Marketing is all about being consistent.
It’s about showing up.
Every day. Every other day. Every week.
It’s about building trust with your audience. And to do that, it starts with being consistent.
The definition of consistency as found in the Merriam Webster Dictionary is “Showing steady conformity to character, profession, belief, or custom.”
That’s right folks, slow and steady does win the race.
Marketing isn’t about being first.
Marketing is about building trust with your potential clients. To do that you need to show up every day in your marketing. That consistency helps you achieve long-term success.
It’s about being disciplined and reliable.
It’s about showing up and putting yourself out there.
It sounds so easy, right?
I have found in the past that I have struggled with being consistent on things that matter. Not sticking to my goal because something else comes up. It was easy to find an excuse.
I find the same struggle with my clients. They start off marketing their new business with gusto, but when their business isn’t taking off like they think it should, they start to question themselves. They skip a post or two or stop networking with potential clients. All of a sudden they have stopped marketing or putting themselves out there. They stopped creating value.
But consistently showing up in your business and your marketing can be a game changer.
Being consistent in your marketing helps to shape your identity. It helps shape who you’re being to your client. Your brand.
So, who are you being?
Are you willing to fail at something at first on your journey to be amazing?
Be honest with yourself. Because it does take discipline.
Embracing discipline is the very secret to your freedom and to your success.
To create more discipline, set expectations and rules for yourself ahead of time, and then honor those rules. When you do this, you don’t have to use willpower or restraint. The more you set up all your decisions ahead of time, the less reactive you’ll be in the moment.
For instance, my minimum baseline for posting on social media is every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This is my expectation for myself. If I have extra time or I want to post more that week, that’s great but it’s not required. I will always show up on these days. It takes out the willpower or confusion because I made this decision ahead of time.
Making a decision, following through with it, and being consistent allows us to build a body of work that we can feel proud of and that our clients can trust.
When you make a commitment 100%, no matter what, and then you honour that commitment to yourself by not giving yourself the option to quit, you gain true discipline. That’s what you need to show up and be consistent.
When we work to become consistent at the things that matter to us, we learn how to be in it for the long haul. We learn to accept the “messy middle” and work on showing up every day (even if it’s not perfect).
We just show up. We’re just consistent and steady.
And we keep trying and putting ourselves out there. Even when it’s not perfect.
When you honour your own decisions, you get better at it.
The decision to be consistent and show up for your customers. It’s important. It’s what builds long lasting relationships. It’s what creates success.
And they are waiting.
Constraining your business is key to success.
But the truth is, not many solopreneurs want to apply constraint to what they do.
When I googled the definition of constraint, I got: “Constraint is a limitation or a restriction you put on yourself that simplifies your life.”
The reason this is so important is overwhelm.
Constraint reduces overwhelm because it makes decisions so much easier to make.
I see this all the time with my clients. They are overwhelmed in what they need to do in marketing. They are not sure if they should have a FB page or a FB group or should they do online ads or sponsored content. The list of marketing tactics and different communication channels is endless.
Does that sound familiar?
I totally get it. I have been there my friends.
That’s why you constrain.
And the best marketing and most successful entrepreneurs do just that.
When you constrain your attention to one thing, you can be laser focused and disciplined with your mind.
I have discovered that when I’m focused on one thing, I have more disciplined thinking, and my productivity goes through the roof.
Because constraint helps you eliminate decision fatigue.
You decide ahead of time how you’re going to focus your energy, and you literally don’t have to make as many decisions.
The fewer decisions I have to make, the more willpower and discipline I have for other things (like family time, me time, and lots of books!).
Most of my clients don’t want to constrain in their business.
They want to keep their options open. They are worried they will miss out on something.
And I want to put your mind at ease, it’s human nature. We are hardwired to not miss out on the opportunity.
But keeping your options open is a huge mistake. When we have too many options we don’t have focus and we’re not able to make the impact that we want.
Remember: Constraint is about lessening the decisions you make ahead of time.
When you constrain yourself and make decisions ahead of time, it frees up your mind to focus. That’s when you’re able to tap into your creativity. You can start thinking about how to solve your problems and create what you want.
How can you lessen your decisions ahead of time when it’s your business?
1. Limit the amount of decisions you have to make so it takes less brain power.
Constrain your attention and thoughts (because your brain wants to change your mind). Your brain wants to be efficient.
2. Decisions ahead of time.
Make decisions ahead of time and stick to it! Sticking to these decisions is honouring our commitments to ourselves. The more you do this the more you’re going to create for yourself.
