“I really need to make a website! But I’m just so busy already!”
“We’ve barely even tapped into Instagram and we’re leaving SO much money on the table!”
“I should be posting more on LinkedIn.”
“We really need to be publishing regular blogs, and sending out a weekly newsletter, and holding webinars!”
“We’re not on TikTok and we’re totally missing out.”
Do you feel like you’re NEVER DOING ENOUGH when it comes to marketing your business? This is for you.
If you feel pulled in 17 different directions and overwhelmed by all the ways you could focus your marketing efforts, this is for you.
If online marketing seems like a frantic race that you’re always losing, this is for you.
“Let’s Do ALL The Marketing!”
This is the one thing I see again and again, from both newbie business owners and seasoned marketing managers:
A lack of clarity on where the ever-loving-fuck they are supposed to be focusing their marketing efforts.
Lead magnets? Whitepapers? Ebooks? Email marketing? Blog posts? Facebook ads? TikTok? Instagram?
There are SO many different ways you can focus your marketing efforts. It’s really common to feel overwhelmed by all the choices – even if you’re already a successful brand.
There’s a lot of reasons why you might feel this way.
- You feel an unending pressure to keep up with the hottest trends (and there’s always something new and shiny you should get started on.)
- You feel like your business must always be scaling, growing, expanding…more more more more MORE!
- You get FOMO when you think about all the marketing strategies you’re NOT using.
- Someone told you that you SHOULD focus your marketing efforts on a certain thing and you feel like an idiot if you say no.
- It’s much easier to imagine success with a shiny new idea, than to actually make it happen. In the fantasy version of your life, you’re killing it on every channel simultaneously. In reality, not so much.
If this feels familiar, keep reading. I’m going to show you why you’re not alone in this feeling. Plus, I’ll give you some clarity on what will actually help you focus your marketing efforts and show up more effectively.
Here Are Some Honest Truths
You Can’t Do It All
Hey there, fellow tired, over-caffeinated mortal. 👋
You only have a finite amount of time, energy and resources every day.
I know, it sucks. Because our imaginations are boundless. BUT the sooner we accept this, the sooner we will stop ourselves from hurtling towards burnout.
Repeat After Me:
I CAN’T use every single marketing channel at the same time, or execute on every marketing idea I have. And I SHOULDN’T attempt it.
If you try to do too much, you’ll never have the time, mental bandwidth and resources to get really deep insights and powerful long-term results from any channel.
Instead, you’ll be vastly more successful if you do ONE THING WELL, consistently, over time – rather than trying to do 5 things and half-assing all of them.
Marketing Tools Are A Product
Remember – every social media network and marketing tool is trying to sell you their product. They want you to use their thing to sell your stuff.
So, of course they are going to tell you that you’re missing out if you don’t.
Do you feel like this ONE marketing tool is the answer to all your problems? Are you telling yourself it’s the magic thing that is finally going to turn your marketing efforts from an ineffective slog to a money-making machine?
If so, it’s worth asking yourself if that’s really the case, or if that’s just what their copywriter wants you to think. 😉
That marketing platform or tool might be wonderful and useful, but you need to figure out what your needs are before you can decide if it’s best for you.
Be Wary of Should-ing Yourself to Death
Do you feel pressure because you think you “should” focus your marketing efforts on a certain thing?
You can be successful without a LinkedIn Page, or without a website, or without an Upwork Profile, or without email marketing. None of these are REQUIRED, if they aren’t the right fit for your business.
I have a friend whose business is coaching people through the big complicated, scary process of moving abroad and getting set up in another country. (And she’s amazing at it!)
She recently told me she thought she really “should” have a website, because her name doesn’t come up on Google when you search “move abroad coach.”
“But,” I asked, “Are your potential customers really Googling ‘move abroad coach’? I mean, do they even know there’s such a thing as a move abroad coach?”
Her potential customers are looking for answers to their pressing questions about moving abroad, but they may not know a dedicated service to help with it exists – so they don’t necessarily think to search for it.
Instead, she gets plenty of qualified leads from creating fun and engaging social media content (Facebook Posts and Instagram Reels) that answer some of the most common fears and worries her target audience has, such as:
- What if I move abroad and I can’t find a job?
