Marketing can be overwhelming. Because of that, it's very easy to fall prey to tactics that seem like they'd be helpful, but actually do much more harm than good.
In this episode, we'll share three of the most common missteps entrepreneurs make and what you should do instead to help you win the marketing game.
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[01:29] Deirdre Harter: All right, we're going to just kick right off with the first misstep, Misstep #1: Copying what you see other people doing.
It's so easy to do this, especially when we aren't really sure what we're supposed to be doing. And so we see, oh, that's working so well for that person. But the reason we say it's a misstep is because we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg.
On social media, you might see vanity metrics. Like, you might see someone's post and it said, there's 145 comments, and we're like, oh my gosh, I have to do a post just like that one. But we don't know the strategy behind it, and we don't know where it's leading to. And if those are just vanity metrics, where people are just commenting for the sake of commenting, or if it's actually leading anybody anywhere to purchase an offer.
And I think that's where we really get sucked in, is that we feel like we're getting some validation based on activities and based on likes and hearts and all these kinds of things. But if it's not leading anybody anywhere, well, it's not really helping us.
Maybe we're getting a little more popular, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. But some people have strategies where it's called a brand awareness strategy. Like, they're not actually trying to make sales, they're simply trying to get visible. So again, we don't know what the strategy is behind it.
Now, you may have seen a post like this or hear someone, maybe you even get an email about it, about people are boasting about the last email campaign that they had. They brought in over $10,000 in new revenue last month. And that sounds amazing, doesn't it? They're like, all you need to do is buy this, we're going to give you the script and you can do the same thing.
However, we don't know the size of their email list and it could be huge, right? Maybe they have 10,000 people and they sold something for $10. We don't really know what the offer is. What's the size of the email list? So by not knowing these things, this is how we get caught up into shiny object syndrome because we don't know the whole story. We also don't know if maybe they had referral partners or affiliates helping them promote, because that's a whole nother way that we can do an email sales campaign.
So what do we do instead?
Well, we start with strategy. So you have to begin with the end in mind:
- What is the objective?
- What do you want your marketing to accomplish for you?
And we can have multiple objectives. We can have brand building, we can have sales, we can have getting people to know about a new event that we're hosting. So there can be many different things as our objective, but we've got to know what that is, and that's how we build out our strategy.
So by defining your objectives first, you'll gain an understanding of what tactics you should employ. That way you're not just guessing and you're not just throwing things out there to see what's going to work.
The second step is to conduct market research. Now, if you are not clear on who your ideal client is, and I mean crystal clear, and if you're not speaking their language, and I mean the words they have said to you, then almost nothing you do will bring about the desired results.
[05:11] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: That's right. That was the second step in that misstep number one, but it really could be the first for anyone who's in business. We need to know who our ideal client is, and we need to know exactly what their words are, how they speak about their goals or aspirations, and their challenges.
So, let's go to Misstep #2: Falling prey to the posts that give away a generic content template.
Have you seen this? It'll come up. Now, we're headed to the end of the year. We'll see these all over the place. “I'm giving away 365 post ideas. Who's in?” And this seems like it would help you out, right? Because, well, there's 365 post ideas, like it's got to work. But there are a couple of problems with this.
How do you know that the topics being shared are what will resonate with your audience if you haven't done market research or if you haven't even seen what the topics are? Usually, it's in a broad industry. They'll say healthcare topics or business topics. So, you know, okay, maybe they're in my industry. But if they aren't speaking to your audience the way you would, then it's really not going to help you. It's strategy that makes marketing messages work, not general topics.
So then, here's another one. If 100 people in your niche download the topic calendar from this person, right, they get this topic calendar, and you might end up posting about the same things. And that's not a good way to stand out. You don't know if all these people in your industry are going to download this thing and fall prey to it as well. And they start posting things and you end up with the same posts on the same day. Now, how likely is that? We don't know. But how unlikely is it? We don't know that either. So there's no control from the get-go. You don't know what the topics are until you download it. If it's free, sure, maybe you could do it, but there is a better way.
Do this instead. First of all, when you don't have a plan, anything seems like it will work. But you've got to get strategic, which is what Deirdre just said. During our Marketing Methodology Workshop, we teach you how to develop topic categories for your business so you can streamline your marketing in a way that you know, resonates with your audience. This is so key.
