So you’ve decided to market your business. You’ve invested in a website and made sure your products and services are the best they can possibly be. You’re ready to usher new clients in the door.
Only you’re hearing crickets. No one is visiting your website. No one is calling or emailing to inquire about your services. You feel like you’re on a deserted island trying to flag down the rescue helicopter. And worse, you’ve spent a ton of money on marketing with nothing to show for it.
First, take a deep breath. All hope isn’t lost. Many companies – especially small businesses – struggle to market themselves. If you’re not getting what you want out of your marketing, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board and find out what’s not working.
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If you have a marketing plan in place, then chances are your efforts are failing due to one of these reasons:
You haven’t put in enough time.
Did you just launch your marketing campaign a few weeks ago? A few months ago? The reason why it’s not working is because it’s too early. Marketing takes time. It’s a long-term investment, not a short-term fix. You don’t just throw up a website and have people beating down your door the next day. Any good marketing campaign takes time to gain traction.
Your website stinks.
This may be a sensitive topic – especially if you recently had your website created or redesigned. But this is a really important question to ask if your marketing efforts aren’t going anywhere. Be honest: is your website helping or hurting your business? Is it clearly conveying what you’re all about? Or is it confusing and scattered? Is the design on point or does it look like a child’s artwork? Is your website up to date on the latest enhancements or does it look like it belongs back in the 90’s? Your website is your home base. It’s the first look at your business. Your marketing efforts can send hundreds of people to your site, but if it’s poorly designed and the copy is boring, you won’t get the results you deserve.
You don’t know who you are.
I’ve seen many small businesses struggle to define who they are. They focus on what their competitors are doing, rather than what they can bring to the table. Everyone has a story to tell, but if you’re focused on those around you then you won’t be able to tell your story. The key to marketing your business is identifying what makes you stand out from the pack. What do you offer that others don’t? What type of experience will customers get when they choose you? This will take some self-reflection, but if you can zero in on what makes your business unique, you’re well on your way to success.
You’re not relatable.
People buy from companies they can relate to. If they don’t understand your business or your mission, then they won’t care what you have to offer. Make them care by showing them why they need your services. Do it in a way that makes sense to them. Meet your customers where they are – don’t make them come to you.
You’re not consistent.
Are you sharing awesome content regularly? Are you posting on social media several times a week (or at best, every day?). Are you attending networking events? Are you reaching out to people who may be interested in your services? If not, then you’re not being consistent in your marketing. Consistency is what drives people to your business. When your marketing efforts aren’t consistent, people don’t know what to expect from you. When they don’t know what to expect, they’re not going to trust you. And as we all know, trust is the key to getting clients.
How can you be consistent when you’re strapped for time (and cash?). Focus on one aspect of your marketing for the next six months. Make it your priority. For example, if you’re starting a blog, make sure to post 2-3 times a week every week. If you’re on Facebook, then post several times a week at the same times each week. Show up when you say you’re going to show up and deliver strong content. Clients will follow.
You’re not delivering awesome content.
Speaking of content, make sure yours is really stellar. If it’s not, then that may be one of the reasons why your marketing strategy isn’t driving more business. Because there’s a ton of content out there, it can be difficult to stand out in your industry. The key is to create content your audience can’t live without. Your content should solve a problem they’re having. You need to create content that your audience needs before they even realize they need it. And – this is important – you need to offer that content for free. Once people see what you can deliver for free, they’ll wonder what they’ll get if they buy from you.
You’re selling too much.
Take a look at your messaging. Are you talking about an issue your customers face or are you just pushing your services? If it’s the latter, then that’s why your marketing is failing. People can smell advertising a mile away. They’re not looking to hear about your new product and how cool it is. They want to know what you can do for them. Remember, you have to build relationships before you can start selling. If you start selling right off the bat, then people won’t trust you.
You’re not engaging with your customers.
If you’re not engaging with your customer base regularly, then you may as well kiss clients and sales good-bye. Once you build a relationship with a customer, you can’t just leave them high and dry. Your customers are your best brand ambassadors. They can help sell your product and services for you – if you treat them right. This means talking with them regularly, answering their questions, pushing out killer content and offering them freebies or exclusives. Everyone likes to feel appreciated and your customers are no different.
You don’t know your target audience.
You think you know your target audience, but your marketing efforts may tell you otherwise. If people aren’t consuming your content, then it’s time look at the audience you’re trying to reach. Who are they? How old are they? What is their lifestyle? What makes them tick? What challenges are they facing? What do they want? This part takes time, but is critical to marketing success. If you don’t know the people you’re trying to serve, then you may as well market in a vacuum.
Your messages aren’t consistent.
Take a look at the messages on your website, blog, social media channels, marketing materials, etc. No matter the channel, your messages should always be consistent. If you’re saying one thing on social media and another on your website, you’re confusing your audience. And confusion breeds inaction.
Not sure what your key messages are? Think of the 1-3 things your audience needs to hear. What’s going to compel them to buy your product or service? Once you’ve got your messages down, you’re ready to move forward with marketing your business.
You don’t have any branding.
Do you have a logo? If not, you better get one. Branding is the foundation for your marketing efforts. Your logo should tell your story visually. Your logo and colors should evoke the emotion you want your customers to feel. If you have a logo but aren’t using it anywhere beside your website, then you’re missing out on prime real estate. Your logo should be everywhere – even on materials that aren’t selling your product or service. As I said before, consistency is key and this is especially true with branding.
You haven’t made it easy for people to contact you.
This may seem like a no brainer, but I’ve seen tons of small business owners hide their contact information. Either it’s buried on their website (if they have a website) or it’s absent from their marketing collateral. I’ve even seen companies with outdated contact information listed on their website. Nothing turns off a customer more than calling a business only to discover the number is out of service.
Make sure your content is visible on your website and marketing materials. Whenever possible, list multiple ways to reach you (people like options). If you’re a brick and mortar business, update your Google Business listing. All you have to do is request the change online and Google will either call you or send a postcard in the mail.
You don’t have a presence outside of your website.
In today’s world, just having a website doesn’t cut it. You need to meet your customers where they are – on social media, discussion forums, in person, etc. That’s why knowing your target customer is so important. Once you know where your audience gathers, you can be there to join the conversation.
You’re not networking.
The online world is certainly important, but don’t discount the value of face-to-face networking. Explore conferences or events happening in your industry. Consider speaking at those events or having a booth. When people interact with you in person, they’re more likely to trust you. It may not result in an immediate sale, but now you’ve formed a relationship with a potential customer that you can cultivate after the event.
You’re not building an email list.
If you’re not building an email list, then you’re missing out on a huge marketing opportunity. Email is still one of the top ways to drive sales. In fact, 89 percent of marketers say that email is their primary channel for lead generation.
How do you build an email list? Offer one of your best pieces of content for free in exchange for an email address. You can offer it for download on your website, blog or social media channels. Then sit back and watch your list grow!
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If you feel pressure to tackle this entire list, don’t. Marketing is guess, test and revise. It’s important to zero in on which part of your efforts isn’t working. If you start changing multiple things simultaneously, then you won’t be able to measure your efforts accurately. Pick one item to improve. Stick with it and see what happens. If your efforts improve, great! Pick another item. If you don’t see any improvement, go back to the list and try something else. Taking a step-by-step approach will give you great insight into which marketing tactics bring your business the most success.
Want to build an email list that sells your business for you? Download my free guide, 6 Easy Ways to Build an Effective Email List for tips to help you snag more clients and customers with the click of a mouse!