Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing tips & ideas to help you grow your business, by Jim Connolly

Page 91 of 176

What everybody ought to know about entrepreneurs

I love entrepreneurs.

I write this blog for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are rare people and they have my admiration and my respect.

Rare people?

Yes!  In my experience, very few small business owners have the entrepreneurial mindset!

Entrepreneurs and sheepwalkers

Over the past 16 years, I have worked with thousands of small business owners and have noticed 2 very distinct groups:

  1. The biggest group are small business owners, who focus on what they fear.  As a result, their decisions are based on how to avoid loss.  They are the people Seth Godin calls sheepwalkers. Sheepwalkers are risk averse and security fixated.  They have the mindset of an employee rather than an entrepreneur.
  2. A minority of small business owners are entrepreneurs.  Entrepreneurs focus on what they want to achieve from their business, so their decisions are based on progress rather than fear and loss.

Sheepwalking business owners

Sheepwalkers LOVE rules, instructions and those for dummies books.  Why?  Because if they follow the book and the rules, they feel safe and have someone to blame when it goes wrong.  They tend to do nothing that does not come with a guarantee or little perceived risk.  That’s a fatal mindset for a business owner, as hardly anything in business is guaranteed.  Sheepwalkers want things to improve but because they focus on fear, they refuse to get the help they need in case it doesn’t work.  The fear stops them doing the right thing and funnels them into doing the wrong thing.

You see them in the comments sections of blogs, asking the blogger for specific, detailed advice; never figuring out that it’s that exact approach to getting expert help that’s left them slowly going broke!  They are addicted to freebie advice, because if something is free, they see less risk and risk scares the shit out of them.  Sheepwalkers never work with people like me, because they have already decided they can’t afford us, and they are right: Because whatever the fee, it will always, always be too much for them.

So, armed with freebies from websites, and maybe, MAYBE the odd $30 webinar or book, they try to develop their business in the worst economy in living memory!  It’s unreal.  Like the farmer who neglects her crops, they don’t stand a chance; which is reflected in the shockingly bad small business survival statistics.

I refuse to work with sheepwalkers or even spend time with them.  They create nothing and spread negativity everywhere.

Entrepreneur business owners

A minority of small business owners are entrepreneurs.  I love being around these rare people. They are the complete opposite of sheepwalkers.  Their mindset is all about progress and results.  They understand the meaning of investment.  When they fall over, they get back up.  The sheepwalker falls over, THEN uses the experience as proof they should never have tried.   The people who work with me are entrepreneurs.  They give their business the resources it needs, like a farmer tending her crops correctly, so she can enjoy a bountiful harvest.

Entrepreneurs: I salute you!

For the entrepreneurs reading this:

  • You are the kind of person I LOVE to be around.
  • You inspire me when you comment here, email me or give me a call.
  • You motivate me to write this blog.
  • You make things happen.
  • You create opportunity where there was nothing.
  • You feel the same fear as the sheepwalkers, but you have the courage to keep on and PUSH through the fear.
  • You take responsibility.
  • You leave people better than you found them.
  • You are truly a rare individual.

You are also the person this blog is intended for and the person most likely to benefit from it.  You have my respect and my admiration for what you are trying to achieve; because I know you will be working hard right now, trying to make something happen.  That’s what people like you do!

That’s also why I am always here for you and excited to be part of your journey.

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

 

Photo: Pink Poppy Photography

Google+ Not me too!

A lot of people have asked me if I will be writing a review post this weekend, about the new Google+ service.  I managed to get an invite on day 3 of the pre launch and have been very impressed with it.  However, this early on, all anyone can say for certain is that it looks interesting.  You can join me on Google+ here.

But no, I am not going to review Google+

Here’s why!

There are already hundreds of posts written about Google+ saying almost the same thing.  For me to simply add to that noise would be of no value.  I spent 30 minutes this morning, reading 10 posts about Google+.  If you had read any one of those posts, you would have had no need to read the other 9. They all offered a very similar breakdown of all the key features and then the blogger either said it would fly, or flop.  That’s all anyone can say now.  None of the posts I read offered anything original; just comparisons to Facebook etc, lists of features and what’s great and what they think is missing from the product.

Me too posts

I try and avoid writing what are called me too posts.  Me too posts tend to be very similar (hence the name) and I believe that my posts should offer you something original or at least an original view point.  Anything I wrote today would have been me too. That kind of review post is great for news blogs (and Google+ IS big news).  I see little point, however, in me too saying that Google+ rocks or sucks and telling you what the features are, yet with no user data or ‘stats, that’s about as deep as anyone can go, today.  Plus, that post has already been written hundreds of times in the past 24 hours.

Of course, any posts written today will also be inaccurate and outdated extremely quickly, as the Google+ team are rolling out changes very fast right now.  I have already seen one big change in the past 12 hours alone, (which those reviewers all missed.)

Over the coming weeks, as more people are invited to join (it’s mainly geeks and early adopters now), we will start seeing some worthwhile data.  We will also get an idea as to how fast (or slow) Google+ is growing.