Topic categories create buckets for you to brainstorm content ideas in. They also keep your messaging on point and consistent, which makes creating content a breeze. So you have five to seven topic categories and you can brainstorm all kinds of stuff within those “buckets” we like to call them. And you've got ideas for content galore. You don't need that random person's 365 post ideas, right? Because you can come up with your own that actually come from you, from your voice, and hopefully are tying into what your ideal clients actually want.
Now, topic categories are industry-specific, so they're what your audience expects, and they allow you to take the information you learn about what your audience is struggling with or what they most want to accomplish and tailor your content to that. So this is the other key. You're in an industry, you pick your topic categories. They're industry-specific. So your audience is expecting to hear about that.
Like for Deirdre and I, business people are expecting to hear about marketing and they're expecting to hear about sales, and they're expecting to hear about conversion events, and copy and all this kind of stuff. So when we talk about those things, it's no surprise, right? But we then have to know, for our ideal clients and our audience, what is it that they are struggling with? Because we're business strategists here, we have a certain audience.
There could be a business strategist next to us who has a completely different audience. And even the same topic categories, like marketing approaches, could be different, right? We work with a certain demographic. If someone's working with 20 to 30-year-old men, then their marketing strategy is going to be vastly different than it is for us who are working with women who are over 40.
And it's not just the age thing, it's what matters to them. What matters to a woman over 40 when she's going to consider marketing is going to be completely different than what matters to a guy in his twenties to thirties, right?
So that's why these broad things of, hey, I've got this content idea. Here's this calendar with all these ideas. It doesn't work unless you truly know your ideal client and what they're looking for, what their challenges are, what their aspirations are, and you can take those ideas and then make them work for you. But what's even better than that is to create your own topic categories and do it for yourself. So this is one of the best ways to make things easier for you.
[10:29] Deirdre Harter: Now, let's talk about Misstep #3: Lack of focus. And we're going to talk about lack of focus in several different areas.
So the first lack of focus is we go into the danger zone of watering our messaging down, creating frustration. It's causing problems for our audience, and it's also causing problems for us. And so here's kind of what that looks like. So, you might be speaking to more than one ideal client at a time.
Does anybody here have more than one ideal client avatar? A lot of us do.
It might be the same ideal client, but there could be some nuances, or maybe there's a set that needs something a little bit different. We might have different programs or different packages for our ideal clients who need different things. For every ideal client and every offer we have, we have to have separate messaging. And if we start talking about this, that, and the other thing, then everybody gets confused, and it even confuses us.
Sometimes we create too many calls to action at once. We think, okay, I'm just going to put it all out there. I'm going to have them go to my website, and I'm going to have them download the podcast, and I want them to come to my event, and book a consult call. Let's just put it all out there, because that way, I get whatever they want to do. It's like the buffet, right? All the choices.
We think that's going to get us more traction, and yet it actually doesn't. The reason is because with too many choices, people can't make a decision, right. The easiest thing to do is have one clear call to action.
Now, you don't have to use the same call to action every single time. We mix it up, but you only want to have one. Because if we tell them to do one thing, the likelihood of them doing that one thing is much greater than if we give them five things. And then they have to think about it. And if they have to think about it for more than two seconds, they're moving right on to the next thing.
[12:41] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah. And we're talking about one thing per piece of content.
[12:45] Deirdre Harter: Yes.
[12:46] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: So you can have different calls to action, but we don't use them all at one time.
[12:50] Deirdre Harter: That's right. We also want to be careful not to offer too many choices of services, packages or options.
So again, it's that same idea, right? Well, if I give them five choices like they can work with me in this, this or this, then we think we're covering our bases. But again, it's too many choices for people, and they don't know which one is best for them. And here's where this focus comes in to say this offer is for this person who is having this issue and wants to solve this problem or wants to transform in this way.
When we can lay it out that directly and that clearly, that's when people will take you up on that call to action. That's when they will buy your services and your packages. And again, this is where strategy comes in. We can have more than one package or option or service, but you have to lay out the strategies on when you're going to be talking about what so that we are leading our audience and clients to choose what is best for them.
Another problem of focus we have is being on too many platforms at once. So, anyone here who is on more than two platforms, you really need to take a look at are you watering yourself down? Like, are you spread too thin? Now, we believe in repurposing content. It's the greatest thing in the world, and we can do that. However, you can repurpose content fairly fast and easy and you can put it on five platforms. We've got lots of tools and softwares that do that now.
[14:41] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Right.
[14:41] Deirdre Harter: The issue is it doesn't do any good to put content everywhere. If, again, we don't have a strategy for that platform. Because each platform is a little bit different and driving traffic to that content; that's the whole point. If we're just putting stuff out there and no one's seeing it, well, it isn't doing us any good.