Once you have constrained and committed to that decision ahead of time, now you need to prioritize. Pick 3 items that you’re going to focus on. Understand what it is and why. Then never turn back.
EXAMPLE: Constraining your niche is a great idea. One of things I really teach my clients is to stick to one niche and get as specific as possible. By picking and identifying one customer, you make that decision ahead of time, it takes away the overwhelm when they have to decide what program they will build, what their offer will be and what marketing channels they will select.
Constraint has completely changed the way I do business and has completely changed my life. Focus on one thing at a time.
I want you to challenge you to go after just one thing in your business.
And go all in. But do it with all that you have.
Constraint simplifies your business.
I want to let you in on a secret.
Clarity in your marketing is a choice.
But most of my clients don’t believe that truth.
They think marketing is confusing.
They choose to think that.
They would rather stay in confusion.
What I hear is: I don’t have the right niche. I don’t know how to communicate with the clients. I don’t know how to use Facebook. I don’t know where to find my clients. I don’t know how to connect with my clients. I don’t know where to start.
They believe that all these statements are true. That they are facts. But they are not.
The truth is that we use confusion to avoid taking action. Confusion serves no purpose. It doesn’t help you. All it does is stall you.
I call this an indulgent emotion.
Confusion is an emotion that we believe is helping us but it stops us from taking action in our business. It makes us stop moving forward and gives us a temporary relief.
Because we’ve stopped taking action in our business.
And what I want to offer you is that you can absolutely be clear. You can decide to have clarity, even when you don’t have the answers.
Our brain will tell us that clarity has to come with no detours, but that’s not what clarity is. Clarity is the path we’re forging. There’s going to be a lot of detours. But we’re going to figure them out along the way.
We can create a marketing plan based on past experiences and presume that we will get something similar. We can take someone else’s marketing plan and hope that it works for us because it worked for them. But understand that in the business world, as a solopreneur, the most successful solopreneurs in the world had to decide that they had clarity without actually having it.
The same goes for when you are writing marketing copy. We do our research and we replicate something similar that we saw on Instagram. We keep posting on social media. But it’s not resonating.
Because there is no clarity in the message.
If you’re not clear on who you’re serving or what value you offer your audience that comes through your writing. Your client can feel that.
And when you’re not clear, your message isn’t clear either.
A powerful exercise you can do is sit down and think about your client every day for one week. I mean really get in their head. Take 10-15 mins and ask yourself these questions (but answer them as your client). What are they thinking? How are they feeling? What is their biggest challenge? What are their biggest goals? What would make their dreams come true? When you truly think like your client and where they are at that moment you start to open yourself up to understand the barriers of their own brain that are getting in their way. You’re able to open up and get clear on the results you’re giving them.
Clarity isn’t about knowing all the answers.
Clarity is a decision to trust yourself to choose an answer for what’s in front of you right now. Clarity is not knowing all of the steps. Clarity is a decision to trust yourself to take the next best step.
And even deeper than that, clarity is a decision not to be confused.
As my Master Coach Brooke Castillo says, “Confusion is a way of staying out of the game. It’s a way of not committing.”
Choose clarity over confusion. It’s truly a choice.
You can take the next best step.
Successful companies have one important thing in common: a really strong brand.
And a strong brand should be a priority for all businesses striving for success – even if you’re starting out – and trust me, the proof is in the numbers.
Brands that are consistently marketed see an average revenue increase of 23%.
And we know that successful branding yields benefits, such as an increase in customer loyalty, improved image, and of course, an increase in client base.
But a brand is much more than a tagline or a fancy logo. To build a strong brand it starts with a brand position.
Brand positioning is the process of positioning your service, product or company a certain way in the mind of your customers. It’s about selling the concept or idea that will motivate the purchase. And, a good brand position is what will set you apart from the rest.
But it’s not always easy.
Positioning is one of the most ambiguous concepts and can be hard to pin down. That’s usually why many startups or businesses starting out don’t get it right. Well, at least not the first time.
A positioning strategy statement needs to be clear, concise, and uncomplicated. It has to take into consideration the customer’s needs. It should also provide a compelling reason why potential customers must buy your brand.
And this is why it’s so important…
A clearly defined positioning strategy statement guides all your marketing and marketing communications strategies. Without it, you’ll be executing marketing tactics like Facebook ads, direct mail or designing websites that are disjointed and misaligned.
In short, your customers will get confused.
