(It’s not what you think.)
If you’re a new or aspiring entrepreneur, you probably don’t have much marketing experience. And so promoting your business can feel pretty overwhelming.
You try out one strategy, or even more likely, you try and piece together what you see someone else doing out there.
And when that doesn’t work, you jump to another strategy because you think you haven’t found “the right one.”
And then you wonder why nothing is working for you.
Here are three things you may be missing:
1. Clarity on what you do, who you serve, and what you offer
You’re missing clarity.
I’m a business coach for female solopreneurs who have service-based businesses. Many of my clients come to me having already started their business or having completed the initial planning stages.
When I first talk to them, they share some of the things they’ve started to do to market themselves. But I can see that while they are excited to get out there and market their new business, they haven’t really sat down and thought through what their business will be or who they want to serve.
It’s vital to start with an initial vision for your business. Why does it even exist in the first place? What problem do you want to solve for others? Who is your target audience? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, your marketing will fall flat.
Around your offer, you need to have clarity around what your program or packages will be; otherwise, it’s going to be really hard to sell them. Not only the details themselves but what’s the end result of working with you? Why would someone buy your service over someone else’s?
This is all basic marketing foundation work, but it can be overlooked if you’re just getting started or don’t know how to do it.
2. Clarity on which marketing strategy aligns with you best
Beyond the foundational pieces, you probably don’t have clarity on what marketing strategies align with your personality, your strengths, and possibly the stage of business you’re in.
These things are important. More important than you probably realize.
If you don’t feel aligned with the strategy you’ve chosen and are just doing it because it looks like other people are signing clients with it, you won’t be successful.
For example, many business coaches teach people to send cold DMs or emails pitching their services. Is it an effective strategy? Maybe. Is it something most people will do for a long time? Likely not. At least not if you’re someone who doesn’t want to come across as super pushy and annoying. I know I don’t. I want to attract clients, not deter them.
So you have to look at your personality and strengths and see what makes the most sense for you. If you’re an introvert, you probably don’t want to be on video all the time, and blogging is a better fit for you. If you’re a good storyteller, then podcasting or writing are things you’d want to try. If you like teaching, then doing workshops or speaking events might be a good strategy.
→ Want to find out what your marketing superpower is? Take my free quiz to get 3 custom strategies just for you.
And around the stage of business you’re in — things that work for more established business owners won’t be that successful when you’re just getting started and have a smaller audience. Think: paid ads, funnels, fancy webinars, etc. You need to really understand what you do and who you serve to make these things work. Not to mention that many of these rely on testimonials or social proof to work, and if you don’t have a ton of business experience, you probably won’t have many of them.
3. The willingness to stick to just 2–3 marketing strategies and optimize them
There is no “one right strategy” out there. There are actually a lot of good strategies. I’ve worked in digital marketing for the last fifteen or so years, and I’ve tried a lot of different tactics. But the difference between the ones that work and the ones that fail is usually how willing you are to be patient and optimize them over time.
Many people I work with don’t realize how much work it takes to successfully market yourself and sign clients. It’s not entirely their fault — the media and influencers have made it seem super easy to “grow your business in 30 days” or “make $20k in 3 weeks.” These outlandish (and often unethical) claims are meant to sell programs, but they’re not real.
And what’s even more damaging is that the people who come to me expect these results and beat themselves up when they don’t achieve them in that timeframe. Okay, rant over.
My main point here is that you need to give the strategy you try enough time to actually work. And it may take more time than you think. And more energy and more effort. And more sleuthing and investigation on your part to see what is actually working and what’s not.
For example, I had very little web presence when I started my business. Writing articles like this one and creating content has changed that. And consistently doing this has brought more people to my site and increased my SEO. But it took time, focus, and energy to build my website, write guest posts, and produce my podcast.
All this effort has started to pay off. People who find me now come to me through search and are more ready to buy than those who found me early on because they’ve already consumed some of my content before they even reach my site.
The other thing I see happening is someone decides on one or two strategies and then has this misconception that they just need to keep doing that thing repeatedly until it works. But deciding that you’re going to do Instagram and blogging isn’t a strategy. What you’ve decided on are your marketing channels.
You need to build an intentional content plan and strategy around what you’re going to create and, more importantly, why you’re making this content in the first place. It needs to be aligned with your audience and their pain points so that it speaks to them. And you need to be aware of things like including a call-to-action (CTA) so people know what their next step should be and so you start building a customer journey.
There’s a lot more to it than this, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll leave it there!
→ Check out my free content masterclass if you want more help with mastering your content.
I’ll end with this: You are a lot smarter and more resourceful than you maybe give yourself credit for. I’ve worked with many intelligent women who come to me thinking they don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to marketing. And while this may be partially true, I still challenge them to develop their own ideas.
Because I can absolutely tell you what I think you should do, but it won’t be as effective as if I guide you in finding your own solutions. You have to be aligned with the strategies you choose, because then you’ll actually go out and do them! And you have to be willing to brainstorm a bit to learn how to own your marketing in the future. After all, it’s your marketing plan and your business.