So what can we do instead?
Create your annual marketing plan and map out each month. This is going to define what you're offering or promoting. Now, that sounds like a big thing, right? Create an annual marketing plan. It's a big deal.
It's actually easier than you think. And that's something that we are going to teach you how to do in the Marketing Methodology Workshop. And we have a simple three-step plan on how you're going to do this.
And really, what this is is this is your big map for the year and we're just putting in some placeholders. We're just planning this out. We're not actually creating any kind of content for a year. We're just simply going to map out what are the things that we're going to be focused on, and then we're going to make sure our content matches up to that. And then, we're going to define the marketing message and the topic categories that Carmen was talking about that lead your prospects to that offer. So when we plan this out and laid it out, it's going to make things so much easier for you.
Now, when we're talking about different platforms, we suggest that you choose one or two and outline your strategy. What will you post, and how often? Because unless you have a large team working with you, it's very difficult to successfully use that omnipresence marketing strategy. And I know a lot of people talk about—a lot of marketing experts—will tell you, you need omnipresence. You got to be everywhere.
But again, that waters us down. We can't do that if it's just us or if it's just us with a couple of people helping us. So it's much more effective for you to go all in. If you're on one platform, maybe two, you can learn it; you can test your messaging, you can watch the metrics to see what's happening, you can tell if you're meeting your objectives or not. So, we suggest you master one platform at a time, and you use metrics along the way to gauge the effectiveness of both the platform itself and the marketing tactics that you're using.
[17:17] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah, I just heard a podcast interview with someone who is a podcast specialist, and she was saying some of her clients will say, well, I'm going to put my podcast on YouTube. And she says no, there's no reason to do that. This is what we think, and it's easy to fall into this. Like, you created a podcast, maybe it's a video podcast or even audio, because now YouTube's going into the whole podcasting thing, but you can't just throw it up there and expect it to do anything. She goes if you want to put it up there and just house it there, great. But it's not going to do anything for your YouTube channel. It's not going to grow your YouTube channel. That's a completely different strategy.
And so when we look at every single platform, there's a different strategy for each platform. Like on Facebook, you get penalized for putting the link—a link off of Facebook—in your post, but you can put it in the first comment, or a comment underneath. On Linkedin, you get penalized for putting it in the first comment. So it's better to put it in the body. That's how it is now, as of this recording in November of 2023. I mean, it changes so fast and so often, and we don't know and who's going to keep up with that?
So it's much better to just find the one platform or two platforms and learn them and keep up on the changes instead of thinking, well, if I put my stuff out on YouTube, and if I put my stuff over here and if I do TikTok now and I do reels and I do all this, you're going to spread yourself too thin and you're going to dilute everything, and then you're going to be burnt out and creating content is not going to be any fun, right? We don't want that.
So I have a question for you: How would it feel to ditch the marketing overwhelm so you can spend your precious time growing your business?
Because that's what we're here for, right? Yes. We need to market. We don't want to put all of our time into creating content for seven different platforms. We actually want to grow our business. And content is only one small piece of that. But marketing goes beyond content, and there's a whole strategy around that. You can do that if you join us for the Marketing Methodology Workshop where you will build out your custom marketing framework and create a simple-to-follow system to achieve your business goals in three easy steps. And you can do that by going to encoreempire.com/marketing. And I'll put that in the link in the comments.
Now, Deirdre, you said something that I was going to respond to. Oh, I know what it was. It's the planning. I've heard so many people, and I've gotten emails about—we're all getting ready to plan for 2024, right? And there are people saying don't plan a whole year out.
In our Marketing Methodology Workshop, what we say is we will create a content plan for the next twelve months, but that's not creating content for the next twelve months. We do it differently because we believe you need to know what you're leading people to as much as possible, as far out as possible, as far out as twelve months. And we go into why this is in the Marketing Methodology Workshop. You can't do just ninety days and then come to the end of ninety days, and it's a big blank slate and a giant question mark. You need to know; you need to look at your year in advance and say, okay, I'm going to participate in this kind of event. I'm going to host this one. I'm going to do this. I'm going to be featured here to the extent that you know that.We need to know that stuff so we can map out what content leads up to that. Because if you don't know, then you're just creating content for the sake of creating content, and it's not going anywhere. So that is where we get into strategy and we help you maximize your marketing efforts so that you aren't burnt out at the end. So we invite you to join us again by going to encoreempire.com/marketing.