Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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Do you bake marketing into your products?

You have 2 options when developing a product or service.

  1. baked in marketingYou can market it, so that people will think it’s better than it really is.
  2. You can market it, so that when people try it, they find it’s even better than you said it would be.

The first option is all about hype

It’s about selling to people, who will quickly feel buyer’s remorse.  It’s the way those get rich quick ebooks are sold, with their non-existent money making systems.  It’s about investing too much time on the marketing and too little time pumping massive value into the product.

The second option is all about exceeding expectations

It causes people to spread how awesome you are, via word of mouth; transforming customers into advocates.  It’s the approach that helped Apple achieve record breaking profits, during the worst economy in living memory.  It’s about baking the marketing into the product; making the product SO GOOD that people feel the need to tell everyone how amazing it is.

The first option is easiest, which is why it’s most common.  However, it’s an approach that lacks longevity.

The second option requires craft, which is why it’s less common.  However, for those brave enough to embrace it, the rewards can be huge.

What are you going to do with it?

Give one person a pen and a pad and they will write a shopping list.

Give another person that same pen and pad and they will flesh out a business idea, worth thousands, maybe millions.

The pen and pad are simply the tools.  It’s what you do with them that creates the value.

This raises a question

You have a computer, an Internet connection and access to a potential audience of millions.

What are you going to do with it?

No!

One of the most common challenges facing small business owners, is a lack of resources.  They know they could do so much better, if only they had more time, money, energy, clarity etc.

In most cases, their lack of resources is caused by an over-willingness to say “yes!”  The challenge here, is that by saying yes to too many people, you can find yourself spread too thinly.

  • By saying “yes” to too many opportunities, you make it extremely hard for yourself to succeed.  The farmer hunting 2 rabbits at the same time, will usually miss both of them.  Similarly, when you chase too many opportunities at the same time, you tend to miss out.
  • By saying “yes” to too many projects, you risk under resourcing all of them and missing the bigger prize.  For example, when Steve Jobs rejoined Apple in 1997, Apple were focusing on over 300 projects.  Within only 18 months of Jobs’ return, Apple were focusing on just TEN!  When asked why, Jobs explained that he wanted his A-Team working on everything Apple did.  It worked.  Beautifully.

If your business is under resourced right now, look for things you should be saying “no” to.  Get this right and you stand a great chance of being able to say “yes”, to all the things that matter most.

How to escape the cycle of earning too little

Money gives you options.  This is one of the reasons, why people who have lots of money find it easier to make even more money.  They are painting from a wider pallet.  They can afford to play a longer game.

The opposite is also true.  A lack of money often causes people to make decisions, which can keep them financially weak.

One of the best examples of this, is the short term thinking that many in financial difficulty find themselves confronted with.  It’s hard for a business owner, who needs to have money in the bank in 30 days or lose their home, to divert their time and attention onto the business development strategies they need for long term success.

Short term thinking

The tendency for those who are seriously struggling, is to focus on marketing ideas, which they hope will generate the fastest return.  This sees many small business owners adopting panic measures, such as cold calling and pestering people for leads at networking events, etc, etc.  These time consuming forms of pursuit marketing are more likely to damage their reputation, than grow their business in a sustainable way.  People hate being pestered by pushy business owners.

No matter where your business is right now, you need to avoid being caught up in the negative loop, where you go from one short term answer to the next; never getting far enough in front to set the longer term strategies into play, which your business needs in order to grow.

Important

If you or someone you know is in need of a way to generate meaningful income, without pestering anyone, the 2 posts I link to below may help.  They provide a way to quickly get some bankable results, in a way that’s easy to scale and requires low financial investment.  Follow the links for dedicated posts on each subject:

Endorsed Relationships

Joint Ventures

I also recommend you read this, which shows you the 4 ways you can grow your business.

Photo: Images of money

Twitter, Facebook, web traffic and rhinos!

Today, I want to talk to you about what I call rhinos.  These are special rhinos, the type that can ruin your online marketing results and cause you to make serious errors.

RHINO = Really Here In Number Only

So, what is a rhino?

