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The one thing I would tell you if you asked me what to do to grow your online business (or start one), would be to simplify your marketing.
There are so many different tactics you can do to market your business and the challenging thing is that most of tactics work. Even if they haven’t worked for you, you probably know someone who has had great success with a tactic you’ve tried and failed at.
And as always, I have zero judgment about this.
I simply see way too many people struggling trying to do everything at once. Or, they simply don’t allow enough time for things to gain any traction.
They try something or create something, put it out there or share it (a few times), and then move onto the next thing.
This is also why a lot of people don’t enjoy marketing.
The totally overcomplicate things.
I know this because I’ve done it too. There have also been things I’ve tried ONCE and then made a snap decision as to whether or not it really works.
Have you tried:
- content marketing
- email marketing
- paid traffic
- messenger marketing
- social media
- dm’ing people
- guest posting/jv offers
My guess is if you’ve tried any of these types of marketing you’ve had a little success with some of it (or maybe even some big success) or you probably wouldn’t still be running your business.
I want to dive into what this really looks like and hopefully you walk away with some clarity and a little bit of a plan.
Build your foundation first
This used to drive me crazy when I was doing client websites back in the day.
A lot of people came to me wanting a website for a business they weren’t really clear about.
They always had the “easy” stuff ready to go.
Some had logos, some didn’t. Often times they had these elaborate packages for their services created but had no idea the problem they solved for their customers.
Often these clients fell under the coaching and consulting umbrella. Sometimes they had people they had helped and sometimes they hadn’t (which is always a red flag: If you don’t know that you can provide a solution to a real problem you may just be throwing money down the drain with a website).
This was ALWAYS the missing piece.
Who you serve (beyond the generic ‘custom avatar’ exercises we’ve all done), the problem they have, and the solution you provide.
The reason they didn’t have this or the reason what they had was wrong is because it’s hard work.
I won’t go on a rant about “doing the work”, but if you don’t take the time to do it now you’re going to waste a lot of time getting it wrong. Again, I’m speaking from experience.
I’ve said this before, but Jodi and I spent six hours on a Zoom call on a Saturday getting this right for the Content Creators Planner. It was so incredibly powerful and provided us with a foundation for all our content and marketing.
I’m not a branding or messaging expert, so I don’t have an arsenal of tools or processes, but I can assure you that finding someone who can help you nail your messaging is worth every penny.
If you’re not in a position to hire someone, then do the work and learn how to get clear on this.
It’s not until after you’ve gotten clear here should you start jumping into having a website created.
*I get that most of you listening probably have a website, which is great. But take some time to look at your website through different eyes. Look through the lens of someone who wants to hire you.*
Figure out what you enjoy
The truth is I enjoy most of what I do.
And I’ve worked hard to figure that out (i.e., I’ve tried a lot of different things to get clear on what I enjoy doing most. You gain clarity through the doing).
My ultimate goal for marketing is to:
- write (I thoroughly enjoy writing content, emails, copy)
- pay for traffic
- live stream occasionally
That’s it for now.
I’ve thought about diving into YouTube and growing my channel, but it’s just not something I have the desire to do right now.
I used to do a lot of “how to” videos as The WPChick, but I don’t want to do those types of videos anymore (at least not regularly) and until I have a clear strategy as to the type of video content I would want to do consistently, it’s not happening.
That is a short list. And it’s intentional.
Will I mix other types of marketing into my efforts? Absolutely, but they’ll all be connected.
As an example, I also enjoy doing webinars, but for me to do a webinar it has to link to an offer or specific business objective.
I’ll be doing some webinars in 2021 to launch a group coaching program, but there will be a specific offer and the webinar will be connected to:
- paid traffic
- email follow up sequence
- coaching offer
Once the webinar is converting, then I’ll convert it to an on-demand webinar (so yes, it’s going to be a live webinar initially). There’s massive value in running things live: not only do you get to practice but the engagement and feedback are priceless.
One of my primary focuses in 2021 is going to be to grow my list with quality subscribers. Having grown the Content Creators Planner list the way we have it’s hard not to agree with the infamous saying that “the money is in the list.”
And I could NOT be more excited about how I’m going to do this.
The first is through my #FtheHustle Newsletter.
The last time I was this excited about a type of content was when I launched my podcast back in 2013!
