When a Marketer Fails

“What happened to your blog?”

This is a question I’ve heard three times in the past two weeks. The latest was from someone I couldn’t shrug off: my business coach.

“Well you know, I’ve been busy,” I said, letting my words trail off. She was silent. That excuse wasn’t going to fly.

I could give 10,000 reasons why I’ve stopped marketing my agency over the last six weeks. I’ve been busy, I was traveling, I’m getting leads though referrals and relationships, I had no idea if any of it was working anyway — you get the picture.

This is a common theme among entrepreneurs and small and mid-sized businesses. Marketing is a tough thing to keep consistent. Because what happens when marketing is consistent? You get clients and when you get clients, you might be too busy to actually market your business. Which is fine, until those client contracts end and then you are right back at square one.

At least, that’s the case with me.

You would think I would know better. I am a marketer. I love marketing. I read about it, write about it, study it, obsess over it and talk about it all freaking day. I live in marketing.

I realized that I had failed myself as a marketer. I had failed my business. But luckily, that's not the end of the story.

I wanted to use myself as an example as to why marketing is so important and, also, why it is so darn difficult. 

My coach and I had a long discussion about why I wasn’t marketing my business. We talked about how important client work is and how I needed to value that but how I was doing a disservice by not taking care of my own business. If I didn’t take care of my own business, I would never be able to take care of my clients. Who wants to work with someone who is so scattered because they are always frantically trying to sign their next client? No one. 

This is really the ongoing lesson for myself and so many business owners: you have to always be marketing yourself. You have to work ON your business just as much as you work IN your business. 

This isn’t always easy. I don’t see the time spent on my marketing translating into dollars like I do when I work on clients. I can’t always see what’s happening on the other side of the screen when I’m writing blogs, pitching articles or connecting with leads and referrals. I can’t always guarantee money is going to come in from those efforts. 

But I know that money can come from those efforts. I know that clients can and do find you when you put the work in. It’s my job to know this, to trust this, to improve my skills every day at this and it’s my job to show these results to clients. 

That’s why I decided to use my business as an example to what you can accomplish and buckle down with marketing.

After talking to my coach, I sat down and wrote myself a marketing plan. I broke down the stages I was in, wrote myself strategies and tactics, called my assistant and told her that we had work to do.

And I’m going to be sharing it all here because I thought the best way to hold myself accountable was to make myself into a client and prove my results every step of the way.

If you are a marketing nerd or if you want to improve your own marketing and take a look at how someone who specializes in handles hers, I’d love for you to follow along over the next few weeks.

We’ll start on Tuesday and every week I’ll post two updates. The blogs will share how I broke up my marketing, the actions I’m taking, the results I’m seeing and what types of changes I’m making over the next 60-90 days. 

My goal is that in the end, you get some ideas about how to understand what your marketing needs, what types of marketing you can do for your business, how to measure your results and just how effective marketing can be for your business.

Also, I hope this helps me stay consistent and accountable to one of my most important clients: my own business. 

Because in the words of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Success isn't always about greatness. It's about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.”

How Your Customers Can Do Your Marketing For You (and I’m not talking about referrals)

I always tell people that if you want more customers, you should pay attention to your current customers. Not only will taking fantastic care of your customers bring you referrals and testimonials but it will make your marketing easier. 

 

You have marketing gold at your fingertips in your customers. Your customers can help you create marketing campaigns, write your marketing copy, your ads and much more. 

 

And it’s really, really simple:  You listen to your customers.

 

Most of us fall into the trap of talking like the professionals we are. I use marketing speak all of the time. I can’t help it. I live in marketing world and I study up on conversion rates, lead generators, engagement and ROI. However, my clients don’t. You know what my clients want? They want to stop feeling so frustrated by their marketing. They want to stop wondering if their marketing is working at all.  I know that now because I started listening to them. But in the beginning I was going on and on about engagement and branding and positioning and email followers and I couldn’t figure out why I’d get blank looks in sales meetings. 

 

You have to speak your customers language. Pay attention to what they are saying and how they say it. Market research can come be really handy in this. Send a short survey to your current clients asking them about what their biggest struggle in your niche is or why exactly they like working with you. 

 

You will probably learn more than you realize. Because most of us know what our clients need but we need to give them what they want. 

 

For example, my clients really did need to increase their engagement, reposition their message and grow their email lists. However, what they wanted was to feel like their marketing was working and wasn’t so scattered. 

 

I know that giving them what they need will get them what they want.

So I market what they want and deliver what they need.

 

Ok, that sentence was even a little confusing for me. 

But let’s look at some more examples:

 

An accountant knows his clients need savvy financial guidance that will help them make sound decisions that will decrease risk and increase ROI.

Their clients wants to feel secure that his finances are taken care of and that he has a trusted expert who understands him and his personal situation.

 

A dating coach who knows his clients need fulfilling relationship.

His clients just want to have fun and feel confident dating.

 

An IT consultant who knows her clients need to revamp processes and redesign the way they work.

Her clients just want their projects to get completed on time and under budget.

 

Do you see the difference? Speak in your clients language and really figure out what it is what they want. Again, the best way to do this is to do market research and to always be listening to your clients. Whenever I’m on a phone with a client, I take notes and I pay attention to the questions they ask or the way they phrase things. Then I take it and make sure my website, my sales pages, my social media pages and my blogs (like this one!) match up with how my clients talk.

 

Using your clients language can be the differentiator between people saying “Oh that’s just another service provider” and “Yes, that is exactly what I need!”

 

Do you need help with your marketing? Want to figure out your message and how to actually stand out so you can stop wasting time and money on marketing that doesn't work? Schedule a Mini Marketing Plan Session with me! In 30 minutes, you and I will figure out what's missing from your marketing!