I don’t know any entrepreneurs who haven’t felt overwhelmed when tackling the beast that is: marketing their business. If you’re here, it’s because you’re someone who wants it to be authentic marketing, too.
Even if you’re the most confident voice in the room, knowing what works in your business, and moves the needle towards success (the definition I’m applying here is coming shortly). It can still bring certain somatic responses if we don’t use marketing in a way that feels ethical and not completely cringe and energy-sapping. Authentic marketing requires forethought, testing and logical reasoning.
What is business success?
The reality is, that we all set out in business intending to offer something we love to others. To find people who hopefully share our enthusiasm and passion for what we offer and can be helped in their lives with the solution we provide. What success means to you is personal (always happy to hear from you if you have a thought or an idea to share), but for clarity here, the term “success” means:
- Gaining new customers.
- Continuing to work with customers that you already have a relationship with.
- New, engaged subscribers.
- Earning enough to pay your bills and enjoy life outside of work (a little, at least!).
- New, collaborative opportunities to teach and share your knowledge.
Separating ourselves from panic when we’re trying to: survive and pay staff invoices, meet the customer’s needs, find transparent and ethical suppliers, and service providers, enjoy some kind of life outside of work and reinvest in whatever brings us sales can be a challenging and stressful task.
Remaining objective when it comes to making a living can be tricky. Failure is such a scary thought, especially when we’re already going against the grain to build something of our own and not rely solely on a paycheck.
The Performance Trap of Misaligned Marketing
So, we get our heads down and “get down to business”, but somewhere along the line we realise people are executing their vision with strategy underpinning it (who knew!?) and we sit up to pay attention because we realise, maybe we should be doing that too.
But what is the best method to apply marketing strategies to our business venture? Whose approach looks most replicable? How do we know which tools to use and when do we know it’s time to find help; whether that be a community or specialist, a team member or even someone in the same industry as us in a skill exchange – helping us sustain what we’ve built or grow to the next level.
This article is focused on authentic marketing solutions. I hope you finish reading it feeling as though it helped you logically consider the questions above. Keep reading to see if anything resonates and helps you find ease in how you market your business. At the very least, I hope you have the outline of an authentic marketing strategy to use as a road map – bringing you back in line with what you’re trying to cultivate.
What’s your personality and how to use it in authentic marketing?
I want you to take a moment to think about the type of personality you are: High-energy, crowded room type of personality, or a slow, connected, curated dinner, kind of person?
Could the platforms you use to build a presence be out of integrity with who you are and more importantly, is the energy you invest showing up on them significantly moving the needle in your business?
If it is, great. Compare it to wherever else you’re showing up and look at those impressions, insights and more importantly events that occur as a result of what you’re sharing (I define “events” as the tangible outcomes: leads, sales, partnership, direct outreach action, opportunity).
What is the best method to apply authentic marketing strategies to your business venture?
It’s so crazy to think we’re worrying about not gaining traction on our social media results when none of us are experts. Heck, the number of people I speak to about their online presence, entrepreneurs that cringe about having to go ‘live’, fatigued after spending hours on Canva, getting lost in editing rabbit holes to make reels with perfect transitions, and others, screaming at their carousels when they notice a spelling mistake, after meticulously sizing it to post.
There is a lot to be said about ignoring our body’s signals to stop. There is even more to be gained from slowing down to notice what feels good in our bodies and subsequently our business.
If it isn’t making you feel good, what would it look like to simply stop? Stop showing up in that place, or at least drastically reduce the frequency and amount of energy you’re spending there and redirect it to whatever is the lead marketing tool for you. Go on, close your eyes and imagine for a minute.
Did your chest just loosen, and your shoulders relax at the thought of getting rid of that extra task? Okay, so maybe we’re on to something. If your worry is about stopping cold turkey, handing that task off, or at least allocating a smaller percentage of time to it could be a rewarding step.
So, whose authentic marketing approach looks most replicable?
“Comparison is the death of joy”, a famous person once said. I’m inclined to agree for the most part, but here’s where I offer a different perspective. We just reflected on our personality types, and I’d dare to say whether you’re an introvert, extrovert or ambivert, there is someone else in your industry or space who feels exactly the way you do about marketing – love it or hate it.