And I truly believe it’s a huge opportunity.
Most people I’ve talked to are still associating the newsletter with old school marketing and the self-involved marketers of 10 years ago. “Enough about me, what do you think about me?”
I’m going to do a deep dive episode into newsletters: what I’m doing, how it’s working, and how I’m growing it (I’ll use both my newsletter and our Creativity Published newsletter as case studies).
Like I said earlier, I truly enjoy writing. Had I known how much fun I would have doing the newsletter I would have started it sooner (although I truly believe everything happens in divine timing, so no regrets).
With what I’ve mentioned above, that’s plenty.
I know it might sound like I’m doing a lot, but you’ll notice that with the exception of some new strategies for growing the newsletter, everything I’m doing I’ve been doing.
None of it is a new tactic.
AND… I’m not trying to launch them all at once.
Get something working and perfect it
More often than not, people market or sell something and they get less than what they were hoping for in terms of results.
Instead of looking at what did work, they make a broad decision that the entire process didn’t work. And they move on to the next thing they can launch.
Which creates a hugely vicious cycle of never getting anywhere.
How much better do you think you would be at email marketing if you simply focused on it for a year. You practiced it, you made offers, you measured which emails got higher open rates, which calls to action got the highest click through rates, etc?
Obviously this applies to any type of content or marketing strategy.
Are you willing to do it over and over and over again, measuring what worked, what didn’t, and seeing how you can improve on it?
Get the thing you already made working before you jump to the next idea. There is never a shortage of ideas for entrepreneurs… write the ideas down somewhere and get back to focusing.
Focus on assets you OWN.
I know I’m not the only person who is a little tired of social media.
I’m not leaving it, closing my accounts, or stopping all social activity. I know I could put a lot more energy into social media, but I simply don’t enjoy it the way I once did.
I will continue to share my content and engage, but at this point, I’d rather master paid traffic than social.
I am nowhere near even having a solid understanding of the nuances of paid traffic, but I’m really enjoying learning. Jodi and I were fortunate enough to get a great Facebook ad account rep (we qualified for a program they have where we got to work with her for 90 days… hoping to be able to continue) and it’s helped me immensely.
Having run a Facebook Group for 3+ years now I want to see a better return on my time with the group. Jodi and I are going to do a group “reboot” in the first quarter.
We’ll give it some time to get the traction we want but if we don’t see the return on our time (we’re not getting people on our email or customer list), then it’s time to evaluate if it’s worth keeping.
I’ve already decided I’m going to use Circle.so for my private groups, so everything will be moved to one place.
You should never be focused on growing your Facebook Group more than your email list. Or your social followings.
This isn’t about vanity metrics.
There are plenty of people who are killing it on Instagram sending direct messages for coaching programs. I don’t want to do that.
This is one of the reasons Jodi and I were adamant that our funnels and paid traffic happen on our site. I understand that not everyone has that technical skillset, so this isn’t about using one platform over the other.
Whatever tool or platform you use is great provided it’s done and you’re getting it out there.
But always, always, always, be driving people back to properties you own where you’re building assets.
Which is simple.
That means a website and email list you own.
That should always be your first priority.
Just to go back to my obsession with newsletters. Depending on your business, you could easily create a newsletter that becomes a salable asset.
Start with this
Before you get into any advanced tactics or marketing methods, make sure you have these few things in place:
- A consistent content schedule that you can maintain
- An email opt-in offer with a quality follow-up sequence
- ONE thing for sale so you can make the offer to the email subscribers who have given you their email address. This should be under $50 and be a clear solution to a problem they have.
Get THAT working before you jump into paid traffic, high-ticket courses, coaching, or services.
Wrapping things up…
I have no doubt that many people listening to this will already have some of these things in place.
Now is the perfect time to do a marketing assessment of your own business. We have an amazing marketing checkup on Content Creators Planner that you can go through, as well as the supporting Google sheets to measure everything.
Do yourself a favor as we wind down this insane year.
Pick a few things to focus on in 2021 and do them really, really well.
Take the time to figure out where you get the most leverage based on what you enjoy doing. In other words, where do you get the best return on the investment of your time?
It’s not hopping around trying every tactic possible.
Focus on mastery and consistency and I promise you, you’ll get results.