Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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Are you making this common marketing mistake?

Many outstanding small businesses struggle needlessly.  Right now, they are looking to 2012 with apprehension, rather than justified optimism.  I don’t want your business to be one of them, so I would like you to consider the message in today’s post and avoid making this common, sometimes fatal marketing mistake!

Photo: katerha

The success of your business is largely determined by your ability to do 2 things:

  1. Deliver consistently outstanding value.
  2. Communicate your outstanding value to the marketplace, so non-clients know how great you are as well as your clients.

The best kept secret in your industry

You really don’t want to be ‘the best kept secret’ in your industry, however, many business owners are just that.  They work extremely hard, offering amazing service, and then totally fail to communicate how great they are.  The marketplace should know they are awesome, but it doesn’t.  They are almost invisible to potential clients, then suffer the frustration of watching lesser competitors growing, whilst they struggle.

The belief that hard work alone is the secret to growing a successful business, is bogus.  It’s essential that your hard work is channelled into doing the right things, correctly.  This means exceeding your client’s expectations, but also ensuring that the marketplace knows all about you and why they NEED to hire YOU, buy from you etc.

When you get that balance right, it changes everything.  You will have just discovered the key to growing a thriving business in any economy.  You will have secured your commercial future.  You will be one of a tiny minority of small business owners, who can justifiably look ahead to 2012, with optimism.

My hope for you in 2012

I hope it doesn’t rain this morning.

I know that hoping the weather will work out the way I want it to, is pointless.  But it makes me feel better.  It’s like hoping my football team will win, even though I have no influence over the result.

The small business owner, whose strategy for 2012 is mainly to hope things will just get better, may feel better, but things are unlikely to improve until they start working to an effective strategy.  In my experience, the most common marketing approach for small business owners is to dabble, which is a bad idea; even in a good economy.

My hope for you

I hope that you’re working to an effective business development strategy, which will see you thrive, not simply survive in 2012.  When you do the right things correctly, the future is something you can look to with realistic optimism.

Knowledge, technology and balance

I saw a video interview with Seth Godin recently, which made me smile.  It wasn’t the interview itself that made me smile, but rather the shot of Seth in his office.

There Seth was, sat at a table (not desk), with; a laptop, phone and a coffee/tea.  I smiled, because it confirmed something I wrote a few weeks ago: It’s the content of our mind, not the content of our office, which determines our success.

The marketplace is filled with ineffective marketing messages, which were written in offices that look like the control room at NASA.  The thing is, adding a third high definition monitor to Bob’s three grand computer, is not going to make is ineffective marketing strategy magically start working.  It will just look stunning, as he slowly goes broke.  Incidentally, before you laugh, that example is based on a business owner I spoke to last year, who had zero need for three monitors!

Good, reliable technology is essential to the running of any business.  But the business owner who constantly feeds her gadget addiction, yet neglects to invest in the knowledge required to grow her business, is totally missing the point.

Over 100 ideas to help you grow a great business!

I have some really useful marketing and business development ideas to share with you today.

Photo: Sean MacEntee

Developing a highly profitable business

You work hard and deserve to see the rewards.  I want you to be able to develop a highly profitable business, working with great people for the best fees, so, I wrote a 3 part blog post series for you, see below.  If you have not already taken time to read them, I know from the emails they generated, that people have found them extremely useful:

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees Part 1

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees Part 2

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees Part 3

Over 140 ideas

As a business owner, it’s essential to be aware that no matter how things are for you right now, you are never more than one great idea away from transforming your results.  If you only started reading my blog this year, you may have missed this post.  It’s one of the most popular I have ever written and gives you immediate, free access to over 140 marketing and business development ideas.

Finally: How to ruin your blog just like I did

Most small business owners who blog, tend to copy what they see others doing.  This posts shares the approach I have used to build one of the most read blogs in marketing and why copying the flock is a really bad idea: Blogging: Seth Godin and I are doing it wrong!

I hope you find these resources useful.  If you do, please share them with your friends.

Crash Bang Everything Changes

Photo: Toasty Ken

Last night was just like any night at our home.  My son was fast asleep, my wife was getting ready for bed and I was reading…

Then there was a CRASH!

Literally.  I heard a loud noise and went outside, to find a car had crashed into the stream, at the foot of our front garden.  Thank God, even though the car was upside down, no one was injured.