I’m not telling you to copy someone you see that you aspire to be like, but it is sometimes helpful to look at how and where they show up. This can help you get a sense of what feels good to you as well, maybe even inspired by how or what they share: but the real question is, do you have the feeling of possibility and the commitment to show up on that platform and in a sustainable way, for you? If you’re already coming up with objections – it’s probably not right for you.
It took me so long to realise where my strengths lay, and even longer to prioritise authentic marketing approaches that played to my strengths. When I took a step back to look at where I moved the needle in my business, and how; two things became clear:
- people value my professional insights, they respect my opinion, and they recommend me because of it.
- Gathering social proof, offering advice and networking are three of my strongest skills – they are the foundations of my authentic marketing strategies.
How do I know which digital marketing tools to use?
Once we know where we’ve found/can find success in our marketing we can replicate the process with tools that help us achieve this on repeat.
For me, that looks like a lot of systems and automation BTS (behind the scenes). If you’re not quite there yet just think of the things in your day-to-day world that make your life easier! I for example use Convert Kit, Calendly, VidYard, Typeform and Stripe as everyday systems to make my job easier, either by giving me more time or directly as the marketing tool.
Next, think about the practical tools that match your personality. Here is an example:
If you nurture a lovely list of people in a small community (hey, subscribiessss!); with weekly newsletters, membership platforms and groups, or regular meetings IRL.
- What are the tools that help you achieve that?
- Can those tools be used more efficiently to maximise the outcomes they bring for you?
- Is the tool + time spent, something that informs, engages and nurtures those connections?
- How much time in the week are you dedicating to your marketing channels based on the proven return?
- Are those tasks permanently scheduled in your diary and do you factor in time to receive feedback and measure outcomes?
Here’s another example: If you’re somebody who thrives by networking; do you have something scheduled at regular intervals that gets you in a room of potential opportunities? What things do you need to succeed in that room:
- An elevator pitch?
- Contact cards?
- Some research before attending about who is who.
So, when do we know it’s time to find business help and expertise?
This is really a matter of personal priorities and risk. The availability of resources around you – to either ask for or pay for help. Can you do skill swaps and other community-driven exchanges too, sure. But for the purpose of this article, let’s assume:
– You’re operating/ creating/ delivering in a way that defines you as a business owner.
– You’ve answered all the questions we covered earlier in the article and now it’s time to draw up a plan.
Now we know what moves the needle in our business; (website traffic, networking, crazy TikToks and reels), we can do more with our time to focus our authentic marketing efforts on those platforms. But depending on what we’ve found out, how do we redirect our efforts from platforms that weren’t moving our bottom line? It’s time to think strategically about those authentic marketing methods that have proven to bring better value to our ideal client and less stress to us, so we can show them what the hell we’re here to do and convert them.
Depending on what landed as your most successful marketing stream, you might be jumping for joy or woefully worrying about not wanting to show up. Well, take this as your first indicator of if now is the time to seek help.
Some reflective prompts to help you reach a decision:
Is it something that you could do and would enjoy with the right guidance? If the answer is yes maybe you need a specialist that can stand alongside you to advise, strategise and leave you with a plan to execute.
Perhaps it’s something you can’t bear the thought of tackling any longer, in which case, maybe it’s time to outsource entirely.
Feeling confident in your strategy on the identified platform(s)? Think about documenting those processes for someone less senior to take the reins.
Could you redefine boundaries on time spent, to test what type of content gains traction and content that it’s time to leave behind?
What to do next?
From here, you should have a pretty good idea of your content pillars. You can do it old school with the old “brainstorm”, and “thought cloud” method. Think about what your ideal customer is struggling with so you can demonstrate expertise with a solution share, or dip your toe and test A.I with some prompts to generate content ideas on your chosen platform that you can use, lose or refuse.
The freedom you should feel after these steps (strides if we’re being honest), could be the difference to how your business feels this year and I’m sure your body will thank you for that!
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