Jim's Marketing Blog

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

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The magic of Seth Godin

It is my honest belief, that Seth Godin is a genius.


Without interrupting me, Seth somehow manages to compel me to need to tell you about his work from time to time.  Seriously, I feel like I am actually under-serving the community here, if I forget to mention him periodically; in case new readers have not yet discovered him.

Conversely, I am currently being bombarded with sales emails, from a vocal advocate of Seth’s work and permission marketing in general.  I gave them permission to email me, but with each additional pushy sales message they send me, I become less and less inclined to want to recommend them.  I have never bought a product from them either.  Professional curiosity is all that’s keeping me on their list.

When Seth’s blog posts arrive in my inbox each day, they are keenly awaited.  Each post delivers value.  Seth’s posts are written by him, but for us. The guys sending me the pushy emails also offer valuable blog posts, but they are written by them, for them.  It always seems like I am being sold to.  I feel like I need to keep my guard up.

If I see a link in one of Seth’s posts, I click it eagerly.  I trust him.  My guard is down.  I believe that the link will offer me value.  I’ve been educated to expect something positive.  It works beautifully.  You know what?  Seth has never sold me a book, but I have bought every book he has ever written.  In fact, I usually buy a dozen copies of each new book.  I keep one and give the others away to people I know, who are ready to read what Seth has to say.

If you want to know what I am talking about, do this:

  1. Go to Seth’s blog.
  2. Subscribe.
  3. Then, take some time to read your way through his posts.  Do not just read the latest posts. Bookmark the blog and work your way backwards!

If you do, you may learn how to inspire people to write posts like this, about you and your work.

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

Photo: Seth Godin

Are you a carrier of the encouragement virus?

So, are you a carrier of the encouragement virus?

If you genuinely believe someone has what it takes, don’t keep it a secret.  Don’t just assume they already know.  Many people have the ability to achieve wonderful things, but sadly need outside validation before they get started.

Your words may be just the encouragement they need, to get going and do something great.

What if they fail?

If they fail, at least they tried.  That in itself, is important.  Really important!  There are few things worse, than looking back on your life and wondering “what if?” If they fail after you encourage them and they are bright, they will adjust and then try again.  Repeating that often enough will almost guarantee they succeed!

Of course, to have the biggest positive impact on the world around you, you need to give yourself permission to step outside of your own comfort zones too.  Don’t wait for someone else to tell you that you are good enough to; start that business, ask that person for a date, enter that competition, start that blog, etc.  YOU are a big deal!

Outside voices are useful and important, but you shouldn’t waste your life waiting for the approval of someone else, before you get started!

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

Photo: Y

Business is all about people, so connect!


Today, there is so much information flooding the marketplace, that it’s hard to get noticed.

Your marketing messages are fighting for attention, in an sea of; tweets, Facebook updates, blog posts, emails…. you get the picture!

Reach out

So, here’s a suggestion.  As well as making your marketing messages as attractive as possible, how about you also work hard to reach out and connect with people.  I’m talking about allocating some outreach time into your working week.

You see, the people who are being swamped with all that information, ultimately wade through it on a pretty superficial level.  They scanThey don’t absorb. What resonates, is the deeper stuff:  The personal touch.

Outreach is enormously rewarding on many levels, however, it can be time consuming work.  But that’s OK.  You don’t need to connect one-to-one with everyone in your marketplace.  Just connect with people as often as you can, in the time you have allocated for your outreach work.

The impact you create, by relating to people on a human level, is far more likely to inspire them to amplify your message and increase your reach / influence.  It’s a beautiful and effective way to do business.  It takes business back to basics, because business is all about people.

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

Photo: jam343

6 great marketing posts and the chance to win an iPad2

After 3 years of blogging, I have finally written my first ever guest post!

As regular readers will know, I love what John Jantch and the team over at Duct Tape Marketing are doing.  This means it was a great privilege to guest on John’s site today, as part of Duct Tape’s iPad give-away competition, to celebrate small business week.

Your chance to win an iPad2

If you want the chance to win an iPad2, simply read these 6 great posts.  They are all about how to convert leads into clients, even if you hate selling!  Then, see if you can match the 6 authors to the correct post!   The 6 authors are: Jill Konrath, Mahan Khalsa, Michael Port, Michael Schultz, Wendy Weiss (and me!)

The posts are worth checking out purely for the value they contain, but with the added bonus of potentially winning an iPad 2, you really have to check them out.

Good luck!

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

Time to improve your business and lifestyle? Read this!

People often ask me how I find the time to update this blog as frequently as I do.  That’s before they discover that I usually work fewer than 25 hours a week!

The answer, is that I make the time for blogging, because it’s a priority activity for me and my business.  As a keen time manager, I always have the time to do the important things, by refusing to waste time on the less important things.

I certainly wouldn’t have the time to keep this blog regularly updated, if:

  • I was active on more than 2 social networks Twitter and Facebook.
  • I answered my phone every time it rang, rather than screen my calls.
  • I had my email set to send/receive every 30 minutes, rather than when I am available to actually deal with email.
  • I accepted every “can I pick your brains for free?” request I get each day, rather than place a value on my time.

I admit that I work hard, but I work hard for around 4 or 5 hours a day.  I also get more done than many people who work 10 hours a day; but are less focused on the way they invest their hours.

Here’s how I do it

I gained control of my time 15 years ago, when I decided to take some great advice from a friend.  She suggested I write a time diary.  In the time diary, I listed everything I did at work, and how long I spent on it, for a period of 5 working days.  I was immediately able to spot activities that were sucking my time up but delivering little if any real value.  This exercise also made me a lot more aware of how easily you can waste time, whilst still being extremely busy.

