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The Key to Marketing Your Business Without Getting Overwhelmed

how-to-choose-the-right-marketing-strategy-and-avoid-overwhelm

I know I need to market myself, but I have no idea where to begin.

It was a late Tuesday morning in a coffee shop in Seattle. The air was filled with the smell of piping coffee and just-baked pastries and the sun was just peering in through the windows.

I sat at a table with five other boss ladies, each of us sipping coffee and talking about the struggles we were experiencing in our businesses and offering advice to each other.

One woman, an investment consultant, explained she was completely out of ideas. She knew her biz like the back of her hand, but even the idea of marketing herself exhausted her.

“The one thing I don’t know how to sell is myself,” she explained to the group of women surrounding her. Everyone nodded in agreement.

She’s not the only one. I’ve found many of the women I’ve talked to are overwhelmed with the idea of marketing themselves. With so many options – and more coming out seemingly every day – it’s difficult not to feel exasperated.

Step 1: Analyze Your Buyer Persona

Whether you’re starting a new business or looking for new ways to overhaul your current marketing strategy, the first step to choosing the right marketing strategy is taking a look at your buyer persona(s).

Your buyer persona is an example of your ideal client. They’re someone you’d drop everything to work with. You should know all the detailed ins and outs of your persona such as what they like, where they shop, and how they communicate with their favorite brands. 

The first step to crafting a persona is understanding who they are as an actual person. As you go through this process, you’re actually creating a fictitious person based on your ideal customer. You can read more about what you need to know about your persona here.

After you’ve identified your buyer persona(s), you should have a basic understanding of where they go to get more information about your specific industry. Are they avid Facebook users who use Facebook Groups to grow their business? Or do they prefer subscribing to industry magazines and newsfeeds?

This information will give you a basic concept of where you need to show up. If they’re hanging out in Facebook Groups, then you should block out time each week to be active and present on that platform.

Step 2: Review Your Options

Between modern digital marketing and traditional print marketing and advertising, there are so many options today to get your brand out in the world. But how do you know which one is the right avenue for your business?

The short answer: You try something, test it out, fail, try something else, and do it all over again until you find something that works.

I get it – constantly trying something new can be expensive and time-consuming. That’s why it’s crucial to review your options and narrow them down based on who your audience is and what your goals are.

To help you narrow down your options, here are brief explanations of many of the popular digital marketing channels today:

Content Marketing

Back in 2008, blogs started taking off as a popular method for individuals to keep a journal and build an online presence. However, in recent years, blogging has grown so much bigger than just as a way to record the food you ate today.

Companies have recently seen the value of utilizing blogs to share their stories and educate their audience on topics related to the services they offer.

Content marketing is a great way to:

  • Educate your audience on a complicated industry (i.e. investments, software, accounting, etc.)
  • Communicate the value of an underestimated service (i.e. graphic design, photography, event planning, etc.)
  • Build a personal brand (i.e. lifestyle bloggers, travelers, etc.)
  • …and so much more

Pros: Share your knowledge, become a thought leader in your space, get higher rankings on Google, increase organic traffic to site, build trust with your audience, high ROI

Cons: Long-term strategy (usually takes minimum 6 months to start seeing real results), competition (low-quality content will no longer suffice; biz content must have a real strategy to be successful).

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy which has recently exploded in popularity. HubSpot defines inbound marketing as:

Inbound marketing is focused on attracting customers through relevant and helpful content and adding value at every stage in your customer’s buying journey. With inbound marketing, potential customers find you through channels like blogs, search engines, and social media.

Hubspot

Inbound marketing cannot exist without content marketing. While nearly any business type can take advantage of it, it seems to work best for those who provide a business-to-business (B2B) service (i.e. graphic designers, photographers, event planners, SaaS companies, etc.).

Pros: Share your knowledge, take your potential clients through the entire customer journey, provide extra value, gain higher quality leads, build trust by proving your expertise

Cons: Long-term strategy, takes time and strategic planning to create effective inbound strategy

Influencer Marketing

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to have your product in front of tens of thousands of people who fit perfectly within your ideal market? With influencer marketing, you can do just that.

Influencer marketing means partnering with macro (100K+ followers or subscribers) and micro (10K-100K followers or subscribers) influencers by sponsoring a post on their social media feed. While the details of how this works specifically vary with each product category and influencer, it usually involves paying someone to talk about your product on their social media page.

This marketing strategy is a good way to:

  • Target a specific niche (i.e. women looking to remodel their home, men interested in updating their wardrobe, etc.)
  • Get people talking about your brand (i.e. increasing engagement through comments on Instagram posts, etc.)
  • Increase the number of reviews on your product (i.e. working with bloggers to let them try the product and leave a review, etc.)

Pros: Get in front of your ideal clients, use someone else’s voice to share your story, build trust through sponsored posts

Cons: Engagement and ROI may be a hit-or-miss; make sure you do your research and find influencers who fit your niche, share your values, and have high engagement (the number of followers is not all that matters!).

Email Marketing

Let me ask you a question: how many unopened newsletters do you have sitting in your inbox right now?

If you’re anything like me, you may have a quite a few sitting in your “Promotions” tab on your Gmail, waiting to be opened like a room full of full-grown adults raising their hands and saying “look at me! This is what I have to say and it’s super important!”

For this reason, it’s easy to assume that email marketing is a dead art. But that’s just because so many people are doing it wrong.

In the past, many businesses believed that because they had access to someone’s email, they had the right to spam them with as many salesletters as they wanted. Many businesses still believe in this model (hello – I never signed up for Investor News Daily!).

