Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

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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.

Steve Jobs: The passing of a genius and some words to live by

I woke up this morning to the news that Steve Jobs has died.

As I have frequently referenced the genius of Steve Jobs on this blog over the years, today, I would simply like to share one of my favourite Steve Jobs quotes with you.  It’s a message that regular readers will have seen me advocate many times, but never as eloquently or powerfully as Steve Jobs does here:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs: 1955-2011

How to create a GREAT 6 figure income online!

Here is how I generate a great, 6 figure income from my online marketing and how you can too.

Back in 2008, I was introduced to Kevin Kelly’s concept of 1000 true fans and quickly switched all of my marketing online.  Kelly’s theory is beautifully simple and massively powerful.  It suggests that if you sell a product, you can make a good living from having 1000 true fans; people who will buy everything you produce, travel across town to hear you and tell their friends about you.

More importantly to me and most small business owners reading this, if you are a service provider, this number is much, much lower than 1000.  Closer to 100, in fact.

Fans are not followers

It’s easy to get a follower.  It’s challenging to earn a fan.  For example, you can randomly follow 10 people on Twitter and gain a follower, simply because 1 of the 10 people you follow, will feel social pressure to follow you back.  To gain a new fan, you need to consistently practice your craft and figure out how to attract the attention of people who will fall in love with what you do.

Chasing the wrong numbers

The Internet is filled with struggling service providers, who have thousands of followers, yet very few true fans.  They chase the wrong numbers.  They do everything possible to increase the numbers that don’t matter and very little, to earn the numbers that do matter.  This usually sees them spend too little time sharing their craft with people and too much time figuring out how to reach their next, low-value, social networking milestone.

These people love to use software, to automate the people they follow, the links they share and anything else that may attract others.  Of course, they only attract followers, instead of Kelly’s true fans.

The trick to getting it right?

The trick is to stop looking for tricks.  As Seth Godin has been telling us for years, if it can be automated it has little real value because anyone can do it.  If you want to develop true fans rather than followers, you need to show them who you are and what you believe.  Those who get it will love you and what you do.  Those who don’t, won’t; which is perfect.

You see, unless you have people outside your circle, you can’t have people inside your circle and these insiders are your true fans.

The numbers approach gets this all wrong and treats everyone the same – just a number.  The reality is that behind every tweet, blog comment and Facebook update is a person.  A small, targeted minority of these people will have a need for what you do.  These insiders are the true fans you need to connect with.  It takes more time and work to attract these extremely valuable people, but the rewards are enormous.

For instance, in February, I wrote a post offering a single place on my marketing mentor program.  In the following 24 hours, I had 92 people asking for information about that 1 place on my program.  Based on my typical conversion rate, of inquirer to client, if I had enough places, I could have sold almost £100,000 worth of placesYou can read about it here.  Now, compare that approach to the emails I receive weekly, from business owners with more “followers” than me, who are slowly going broke.  People with thousands or tens of thousands of followers, yet too few of Kelly’s true fans.

If you can connect with what I am saying here, it’s a game-changer.

How it works

Sadly, I can’t show you a quick, foolproof way to attract true fans.  I would need to be working with you directly and know exactly what your ideal profile of client is, your industry, your services, your resources etc.  I can, however, give you some general ideas.  This is based on a few of the things I work on with clients, on my Marketing Mentor Program:

Start by reading these 2 posts:  The first is about doing work that matters and the second, is about how to apply your craft.  These will show you how to create the kind of impact, which true fans are searching for.

Stop chasing the wrong numbers:  Instead of measuring your success in “likes” and followers, measure it in conversations.  Measure it in emails from people, who love your work so much that they feel compelled to email you and say thanks.  Measure it in telephone calls from people, who connect with your craft and want to hire you.  But don’t measure it in followers.  If that’s your thing, go and buy 100,000 followers and see how that works for your mortgage payments at the end of the month.

Spend more time creating and less time curating:  Yes, it’s wonderful to share other people’s ideas with your social network, but people need to see your work too. I see people who share hundreds of words every day on social networks, yet their blogs have not been updated in weeks.  True fans need to see YOUR ideas and connect with your experience, as well as connecting with you on social networks.  They need to see value in your work.

Show them who you are, what you think and what you know.  Then, share other people’s pearls of wisdom.  If you simply ping out links and retweets, I can get that from an RSS feed.  Remember, if it can be automated, anyone can do it and it has little meaningful value.

Don’t complain, then stay the same:  If you like the idea of being able to write a single blog post, as I did in February, which generates an avalanche of income, change your current approach.  Don’t keep rowing your boat harder and harder in the wrong direction, complaining you have not reached your destination yet.  If you have hundreds or maybe thousands of followers and wonder why you get so few inquiries, you need to change your current approach.  It’s screaming at you that you are missing the true fans, who are just waiting for you to engage, and educate them with your craft.  These insiders will only be attracted to you and your work, when you stop chasing followers and connect with real people.

However…

Most people will dismiss this concept, because it’s uncomfortable.  It requires courage and conviction.

  • It means an almost certain initial drop in your follower numbers, as you swap from the numbers game, to the business of people.
  • It means having the courage to be the best YOU that you can be; rather than yet another number chasing, social media sheep.
  • It means more than telling yourself and others that you are a people person, whilst using software to build your following or spit out links 24/7.
  • It means being prepared to have outsiders, because that’s the only way you can attract insiders (or true fans.)  That’s frightening.  Too frightening for most to even consider.

But for those with the courage to stand up, get their work out there and connect with the people who “get it,” the rewards are life changing.

Photos: MGM_Photos & AnnieHP

The day everything improves for you

Today is my 46th birthday and I will start the day with the same commitment I make every year at this time.  I will promise to become a year better over the coming 12 months, rather than just a year older.

I have often listened to business owners boldly proclaiming that they have 20 year’s worth of experience in their field, when in reality, they have just a few years worth of experience, which they keep repeating.  They mistake movement for progress and end up with similar frustrations in year 20, to those they had in year 2.

Older and wiser?

Older does not always equal wiser because longevity and competence are not the same thing.  There are people reading this right now, who have been struggling to grow their business for years, yet have never hired the specialist help they know they need.

We all know people who make the same basic errors year after year, then blame their luck, the economy, their star-sign or their past, for their lack of progress.  In reality we know that nothing improves until we do.  If we keep doing what we have always done, we will keep getting what we have always got.

The day everything improves for you

You don’t need to wait until your birthday or the New Year, before you make the commitment to massively improve your future.

  • Today can be the day you decide to stop dabbling with your business development and get the help you know you need.
  • Today can be the day you start writing that book.
  • Today can be the day you start working on one of those great ideas you had.
  • Today can be the day you fire that client who is sucking the life out of your business.
  • Today can be the day you stop following the flock and be yourself.
  • Today can be the day you decide to start building a wall of financial security around the people you love, which nothing can penetrate.

Have a GREAT day!

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