Over the last six weeks both our live show and our blog articles have focused on how it is more important than ever to have a cohesive, dialed-in brand. Cohesive branding makes it very clear who you help, what you do for your target audience, and that keeps you top of mind when your ideal client is ready to hire someone to solve the problem you solve.
In recent weeks, we have done a deep dive into making sure that you are doing the right marketing activities to grow your unique business, that speak to your unique goals, and to your unique strengths. And we’ve talked about making sure that all of the pieces of your marketing, including your visuals, the language that you use, and every thing that you do to market your business is in alignment with who it is that you serve. In this article we are going to continue talking about your brand to ensure that you are engaging in the right marketing strategies to grow your business in the noisy marketplace and constricting economy in which we find ourselves.
Why The Right Marketing Activities Matter
There are several reasons why it is so important to use the right marketing strategies to grow your business. The first and most obvious answer is that if you are not doing the right activities, it is going to be really hard to grow your business.
The second reason why it is so important to choose the right marketing strategies is that there are only so many hours in the day. So many people who I have spoken to recently are already up to their ears in activities, to-do lists, and things that have to happen. It feels impossible to do more when they already feel tapped out on time and energy, at least without hiring an additional 20 people.
But the truth is, you don’t need to do more things to market your business or hire more people to do more things. You just need to do the right things.
This is why I am so against jumping into “insta-tactics” before you have your strategy dialed in. I have had a few conversations recently with people with significant businesses who are doing all sorts of marketing activities that don’t necessarily enjoy doing. Not only do they not enjoy doing them, these tactics take up a lot of time, they aren’t actually that good at doing them, and they aren’t getting any results.
Some are posting on social media platforms where their ideal clients do not hang out. Others are going to networking events that their ideal clients do not attend. And many of them are creating content that does not show their genius zone, their credentials, or their role as a thought leader. They were not spending their time in alignment with where their business actually comes from, or building the type of business that they want to have.
The Good News: You Can Stop Doing the Activities That Aren’t Working
Here’s where I share the good news: if you are doing any of the activities that I listed above, and they are not working for you, you get to stop doing them! The reality is that you will save time, energy, effort, money, and aggravation by stopping those activities and focusing on the right marketing activities.
I know how freeing this is, because as a business owner it feels like things are always being added to our plates without anything ever being removed from them. So it feels pretty awesome to be able to finally remove some things from our lists, especially when they are things that we don’t like to do in the first place.
How to Determine the Right Activities to Grow Your Business
To determine the right marketing activities to grow your business, the first step is to think about what it is that you want. This question always gets a lot of eye rolls from my clients, but it’s essential to decide what marketing strategies will work for you. What you need to do when marketing your business is completely dictated by the outcome that you want to achieve. This is applicable to each and every thing that you do in your business, not just limited to this topic. So whenever you find yourself wondering what to do, the first question you should be asking yourself is what do I want.
What Type of Business Are You Trying to Grow?
The first question to ask yourself is what type of business you are trying to grow. Whether you are a freelance business, a subcontractor, or a large business, growing that business requires different marketing activities. There is a very big difference between growing a business like mine than there is in growing a freelance business.
In a business like mine, we have several different offers, we serve people at several different phrases of business in a variety of ways. There is an entire team that helps grow that business, compared to a freelance business in which your goal is to have a handful of high-level clients, or a subcontractor where you get most of your business through a third party.
Where Do You Find Your Clients?
The second thing that you need to know when choosing the right marketing activities is where you find your clients and new business. For example, I met with a private client last week and we created a marketing and business plan for her. Around 90% of her clients come to her from a third party. She is in a really cool niche and she does not often work with the end user, but she had other business owners suggesting to her that she needed to be on Instagram. However, she does not use Instagram, nor does she like Instagram, but she was being told over and over that Instagram was the place to be. The truth is that Instagram is the place to be for many types of businesses. However, it is not at all relevant for her business.
This is a perfect example of what I have been talking about recently in terms of insta-tactics and one-size-fits-all solutions. The people who are often selling advice based on a specific tactic don’t know your business goals, your unique strengths, or your business model. As a result, they don’t know if their tactic is the right one for you, which is why it is so important for you to know where your clients are mostly likely to find you. When you know where your clients are most likely to find you, you can weed out the tactics that will not work for you.
Where Do the Decision Makers Who Would Hire You Hang Out?
The third thing to know when choosing the right marketing activities for your business is to know where the decision makers who hire you hang out. Are they on social media? If so, similar to the question above, what platform do they use? Or are you more likely to find them at a local networking group?
One of the biggest missed opportunities are professional associations. This is particularly useful if you are building a freelance business or a niche business where your clients are coming to you from a third party. There is an association for everyone, and those associations have meetings, conferences, and sometimes large trade shows that are perfect for networking.
I have one group client who is in the pet industry, and it is far more useful for her to attend the two large industry trade shows her industry offers than it is to go a local chamber or a women’s networking group, because those trade shows are where new products are released, awards are given, and important connections are formed.
What Type of Content Would Position Your Brand as a Thought Leader?
The final question to help you determine the right activities to grow your business is what marketing strategies primarily reach the decision makers who hire you? Being very intentional about where your people are and what you are trying to do, the next step is to back it up with content that shows that you belong in their world. Positioning your brand as a thought leader in your space, and showing your target audience that you can help them in some way is critical in growing your business.
For example, I worked with one of my clients and we figured out that if she goes to three conferences a year, and focuses on LinkedIn as her social media platform, she can spend her time, energy, and financial resources developing relationships with twenty people. In her unique business and with her unique goals, that is all she needs. This strategy replaced 85% of the effort that she was putting into marketing her business with a better outcome.
Growing Your Business Means Leveraging Your Time and Efforts
The one warning I will share is that often when I start talking about doing less instead of more, fear tries to stop us. You might think, “Wait, one of my clients might be on Instagram!” And while that is true, when you are trying to grow your business, you want to focus your efforts where you will have a significant impact on your business. It is important to make data-driven decisions based on the type of business we have, where our decision makers are, where our business comes from, and be strategic with the tactics that we choose to use.
I have another client who is a freelancer and through no fault of her own, she lost two major clients and she lost everything. But within a matter of months, we were able to recreate her entire business because of five strategic relationships. She does not need LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram in her world. She needed five people, and by getting her ducks in a row and her business right, we cleaned up what she was doing, and we reached out to those five people. She invited them to a luncheon, and within a month and a half she had clients walking in her door.
Growing your business effectively and efficiently means learning how to leverage both your time and efforts. Focusing on the things that have the greatest impact is part of that, so that you can do more with less and make your efforts create bigger results for you.