Emma chatting to a client about their potential marketing plan

Is it more marketing you need?

Season 3

Episode 6

Once you decide to start or ramp up your marketing, you have plenty of decisions to make. But you cannot skip this crucial first step. Is it marketing that you need? And then even if the answer is yes, is there something else you should tick off the to do list first, to make that marketing work better?

Do you need more water at the top or do you have a leak you need to plug first to get people where you want them to go? Marketing is the water, it's turning the tap on and letting the rest of the business do the work. You can turn on a little or a lot or reroute an entire natural water source to create a waterfall. Maybe you actually get plenty of people to your website onto your email list, but your conversion rate is low. That's the number of people who buy divided by the number of people who see your offer. If you improve that rate first, any marketing you do will have that much more impact on your revenue. Maybe no one knows about you now that'd seemed like you needed marketing. But let's take this slow. How well tested is your branding, your positioning, your pricing? Is the problem you are trying to solve for people actually a problem?

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As the business owner, you are the best positioned to review these. It's not always fun, but you'll need to be honest with yourself and take responsibility for the whole picture to get it right. If you happen to be the marketing manager, you'll need to provide some honest and uncomfortable feedback to the rest of the company. While you might work on your own marketing, or hire someone to help you, if there is another crucial issue, marketing can only illuminate that, depending on how much water you're pouring in, it could cause a flood. And I don't know about you, but I don't like those very much. Let's break down 10 of the possible things that could be getting in the way of your marketing, so that even if you're already working on your social media, your advertising or your email list, you can zoom out and see the whole picture.

Problem One: Burnout

No matter what you do, marketing won't fix burnout. I'm not an expert on burnout, but I've felt it and from my experience rest and disconnection is what's needed. Prioritising, creating processes and systems and setting yourself up for success won't undo this on its own. Boundaries help, but they tend to have to be tighter before you can handle opening them back up again. Even if you have a team and feel like that should be helping with this, a burnt out leader isn't a good leader. You also have to figure out the source of the burnout and limit that maybe it's sensory overload feeling pulled in too many directions, the phase of life, you're in a change you haven't accepted. Marketing only amplifies these issues, so I feel for you. But marketing can't solve that for you. Outsourcing your marketing can help. But it is a bit of work upfront to hand everything off and isn't a decision made best while burnt out. Burnout can also make you point the finger at the wrong source. Because you don't have the energy to approach certain things. It might also feel like marketing is actually causing your burnout. But is it the way you're doing it? Is social media problem, or is it your approach and expectations? Are you prioritising marketing efforts that take more effort?

Problem Two: Too many things, not enough of any of them

I tend to call this half assing it. You might have heard of half pregnant but the thing is, you actually can't do that while you can physically half do marketing, sales, awareness and so on. Some things like a certain social media platform might need 10 posts a month to move the scale. And so doing two to nine of those is not moving the scale, but is taking your time, instead of starting a whole new thing adding those few extra posts likely in a batching process is more, but not that much more. If this is the problem you're having, maybe it's because you started each thing with something minimally viable, but then moved on to the next platform. You might need to take a few things off your plate to do others well. This is why adding marketing can sometimes cause problems because you take the time from something else you should be doing.

Problem Three: Not getting around to it

A core Kiwi saying is when I get around to it. And some people have this thing that someone sold at some point that was around little thing that you hung on the wall that says this is around tuit. Now you can get to all of those things you've been putting off. But if this is the problem you are having, you need to understand why you're avoiding these tasks. Are they uncomfortable? Are they not fun and you need to bake in a little reward? Or are they actually unnecessary? Do you need to be in a good mood to get them done? Is it something that never ends, like a podcast that always needs new episodes, or it feels like too big of a task? Or are you simply not putting the time in your calendar for this and so it just doesn't happen? The issue with these tasks is you've already done so much of the work. You've thought about it for more time than it may have taken to do the thing, you've likely tasked it out and figured out the how and need to take action. If you haven't tasked it out maybe that's what's stopping you. If these tasks aren't marketing related, they usually get bigger as a result of a lift in sales, so knock them on the head now. If they have to be repeated, build out a system so they become second nature.

Problem Four: Your current offer is not suited to your new audience

This can often happen when you pivot, but keep the same business name, social accounts, and so on. Unfortunately, you need to let go of something but it doesn't have to be your username. Instead, you need to get clear. This is a messaging thing. Marketing will help to grow your next audience. But you can't serve both with the same funnel. You'll either need two funnels, or you need to be clear and stop creating content for those who are not suited for your new offer. This means that your analytics will be a little less than stellar as you start the marketing, but it's worth it in the long run.

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Problem Five: Your current branding and positioning is not suited to your ideal audience

A picture is worth 1000 words. so what is your logo brand colours, photography, graphics, and the general feel of your business tell people? Sometimes it's your brand voice that needs a shift. While you can try things through your marketing, knowing your audience is the biggest indicator for the performance of your branding and positioning.

Problem Six: People don't know they have the problem you're solving

It can be harder to sell someone on a solution to a problem they have but just don't realise it. A problem should cause pain so sometimes people just don't know it can be solved. You don't want to be one of those businesses that creates a problem so that you can sell the solution. Or at least if you are, you're on the wrong podcast. A subset of this issue is because the problem is too rare for the business to be viable without celebrity level awareness. Marketing isn't going to make it more viable in a profitable way because that level of awareness is expensive. Instead, you'll need to change your offer to match a real and common problem, even if your solution is then unique to what else is on the market.

Problem Seven: You don't have social proof

These are the testimonials and reviews that show that your offer is good. Some businesses skip this and go straight to content creators, but reviews of some kind help a lot. This also tells you whether the solution you are offering actually solves the problem and is a good way to gain feedback to make improvements too.

Problem number eight: You are self sabotaging.

This is another mindset one. You have the time but you're creating excuses out of thin air or not pushing yourself in a subconscious attempt to keep things small. You are capable of big things, but you do have to believe it. There are a lot of things that can be done to switch up this mindset, but you need to get to the root of this feeling and rebuild. Otherwise you will get in the way of any marketing you try to do and will be spinning your wheels and getting nowhere.

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While you might work on your own marketing or hire someone to help you, if there is another crucial issue, marketing can only illuminate it.

Problem Nine: you have no capacity for growth

This can be similar to the mindset issues and can often come from genuinely not having the room to expand. If there is room for proficiency and speed in your offer delivery, that's where you'll gain the added capacity. Your revenue might need to go up, but if you don't have the time to execute more delivery, it's not volume you need, it's a price increase. This might mean you have to grow the offer to add more value, but by having the same volume of clients. This might mean you need to move up to a new audience who can afford your new rate. It might also mean hiring more people to work with you to grow that capacity instead. Depending on your offer. It might include raising capital for a purchase of a product, running a Kickstarter or selling items on pre order. Being more booked out into the future can be great but there is a limit to that. Marketing can sometimes tell you if your price is too high, but only changing the price can tell you whether your offer is worth that through sales volume.

Problem Ten: You're not using referrals to your advantage

Do you not have the resources to turn a cold lead into a warm lead? If not, that means you need other people to do the work for you and refer you to skip those first few funnel steps that take time to build. If referral partners can do the work for you, that's less time you need to spend marketing. While building that funnel to capitalise on letter can be helpful, the assurance of a regular stream of sales can be exactly what you need. Instead of spending time on marketing, you could instead dedicate a chunk of time to growing relationships and seeing what happens to your sales.

On the flip side, sometimes more marketing is what you need. You've honed your message and your offer and know what you have to say but you need eyeballs and clicks to add momentum to the whole process. The good thing is that's what I cover here so you're in the right place.

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