Marketing is the key ingredient to a successful business, especially online. Yet, it's one of the most overlooked aspects when deciding to start a business. You focus on WHAT you want to do now that you've quit your job and taken the leap. It's all about ideas and action and that first flurry of customers and clients – of people you KNOW.
But what happens when you run out of friends, friends of friends and all those networking events get you nowhere?
You'll suddenly realise the importance of marketing — the importance of reaching bigger audiences and having your message spread much wider than ever before. It plays a crucial role in creating consistent and reliable cash flow from leads and clients coming to you – rather than you chasing them!
When I first got into business, I overlooked the importance of marketing too. I thought, "I'm good at what I do, so everyone will want to work with me". I didn't realise that just talking to people about 'what I do' wasn't going to be sustainable in the long run. I didn't realise there's a whole lot of psychology around how you have to communicate your message so that they actually understand how it's helpful to them and why they should care, right now - not just a nice conversation with people who are never going to take action with you!
Yes, there comes a time when marketing becomes the critical factor to getting beyond the 'hobby' stage of business and entrepreneurship. The starting point is understanding WHAT marketing is.
Marketing is very different from sales. Marketing is the process of communicating your value to an audience. It's a way of communicating what problem(s) you solve, what desire(s) you satisfy and how you can help those you want to work with the most.
Marketing is everything you do BEFORE a sale.
The biggest mistake you'll make when you start marketing is falling into the ANNOUNCING trap. Announcing to the world what you do, who you are, and what you're selling. TELLING people what's good for them. Leading with how many awards you've won, your qualifications, and stating the price upfront. SELLING before providing any real, tangible value!
Marketing becomes exhausting when approached like this. It leads to the next big mistake… the "Spray & Pray" approach…
Make as much content and advertising material as you can, then throw it out on 'social media land' to see what sticks.
Picture a firehouse drowning people with irrelevant stuff they don't want.
There's already an overwhelming amount of marketing messages that we're bombarded with every day… it's time to make your message one of the goodies! A targeted message that gets the RIGHT people wanting to work with you – less hoping someone will buy from you, and more knowing people really do want your offer of value.
From my experience, effective marketing boils down to this simple 3 step approach:
"The Right Message, To The Right Person, At The Right Time
1. The Right Message
The key with this is it is the right message for THEM. Not you.
Ask yourself what they need to hear from you right now, not what you want to say to them. There's a profound difference to this!
The message must be focused on them, the potential client or customer. The message must be created FOR them, TO them, and ABOUT them. Not you.
The language you use in the marketing message is important. It must be the words they use, they understand, and with which they resonate. Too often, people use professional jargon or high-level concepts that instantly alienates the audience.
If you do solve complex problems for your clients – it can be challenging knowing what to 'lead' with when marketing. You can end up promoting a YAWN inducing message that either people have heard before – or is meaningless to their current problems!
That's why it's important to have a message that talks directly to an urgent problem they're looking to solve. Or an urgent desire they're seeking to satisfy. Urgency is key; your message must grab their attention because it's relevant to what's going on in their lives, right, now!
As Frank Kern says, there are only two things you will do when it comes to marketing – you'll either be speaking your message or writing your message. Learning how to craft compelling copy and researching the psychology of decision-making science is key to transforming an average message into a high-conversion one.
Getting the 'right message' takes research, testing, and perseverance to learn the nuances of influence and persuasion and how you can communicate your value in a way that encourages a direct response from THEM!
2. The Right Person
Getting the 'message right' depends ultimately on WHO will be consuming it, aka who you want to work with, who you can help the most! Defining your Lucrative Target Market (aka an existing market, already spending money, already seeking solutions) and constantly refining it over time as you get feedback and results is the best way to ensure your message is seen, heard, and desired by the right people.
When writing or speaking your message, it's important to remember who you are talking to. Getting clear on your Ideal Client allows you to always structure your message to them. In the language they use.
To do this, your Target Market Research needs to go beyond simple demographics. You must familiarise yourself with their fears, desires, wants, needs, problems, urgencies, anxieties, beliefs, values… and stories they tell themselves. Not only does this provide insight into what is going on in their world – it gives you fantastic insight into appropriate content to create FOR them. Tying your skills back to their problems and desires is critical.
Thorough Target Market Research will soon highlight where the 'gaps' are in existing solution providers offers – you will then start to see how you can craft your message to fill a gap in an already lucrative market place.
"But! Doesn't getting so clear, and specific, and targeted to just ONE
person's inner workings – exclude everyone else?"
Here's a way to explain why getting clear on your Ideal Client's inner workings doesn't restrict you to a tiny audience:
Picture a dartboard.
The bulls-eye is that ideal client you'd love to help. Say they have 10 problems and desires you can help them solve and satisfy through your offer. The next ring out is someone who has 8 of these problems.
The next ring out has only 6.
The next ring out has only 4.
And so on.
When you talk to the bulls-eye, you're automatically talking to everyone else. The difference is you're so clear on who you help and what they're seeking… you actually open the door to MORE people seeing your value. Simply because you know what they're looking for and how to communicate it to them!
Speaking their thoughts, feelings, stories, and challenges BACK TO THEM is a sure-fire way to skyrocket your like-know-trust factor. Something which untargeted, fire-house, "Spray & Pray" marketing will always struggle to achieve.
3. The Right Time
Out of these three steps –TIME – is the one thing you can’t control.
The right time for each person who sees your message is going to be different. Some will instantly want what you're offering because they have high urgency. Some will resonate with you and your message, but the time won't be right for them, but the more they see you and your message, they will know who to turn to when the time is right. Some will see your message and scroll right past it– but two months later, see it again, and suddenly it's the thing they need, right, now!
You can't control WHEN the time is right for anyone. That's why consistency is king in marketing. Consistency in the message you put out to the market place. Consistency in content being created and published out to your market place. Consistency in your desire to do what you do – and share it out to your audience!
Now consistency is not always an easy thing to achieve. It gets caught up in all sorts of time management challenges and resource restrictions – money, time, energy – as an entrepreneur or business owner, time is always of the essence. Still, it can also feel like you waste a lot of time on things that 'don’t work’.
This is why being clear on who you help and what they need to hear to take action with you is so important. It’s much easier to be consistent in a message when you KNOW what to say, write, create, and publish. It’s the not knowing that usually wastes so much time… and holds you back from greater success.
But mixed into the marketing challenge (and reality) is the fact that most people will NOT take action with you. When you look at the analytics, statistics, and numbers of online marketing, the percentages are usually lower than you’d expect – especially when you’re just starting out. Therefore, an aspect not often talked about when it comes to consistency is the RESILIENCE required to allow the results to improve over time. Especially if you’re doing organic marketing strategies. It will take time for you to gain confidence in your message and develop the marketing skills such as copywriting, video creation, and influence and persuasion before the ‘numbers’ will create that consistent cash flow you need.
That’s why surrounding yourself with people who can guide you, provide support, and aid in your skill development is key to ensuring results happen faster than you trying to do it all alone.
Putting it into action!
Now nobody gets all three steps perfectly right the first time. But you can use these three steps as the foundation of your marketing approach.
Come back to these three steps when you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the ‘to dos’ of marketing when you’re caught up in the intricacies of HOW to put a marketing campaign together technically. Or when you’re at a loss of what to communicate to your audience.
Marketing can seem so complicated. So daunting. So time-consuming. So go ahead and write them on a piece of paper and stick them on your wall. Then the next time you’re feeling at a loss of what to do – ask yourself one thing: “How Can I Get The Right Message, To The Right Person, At The Right Time?”
Use these three factors to help guide your decision-making process.