Even if you hate marketing.
As hard as it is for me to admit, not everyone loves marketing! However, if you want to grow your business, marketing is both unavoidable, and very expensive to outsource. So what can you do? (Cue a choir of angels singing!) You can create a marketing mindset, which takes most of the hard work out of your marketing, making growth almost a no-brainer. It is all about where you focus.
Here are the essentials of a marketing mindset that take you from overwhelmed and frustrated to thriving and thrilled:
Ask More Questions: This is the single best way to understand your customer, competition and leaders in your industry. Social media is a gold mine of answers, but so is networking. Not only do people love talking about themselves, it helps you understand your marketplace better and how you are uniquely qualified to be of assistance to your customers. Here are some great, open-ended questions:
How did you get started in (your business, industry, etc.)
What are your challenges right now you would love to solve?
What solutions have your found/do you provide?
Where are you headed with your business/career next? These questions make no demands on you to respond or be brilliant. You can simply listen and take notes. What you will begin to see are patterns and real needs you are likely to be able to fill, and you can address these needs without breaking a sweat.
Offer Your Support: We are all here to serve one another, and nothing feels more satisfying than receiving…except giving. Too often we forget how important giving is in business, and are focused more on getting than giving. Make time in your day to reach out to a client or peer you have not connected with in while. Say hello, and offer a referral or testimonial. If you have a great resource, article or podcast you recently listened to, share it with them. Like their posts. Comment and give them credit. Of course, don’t limit this giving behavior just to people you know. Try sharing insights, tips and tricks in social media platforms, or networking events. Chances are if something lights you up or you find it extremely helpful, someone else will too. Be the person associated with the insight. You don’t have to own the content to share it in this way, and the halo effect is substantial.
Plan Your Day: Before you turn on the firehose of information in your email and social channels, take a moment to plan your day. I don’t mean just write out your to-do list. I mean look at what forward momentum you hope to create. Be specific and goal-oriented, rather than task-oriented. Will you close new business? Are you going to nurture some existing clients? Will you explore some new connections? Is today all about building that proposal or creating your newest piece of content? Whether you are building tangible outcomes or learning about your market, all of it matters. However, if you don’t get clear about what is top priority in your day, your to-do list will take over, and your growth goals will be left in the dust. Most importantly, plan to make room for the bigger objectives, so you aren’t drowning in someone else’s agenda. More people might enjoy marketing if they knew a piece of it is stepping out of the rat race to be proactive.
Be Consistent: Now, most of us think of consistency as a component of productivity – for example, are we consistently closing business, or are we consistently posting in social media. While those things are great, that isn’t the sort of rigorous consistency I mean. I am really addressing the important idea of authenticity. Be you. Always. Consistently. Don’t look one way for one sort of client, and another way for a different client. It is not only confusing; it is an absolute turn-off. Additionally, when it comes to developing your content, if you can only squeeze out one blog a month, so be it. But commit to it. Turn out an awesome blog consistently – or social media postings, eBooks, podcasts or whatever it is you are doing. This will build a following that loves you and trusts you to be where you said you would, delivering what they expect you to. That, my friend, is marketing gold.
Ask for Help: You are the expert on your content. But if you want to grow your business, you need help. You need bandwidth, resources, new technology, and much more. Ask for all these things, and while you are asking, ask for leads, referrals, guest blogging opportunities, speaking gigs, and countless other ways where your expertise builds your following while helping others deliver meaningful insight to countless others. No business is an island, and if you don’t ask, you will most definitely be living hand-to-mouth doing exactly what you have always done.
Find A Tribe: Can we talk? So many of us post in social media multiple times a week, and manage to never engage with anyone in our feed. Or we go to a networking event, grab business cards from the people at our table and bolt for the door as soon as the speaker is done. The result is we are wasting our time and money, remaining invisible. I have found than in less than five minutes per platform, per day, I can scroll, like and comment on 2-3 posts, share and follow a couple more, and by the end of that day, I have a handful of new followers. Followers are not the same thing as closed business, of course, but they expand my reach as a business, and if I am collaborative, supporting them along the way, when I offer up a new product, workshop or service, they are far more likely to be my grass roots supporters that help whatever I am offering to take off.
Be Clearly Customer-Centric. If someone talked incessantly about themselves, they wouldn’t be much fun to hang around with would they? You’d move on to find someone else as your friend. Also, if you got an invitation for a party with no address, or what date to show up, you would not be likely to RSVP, would you? It takes so little effort to be clear about what you want people to do to engage you, or to show empathy for their situation. When you do, no matter what sort of marketing you do, your returns will soar. Tell your customers you see them, hear them, know them and understand them. Then point them directly to a clear action so they can engage with you immediately. (PS: Sign up for my newsletter is NOT a call to action, it’s a cop-out.)
Each of these Marketing Mindset Actions are simple to execute, and take zero marketing expertise to implement. If you are not a social butterfly, no problem. You can even outsource many of them. If you want help understanding how much of each one is the perfect mix for your business, just email me. I am happy to discuss it with you for no charge. It is that important.