3 steps to create your own brand position
Creating your own brand positioning strategy involves diving deep into the details of your brand and discovering what you do better than anyone else. How can your business, product, service stand out?
These 3 steps will be help you create a brand positioning statement that’s unique to your business.
1.Conduct competitor and customer research
If you’re currently marketing your product or service does your marketing stand out? Start by first considering your target customer and ask yourself three simple questions: Who are they? What is their core problem? How do you help them (and add benefit)? Doing an audit and understanding how you serve those potential customers is a perfect starting point.
Next, determine how your product or service is different from the rest in the market. It’s also important to understand the market you’re in and what you’re competitors are doing. The research you conduct will allow you to decide what you can do better and what will give you that edge.
Not sure where to start? Ask your customers. Ask your sales team. Or go to the Googles.All these different methods of gathering customer or competitor research will allow you to decide what you can do better and give you that edge.
2. Identify what makes your brand unique
Now that you have the research you can start to see key themes and trends in the data. You may start to see a repetition in key words or notice common benefits popping out of the data. As you start to compare your product or service, you’ll start to see where your product can stand alone. This is not about the how or the what. This is about the why. Why your company exists. If you haven’t watched the Simon Sinek talk about finding your ‘why’ you need to do so right now.
By figuring out your unique selling proposition (or why), will essentially make it easier for your brand to be unique and stand out. And let’s be honest, customers want brands that can speak directly to them.
The Cube noted that “48% of consumers expect brands to know them and help them discover new products or services that fit their needs.”
3.Create your position
Now the fun part (at least I think so). It’s time to take what you learned and create a brand positioning statement.
First, take what you learned (I find it the easiest to place all those benefits and key words from your research on a whiteboard in front of you) and start to draft a simple and compelling statement. It doesn’t have to be hard. BUT you do have to keep your customer in mind. You want to lead them in making their buying decision not tell them what to do.
According to The Cult Branding Company, “a positioning statement is a one or two-sentence declaration that communicates your brand’s unique value to your customers in relation to your main competitors.”
Remember, communicate the value of your brand and the rest will fall into place.
After you have the position statement, ask yourself, does it work?
Take the time to test the concept with your audience. They are always your best litmus test.
But here is the really, really important part; ensure that is it reflected in everything you do.
Your positioning statement should be the heart of your business and it should be clearly communicated and reflected in every interaction with your customers. Leaders like Nike and Apple have exceptional brands because they live and breathe their positioning statements.
And guess what, so can you.
Let me guess, as an entrepreneur or startup founder, you have been told to ramp up your content marketing.
More content means more leads, right?
But you’re not really sure where to start or maybe even what it means.
The truth is content only works if it’s useful.
First, let’s agree on a definition of content marketing. The Content Marketing Institute, an online resource for information on all things content marketing related, defines content marketing as:
“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
The keyword here is ‘valuable’.
As a business owner, you want to create content that is valuable and useful to your audience. You want to help solve a problem for your target audience by producing free and relevant content that helps them along the buyer’s journey process.
What is the buyer’s’ journey you ask?
It’s creating content at every step along the journey your customer takes to purchase your product or service. The buyer’s journey is usually broken down into three phases.
- Awareness. Prior to awareness a customer may have a need, but they are not aware there is a solution.
- Consideration. Once a customer is aware there is a solution, they will perform research to educate themselves. At this point the customer starts comparing different products from different vendors to make sure they’re getting a high quality product at a fair price.
- Decision. Finally, the customer makes their decision and moves forward with the transaction.
Once you have mapped out your buyer’s journey, and all the steps within those stages, you need to identify what is unique that you offer at each stage.
Content marketing tends to tap into the first two stages of the buying process by raising awareness of solutions and educating the customers about a product or service they may have never considered.
Content marketing programs set businesses up for predictable, scalable, and cost-effective traffic and lead-flow that doesn’t always have to rely on a big budget. The reality is that businesses that focus on content marketing increase their leads by 3X compared to paid search. That is why the best content marketing strategy complements other marketing techniques at various stages of the buyer’s journey.
So, how do you get started?
Like any initiative, content marketing requires some planning and thought (fun, fun, fun!). To get the success you want and to start to see some dividends to your business, start here with these three but important basics.
1.Don’t reinvent the wheel.
