Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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A dog ate my report!

The most successful business owners tend to be better at executing their plans, than finding kick-ass excuses why they didn’t deliver.

The most average business owners are often extremely creative, when it comes to explaining why they consistently fail to do what’s required.

Whilst compelling excuses may get us off the hook from taking responsibility, our results are always determined by what we do; not how convincing our justifications are.

How to enjoy business success in this uncertain economy

As a glance at the news will confirm, these are very uncertain economic times.  This means people are thinking a lot harder now, before they decide who they spend their money with.  Money is a resource and when resources are low or we believe they are under threat, we use them very carefully.

Thankfully, when it comes to marketing and developing your business, we know what to do in times like these.  Back in 2007, we saw 2 strategies widely used by small and medium sized business owners:

  1. Some did nothing, hunkered down and hoped things would pick up, before they went broke.  Hope is not a business strategy, and as we know, many sadly went out of business.
  2. Others used the uncertainty as an opportunity to gain a disproportionate market share.  They did this by developing a strategy that attracted those clients, who would have previously gone to the providers who were hunkering down and hoping.

Although you can’t change the economy, you have complete control over the path you take with your business through these turbulent times.  Just like the sail of a ship being adjusted to benefit from the changing winds, you can adjust your marketing to benefit from the current uncertain climate.  The good news, is that if you do the right things correctly, there is a huge opportunity out there.

Doing the right things, correctly

I was inspired to write this post after speaking with 2 clients yesterday, who coincidently both joined my marketing program during the last recession.  They are proof that a downturn in the economy can lead to an upturn in your fortunes, when you do the right things, correctly.

The first client has a small B2C business in Wisconsin and she has enjoyed a rise in turnover of over 250% since she joined my marketing program, with an even greater increase in her profits.  All this despite her industry being in a serious slump.  Ask her competitors why their businesses floundered and many blame the economy, which is not so.  The same economic turmoil faced my client, but she was doing the right things, correctly.  The second client owns a B2B company in the South West of England and he’s seen even greater results; again during a period where his competitors are in turmoil.

I’m not saying you are wrong to worry about all the uncertainty your prospective clients feel right now.  I’m saying that if you decide to do the right things correctly, rather than hunker down and hope it will end before your finances run out, you can do as my clients do and work it to your advantage.

It all starts with the commitment to do the right things, correctly.

  • Not to dabble.
  • Not to hit and hope.
  • Not to jump from one bad marketing effort to the next.

Those are ineffective strategies in even a good economy, let alone the worst commercial climate in living memory.

Photo: tenaciousme

If you don’t listen to this now you will hate yourself later!

Would you like to develop an extremely popular service, which significantly increases your revenues and profits?

If you just answered, “yes!” I have a question for you:  Do you listen to your marketplace?

I often hear from business owners, who bring a new service to market, only to find there is little demand.  What seemed like a great idea to them, was less appealing to their clients and prospective clients.  This happens because there’s often a big difference between what we think people need and what they actually need!

Listening

One of the best ways to avoid this happening to you, so your next new service is a huge success, is to listen to what your marketplace is saying.  Learn what their problems, fears and opportunities are and then, develop a service based on their needs.

Thankfully, it has never been easier to listen to what your marketplace is saying, than it is today.  Social sites like Twitter, Google+ and Facebook etc, make it possible to listen to people in your target market and get a real feel for what’s relevant to them.  Your clients and prospective clients often take their problems to social networks, in an effort to find answers or get support from people in similar situations.

The key is to listen.  I spend around 5% of my social networking time posting messages.  The vast majority of the time I am listening and learning how to better serve my marketplace.  As most of my non referral clients start off as readers of this blog, I listen extremely carefully to the messages in your comments and emails.  All that listening allows me to spot opportunities to help you.

For example, before I launched my new marketing consulting service last week, I knew there would be a high level of demand.  That’s because it provides something, which you have been asking me for; the opportunity to have me look over your business and give you the answers you need.  You asked for a high value, flexible way for you and your business to benefit from my answers and ideas, so I developed it for you and the response has been amazing.

Regardless of your industry or profession, you are paid to solve some kind of problem.  By listening to your marketplace, you can help ensure that your next new service is relevant, valued and in demand.

Photo: Rennett Stowe

Get inspired with this simple yet powerful idea!

In the village where I live, there are 2 routes you can take to the next village.

  • The first route is a regular road.  You can use this road to drive or cycle to the next village in minutes, but you won’t see a great deal.
  • The second route is a bumpy footpath across several fields.  You can only walk along this route, but if you do, you will see; a stream, flowers, birds of prey, frogs, cows, sheep, horses, goats… You get the picture.

The first route reminds me of the path some people take with their business.  They need a so-called “proven” plan, a Dummies Guide – Something they can follow without too many surprises.

The second route reminds me of those adventurous souls in business, who continuously look for fresh ideas and new ways to render a remarkable experience to their clients.

There’s an old saying I love, which tells us:

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

No one said business had to be boring or predictable.  If you feel a little uninspired with your business right now, take it off road for a little while.  You may find it extremely profitable!

