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James Doan
Orangeville, ON Canada
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  • James's Blog

  • Aug 13th 2023 at 10:06 PM
    Cater to Niche and General Markets

    Budding consultants and new service providers often make a basic mistake. Too frequently, they follow the idea that they'll have an easier launch if they select a niche of customers to go after. The problem arises when they have to turn away those outside the niche who are willing to pay.

    What can result is a disjointed marketing plan. They develop pitches to a defined subgroup of customers. At the same time, they try to welcome one and all. This dissuades those who'd rather do business with a specialist.

    Even experienced business people can get caught in this issue. Someone advertises in a trade magazine as “Orangeville's trusted expert for 3-stage widgets”. He invites inquiries on how to size, select and install the proper widget. Yet, his website contains no links, blog content or branding phrases related to these topics.

    One solution is to develop a unique landing page marketing your niche. Highlight your special perspective and credentials. Send niche traffic there, and general traffic to a general homepage. As an alternative, if research indicates an adequate market for a narrow focus, build your entire brand identity around that.

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  • Aug 1st 2023 at 9:47 PM
    Stupid is as Stupid Does

    Did you ever find yourself thinking how stupid one of your customers is? They didn't understand or notice something you feel is ultra-obvious. Take a moment to think it through. Chances are, you weren't clear in your explanation. You could have made an overly optimistic assumption. It's possible you buried an important instruction.

    For example, you created a one-minute "steps to get started" video for new clients. But one person missed the link you provided. Another couldn't get the video to play and never mentioned the problem. Another watched the video, but misunderstood a key word you used in it. Someone else understood the video completely. But they didn't get going until a week later, when they had forgotten it all.

    They were not stupid.

    It's hard to be clear. It's tough to get people to pay attention and absorb even a message that's clear as air. Even so, it's up to you to try this and that. Keep tinkering with your process until all goes well.

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  • Jul 30th 2023 at 11:04 PM
    Focus on the Benefits

    When was the last time you bought a car? Did you really NEED a car? I mean REALLY need a car? Chances are the one you were driving was still running when you bought the car you have now. North Americans rarely buy because they need... they buy because they want to experience the feeling that comes with buying.

    We enjoy new purchases. Sure, we can convince ourselves that we really needed a new one, but if we're totally honest we'll have to admit that would could've got by without it. What does this mean to your advertising campaign?

    Capitalize on the ways a customer will improve his lifestyle by making the purchase. Will he increase his own business profits by 50 percent? Say so in the opening statement of your sales letter, or at the top of your Web page.

    Don't obsess with the features of the product itself or your credibility. Frankly, customers could care less. Let's face it... they're a bit selfish when it comes to dishing out their hard earned money. All they want to know is what's in it for them.

    What about your sales materials? Have you taken a good look at the things you are advertising? Make sure you are focused on the benefits the consumer will experience from the purchase, and not on the features of the product or service.

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  • Jul 27th 2023 at 11:03 PM
    What Makes an Authoritative Writer?

    It is important to make sure your readers realize that you know what's what in your field. What you write doesn't matter as much as how you write it.

    There are ways to make an authoritative impression:

    Be bold and confident when you state a point of view. Do not introduce your views with "I think" or "I believe". This only makes you seem tentative or timid. Being somewhat controversial or surprising helps.

    You should always support your points with data and trustworthy sources of information. Find little-known examples, and links to other areas of knowledge. The result will be you come across as a grounded, insightful expert rather than a pitchman.

    Use a direct, punchy writing style. Use short sentences and clear vocabulary. Drop empty adjectives (such as "awesome," "killer" or "terrible").

    Correct your errors. You can destroy your impact if you allow in typos or factual flubs.

    Write about subjects that are important to your audience. Follow the above stylistic points and be relevant to your audience. You will earn respect and followers. Over time, your authority will build your reputation. You will stand out as a leader, not another random promoter.

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  • Jul 25th 2023 at 10:58 PM
    Selling with a Unique Instagram Hashtag

    There is a clear truth today. We live in a visual age. It seems as though there is a camera in almost everyone’s pocket. One source claims there are more than 2.5 billion camera phones in use. People focus on images and use imagery for “telling and selling”.

