That assumption is not only incorrect, it’s toxic!

Successful marketing is about building permission and earning trust among a targeted group of prospective clients. It’s about making you an obvious choice, when they need the type of service you provide.

For example:

The local health food store, which offers advice on the best foods to eat for your unique needs, is building a relationship with you. They are also positioning themselves in your mind as an authority, when it comes to health food.

Their free newsletter offers healthy recipes, the dates of their next subscriber-only, healthy cooking evenings and the latest news on the benefits of certain food types – So, it’s eagerly awaited by its readers. These readers buy the ingredients from the store because they trust it. They are a part of the community and recommend it to their health-conscious friends. People LOVE to be part of a community of like-minded people.

It’s about them

Effective marketing is not just about pushing special offers and new product lines at people. It’s about engaging with them and building a relationship with them. It’s about earning their trust. It’s about being seen as the obvious place to go, when they have a requirement you can fulfil. It’s about them.

Photos: Tim Parkinson & Vale

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