If you want to jump in and start creating content yourself, don’t recreate the wheel. There are already a number of awesome content marketing resources out there that will help with ‘how-to write’ blogs, ebooks, etc. I always tell everyone wanting to start their content strategy to follow the pros. Check out Copyblogger and you’ll quickly learn how to craft content for your website or blog that will engage readers and turn them into clients. And in the words of the very smart and talented Anne Handley, write that first ugly draft, and then don’t look back.
2. Make it genuine (…and enjoyable to read).
You have to make content genuine.
Ask this question: Does it resonate with the reader?
Think about what you paid to read lately. Why did you pay to consume that information? Did it bring you joy? Was it educational?
That is how you have to treat your content creation process. Your audience doesn’t want to be sold something. They want to learn and consume something that feels genuine to them. If you do that than content marketing will be good for your bottom line – and your customers. That means you have to genuinely care about the audience you’re serving. You may not have a huge budget to start but you can still give potential customer valuable information.
Some people say this is the secret sauce. But it shouldn’t be a secret.
The truth is that adding value is so important.
From a customer’s standpoint, if you’re not adding value, they just skip it. If you want to create content or a message that doesn’t get skipped, add value for your customers. If you’re not sure how to add that value through content marketing, ask your existing customers what kind of content you can produce that would be helpful to them now or would be helpful to them if they were looking for your product or service. They’ll tell you.
The goal . . . to create valuable, genuine content that resonates with your target audience. Create something that they want to look forward to reading.
If you do that than content marketing will be good for your bottom line – and your customers.
Do you want more customers, more revenue, and more growth? Of course you do, we all do. Then you’ll probably need an excellent marketing strategy. But a strategy without a plan won’t get you far.
One of the most important aspects to growing your business is your marketing strategy. But first, you need an effective marketing plan in place. Having a plan means understanding opportunities for new growth, who your actual customers are versus what you thought, and how to attract and gain new customers. Not to mention, where to best spend future marketing dollars.
The challenge that most companies face is that they fail to create a marketing strategy. No strategy means a future destined for struggle (and maybe failure). Think of it like turning on your GPS without plugging in a final destination. You’re going do a lot of driving but won’t get anywhere.
One could argue (and I may be biased here), that marketing is one of the most important functions of your company and a vital part of your entrepreneurial success. Without marketing your business you can’t attract the right customers. Without attracting the right customers means not generating sales. And no sales means no revenue or profits.
Do you see a pattern here?
Marketing presents a continuous process that every business needs to perform BUT you need a roadmap to get there. That is where a marketing plan comes in.
A marketing plan is a blueprint or roadmap for your organization. It’s short-term in nature, specific in scope, and combines strategies and tactics to get your desired results. Writing a marketing plan is not a simple task. But, once you have one, it will help you and your business with the action steps you need to take in order to attract the right customers.
Here are three key factors that must be in your next marketing plan:
1. Customer are the heart of your plan.
The marketing plan revolves around your customers. Think of the customer as the sun. Your business and the tactics you execute need to be focused around your customer, not your boss or the competition. This is an essential ingredient to your plan. You want to figure out key information about your customer – demographic, geographic, and psychographic characteristics – to begin with. Once you have that outline in place, you can create a buyer’s persona.
The buyer’s persona is a secret weapon used by many successful companies. The buyer’s persona paints a picture about who you’re targeting as it relates to your product and service. The information you gather can make it easier for you to target your marketing and communication efforts, and create loyal customers. It’s often said, “knowledge is power.”
2. Communicate your value.
Yes, communicate your value. But that does not mean communicate your product features or list all your fancy features. You must communicate with your customer or potential customers where they are at and what they want to know. So, ask yourself the following questions: What matters the most to them? How is your product or service going to make their life easier?
It’s so easy to jump into the ‘what’ of your product and much harder to capture the “why” (as said by the very brilliant Simon Sinek).
When you’re positioning your product or service, your selling a concept that motivates a purchase. The position statement needs to clearly articulate your value and identify how you want your company or product to be portrayed in the buyer’s mind. Not to mention, it also helps guide your entire marketing plan. Without it, your marketing strategies and tactics fall flat.
3. Set really, really clear objectives.
Objectives help you stay focused. Really focused.
Objectives help you identify what you’re going to accomplish in a one-year period. If you stay focused, and ensure your objectives are about your customers, you’ll be setting yourself up for success.
“Help your customers and you help your business.” ~ Leo Burnett
The practice of creating objectives is important. You want to set objectives that are qualitative in nature. Remember the SMART principle? Make sure your objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. This will ensure your entire team knows where you’re going and how you’re getting there. Not to mention, it will keep you accountable to reaching those objectives as you execute your marketing plan.