In business as in life, there are times when things go crash, unexpectedly.  For example:

  • Maybe your business loses a major account.
  • Perhaps you hit a serious cash flow problem and can’t pay your suppliers.
  • It could be that your server crashes and your data has been destroyed.

Now, the very nature of most unexpected business incidents, is that they come without much, if any, warning.  The best we can do, is ensure we are as prepared as we can be for them.

How well prepared is your business today, if the unexpected actually happened?  If you are relying on luck, I strongly recommend you get some robust business systems in place, before you need them.

Make it awesome THEN share the facts!

Every day, we see business owners marketing average services to average people, whilst falsely claiming their products or services are outstanding.  That’s not smart marketing.  It’s simply a deliberate misinterpretation, designed to fool people.

Photo: Renaissance Chambara

In my experience, when a business owner feels the need to make fake claims in their marketing, it’s usually a sign that:

  • The product or service they are promoting is low value, (what this post is about.)
  • They have taken bad advice on how to promote it.
  • The product or service is low value and they are promoting it incorrectly.

Build it up THEN talk it up!

Here’s the thing:

  • You don’t need to tell lies to people, to make something that is amazing, sound amazing.
  • You don’t need to tell lies to people, to make something that is interesting, sound interesting.
  • And of course, you don’t need to tell lies to people, to make something that is valuable, sound valuable.

The lies usually start, when the product or service is too uninspiring to generate genuine interest from the marketplace.  At that point, the focus should be on fixing the product or service; to pump as much value into it as possible.  It’s not a signal, to paper over the cracks with false claims.  That’s a short-sighted approach and a great way to develop a bad reputation.

Here’s a far more profitable approach:  Build your product or service, so that it is as attractive and compelling as possible, THEN share it’s awesomeness with the marketplace.

The trick to getting everything you want, without even trying!

What’s the trick; the easy way to get the reward without doing the work?

marketing tricks

Photo: Pasukaru76

When you do the right things correctly, you will achieve better results and faster.  That’s one of the cornerstones of success.  It’s also the opposite of trickery.

The attraction of trickery

Trickery suggests that you can magically achieve the end result, without the need to do the right things correctly.  It offers you the promise of $3,000 a month, if you will just send them $30 for their ebook on how it’s done.  It offers you the chance to lose weight and get fit, without diet or exercise.

Most mature adults can see through claims like those, yet find it harder to see through the claims made by strangers who email them offering to get them onto page one of Google or get them 1000 Facebook fans.  There is a belief among many people, that the Internet is somehow immune to the process of cause and effect, that you can achieve incredible success in an area, without doing much.  In fact, I’m sure some people will have followed the link to this post, actually expecting to be given some trick that really would show them how to get everything they want, without even trying!

The reality of trickery

I regularly receive emails from people, who have wasted huge amounts of time and often considerable amounts of money, on marketing related trickery.  The most common examples I see, are where people pay someone who emailed them, who promised to instantly increase their search engine rankings through directory submissions.  Others have done link exchanges with people they didn’t know, then found their site has been penalized (or de-indexed) by Google, for linking to what Google refers to as a bad neighborhoodOne blogger I know saw her Page Rank drop from 4 to 1, after linking to a dubious website in return for a link back.

In short: Before you invest your time or money on anything online, which claims to contain a trick you can use to become instantly wealthier or healthier, please apply the same bullshit filter you use when offline.  You may even want to crank that filter up to 11!

The last word?

blogging, copywriting, content marketing

Photo: Maria Reyes-McDavis

When it comes to a conversation, the last word is way too important to some people.

The thing is, the last word is really just that: The last word.

  • It’s not the most valuable word.
  • It’s not the right word.
  • It isn’t even the most interesting word.
  • It’s simply the final comment in an exchange.

The willingness to listen to the other person and then make your point, allowing them to have the last word, is a sign of confidence and professionalism.  In my experience, once the dialogue has run it’s course and you have given your best opinion, you can weaken not only your point, but also your reputation, by insisting on the last word.

The last word on winning

Whilst there are a number of reasons why a particular person may insist on having the last word, commonly we find online (on blogs and in forums) that there’s a belief that by doing so, they they have somehow “won.”  They assume that their point is magically victorious, simply because it was made last, without response.

The reality is that each person reading a thread of comments, decides who they agree with, based on how well a point was made or whether a point was based on something they believe in – Not on the chronological order of the points.  After all, we often see people having the last word, purely because their comment was seen as irrelevant, off topic or an attempt to self-promote.

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