  • Rhinos are the automated followers you have on Twitter, who follow you only because you follow them and have no interest in you or what you have to say.
  • They are the commenters on your blog, who leave comments just to get links.
  • They are the numbers you see in your analytics, from people who landed on your site in error, because one of their buddies auto-tweets everything you post.
  • They are the people who always open emails before deleting them, thus making your read rate look a lot higher than it is.
  • Most importantly, rhinos cause the untargeted numbers that make it unnecessarily difficult to refine and improve your online marketing.  They are all about empty volume, rather than meaningful value.

People will often engage in zero value activities, because it generates a visible increase in website traffic or social network numbers from rhinos.  They then get so addicted to these numbers that the thought of decoupling from all the bullshit that attracts rhinos, is scary.  It would mean confronting the reality of the numbers behind their online marketing.

Whilst that would help explain why they get so few inquiries from their thousands of followers / fans and website traffic, it would mean acknowledging the limitations of their true reach.

The bottom line: If you are interested in generating bankable results, you need to learn how to focus on building the numbers that matter.  No, this is not easy.  But it is required.

Photo: Mr Moss

What do you want?

In my experience, many hard working people fail to achieve the success they deserve, not through lack of ability, but through lack of clarity.

You can’t hit a target that you can’t see, unless you are extremely lucky.  Luck, of course, is not an effective business strategy.  This is why we need to get specific regarding what we want to achieve commercially.

The need for clarity

We need to get clear regarding our end game or exit strategy.  We also need to know what our outcomes are along the way, so we can plot the stages from where we are today, to where we want to be.

We need a clear sense of direction, so we can tell whether we are on course or not.  A clear sense of direction also helps us avoid mistaking movement for progress.

In short: Determine what your end game is and the outcomes you will need to reach along the way.  Then, move forward with the confidence that comes from clarity.

The secret behind great fighters and successful business owners

In boxing, we have a great, old saying:

It’s not the man in the fight that counts – It’s the fight in the man.

We know that if 2 boxers are equally matched, the fighter who wants to win the most, will win.  In business, the same is true.  Those who want to succeed the most will rise to the top, because they will give it 100%.  Their evenly matched, yet less committed competitors, will claim to be giving it 100% but simply do 100% of the easy stuff.

The difference is huge.

  • It’s the difference between pushing on through the hard times, or quitting.
  • It’s the difference between knowing you will, or saying you’ll try.
  • It’s the difference between investing some of your leisure time in improving your mind, or watching reality TV every evening.
  • It’s the difference between getting a year better with each birthday, or simply getting a year older.
  • It’s the difference between accepting responsibility for your results, or blaming the economy.
  • It’s the difference between having the courage to let the beauty of your mind shine, or following the flock.
  • It’s the difference between giving everything your best shot, or phoning it in.

It can also be the key factor between living the life you deserve and living a life that’s far less than you are capable of.

Photo: B Furnace

How NOT to look like a fake!

One of the big changes of the past few years, is that your marketplace can now see what you say AND what you do, like never before.

Until relatively recently, it was possible to have glossy brochures and advertisements, which showcased us as consummate professionals.  Then, our prospective clients wouldn’t know any different, until they met us or spoke with people who had experience of us and our work.

Thankfully, the world has changed

Today, many of our actions are visible to anyone who wants to check us out and these highly visible actions can be extremely revealing.  People can see how consistent we are, by looking at what we claim and comparing it to how we act.

For example, the marketplace can see:

  • When you preach the value of permission marketing, yet pester people with your unsolicited communications.
  • When you claim to be passionate about your business, yet feel the need to tell the world via your social networking accounts, how overjoyed you are to get the heck away from your business every Friday.  It’s understandable for a disgruntled employee to act like that.  When we see business owners doing it, the temptation is to suggest they quit and start a business they actually enjoy and are energized by.
  • When you say you offer a high quality service and believe in investing in quality, yet you operate behind an outdated or cheap looking website.  Don’t expect your marketplace to invest in your business, if YOU don’t.
  • When you claim to be a leader in your field, yet your online activity is that of a sheep.
  • When you market yourself as a creative person, yet your articles, posts or social networking accounts, show no craft.
  • When you market your services based on being reliable, yet you fail to show up on your blog regularly.

The best part is that everyone is free to do all of the above, which means that many of them will.

This makes it massively easier for YOU to shine, by showing people you are the real deal, through acting in accordance with what you say.

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