Jim's Marketing Blog

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

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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!

See how quickly you can build a high quality client list: No selling required!

This post will show you how to attract inquiries from high quality prospective clients; people who will already know who you are AND value your work AND want to work with you.  Oh, and no selling required!

Let me start with a quick question:

How much valuable information have you given away for free to your prospective clients this year?

I’m talking about free guides, informative blog posts, newsletter articles; the kind of content that has independent value.  Not sales pitches, brochures, special offers or ads.

No selling required!

Here’s the thing:  If you want an endless stream of high quality leads, you need your prospective clients thinking about you and talking about you.  You need to regularly give them something, which they will want to share with their colleagues, friends and social networks.  This not only spreads your name like a virus throughout your marketplace, it also positions you in their minds as an expert in your field.  That’s worth a fortune.

Most small business owners waste their time, trying to get their marketplace excited using sales messages.  They haven’t figured out yet, that they need to develop a relationship with their marketplace, if they want to attract the best inquiries.  When you just send sales material into your marketplace, you are missing the point.  You are trying to sell to people, before you have earned their attention.  It’s like asking someone for a date, before you even say hello to them.

Educate: Don’t sell

The secret to attracting high quality inbound sales leads is to stop selling to your marketplace and start engaging them.  Educate them, don’t sell to them.  Help them with their problems.  Contribute to their business by sharing valuable free advice, using the one-to-many method.  Build relationships with the kind of people who buy from you.

Through the distribution of valuable, free information, you can engage your prospective clients, making it easy and natural for them to turn to you when they need a new provider.  The results can be breathtaking, even life changing.  I have developed a whole website, dedicated 100% to this subject!

The educate don’t sell approach is how I generate 100% of the daily inquiries I receive via this blog.  It’s the most effective form of marketing I have seen, in my 25 years in the business.  It’s a zero pressure way to build a massively valuable client list of amazing people, who really appreciate the value of your work.  And with no selling required.

You can find out more in this Attraction Marketing post!

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

Photo: Ell Brown

How to kill your business!

A key factor in every failing business I have ever studied, is that the business owner dabbles.

Rather than get the professional help they need, they decide to crush their chances of success, by dabbling with their marketing.

Some common examples include:

  • People dabble with promotional offers: They make unattractive offers, to the wrong people, at the wrong time, using the wrong message and the wrong medium.
  • People dabble with social networking: They set up accounts, usually on too many social networks and then copy what they see other people doing.  They spread themselves too thinly and have no effective strategy.  As a result, they miss all the great opportunities.
  • People dabble with blogging: They set up a blog, with no clear idea of what they want to achieve.  They then fill their blog with “me too” posts (posts that simply repeat what millions of other people are saying) and then quit after a few months, because (it) didn’t work.
  • People dabble with email marketing: They buy a list or add people to a list (without their consent), and email them sales messages.  They waste months angering people with unwanted email, that the recipients never requested, and wonder why it didn’t work.
  • People dabble with advertising: They place the wrong message, in the wrong area of the wrong publication, at the wrong time.  They use the wrong typography, the wrong call to action and then proclaim; “advertising doesn’t work!”
  • People dabble with mail shots: They send a marketing letter, written usually by themselves rather than a copywriter (to save money), to a list they bought or built from contact data they found.  The mixture of amateur copywriting, bad targeting and no compelling reason for the reader to do anything, makes this a total waste of time.

Then there are enlightened small business owners

These business owners decide to build a successful business, so they invest in the professional marketing help they need.  They do the right things correctly and enjoy the rewards.

They have figured out that in the most challenging economy in living memory, the dabblers are simply dabbling their way out of business.

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

Photo: Jonny2love

The secret to growing a successful business

At some point, our business will surely arrive.

The question is; “where?”

  • Some business owners have a destination in mind.  They are on top of their businesses.
  • Many small business owners have no clear picture of where they are going.  Their business is on top of them.

On top of your business?

If your typical week includes working on the development of your business, there’s a good chance you are making measurable progress in reasonable time.

Sadly, many business owners tell me that they work so hard trying to keep their clients happy, that they don’t have time to work on building their own business.  They don’t run their business, their business runs them.  They live in a constant state of reaction. It’s stressful and ineffective.

There are all kinds of business management books and software products, which claim to help you take control of your business, but those who need them the most are usually the people who are least likely to use them!  They prefer to work hard.  They confuse movement with progress.  They think that so long as they are working hard and putting those long hours in, they will be fine.  It’s the same mindset, which causes people to drive faster when they are lost.

Many people spend more time planning their 2 weeks in the sun each year, than they spend planning their business development for the other 50 weeks.  They then enjoy fun packed holidays / vacations where they get loads of exciting things done, yet struggle to make any real progress with their business for the remaining 351 days!

No matter how busy you are responding to the needs of your business, make time to review where you are now AND where you are going.

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

Photo: Will Ockenden

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