Most of my clients admit right away that they are overwhelmed by marketing – with some going so far as to tell me they hate it. That’s why they want my help. Marketing overwhelm can easily catch any of us, regardless how we feel about marketing itself. That’s why it is so important to master marketing overwhelm to reclaim control of your business strategy.
The Source of Overwhelm
If you feel marketing is complicated and noisy – you are right. There’s no shortage of marketing today. In fact – like technology – marketing is growing in frequency, volume and complexity at exponential rates. There are over 60,000 websites launched every single day. Mercedes and other enterprise organizations are throwing out six social media posts per day, per platform. It takes time and it takes money. Not only that, consumers are increasingly numb and jaded in the onslaught. They are tuning you out before you even show up.
How can a new start-up without huge investment capital compete? How does an organization in decline regroup and regain its standing? When you assess what is required to grow visibility and engagement, it becomes very obvious: the answer isn’t more tactics. It isn’t a new website with a great free download and rocking SEO. It isn’t posting on social media every day in a way that maximizes the algorithms. That alone is enough to make many business owners throw up their hands in frustration and simply quit.
Redefining What Marketing Is
The definition of marketing is a moving target. Not even all marketers agree about what the real definition is. Actually, marketing is far more than most of us realize. The majority of my clients come to me believing marketing is the tactics themselves:
Email building and funnels
And so on.
And they are not entirely wrong. These things are a part of marketing; they just aren’t the entirety of it. We are already marketing ourselves constantly without even thinking about it, and without even having a website or social media presence. Marketing includes everything a brand does. It is every conversation. Every image. Every touch point with clients, partners, employees – both inside and outside of your business.
Marketing is not only much broader than selling, it is not a specialized activity at all. It encompasses the entire business. ~ Peter Drucker
And yet we remain obsessed with tactics. If we only did the right one in the right way, we would have overnight success. Unfortunately, just like fad diets, marketing tactics don’t work quite like they are advertised. Sure – they work some of the time, for some of the people. But we keep trying one right after the other hoping for that instant success.
Here are 7 marketing myths that are at the root of our overwhelm, and a corresponding truth to break free of its grip:
I need more followers.
You need more engagement.
A direct conversation with a tiny number of the right people is much more profitable than an anonymous conversation with thousands of the wrong people. That’s why referrals close at over 83%.
I should be posting in several social media platforms.
You should focus on one or two platforms, at most.
Your ideal customers naturally favor just one or two platforms. Trying to be everywhere is inefficient, especially given how time-consuming social media is. Unless you have your own marketing department and a degree in marketing, trying to be visible on multiple platforms has rapidly diminishing returns. There are no real efficiencies, since every platform has a different algorithm requiring content, frequency and timing to vary.
My marketing volume and frequency is most important.
Your marketing content and consistency is most important.
Marketing serves one main purpose – to build trust. You can only do this by providing useful, high quality content that is seen regularly and becomes familiar. Too much frequency feels spammy, and will often turn off potential clients.
If I only knew the right tactic, I would see immediate results.
There are almost no immediate results in anything, least of all marketing.
It’s true, some people get on a particular tactical bandwagon early, and do realize some fast traction, but most “overnight successes” took a decade or more to get there, so pick a tactic that works for you, and just stick with it.
If I could improve my website SEO, I would have all the clients I need.
You can have all the clients you need with or without SEO.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is only one tool in your marketing toolkit, and many businesses succeed – even today – with no SEO and even no website! Even when you do improve your SEO, it isn’t a magic bullet. Once a visitor lands on your site, most only stay for 2-3 seconds, and the website itself must be built to capture and convert.
Great marketing means I never have to do any direct selling.
You are going to have to (GULP!) speak to potential clients.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I find cold calling has limited viability. Nonetheless, marketing only builds awareness. If you aren’t confident enough to have an exploratory conversation with a potential client, then you are going to be living solely off of referrals. For some that is enough. For the rest of us, we need to understand that selling isn’t about making someone buy from us, it is about finding the ideal person who already wants what we can provide.
I can only afford marketing I do myself.
You should only do marketing you can afford.
Every day I see business owners spending countless hours trying to create their own marketing. It has never been easier to do so with tools like Canva, Wix, and other plug-and-play low/no-cost software. That doesn’t mean they should. If a business isn’t pre-funded, owners might need to do more hands-on marketing, initially. Still, there are nuances to successful marketing it is impossible to master if it isn’t your main competency.