I will be talking about Google+ in the near future, but not until opinions can be formed on facts and hard data (rather than guesses and first looks).

If you are using Google+ I’d love you to connect with me here.

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

I don’t care what Bob thinks!

Bob thinks your marketing sucks.

He also thinks you charge too much and he’s not 100% sure why anyone would need your service, let alone him.

It’s OK though.  Bob’s not your target audience.  He’s not in the market for your services.  Your marketing is not intended for him or people like him.

So, why are so many business owners focused on what Bob thinks?

Effective marketing has to be highly focused.  It needs to deliver extremely relevant messages to the right kind of people.  Sadly, the majority of small business owners do the exact opposite with their marketing.  They try to be all things to all people and seek approval from everyone, even Bob!

Here’s the problem with that approach:  It doesn’t work!

Marketing that tries to be kind-of relevant to everyone, ceases to be directly relevant to anyone. For your marketing to work, you need to accept that not everyone is a potential client.

Identify who your ideal profile of client is and focus 100% of your marketing on them and their needs.

It works.

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

The secret to great marketing

There’s a massive difference between bad marketing and great marketing.

  • Bad marketing is all about doing things to the marketplace.
  • Great marketing is all about doing things for the marketplace.

Bad marketing

Bad marketing is based around pushing.  They email you because they bought your email address from someone.  They write to you because they know where you live.  They interrupt your busy day with cold calls, because they have your phone number.  In short, they do things to the marketplace, which the marketplace doesn’t value or appreciate.  When these irritating interruptions stop, we are pleased.

Great marketing

Great marketing is based around contribution and engagement.

You write a blog post, which gives people interesting, valuable or entertaining information.  They enjoy it so much they spread the word for you and share your information with their friends.  You write a newsletter, which provides great value to a group of people who asked you to add their name to your subscriber list.  They forward it to their friends, who also ask you to add them to your list too.  If you were to stop writing those blog posts or newsletters, people would miss you.

Here’s a useful post on how to attract great clients not pester them!

The difference?

Bad marketing pesters people in the hope that if you pester enough of them you may make a sale.  It’s based on the mindset that says it’s OK to piss off 1,000 people, in order to get 1 positive response.  Great marketing is the total opposite.  Great marketing attracts people and engages them.

Great marketing allows you to form relationships with your prospective clients.  It also allows you to build great relationships with what I call advocates.  Advocates are essential.  Advocates are people, who may have no need for your services, but value what you do so much that they share your message and recommend you to their friends. For example, most people who read this blog will never spend a penny with me, but they will happily share my work with their friends; which can be of just as much value.  Of course, advocates often become clients and clients should always become advocates.

The bottom line:  I strongly recommend you figure out the most effective way to do things for your marketplace, not to your marketplace.

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

Photo: Mr. Kris

Make a fortune doing work that matters

I believe that you have a choice.  You can make a living or you can make a fortune.  It all depends on what type of work you decide to do!

I’ve found that there are 2 kinds of work.

Normal work

The first type of work, is normal work:  This is what the vast majority of people do.  It’s where you work hard doing a job or running a business.  You try hard to keep your clients happy and you always seek to over deliver.

If you get this right, you can make a good living from it.

Work that matters

The second type of work, is work that matters:  This is what a tiny minority of people do.  It’s where you work hard doing work, which makes a real difference.  You know you’re doing work that matters, when you would happily do it for free.  You enjoy it.  Your clients love it.  You believe it matters.  You are passionate about it.

If you get it right, you can make a fortune.

For example:

  • The web designer who works with people largely because he needs the money, even though the projects fail to inspire him, and his client is a pain to work with, is doing work.  However, the web designer who works with clients she had picks, on projects that excite her and allow her to demonstrate her abilities, is doing work that matters.
  • The marketing consultant who pesters people at networking events for leads and will work on anything for anyone, is doing work.  The marketing person who hand picks their clients from the constant stream of people who want to work with them, working on exciting projects for great people, is doing work that matters.

The people at the top of every profession, are selective regarding who they work with and what they work on.  They have figured out that when you work with great people, on projects you are passionate about, you produce your best, most valuable work.  The most valuable work attracts the highest fees.

The people who provide average services to average clients, are usually just happy to be making money.  Their decisions on who to work with are often based on financial necessity, rather than whether a project sounds inspiring or not.  As a result, their work seldom inspires them, so they end up in a loop of working on uninspiring projects with average clients.  Uninspiring work attracts the lowest fees.

The solution?

Do what my clients do:  We decide what type of work truly inspires them, then we develop a strategy where they attract inquiries from people, who value that kind of inspirational work.  I recommend you do the same.  It changes everything.

It makes no sense for you to struggle to make a living working hard, when you can make a fortune doing work that matters.  It’s your choice.

5 people who are REALLY important to your business!

To develop a massively valuable client list, you just need a small number of people who love what you do.

To show you what I mean, I would like to ask you a question:

“Who are the 5 people, who are so passionate about your product or service, that they pay for it AND recommend it to their friends?”