    Photos are a universal language. A photo can speak a thousand words - in any language.

    Our social media networks are image-centric. They embrace the visual medium and make it very easy to upload and share pictures online. We are now living in a society conditioned to share our lives and stories through imagery. Also, we discover and learn about products and services through imagery.

    This is the age of visual culture. Your marketing efforts need to embrace this image-centric culture. Use pictures to promote your story. You can express your values, your goals, and your superior products and services.

    Instagram can create a Community for your business. You can tell and sell your story through images. You can create your very own hashtag to put it all in one place.

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  • Jul 21st 2023 at 2:05 PM
    Follow Up With Customers

    If you're a marketer, your number one concern is customers. You've probably read and heard a million and one ideas about how to build relationships, retain customers, create a list of potential customers, and inspire consumer loyalty. But the tough question is, “How do I convert prospects into customers?”

    There are many people out there who see your ads, think about them, and maybe even say, “I ought to...” They're just waiting to be convinced to do something about it. There is something you can do to get them moving!

    How would you like to increase your sales by more than 50 percent? There's really a simple tactic that you can implement... follow-ups.

    Chances are, prospective customers aren't going to buy your product the first time they see or hear about it. Maybe it will be the third or fourth, but they have to hear from you that third or fourth time before they actually become a customer. Do you have a follow-up system in place?

    Simply contact the “almost customer” every month with a new offer, or provide them more information about the product they are showing interest in. It doesn't have to be an intricate process. Keeping the contact there goes a long way toward building trust... the key to finding life-long customers.

    Internet Marketers experience a high number of customers who browse their site, then click away. You can't follow up without some form of contact information. A great way to gather the info you need is to offer a free e-book or informative report that consumers will find of interest. Once they've provided you the information to email them the product, you have what you need to keep in contact, and work on converting them into loyal customers.

    Personalize as much as possible. If you can get the first name of your customer... great! Personalized messages have greater appeal than “addressed to occupant” messages.

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  • Jul 18th 2023 at 12:58 PM
    Can You Compete Online with Big Business?

    Small home-based businesses battle to stay in search engine listings. You work hard to gain the advertising and marketing exposure you deserve. Small home-based business owners don’t have the money for expensive advertising and marketing. It is for this reason that popular, big name companies seem to have taken over the online market. They advertise on television and in newspapers and magazines. You find them at the top of almost every search engine listing. This should in no way discourage you. It is possible for small home-based internet businesses to move up the ladder of success. Through effective and creative internet marketing, you can gain the exposure you deserve. You must use strategies other than standard marketing. You can avoid advertising methods used by big name companies.

    Small home-based businesses need to grab the attention of potential customers. After grabbing the attention of potential customers, it’s critical to keep their attention. Consider offering potential customers high-quality information through opt-in newsletters.

    You can bring in new customers and keep customers coming back. Give them the information or news they’re seeking online. Consider an internet business selling craft items. They can offer valuable free information on craft projects. Those seeking craft project ideas and instructions through a craft project newsletter will find links to materials and supplies. Newsletters can increase earnings.

    You don’t have to be a great writer to develop a newsletter full of valuable information. There are many programs to assist you with developing and marketing a newsletter.

    If you don’t have time for newsletters, consider joining one of the many popular link exchange programs. Marketing your business becomes effortless, and other small businesses begin marketing your business. Link exchange members assist each other with marketing, and they help increase website traffic. Potential customers gain access to small business websites they otherwise wouldn’t have found.

    Increase your marketing efforts by exchanging links with other business websites. You can offer your banners and links in exchange for banner and links from other small business websites. There is no cost for this type of marketing. Small home-based business websites can generate an increase in traffic and sales. Be careful when choosing link exchange partners. You want to gain more market benefits and exposure for your business.

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  • Jul 16th 2023 at 9:03 PM
    Improve Your Offer

    If you're a marketer, your number one concern is customers. You've probably read and heard a million and one ideas about how to build relationships, retain customers, create a list of potential customers, and inspire consumer loyalty. But the tough question is, “How do I convert prospects into customers?”

