We work with clients in dozens of industries and have noticed some commonalities over the years regarding their in-house marketing approaches. Business owners tend to make marketing more complex than it needs to be. Here are common ways marketing strategies can get off-course.
You’re not clear about who your core customer really is
Or, alternatively, you’re trying to be everything to everyone. Both problems have the common thread of confusion. Confused customers don’t buy. They hesitate thinking “is this really for me?”
When you aren’t clear about who your core customer really is, it might mean you just haven’t looked at your analytics very closely.
You might find out that you’re selling to an older demographic than what you’re targeting…Or you might be trying to sell to a local market when your core customer is based elsewhere.
By creating marketing collateral to target the people who are actually buying, your sales might blow up! On the other hand, if you’re trying to be everything to everyone, you may find it resonates with no one. Sales happen most easily when a potential customer reads your copy or sees your imagery and thinks “Oh man! That’s totally me! They really get me.”
Think of the dating profile that reads something like “I like great food, a nice glass of wine, and long walks on the beach.” While sure, those things may be true, they don’t reveal anything specific about YOU. Similarly, if your product or service has a generic message, you’ll get lost in a sea of similar but not-special offers.
Get clear on your core customers and what they really want from you. Get specific. That’s when it gets good!
You’re worried you’re doing too much outreach
We don’t hear this often, but we have come across one or two business leaders and teams recently that seem to have the philosophy of avoidance, even when it comes to their existing or potential customers.
If you’re worried about bugging people or coming off as pushy, take a deep breath and know the average customer-engagement touchpoint count, prior to conversion, is 8. That’s right, you need to get in front of them an average of 8 times before they react.
So, if you’re reposting information thinking, “Well, I’ve posted about this offer/product/service already, and I don’t want to be annoying,” rethink that. Push worries out of your head and post your information with confidence!
Your client can always opt out if it’s not for them by simply unfollowing your social media posts or unsubscribing to your emails. Typically, an interested customer will merely ignore repetitive messaging when not interested but will remain subscribed. Fear can’t drive your marketing strategies.
Conversely, your product or service can only benefit customers if they know about it.
Sharp Innovations can automate your email marketing campaigns through Sharper Edge; that’s one less task you’ll need to worry about.
You aren’t repurposing your content
At Sharp Innovations, we come across clients that have expansive sales and marketing assets but once they have been used for their initial purpose, they are shelved and often forgotten. Specifically, those assets include white papers, sales sheets, billboard graphics, product photoshoots, website content such as blogs and page messaging.
To get the greatest return on the time and money you spent to create content, take 10 minutes and jot down a content journey plan to get all you can out of it.
Ask yourself: How long will this content be relevant to my business or the service that we are offering? Then, maximize that content by hitting the road hard and:
- Send it out to your email list,
- Write companion blog articles.
- Take it to social media and do an Instagram Story, Facebook post, or Pinterest board surrounding it.
- Post about it on Facebook community groups. (Posting to your own page is great, but you’re not going to attract much attention preaching to the converted).
- Find people on Quora asking related questions and share your knowledge and expertise, linking back to your relevant piece of content that helps bolster your answer.
When posting content to social media, make it engaging! Ask questions and ask customers to share their thoughts on your service or product use. All these little efforts help squeeze the most value from the efforts you invested.
Your marketing is consistently inconsistent
You are better off doing one or two things on a consistent basis than trying the “shotgun approach” of doing a bunch of things and seeing what works. Marketing is often a slow, compounding buildup. We see a lot of companies that want to try everything and “see what sticks.” That’s simply the wrong approach. Pick two things you know you can perform consistently. Schedule in 6th-month plans and follow your plan to success.
Pro-tip: Define what you want from the campaign: awareness, more customers, or more sales, etc. Write down from the start how you will judge success so that you have that metric to measure success. Entrepreneurs and business owners commonly have a fluidity to their expectations, but without predefining your goals, it’s easy to misjudge your successes and failures.
It’s hard to tell what’s working and what’s not unless you take the same marketing actions consistently.
Try not to “bite off more than you can chew.” Figure out your minimum, consistent marketing actions. Then, once those are dialed in, expand your efforts.
You can gain marketing prowess in the same way you gain other skills. For instance, if you want to get better at drawing, every day pick up a pencil and piece of paper and doodle. You’ll notice a massive difference in your drawing quality within six months.
You’re not speaking to your customer with them in mind
Your many years of experience working within your business gives you insight and vernacular that may hold a lot of meaning to you and others in your industry. But, that insight and industry-speak may be a roadblock to answering the questions asked by novice, yet potential, customers or clients.
It’s more powerful to write and speak in a way that your potential customer understands. That means plain and jargon-free. Clear and concise. Skip the clever phrases that force your customer to think too hard. Use the words and phrases they would use to describe what they’re looking for. That is the magic to making marketing and selling much easier on you and your team.
You’re talking about features, but not talking about benefits
Many businesses spend too much time talking about the features of their product or service instead of the benefits. Furthermore, you need to reveal how those features are beneficial to your customer.
Here are a few examples: Roofing
Feature: We utilize top-of-the-line roofing systems that are backed by a 20-year warranty.
Benefit: Replacing your roof with our system will help keep your family safe and secure in hail, sleet, and snow for decades, as well as reduce potential costly damage to the core structure of your home or business.
You’re “aiming for perfect”
It’s easy to get stuck in a pattern of wanting content to be perfect before putting it out into the world. But when you’re a business owner, you might not have the team or the budget or the time to execute super high-level marketing campaigns. Don’t convince yourself that if each marketing effort isn’t done perfectly, you’ll be doomed to mediocracy forever.
It takes industry leaders years and tens of thousands of dollars, and likely many mistakes (or “lessons learned”) to get where they are. You can’t expect to be there overnight. Don’t get into “compare and despair” mode.
If there’s something that “must be perfect,” find a trusted expert. You’ll save your sanity and get it done right. The only way we get clarity is by taking action. Start by getting clear on what’s most important for you to pay a professional to help you with, and what you can bootstrap yourself. You will grow and prosper moving forward.