- How much money do I need to save up?
- What if I go to another country and I hate it?
- What about leaving my friends behind when I move?
This content brings in a steady stream of leads, because it attracts people who want answers to those specific pain points and fears. Those prospects then find out about her program and realise that a Move Abroad Coach can help them make their international transition more easily.
Does she really need to focus her marketing efforts into creating a website that ranks for the keyword of “move abroad coach” – when her audience doesn’t even know yet that a move abroad coach is the answer to their problems?
(This is all about determining the State of Awareness of your customer, which is something I’ll be covering a lot in future blog posts – so stay tuned!)
Be Honest: Is This An Excuse to Procrastinate?
Okay, this is a tough one because it might stir up some feelings that you’d rather ignore.
But, is it possible that all your nail-biting about which platform or channel to use is really just a way to procrastinate on the big scary job of actually doing the marketing itself?
This may not be relevant for you if you’re a marketing professional and you’re promoting someone else’s products or services. In that case, it’s just business for you and there’s rarely any emotional baggage.
But if you’re a solo entrepreneur or a small business owner, putting yourself OUT THERE by marketing your services can give you serious stomach-churning stage-fright butterflies.
What if you fail? What if your business idea actually sucks? If you don’t make any sales, then what? Do people hate your content? Is everyone going to laugh at you? What if you make a gigantic buffoon of yourself?
How dare you put an offer of value into the world and demand payment for it?
Maybe you should just get a “normal person job” where you spend 40 hours per week funnelling all your creative energy into making your boss look good…
Who do you think you are?
WAIT! No? Okay, okay, okay, so you really WANT to do this.
You’re just scared.
Marketing yourself is some scary and uncomfortable shit!
Just be aware that when you’re obsessing over choosing the “perfect” way to do something it can be a way to postpone actually having to DO it.
(And keep reading, because with the strategy below you’ll be waaaay less afraid of making a fool of yourself.)
The Marketing Tool, Channel or Platform You Use Isn’t The Most Important Thing
Here’s the truth.
It doesn’t actually matter that much which marketing tool you use to get your message out there.
Instead, these are the three most important things that will make the biggest impact on your success over time:
Think clearly. Give generously. Show up consistently.
That’s it. It’s that simple.
Whether you’re on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, this is how you get results. Whether you have a blog or a podcast or a youtube channel or a hand-written zine that you mail out to your followers every month, this is how you focus your marketing efforts and build a presence.
Let’s look at these three things in a bit more detail.
1. Think clearly.
Marketing isn’t just putting words about your product on a page.
It requires persuasive strategy. It involves thinking about who your target reader is, what they want and why they should care about what you’re offering them.
I’ve seen so many brands fill a content calendar to the brim with “marketing copy.” Yet, if I picked one of those posts or articles at random and asked them what question it answers for the customer, or what pain point it’s touching on – they’d draw a blank.
And that’s because it’s easy to fill pages and pages with stuff you already know about your product. You created the thing and you love it, so you can go on and on about the features and what it means to you.
It’s a lot harder to put yourself in the shoes of the customer and tell a story from their perspective, one that aligns with their struggles and their successes
It’s easy just to guess about what to say, it’s a lot harder to research and find out first-hand what people think and what information they need to make a decision.
One strategic, clearly-thought-out piece of marketing can easily out-perform ten pieces of slapped-together, throw-it-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks marketing.
That’s why the Research Stage and the Strategy Stage are the first two steps of the Conversion Copywriting Process. You must consider how your product solves a need for the customer and what they were thinking before they decided to seek it out. Otherwise, you’ll simply be guessing at what the audience might respond to.
2. Give generously.
You’ll get amazing results if you design your marketing efforts around the goal of giving as much value to your audience as humanly possible.
In fact, there’s NO amount of value you can give in your marketing that will be too much.
Be helpful to your target audience. Share your knowledge open-heartedly with no conditions or expectation of return. You’re the expert in your niche, so give away information freely on how they can overcome the challenges associated with the problem your product is solving.
Plus, you’ll tap into the natural tendency of human beings for reciprocity, trust and loyalty. When you are consistently generous and helpful, this makes people want to help you in return and they’ll be more likely to sing your praises and recommend you to others.