    There are a lot of people out there who see your ads, think about them, and maybe even say, “I ought to...” They're just waiting to be convinced to do something about it. There is something you can do to get them moving!

    No one can pass up the deal that's “too good to resist.” Think about it... how often do your customers want your product, but just want something else a little more? That leaves you with a long list of “almost sales” that have the potential to be converted into real sales and profit. Sweeten the deal. Make the offer so good they can't resist it.

    Now, I'm in no way suggesting that you drop your prices to sweeten the deal. You can just as easily load it up with bonuses to increase the perceived value without cutting away at your profit. Bonuses motivate sales, maybe even more than cut prices.

    Don't let them delay. Get them into the store quickly with a deadline. They may have to put a competitor's purchase on hold to get your deal, but there's nothing wrong with that.

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  • Jul 13th 2023 at 5:05 PM
    5 Tips to be More Productive

    Try these tips for becoming more productive.

    Develop a Personal Mission Statement
    Well-defined goals and values are essential to create a successful strategy. This will help you stick with it.

    Set Realistic Timelines and Expectations
    Deadlines or tasks that seem manageable under ideal conditions can present difficulties. Unforeseen obstacles or even an unplanned sick day can derail your efforts. Give yourself a personal deadline and strive to meet that.

    Be Proactive in Planning
    Taking 10 minutes before you leave work to rank tasks will save you up to an hour the next day.

    Become a Diligent Note-taker
    Writing things down improves your memory. Keep a pencil and notepad handy at your desk and at every meeting – even if you bring your laptop.

    Learn What’s Urgent and What’s Important
    Urgent tasks are what you react to. Important tasks are what guide you. Make sure that you’re not focussing on the urgent tasks. It is better to plan for and do the critical tasks.

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  • Jul 11th 2023 at 9:51 AM
    Why Should You Network?

    Small business networking is critical to your business success. You must build relationships through networking.

    You will need to make this your priority for the first few months of operations. You cannot rush this process. You’re not going to go to your first network event and get six clients. But there’s a good chance that you will come away with five or six quality contacts.

    Networking For Contacts
    Once you make the contact, your work is not over. You then have to spend time following up with meetings, proposals and sales calls. But this time is much better spent than chasing down one-shot clients. Work with people who are, or who can put you in touch with, steady clients. These are the contacts that will support your business long-term.

    Don’t expect to walk out of every event with a handful of paying clients. Do expect to generate quality leads and referral sources. These referrals and leads are the crux of small business networking.

    You need to have many leads and contacts in your funnel at any given time. Some of these will be hotter at different stages. They will be ready to move into paying client status at different stages and different dates. Networking keeps you in contact with these people throughout their buying phases.

    The Bottom Line on Networking
    Contact and referrals are what will lead you to long-term, steady clients. The kind of clients that will make your business a success. Getting out and attending networking events may appear to be unproductive socializing. Realize that the contacts you make will generate an enormous return on your invested time. Start your network today – you never know where it will take you.

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  • Jul 9th 2023 at 1:19 PM
    It's Worth the Price

    In a consumer survey reported in AdWeek, the top reason for repeat purchases was "it's worth the price." Respondents' felt there was a decent match between the cost and the value received.

    You might think the calculation of cost versus benefit is beyond your control as a marketer. Actually there is much you can do to influence that assessment by shoppers and customers.

    First, understand that people may not know or remember what competitors charge. If this comparison puts you in a good light, let people know before they buy. As they continue to do business with you, show how you stack up pricewise.

    Second, choose what you compare your value to. For instance, don't call a $49.95 PDF report a "book." Instead, compare it to their cost of commissioning the information themselves. Or the cost of mistakes the report prevents.

    Third, offer enhanced products or service options. These will make your regular plan seem even more of a great deal.

    Finally, call attention to little extras you provide that you don't charge for. Sometimes these inspire gratitude far above their weight!

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  • Jul 6th 2023 at 9:21 AM
    Market for People That Matter

    Many marketers believe nothing counts but results.

    They think whatever works best is best, by definition. Each potential or actual customer is but a data point. Anything that doesn't budge that data point is a waste of effort.

