Updated: May 24
We’ve worked for and run Marketing Agencies for the past 20 years and there is, without doubt, one common theme with all businesses struggling to get marketing right.
They haven’t got a handle on the basics.
Clients come to us regularly for help with requests to improve their social media content, enhance their Google ranking, build them a new website or design them a brochure - many after having had poor experiences in the past or having beliefs that ‘channel A doesn’t work’.
Our response was always to go back a step and ask four simple questions:
Who is your ideal customer?
What makes your product or service special?
Where are your customers when they make their buying decisions?
What do you say to them to make them take action?
If you look at those questions and don’t have confident, robust answers, pause you PPC campaign, turn off the Facebook Ads and don’t post again on social media until you’ve read the rest of this article.
Make Marketing Simple
Marketing is not as complicated as you might think. If you’re a business owner you a senior leader, you’re likely already comfortable with talking to people and telling them about how amazing your business is. Marketing is simple doing that on a larger scale.
Too many people get bogged down with tactics early on. They have an understanding of the channels available to them and believe that if they cast a wide enough net, they’ll catch some fish. The truth is, that by jumping from channel to channel or not refining your message, you’re appealing to no one.
So forget the tactics. Ignore the list of marketing tick boxes. Turn off the message from gurus on how to 10x your business from Instagram and focus on answering those simple questions above. When you aren’t focussing on all the channels you could be using, you will be able to build a customer-first plan that focuses entirely on getting your message out to the right people, not just yelling into a void.
What makes you special?
Finding a Unique Selling Point can be hard, but finding the unique combination of fantastic things that make you and your business special is absolutely the first thing you need to do. Take time to consider what it is that got you to this point. What do your current customers love about you? If you’re not sure, ask them! Remember, what you think is special, might not actually be the thing that your customers really value, so it’s vital that you really get to know what it is they appreciate from your business.
This process can be cyclical, you may need to get to know your customer more, in order to refine what makes you special, or especially how you market it.
Talk to the Right People (and only those people)
Who is that ideal customer that buys from you over and over again? They recommend you, they spend more than others - if you have 10 times more of them, you’d be over the moon. Once you have a handle on that person - and if you’re struggling, check out our free Think Like Your Customer eBook - you’ll start to pull all your marketing into focus.
Once you have that ideal customer in your mind, you have to forget about everyone else. That’s one of the hardest things to do. You will tell yourself, ‘But this other person could really benefit from my product’ or ‘I’m not sure there are enough of my ideal customers out there’, and of course, you must do your research to ensure the market is large enough to support you, but in our experience event the tightest niches are viable with the right product, service or marketing.
So ignore the ‘possible customers’ and double down on the Ideal Customers. Make everything you say and do, every product and service you deliver geared directly towards serving them and solving their problems or meeting their needs and desires.
Once you have an understanding of who your ideal customer is, you won’t need to waste time talking in each and every channel, you can focus on the places they hang out and make their purchasing decisions.
Know Your Goal
You wouldn’t start running a race if you had no idea where the finish line is. So don’t start a marketing campaign without understanding what you want to achieve. We’re not talking about where you want to be 20 years from now or finalising your exit strategy, we’re talking about setting micro-goals and mini successes that you can achieve and measure.
Tony Robbins always says, people massively overestimate what they can do in one year and always underestimate what can be achieved in 10 years. So break down those goals and think about what you want to achieve. If you need 1,000 sales per month, you need 250 per week, which you can work back to the number of leads you’ll need to convert that many people.
Once you know where you’re trying to get to, then you can start cracking on with marketing.
What do you say to them?
Once you know who you’re talking to, where they’re hanging out and what you want them to do, you need to figure out what to say to them to make them do what you want.
Your goal in everything you do is for your customer to take action. To purchase, to refer, to engage, whatever your goal is. So your content needs to reflect that. This doesn’t mean selling all the time, but you should have a goal for everything you do. If your post is informative, ask a question and try to get engagement. If you are offering something free, perhaps your goal is an email sign up. Of course, if it’s a sales page on your website, you want that sale.
But in order to get that right, you need to talk about things your ideal customer cares about and that you are an expert in. What we call your Subjects of Influence. This is the perfect combination of your knowledge, ability and customers’ interest. These are things that will engage, interest and ultimately cause them to take action.
Then Comes the Tactics
So now you know who you’re talking to, where they are, what you want them to do and what you can talk about, now you can start thinking about the specific tactics.
If your customers are on Twitter, that’s where you need to head. If you need a volume of traffic from natural search, then you need to get your SEO in order. But the most important thing is to focus. Think about the one thing that is most likely to get you towards that goal and go all in on it. Don’t dabble, don’t spread yourself too thin, put all your effort into really nailing that channel before you move onto the next and you’ll find the whole process is a lot more straight forward than it seemed at first.
If you'd like some help with any part of this process, we've got a workshop that could help.