To achieve this kind of focus, be sure to include your entire team and find other ways that you can create objectives that add value to your customers’ lives. This will also keep your marketing team focused on the real mission of your business.
Get started. Now.
Of course, the first step in ensuring the success of any marketing plan is to get all those ideas down on paper. Bring your team together, facilitate a brainstorm session, do your research, and start with these three simple steps. The rest of the plan will start to fall into place.
It’s on your to-do list.
✅Set your digital strategy.
Sounds simple, right?
But often entrepreneurs and business owners feel overwhelmed and a bit lost about where to start.
Strategy, in spite of being a favoured word tossed around among executives, really just means thinking about why you’re doing something before you do it.
It’s really that simple.
But often we forget to think about the strategy behind that Facebook ad campaign or product landing page because we’re focused on hitting our numbers or meeting a revenue target.
It’s easy to get lost. It’s easy to feel rushed.
But setting your digital marketing strategy is as simple as deciding what you want to do, how you’re going to do it, what you expect to happen, and when and how you’re going to measure your success.
It’s about heading in the right direction. Because at the end of the day, you mainly want to attract and delight your customers.
The first question you need to ask yourself: Why are you deploying this digital tactic (facebook ad or SEM)? What do you want the result to be?
Here are a few objectives or end results that may be fueling your strategy:
- Brand Awareness:Do you want more people to know about your brand, your product or service?
- Acquisition or lead generation rates: Do you want to reach more people who’ve never bought from you before and bring them into your buyer’s journey?
- Growing your existing customer base (increase the customer value): Do you want to retain your customers and have them purchase from you more frequently?
Based on your end results (and main objective) you need to start to shape you out your overall strategy.
Here are the 3 steps to take to build your digital strategy today:
1. Set a SMART goal.
Set a specific goal – and a metric – to help you get to that end result.Goals and objectives are crucial to helping guide you where you’re going.
Goals are like a lighthouse. It’s guiding you to your final destination and where you want to be.
Goals need to follow the SMART principle. And in case you need a refresher, that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely. We’re going back to the basics but it’s so important. Here is what your goals might look like for your digital strategy:
- X number of leads from your downloaded ebook in 30 days
- % follower growth on Facebook within 3-weeks
Really understanding the goal you’re trying to hit is the first step to reaching it. Create an example and make it come to life.
2. Know your audience.
Get to know your audience! This doesn’t mean understanding some key characteristics or traits. I want you to go deeper than demographics. This means truly understanding them.
If you don’t know your audience well, you won’t be able to deliver a message that’s relevant enough to cut through the noise.
You can go about understanding your customers in a number of ways and you don’t need a big budget or fancy agency to do it.
First, think about who your customers are and group them into 3 or 4 buckets. Take each of those buckets and create a character for them. Add in a number of different details; such as, bio, age, goals at work, how you can help them reach those goals, challenges, how you can help them overcome their challenges, their objections, etc. You see the pattern here.
If you haven’t done this and you’re looking for an excellent template, Hubspot has a great outline and exercise for you to do. Once you know your audience well. The rest gets a whole lot easier.
3. Audit your Brand
This step doesn’t always seem obvious. And no, I’m not talking about asking people if they like the colours you selected. I want you to audit what people say about your brand when you’re not in the room.
This is linked back to your brand image.
How does the public at large perceive your brand? Is it positive? Is your message consistent?
What you find out might shock you. Or it might validate some of your original hunches.
- Presence – Measure the brand’s social footprint
- Influence – Branded message adoption
- Perception – Emotional reaction to the brand
- Virality – What comes when people are organically in conversation
- Resonance – reaction to the overall conversation about the brand
Remember: Be OPEN.
This is where you’re going to walk away with the biggest takeaways. Which will also help your customers.
Bonus #4: Evaluate and alter
Now it’s time for the loop. This is where you take all that information, and you put measurements in place to ensure that you’re going to meet those goals.
In order to be successful, you must continually evaluate and alter your digital strategy.
Yes. This is a must.
I find that a lot of start-up companies feel that they don’t have the time. Or they are on to the new product launch or the acquisition of 100 new leads. But slow down just a little. As marketers, it’s important that we measure everything.
What will be your ultimate measures? Figure out your performance standards – conversion rates? Followers? Leads?
These days, quantifying and qualifying the value of your digital strategy is important to better communicate with your boss or the CEO the value you’re producing day in and out.
You delivery results and your hard work should be recognized.