What I love about email marketing is that, when done correctly, it can actually be a valuable tool to:

  • Have personalized one-on-one conversations with potential clients
  • Educate and engage your audience with valuable information (it’s a newsletter, not a salesletter)

Pros: Unlike social media, you fully “own” your audience (if Instagram dies, where do you think your followers will go?), you can design it to work with your own brand voice and style, and you can have one-on-one conversations with potential clients.

Cons: When it’s not done correctly, it can feel very “spammy” and “salesy”. So, just do it right.

Video Marketing

As a form of content marketing, video is all the rage – at least, for now. Just wait until augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) hit the mass market stage. 

As attention spans get shorter and more people compete for it, things like these long-ass blog posts (my baddd!) are harder to compete with. Speaking of which, I’m asking you to dedicate around 10 minutes of your time to reading this. If you’ve made it this far, kudos to you!

Video marketing has become more popular because it’s easier to multitask with and, when done correctly, can hold people’s attention a little bit longer. Because it’s a form of content marketing, many of the same benefits apply. In other words, it’s great for:

  • Educating your audience on a complicated industry (i.e. investments, software, accounting, etc.)
  • Communicating the value of an underestimated service (i.e. graphic design, photography, event planning, etc.)
  • Building a personal brand (i.e. lifestyle bloggers, travelers, etc.)
  • …and so much more

Video marketing has similar pros and cons to content marketing, as well. 

Pros: Share your knowledge, become a thought leader in your space, get higher rankings on Google, increase organic traffic to site, build trust with your audience, high ROI

Cons: Long-term strategy (usually takes minimum 6 months to start seeing real results), competition (low-quality content will no longer suffice; biz content must have a real strategy to be successful).

Social Media (Organic)

Ahh…social media: the world of people so perfect it’s hard to imagine the real world still exists. While social media has gotten a bad rap as of late, it’s actually transformed the world of digital marketing.

Within the realm of social media, there are so many individual platforms to choose from. The key to avoiding overwhelm here is to choose between 1-3 to start out on and focus on doing those really well. As a reminder, the platforms you choose should correlate with where your persona is hanging out.

No matter which channel(s) you choose, social media is a great way to:

  • Stay top of mind by being present where your ideal customers are hanging out
  • Spread your brand voice consistently per each platform
  • Share content and build trust by showing off your personality and resonating with your customers
  • Engage with your ideal clients and learn more about their unique struggles to improve your services and add value

Pros: Totally free to create accounts and share content organically, engage with your ideal clients both one-on-one and on a mass scale, find and target specific niches

Cons: Takes a long time to grow most channels organically, can be draining and time-consuming when doing it all yourself, requires consistency and high-quality content to stand out

Digital Advertising (Social Media & Search Engine)

In case you haven’t noticed, all of the options I covered so far are free and organic. However, you can speed up growth of any of these through paid advertising on social media and search engines (i.e. Google and Bing ads).

When creating an ad, it’s best to create a specific call-to-action based on a specific goal. Do you want more people to sign up to your newsletter? Or schedule a consultation with you? For best results, find a call-to-action that relates to the specific stage in your client’s buyer’s journey.

Paid digital advertisements are great because they often have higher ROI and are much easier to measure results through analytics tools. Specifically, they’re great for:

  • Getting in front of an ultra-specific audience (i.e. 27 year-old Seattle-based dog lovers who go to the park every other weekend? Done.)
  • Growing your audience quicker (organic growth is often much slower to build than paid)

Pros: Share your content with the right audience, increase the number of leads and/or brand awareness, spread your story faster, can measure results and prove ROI

Cons: Costs money up-front without guaranteed results, can come off too pushy if not done correctly

Other Marketing Channels

Because I don’t want this blog to be 50,000 words long, I don’t have quite enough time to cover all the various channels that are out there. However, there’s much more to consider including:

  • Hosting/sponsoring events
  • Hosting a webinar
  • Doing a live video series
  • Direct marketing
  • Facebook Groups (creating one vs. engaging in them daily)
  • Print marketing (magazine ads, sponsored articles, etc.)
  • Guest posting on blogs
  • …and so much more

Before making your final decisions, review all your options and consider which ones fit best with your persona. Remember that you can always change your strategy if you find one isn’t working well for you. That’s where the testing portion comes in!

Step 3: Start Small and Test

Now that you have a good idea of your buyer persona and each digital marketing channel, go through the list and write down any that appeal to you and your end goals.

Depending on how brave you’re feeling, you may have most of them written down. Now, review each one and ask yourself:

  • Does this fit within my brand?
  • Do I have enough content to promote this way?
  • Can I dedicate enough time to testing and making changes to this?
  • Is this something my persona has time/interest in consuming?
  • Where does this fit along the buyer journey?

Now, choose one platform that you’re the most excited about. Start jotting down ideas about how you can utilize it to get in front of your audience. Then, just get started!

During the testing phase, don’t be afraid to try things and fail. While you’re testing things, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Create ideal and consistent timelines for testing (at least a week, but the more data you can get, the better – some things require longer, like content marketing)
  • Keep track of every change you make and the difference it makes in how it helps you achieve your goals
  • Make sure you have one clear goal per campaign and come up with a clear call-to-action that correlates directly to your goal

Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Keep your target audience in mind and you can’t go wrong.

That’s it! Once you find something that works well for you, keep note of it in your marketing strategy and turn to that every time you need a boost.

Keeping track of everything you try and the results you get in return will help you make smarter and more educated decisions down the line, therefore increasing the chances of getting great results.

Still not sure which marketing strategy is right for you? Schedule a free consultation with me and we’ll go over your goals, your current strategies, and find ways to make you stand out and connect with your customers. 2 Likes

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