Photo: s2ublack

Word of mouth: 10 reasons why people will talk about your business!

People love to talk, you just need to give them a reason and make it easy for them to spread the word.

word of mouthWord of mouth

If you want to develop word of mouth publicity or referrals, it helps if you understand a little about what motivates people to share information about you and your business.  Here are 10 reasons I have been thinking about today.  You can add yours to this list using the comments section below.

People spread the word about you because:

  1. Something you did or said was remarkable.
  2. By sharing a nugget of information from you, they get to look well-informed.
  3. They are bored and you have made it easy to spread the word; relieving their boredom for a few moments.
  4. It’s a good way to gain your attention, particularly if they do it online and mention you by name.
  5. They trust and value what you have to say and feel compelled to share the wisdom.
  6. By spreading the word about you, it may motivate you to spread the word about them.  This is known as reciprocity.
  7. They want their name to be associated publicly with you or your brand.
  8. You made a controversial point, which they were not brave enough to make.  By spreading what you said, they get to make the point, without attracting the flack.
  9. You have been spreading the word about them for some time and they now feel obligated to reciprocate. (See number 6.)
  10. Something you just wrote or said will be of genuine value to someone they care about, who needs that help right now.  (This post is a great example.)

Photo: coolio-claire

A great new marketing service from Jim Connolly

Today, I am excited to launch a new service, which literally hundreds of people have asked me for.

A flexible, highly effective marketing service

Starting today, you will be able to work with me on any area of your marketing or business development, with total flexibility.  We can work together for a single, 90 minute session or on an entire project or anything in between!

  • Maybe you need more high quality clients or high value sales?
  • Your business may have reached a plateau and you want to take it to the next level?
  • Perhaps you need help developing a new service, so it’s as attractive as possible to your prospective clients?
  • It might be that you want to know how to differentiate your business, so you no longer have to compete on fees?
  • Or it could be that you want to know how to get your website or blog delivering regular, high quality leads or sales?

The choice is yours, with fees starting at just £490 per session!

I believe this is the perfect opportunity for you to get the professional marketing help you need, from someone you know and trust, with the ability to scale the service around your exact requirements.

To find out how you and your business can benefit from working with me, get in touch now.  Either email me here or jim (at) jimsmarketingblog.com.  You are also welcome to call me any time on 01427 891274 (44 1427 891274 from outside the UK.)

The truth about badmouthing your competitors!

There are 2 routes, which we can take in order to improve how highly we rank as a provider within our marketplace:

  1. badmouth competitors, badmouthing competitorsInvest in our development, strive to continuously improve and learn to be of as much value as possible. (Highly effective)
  2. Invest our time bad-mouthing our competitors and belittling their work. (Ineffective and self-defeating.)

The first option is all about growth, contribution and longevity. The second option is all about hate, venom and short-term thinking.

Before you tell someone that one of your competitors is an idiot, be aware that they may think you are just saying it in order to make yourself look good. If they do, you will lose their respect and any chance of doing business with them.

You gain nothing by slamming your competitors. In fact, by attacking them, you will almost certainly hurt your own business far more than theirs.

Photo: meknits

How to become a prolific writer

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?  If you do, this post is just for you!

I received a note from a reader today.  He said how impressed he was that I managed to have a series of posts ready to be published whilst I was away last week.  He went on to say he’d love to be able to write as much valuable content as me, one day.

Many people seem to be waiting for some magical flash of inspiration to strike them, before they will start to write.  In my experience, you get a lot further, a lot faster, if you decide not to wait for inspiration to strike, but to proactively seek it out.

Writer’s block and bricklaying

My late father was a bricklayer and never once suffered from bricklayer’s block.  However, if he spent a while away from laying bricks, when he returned to work his back and shoulders used to ache and he found it harder.  You may have experienced something similar, if you start exercising again after a week (or 3) away from the gym; everything aches!  Interestingly, something similar happens when you write.  If you write regularly, it becomes easy.  If you write infrequently, it’s a lot harder.

I use a similar approach to writing as my dad used for laying bricks and have never had any issue with writer’s block.  I get to work at a set time every day (before my family wakes up is best for me) and lay one word down at a time, like my dad did with bricks, until I have the piece written.  I don’t wait until I feel like it, in fact, I’m not even sure how it’s supposed to feel!

Writer’s block and perfection

Many people tell me they have a perfectionist mindset, which means everything has to be perfect before they can write and that the actual writing itself has to be perfect too.  The challenge with perfectionist writers is that they seldom get started, because perfection is in very short supply.  I strongly suggest you drop the perfectionist mindset when you write, as it is both high-pressure and low output.

I decided a long time ago, to give myself permission to write imperfectly.  I am happy to say that I have stuck by this and have never written a perfect piece of work in my life.  I have, however, developed one of the most popular blogs in my niche and helped clients to make millions in sales, from copy I have written for them.

Something that helped me massively, was this quote from Ernest Hemingway:

For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can.  Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.

In short: Get started, write often and give it your best shot!

Photo: Wiertz Sébastien

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