If you like the idea of getting more done in less time, why not try a time diary for the next 5 working days?  Be sure to list everything you do, business or pleasure, during your working day and how long you spend on it.  Then, look through that list for activities, which are taking up too much of your time, for what you get in return.  Also, look for ways to improve your efficiency on the important tasks.

The overall impact of mastering your time can be (literally) life changing.

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

What everyone ought to know about building a great business

How are your revenue and profit figures right now?

  1. Some people are watching their business grow.
  2. Some are watching their business plateau.
  3. Some are watching their business slump.

If you are in that first group, congratulations!  Hard work and smart decisions are rewarding you, just as they always do.  However, don’t get complacent (see below.)

If you are in the second group, you need to make some changes.  It’s tiring and extremely stressful when a business is spinning its wheels.

If you are in the third group, you need to immediately focus your resources on pulling your business out of the nosedive.  In my experience, most people don’t!  They get so used to doing things a certain way, that they decide to carry on “as is” and hope things “just get better.”

From growth to a slump

The reason for this post, is that many of the people who end up in that third group, started off in the top group!  They found a way of running their business and marketing their products or services, which worked.  Then, as the marketplace changed, they didn’t.  Things started to dip and they went from growth, to stagnation.  After a while, stagnation was replaced with a drop in revenues and profits.

The good news is that this can’t happen to you.  At least not without your cooperation.

Wherever you are in that process right now, you need to be vigilant.  You need to be on the lookout for areas of your business that are under-performing.  You need to be looking for signs of possible future problems, such as:

  • An over reliance on a small number of clients for too much of your revenue.
  • Poor or erratic cash flow.
  • Ineffective sales and marketing, which is generating too few qualified inquiries or sales.
  • Toxic business practices, which could be damaging your reputation.  These range from under delivering on the service you offer your existing clients, through to spamming prospective clients with unsolicited email.

The answer?

We need to study and listen to our marketplace.  If we do, it will tell us what it needs.  For example, by listening to the challenges and problems facing them, we can develop products or services, which answer a pressing need.  It’s a lot easier to grow your business, when your service is in demand!  If you are smart enough, you will spot the opportunity first and have the marketplace to yourself – At least for a while.

Don’t stand still: No matter how things are with you and your business right now, look for ways to strengthen your position.

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

Photo: brendan.lally

Learn to fly with this beautifully simple idea!

Here are a few things you really need to know about yourself:

  • You are not a procrastinator.
  • You are not a poor time manager.
  • You are not a perfectionist.
  • You are not a struggling business owner.
  • You are not a smoker.
  • You are not even a lousy joke-teller!

You are none of those things, yet those labels are commonly used by people, when they refer to themselves.  Although people almost say they are open minded and always open to fresh ideas and strategies, they tend not to stray too far from their comfort zones.  They give themselves a label and then use it, as if they were set like a statue; without the ability to change and improve.

The problem with that approach, is that we can only grow when we explore new ideas and insights and put what we discover into action.

This means losing those negative and factually incorrect labels and adopting a less confined approach to our development.

As a marketing coach, part of my role is to help clients rethink their limitations. For example, many of my clients, who now have extremely successful newsletters and blogs, started off by telling me they were poor writers.  Others said they were perfectionists, so couldn’t write because nothing would ever be good enough for them to actually use.  Others said they lacked the confidence to successfully market their business with me, yet have grown into extremely confident business people.  That’s because all those labels are temporary.  You can find out how I help people, here!

What limiting labels do you currently use to describe yourself?

Are they really you or just a temporary state, which you haven’t addressed yet?  Anyone can learn to be; motivated, confident, creative or attractive.  In fact, just about every character trait you see in the people you admire, you can acquire.  All you need is a strategy and some help to put the strategy into play.

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

The smart secret behind Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg

We have all heard the saying:

Success isn’t about working hard.  It’s about working smart!

That saying is appealing.  It assures us that we can achieve whatever our definition of success is, without working hard; so long as we find the smart way to do it.  It suggests that there are some silver bullets or tricks out there, which will allow us to enjoy the good life, without working hard.

However, in reality we need to work both smart and hard.

I am fortunate to know a number of extremely successful businesspeople.  These are people who are happy, have great families and more money than they will ever need.  In every case, they work smart.  However, in every case they also work hard too – Damn hard!

Working smart and working hard

Richard Branson, with a net worth of billions, is an example of working hard and smart.  Although in his sixties, he still works on projects all over the world, spanning dozens of different ventures.  He works smart and he works hard too!

It is often said that today’s Internet millionaires / billionaires work smart and not hard, which is absolutely not the case either.  Ev Williams, who founded Blogger which he sold to Google for millions, before then founding Twitter, is known for regularly working 12-14 hour days.  Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is another person with a reputation for working long hours and occasionally sleeping at his desk.  Decades earlier, Microsoft’s Bill Gates was known for his incredible work ethic too.  What about Apple’s Steve Jobs? Jobs has been battling serious health issues for a number of years, yet has never stopped working.  The development of the iPhone and the iPad both happened after his health issues started.  All the people I mentioned there, work smart AND hard!

Hard work by itself is not enough.  My late father worked hard every day of his adult life, yet died with pennies.  Working smart by itself is not enough either.  I have met many people, who worked extremely smart, yet failed in their business because they refused to do the work required.

Always be on the look out for smarter, high leverage ways to work.  But be extremely cautious of anyone telling you that you can have it all, without having to work hard.

Someone like that will probably lie about other things too!

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

Photo: alexindigo

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