    Well, let's pause and think about that. Are we ourselves automatons or people with feelings and values? If the latter, why should we approach business as if all that matters is a numerical effect?

    We don't need to treat others, ourselves and the marketing tasks we do as nothing but a means to results. That's a bleak and joyless viewpoint that degrades our common life together. It encourages treating individuals as interchangeable. It encourages a “Who cares?” attitude toward quality and impact on others. Likewise, it also encourages a boring, functional approach without pleasure or creativity.

    Instead, aim at marketing that works and that also embodies respect. Not only for buyers considering a purchase. But also for yourself as a thinking, feeling human in a world where other people matter too.

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  • Jul 4th 2023 at 10:17 AM
    Encourage Communication

    Effective communication is crucial to understanding your consumers. You must encourage questions before the sale, during the sale and after the sale. Always work to make the buying process easy and comfortable.

    Now more then ever, profitable opportunities exist to promote your local business on the Internet. Through search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, email marketing and local listings, you can connect with a willing audience. Your customers are turning to the Internet to find local products and services. If your competitors have an online presence and you don't, guess who gets to take home the prize.

    You can provide convenient contact information on all of your sales materials, including websites. If you happen to find yourself overloaded with questions, you can easily create a frequently asked question page where clients can get the answers they need without claiming as much of your time.

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  • Jul 2nd 2023 at 10:24 AM
    Let's Talk 'About Me'

    When one of my new associates asked me to look at her "About Me" page, I was no better informed about her than before. She filled the page talking about how the client's life would improve after hiring her as a virtual assistant.

    It is a good idea to explain this at some point. But it's not what potential clients are looking for when they read an "About Me" page. They are eager to learn your background and experience. You explain why they should trust you. This is where you should list credentials, work experience and proven abilities. Tell why your location, distinctive approach and personal qualities will be valuable assets. People expect a photo, too.

    Follow this format even if you're new at what you're offering and lack formal credentials. Don't change the subject on your "About Me" page, as that person did. Instead, dig deep for grounded, credible reasons for folks to believe you can do what you say you can do.

    Another associate, a new editor, stated that her former employer asked her to check what they'd written.

    Someone new to car detailing said he'd learned it from his grandfather and father. His father's motto was "Be finicky, not fast."

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  • Jun 29th 2023 at 2:27 PM
    How do You Run a Successful Business?

    Running a business should not be a difficult task. Running a successful business can be more difficult. There are thousands of people that have their own business, but many of them are not having any luck at all. As an entrepreneur, have you considered any of the following recommendations?

    1. Before you can run a successful business, you are going to need the necessary knowledge. In other words, if you are looking to start a business, choose an industry that you are familiar with. By doing this you will ensure yourself of knowing where to start, and how to handle problems as they arise. Of course, it is possible to run a successful business even if you do not have past experience. You will want to make sure that you do your homework before starting. Gather some background information on the industry. Don't go into the venture blind.

    2. Be organized from the very start. Most successful businesses have a quality business and marketing plan in place. This will allow you to follow your plan as the days go by so that you do not get lost. It is hard to be successful in anything if you do not know where you are trying to go. A business plan will give you an idea on how you want your company to progress. A marketing plan will direct you on how to grow your company. These are two things that are synonymous with every successful business.

    3. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you are having a rough time. A lot of business owners do not like to ask other people for help because they do not want to hurt their pride. This is something that you should come to grips with before you even get started. It is impossible to know everything about your industry. There are times when you will have to ask questions. Instead of thinking of this as a bad thing, why not look at it as a way of making new business contacts? If you have a problem that you cannot figure out yourself, contact an appropriate service. There is nothing wrong with doing this. In fact, if you do not ask questions of other people, you will only be holding your company back.

    4. Do not reinvent the wheel. By following an established Marketing Plan you can take a shortcut to success. Be careful to not follow unsuccessful plans. There are free ones which are worth exactly that.

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  • Jun 27th 2023 at 9:28 AM
    Outsmart Your Competition

    You should be aware that your competition is looking for you in all the usual places. Change things up by not going there. You have to look for alternate ways of advertising and new markets to target. Niche markets can provide the perfect sneak tactic for discovering new clients.

