When we hear the word “marketing,” many of us automatically go “ahhhhhh!” and initiate extreme overwhelm and panic mode. Marketing can seem super scary, not just because it is a huge component in growing your business, but because there are so many different things that fall under the marketing umbrella. At the end of the day, if we want to really super simplify it, at its core, marketing that is well done, clearly communicates your message and shares it with your exact audience in a format that resonates with them, evoking emotions in them, that allows them to connect with the humanness of you as an individual, as a business, and as a product or service.
There are many things that are true about marketing and good marketing, but there are few things that are NOT TRUE and I just want to call them out first so we can wipe clean any misconceptions we hold about dear old marketing:
- Successful marketing can only be done with a large team and large budget
- You can be a superhero marketing team of 1 if you so choose with a small budget. Does it help to hire people who are the best at what they do? 100, but if you don’t have the budget for it today, that does not mean you can’t start successfully marketing now and as you grow and scale, making those hires will just keep catapulting your business to new heights. Decide what investments make sense or don’t make sense with the budget you’re working with.
- If you market correctly you can have a super successful business irrespective of any other aspect of your business
- All aspects of customer experience are what will create repeat customers and also help you gain new customers through referrals.
- Social media influencers are the best way to market
- This was known to be effective when it first started, but has proven to have horrific conversion rates, meaning you spend a lot of money, the influencers share content, and a teeny tiny percentage actually convert to customers. In some instances, no followers of theirs convert at all, even if you think their follower base is your target audience. Investments are better spent elsewhere, which I had to learn the hard way with my first business. In a small handful of instances (the exception and not the rule here), it can be successful but only when it is authentic existing customers sharing their love of your brand; Snow At-Home Teeth Whitening is a good example of this.
- You need your content to go viral ASAP otherwise you are failing at this marketing thing
- Just because a video gets 10M views on TikTok, it doesn’t mean 10M people will buy your product or service or let alone go to your website. It effectively creates brand awareness, but similar to the social media influencers (however not nearly as extreme since it is coming from your accounts vs. random influencers), it is tough to create viral content and it is not a sure-shot way to acquire new customers.
Phew, okay now that that is out of the way, let’s get into the thick of it. First off, before you even think about marketing make sure you know the following:
- The VALUE you are delivering to your customers. Value with a capital V because if you do not deliver value, even if you manage to market so well, your company will be a mess and those first time buyers will buy for the first and last time and make sure everyone and their mother knows how pissed they are that they spent money on value they did not receive.
- Who your customers actually are, what they care about, where they hang out, what matters most to them.
Marketing can be thought of as a tree with many different branches and branches within those branches (oh boy, hang tight for a second before you go back to the extreme overwhelm and panic mode). I don’t want to cover all of them today, I just want to touch on what I believe are the top 3 most important pieces of marketing that every business owner should feel super solid in:
I believe this is the #1 most important piece of marketing and if you are not solidified here, it will be a huge challenge to share your brilliance with others in a way that resonates with them and allows them to fully know your magnificence. To be fair, not too long ago, I knew NOTHING about branding, like literally nothing. Then the fairy branding godmother of all my hopes and dreams walked into my life and blew the door wide open to the magic that happens when branding is done right. That fairy branding godmother is Johanna White, founder of Design By Jo Studio. She very patiently and clearly guided me through how someone can create a clear, cohesive, consistent and POWERFUL brand message that perfectly describes what their company does, how it does it and why everyone should and would love it. She showed me how the power of words and a strong visual brand (which is more than just logos BTW, yes I know, this was breaking news to me too) can take anyone from a best kept secret to being widely recognized as the best at what they do. A side effect of what happens when you nail your brand messaging is you start feeling super confident when talking about your brand to anyone and everyone. When you first start out, you know the value yourself through and through, but every time you describe it to others, it lacks consistency, coherence, clarity, and you realize that instantly with the confused stares on people’s faces and the multitude of questions they follow up with to try to understand a bit more. With proper branding you can speak your messaging and show the visual components of your brand anywhere, and as you generate more awareness of your brand, all touchpoints of it become recognizable instantly, which I personally think is super cool. If you want to take a stab at brand messaging yourself, start by writing down what you are providing to your customers, who they are before and after they receive your product or service, the transformation that happens to them and how their life is better now, how you actually provide this, and why you are the one who should be providing this to them.
Once you are clear on your brand messaging and have the visual aspects of the brand alongside it, you can start creating content of some forms to share. Many people panic at the thought of creating content, but it can be as simple as using your visual branding guidelines and just sharing quotes, tips, words of wisdom, and any bits of helpful information that you believe would resonate with your audience. Canva is such a simple and budget friendly tool for this; it does not have to be complicated. At the end of the day, your content has to add value first and foremost, and as long as you make sure the visual branding and messaging is consistent, you are doing an amazing job. Meditation app, Calm, does a great job of creating simple, value driven Instagram content, while still using their extremely recognizable visual branding and core messaging. I also like them as a great reminder that even a huge company flushed with a ton of venture capital funding that sits at a roughly $2B valuation, keeps it simple when it comes to social media content creation. Show up consistently. That means both consistency in sharing content and consistency in branding. Building trust and a huge customer base of superfans does take time (which no one, myself included, wants to hear), and that trust and beautiful relationship cannot happen overnight and without you taking that crucial step of showing up over and over again.
Communication shows up in branding and content creation as mentioned above. The communication here I want to go into is the communication you have directly with your customers. Whether you have 2 or 2 million customers, you need to talk to them. Their feedback is the best thing for you and your business. It allows you to find ways to continuously infuse more value into what you are offering and your customers are your best salespeople. Seriously. When someone loves what you are offering, they will sing your praises to everyone. Not everyone they sing your praises to will be your target customer, but when they love you, because of the value you are delivering to them all around, they will not only be repeat customers, but after sharing you with anyone who will listen, you will acquire new customers through their referral. Nurture the relationship with your customers. Talk to them, whether through email, private FB groups, feedback calls etc. and let them know how valuable they are to you and how much their input matters.
At the end of the day, marketing doesn’t have to be as complicated and scary as it first may seem. Try implementing the above and let us know how it goes! You got this!