Why care about just 5 people?

Here’s the thing: Once you provide a client experience, which goes way beyond their expectations, you will get your first 5 passionate advocates. Those 5 people, will maybe get you another 2 people each, meaning you will soon have 10 people. Those 10 people will do the same and get you 20 more people, who will get you 40, then 80, then 160, 320, 640 and pretty soon, you will be in the thousands.

Can’t name 5 people?

If you can’t name 5 people and you have been in business a while, you probably need to seriously review your product or service. Marketing is important, really important, but marketing an average service REALLY WELL will still produce mediocre results.

Most business owners fail, because they spend too much time trying to win clients and too little time developing something that’s actually worth buying.

Attract those first 5 passionate advocates and the same thing that drove them to tell everyone about your services, will eventually encourage hundreds then maybe hundreds of thousands of others to do the same for you.

However, you first need to focus on being outstanding enough, to attract those initial 5 people.

Blogging: Seth Godin and I are doing it wrong!

According to just about every blogging expert out there, I’m doing it all wrong.  But that’s fine with me.  Apparently, Seth Godin is doing it all wrong too.  It turns out that when it comes to blogging, Seth and I are as clueless as our heads are hairless.

What I discovered whilst ruining this blog

Although I’m doing it all wrong, here’s what I’ve discovered; whilst building a daily readership of thousands and making a six figure income from this blog:

  • Your blog posts do not need to be lengthy.
  • You don’t need to use video on your blog.
  • You don’t need to offer a “weekly round-up” of your posts every weekend.  It’s perfectly fine to write something original or post nothing at all.
  • You don’t need to review every piece of crap that’s sent to you.
  • You don’t need to be an associated blogger.  It’s fine to be independent; plus you look less like a sheep when you are not part of a flock.
  • Your posts do not need to be Search Engine Optimized every time or even most of the time.
  • You don’t need a complicated commenting policy or special commenting software.  Seth doesn’t even have comments.
  • You don’t need to spend a fortune on blog design.
  • You don’t need to write a newsletter, just because other bloggers do. (In fact, it’s best NOT to do anything, just because other bloggers do.)
  • You don’t need to use SEO software, to help you write your posts.
  • You do not need to use guest bloggers.
  • You don’t need to drop the F bomb or be deliberately confrontational, in order to stand out.
  • You DO need to find out what works for you, based on what you want to achieve; then do it YOUR way.

Tip: It’s probably NOT going to help you, if you follow the pack.  If your current approach to blogging isn’t working, dump it and consider breaking a few rules.

Me?  I’m going to look for more and more rules to break and more ways to do it wrong.

Why?  Because each time I do, something wonderful happens.

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

Attraction Marketing: Who else wants to attract high quality clients?

Today, the most effective marketing is based on attracting clients and customers, through developing relationships with them.

Pestering people into your funnel

It used to be very different.  A decade or so ago, marketing professionals were telling people about filling their sales funnels.  The idea was that you sent people mail shots, you cold called them, you sent unwanted faxes to them, you pestered them at conferences and networking events.  By cramming as many people into the top of your sales funnel as you could, it was hoped that over time, some of them might filter through and buy from you.

The reason enlightened marketing professionals dumped this approach years ago, was that:

  • It was an expensive way to do business in financial terms, as all that interrupting people took a lot of time and money.  Lots of mailings.  Lots of cold calls.  Lots of junk faxes.  Lots of spam email.  That all adds up to lots of money.
  • It was also expensive in terms of reputation, because companies using that model often had to junk mail, pester or pursue 500 or 1000 prospective clients, to generate a single paying client.  Many would be pissing off thousands of people every week, in the name of sales and marketing!  Small and medium sized businesses discovered that after a few years of all that pestering, they would successfully piss off the vast majority of their prospective clients.

Today, some people are still using that approach.  They will call you because they have your phone number; even though you never gave them it or permission to call you.  They will email you because your address is on a list they bought; even though you hate spam.  They will send you unwanted letters, because they know where you live; even though you never asked to be junk-mailed.

Attracting the best quality clients

I wrote yesterday about the value of building relationships with your prospective clients, rather than sending them sales messages.  Using this approach, you build a marketplace of informed advocates:

  • Informed, because they know who you are and what you do.
  • Advocates, because they value the information you share with them, so they share it with their contacts.  Think how different that client response is, to the way those same people treat junk mail, spam and pushy tele-marketers!

The old model saw the business start off with a “list” of 100 or 1000 or 100,000 people, and it became smaller and smaller all the time, as people asked to be removed from it.  To sustain this model, you need to buy more and more lists, so you could interrupt more and more people.  It’s expensive, time consuming stuff!

The new model, which is not that new any more, sees you start off with maybe just a few informed advocates, and it becomes bigger and bigger all the time, as people spread the word and share your content with their contacts.  This model sees your marketing universe expand, with every new advocate sharing your message with their contacts.  It’s also extremely low cost with unlimited growth potential.

If you would like me to help, take a look at this.

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

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