    Subdivide your current market into smaller, more specific niche markets.
    Familiarize yourself with the needs and concerns of each niche.
    Present yourself as the specialist pro.

    You will leave your competition in the dust with the number of new prospects that will come your way.

    You can also take advantage of an old marketing technique that is still effective. Postcards carry a personal message that is quick and easy to read. New high-impact colours and designs capture the attention of readers. Your competition won't even know that you're using them!

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  • Jun 25th 2023 at 10:01 AM
    Effective Content Marketing

    There was a time when a great website was key. As the internet developed, email marketing became an important addition.

    Today, you have to make sure your audience knows and trusts you. You must do this through the right content marketing mediums.

    How do you do that? By developing marketing content that positions you as a knowledgeable, trusted, competent source.

    You cannot lag with your content marketing strategy. You will be lagging in communicating the value of your business.

    This leads to a lack of interest and trust for potential customers. Those who are curious but not completely sold on doing business with your company.

    You want to be top-of-mind when folks think of your market niche. That's done most by utilizing content marketing.

    The Most Effective Content Marketing Mediums
    - Company Blog Post
    - Social Media Posts
    - E-Newsletter
    - E-Booklets, White papers
    - Company Videos

    You can use these outlets to build awareness and position you as the expert in your space.

    And you don’t have to do them all at once, start with a few and add on. You can re-purpose content to create other mediums. Combine blog posts to create an educational e-booklet or a video.

    Create a “wow factor” for your customers. It is worth the investment several times over.

    Doing “little things” for your customers shows that you care and appreciate them. When customers see this, they get a nice warm and fuzzy feeling about you and your company. They tend to stick around for a long time – unless you do something terrible or ignore them.

    You should strive to show your gratitude to customers in fun and memorable ways.

    Once you get a new customer, it’s important to keep that customer. They are much more apt to buy from you again and again, and are much more apt to refer your company to family and friends.

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  • Jun 23rd 2023 at 1:43 PM
    What is the Future for Small Business?

    You are ready to grow your own business. But have you given any thought to what the future holds for small businesses? Taking a step into the unknown can be a daunting challenge. If you are ready to seize the opportunity, the possibilities are wide open.

    There are some entrepreneurs who worry about the cost of setting up their business. I see the cost of starting and running a small business declining. Smaller, lighter and smarter systems, components, and manufacturing methods are being developed.

    Should we fear that intelligent machines will replace people to do much of the work? On the positive side of the equation, people in partnership with those machines will be able to do more work. What will happen to workers who become redundant? What happens to the companies that depend on the purchasing power of those workers?

    It is forecast that the playing field between large and small businesses will be more level. Often it will be more collaborative. For more effective competition, they both will rely on each other’s capabilities.

    The global marketplace will be more interconnected. It is true that the world is growing smaller. Small businesses will find new opportunities in specialized product and service niches. They will be able to meet customized demands of their customers. Technology-enabled networks and marketplaces will better at deploying talent than traditional companies.

    What will the future of education be? On-demand learning is set to outperform traditional learning institutes. They will be vital in keeping skills up to date.

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  • Jun 23rd 2023 at 12:21 AM
    One is a Magic Number

    For any business person, the opportunity to get on top of the market can be realized with something as simple as this high-impact, easy-to-use technique.

    You should plan an “advertise 1 item at a time” strategy. This does not mean that you can't SELL more than one item at a time, rather you just have to wait until AFTER the initial sale has been made.

    Bear in mind that when a customer sees more than one product being offered at unbelievably low prices, he will become confused. He will start asking himself which one is the better deal? He may struggle with a personal preference. These questions can lead to a decision to delay the purchase – one of marketing's greatest thieves. It will be more effective to offer the consumer a range of products that compliment his initial purchase in a nearby display… or even at the check-out. You'll make extra profits instead of losing a sale.

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James's RSS Feed
Cater to Niche and General Markets
Aug 13th 2023 at 10:06 PM
Stupid is as Stupid Does
Aug 1st 2023 at 9:47 PM
Focus on the Benefits
Jul 30th 2023 at 11:04 PM
What Makes an Authoritative Writer?
Jul 27th 2023 at 11:03 PM
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