A great marketing exercise that I learned from John Bellingham of Proven Flows is to brainstorm a list of 100 different questions your ideal customer might ask about the problem your product or service solves.
It doesn’t take too long, and you can use tools like AnswerThePublic to help you brainstorm these questions.
Then, get started creating content that answers those questions!
This exercise eliminates the problem of not knowing what type of content to create, and it helps you stay focused on being as helpful as possible.
You don’t need to worry about holding back your “best stuff” behind a paywall.
Yes, some people will just consume your content for free and will never buy from you. That’s perfectly fine, because that content will also attract people who will WANT to pay you for more, no matter how much you give away.
Paradoxically, people become MORE interested in signing up for the paid stuff when the wisdom you share for free is abundant. They assume that what paid customers are getting is even better than the solid gold you’re already sharing with them.
3. Show up consistently.
And thirdly, the other secret ingredient is consistency. You need to choose something that allows you to show up again and again, over a long period of time.
It’s the only way you’ll be able to build up a solid, memorable, sustained online presence. The Rule of 7 (the idea that the customer has to see you at least 7 times before they make a purchase) is one of the oldest marketing maxims in the book – because it’s true.
Most people won’t buy from you the first time they see your stuff, but if you’re consistently on their radar, you’ll be the name that pops into their head when they need help with the particular thing you offer.
This can be one of the hardest of the three! It takes patience, hard-work and stick-to-it-ness to build up a consistent marketing effort.
But it’s so important. Irregular, spotty marketing actually harms your brand more than helps it. I’ve seen so many businesses throw piles of money and effort into one marketing channel for a month or two, only to give up on it when they don’t start seeing immediate massive rewards.
The result is a blog with the eerie liminal-space energy of an abandoned mall, or a dormant Instagram account where the most recent post was a Covid lockdown meme.
And that kinda thing just makes you look worse – like you don’t follow through on what you start.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with changing your mind. Often, however, this happens when the strategy wasn’t carefully thought out beforehand. (More on that below.)
It can also happen when you try to do too much at once and it becomes impossible to sustain. Slow and steady wins the race, baby! Consistency wins over volume, every time.
Let The Above Three Points Help You Focus Your Marketing Efforts
Now take a deep breath.
I hope I’ve helped to relieve some of the pressure and FOMO about doing 15,395 different types of marketing campaigns in order to keep up.
It’s really much simpler than that.
It’s the clarity of your thought, the amount of value you give and the consistency of your presence that will really move the needle.
So, with this in mind: Think about what that looks like for you and your business.
If you’re doing the marketing yourself – how are you best at expressing yourself? What medium will allow you to be as consistent and helpful as possible?
If you’re hiring someone to help – what is their area of expertise? How can you work with them in a sustainable way?
THEN, you can choose the method of delivering your message that will allow you to best live up to those three goals.
Here’s an Example:
Sally feels a lot of pressure to join TikTok to promote her business because TikTok is hot and trendy right now, but she has NO experience making video content and feels awkward in front of a camera. She’s really great, however, at writing.
So, instead, Sally gets to work building an email list where she sends helpful, relevant and engaging content to her target audience. She’s able to show up strategically and consistently and offer value (without having to do any goofy little dances.)
Meanwhile, Carson knows he’s not a great writer, but he’s very funny and confident in front of a camera. So, he decides to focus his marketing efforts in another way. He starts a TikTok channel where he shows up strategically and consistently and offers value (without having to have perfect grammar or spelling.)
If Carson felt like he was supposed to write emails and Sally felt like she was supposed to have a TikTok channel, they would both be struggling with their marketing, creating sub-par content and hating every minute of it.
And that’s NOT what we want, is it?
Now, It’s Time To Get Started
You know the saying, “the best gym for you is the one you ACTUALLY GO TO”?
Well, the best marketing strategy is the one you ACTUALLY EXECUTE.
Taking action wins over endless deliberation every time.
I hope this helped you to see that your path to creating long-term, sustainable, effective marketing has less to do with the tools you use to deliver the message – and more to do with your commitment to thinking about your customers, giving them value and showing up for them over the long term.
You’ve got this!