I hear this phrase all of the time from people: “I hate marketing.” Or some other rendition of why they don’t “do” marketing or why it doesn’t work for them. And maybe once upon a time I would let it slide. But friend, no more. We’re coming up on a new year and I’m not going to let you work with the same ol’ mind tricks anymore.
Because if nothing changes, nothing changes. And telling yourself you hate marketing is not serving you, and it’s certainly not helping your business.
I got into this business because I wanted to work for myself, and as my business grew I realized my main WHY is to help other people build their own sustainable business that support them, so they too don’t have to work for someone else.
But friends, you’re not going to get there if you keep holding on to notions that keep you stuck. And saying shit like “I hate marketing.” is sapping your energy and cutting your feet out from under you.
I’m not kidding. It’s hurting you.
Another perspective, another way to see it.
Let me challenge you.
What if you stopped saying you hated marketing and instead chose to accept it for what it is:
An opportunity to spread your services and connect your business with the people that need it.
What would that mean? What would that look like?
What if instead of looking at marketing as gross or tacky you looked at is a way to get what you offer (and believe immensely in!) in front of the people that really need it? That are actually looking for it? That actually want it?
All marketing is is sharing your message. It’s connecting you and what you do to people that need your services.
It can be as gross as you want it to be. It’s a choice.
Marketing is sharing what you do and how you do it and what it will do for others. It’s sharing your strengths and gifts. And that’s a good thing. It never ever has to feel gross.
It's easy to get locked into thinking something doesn't work for your small business, especially if it represents an entire industry we're taught to despise like marketing. But we can choose to approach marketing differently in our own small businesses. Marketing for us doesn't have to include scarcity copy, fear mongering, or underhanded tactics that don't deliver.
We get to decide what it looks like and how it feels.
Make it your own. Make it work for you.
What I find so powerful about owning one’s business is that you get to make up the rules and how they work for you.
Obviously, there are (basic and complex) things every business owner must do to grow their business. That’s a fact. But there’s wiggle room to own those things and make them work for you in a way that feels good and grows your business.
And one of those things you can own and make it unique to you and your business is marketing.
You can’t NOT market your business and be a success. It’s just not possible. But you also don’t have to be a giant fake asshole when it comes to marketing.
That is also a fact.
Despite what you may have been told there are many, many ways to market one’s business. And there is definitely a way to market your business in a way that feels true to you and truly SERVES your clients.
And what makes each marketing plan unique, different, and valuable is you and your voice. That’s what sets your marketing apart and can make it truly special: YOU.
Hard work & special sauce: YOU.
There is never going to be a magic hack or a magic bullet to make you millions of dollars. No. Growing a successful sustainable business takes hard work and that special sauce that only you own: you and your gifts.
Marketing is an entire experience. It never stops. (And there’s nothing wrong with that.)You might as well find peace with marketing now or it’s always going to bring you pain and hurt your business.
Marketing can be a really thoughtful experience for you and your audience.
We’ve been raised in culture that surrounds us with marketing. And because of that we’ve come to despise it. But it doesn’t have to be the same way for our own businesses. It simply doesn’t.
You get to decide what works for you and what feels good. And if talking about your business doesn’t feel good, you need to examine that. I won’t lie to you, in the beginning marketing can and might definitely feel gross, especially if you aren’t used to it. But the more you believe in yourself and the results you offer, the less gross it should feel.
Once you start to experience that people want to buy what you are selling, you’ll see how important (and fun!) marketing can be.
You’re not swindling people. You’re selling them something you have bet your whole life on: your services. And that’s a good thing. Right?
5 key foundational aspects to successful marketing
Here are 5 things that you must make sure is in your marketing for it to be a success.
These are foundational best practices, and once you have them in place, the easier marketing will become for you, and the sooner you get to add your own special sauce: you.
The number one issue I see with small businesses is that they are under a social media mind meld.
They think posting a few times about their services on social media should be bringing in the bucks. And then when it doesn’t they think they’re *doing it wrong*. Nope.
Social media is just a tool in your marketing, and it should go without saying it’s not the only one. But regardless, if you’re not communicating with your audience about who you are, what you do, and what you offer consistently, then you are in trouble.
I have no idea what your marketing plan looks like, but I will tell you that your newsletter, blog, social media, podcast, press, etc. — whatever your channels are — should be consistently spreading your messaging.
Consistency is key. Too often small businesses are not talking about their offers enough.
Relationship building = trust
Consistency and showing up in your audience’s inbox and elsewhere builds relationships and in the long run can build trust. While consistency is key that doesn’t mean ALWAYS selling. It means offering real value, learning about your audience, knowing what they truly need from you, and how you can best serve them.
Sharing all of this and building a relationship with your audience is key to having a marketing strategy you love being involved with. Why? Because people RESPOND.
There’s a lot of talk online about faking it until you make it, and that’s helpful to push through any uncomfortable feelings about marketing. But I can tell you I didn’t get better at what I do until I invested financially in my professional development. When I realized I started to know what I was doing and people were responding that brought me immediate confidence. Plus, it became a cycle for me. I saw what worked and I wanted to do more of it.
Your mileage may vary around the ol’ confidence scale but I can tell you that you won’t gain confidence if you stay stuck in analysis paralysis. Get moving. Start marketing. And if you’re truly stuck, get help. I can tell you that nothing builds confidence faster than selling something you truly believe in.
Don’t get stuck in the fear game of being afraid to give too much away. Offering value to your audience is mandatory. What that looks like for your business is up to you.
I can tell you that if you live in scarcity and are afraid to offer real value in your marketing it will affect you and your bottom line. Learn what your ideal clients really need and work on offering help around that in your marketing.
If you start to freak out about giving away too much, remember that no one will ever get the access you offer in a 15 minute FB Live video or a print out - that will only happen in a 1:1 or group experience. It’s basic math; you can only give away so much in so much time.
Pro-tip: If you’re not converting your audience, it’s most likely your actual offer not the freebies and marketing you offer. I can help you change that, you can book a free mini-session here if you need help.
Measure and iterate
Not everything is going to work. That will happen. There will be things that work really well and things that fall totally flat. That’s just business. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure.
This is why you have to track everything: your sales, your traffic, your clicks, your open rates. Staying nimble and flexible in your business is key to growing and making more money.
So when something fails take a good hard, honest look, and ask yourself and your audience. And when things do work? DO THE EXACT SAME THING: take a good hard, honest look, and ask your audience!
It’s up to you. Sincerely.
Now every time you say to yourself, “I hate marketing,” I want you to challenge yourself and push back. Remind yourself that you can actually love marketing and what it does for your business! It’s up to you. Not marketing is something you can’t skimp on in your business ultimately. You may have some time here and there to not market, but overall it’s a part of your business that matters big time to how successful you are.
So what’s it going to be? Are you going to continue hating on something that helps you grow and nurture something you love? It’s up to you.