Ways to Sharpen Your Marketing Strategy

May 9, 2016


Are you frustrated because your marketing efforts aren’t bringing in as many new customers as you’d like? There might be a simple reason for that: your marketing sucks.

As a business owner, trust me, I understand the struggle to manage clients, business administration and marketing campaigns. It’s tough. But if you want your company to grow and thrive into today’s world, you’ve got to create stellar marketing.

In today’s post, I’m going to go through a few reasons why your marketing sucks. But, more importantly, I’ll give you some simple solutions on how to fix it!

1. You Don’t Have a Documented Strategy

50% of companies still don’t have a documented strategy, according to a report by Smart Insights. If you’re a part of that statistic, you can stop right here. Not having a clear guideline for how to approach marketing is exactly why your marketing sucks. It’s like aimlessly driving in hopes of getting to your destination – it just won’t work!

Solution: Create a Strategy!

Marketing strategies can get extremely detailed and complicated, but going so deep isn’t a requirement. For a simple, successful strategy, start by outlining the following:

  • Marketing Goals & Key Metrics: What are you trying to accomplish, and how will you measure marketing efforts to know when you’ve reached the goal?
  • Competitor Analysis: Who are your top competitors? What type of marketing are they doing? Are their efforts working?
  • Target Market Analysis: Who are your customers? Where do they spend time (both in the real world and online)? Why do they need your service?
  • Tactical Plan: What marketing channels will you use? What content mediums will you develop (e.g. video, audio, written)? How often will you run campaigns?

Again, this is just a starting point. Once you outline these basic elements, you’ll have a basic roadmap to follow. And if you have the map, then you can reach your destination.

2. You Aren’t Consistent in Your Efforts

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.  The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
– Thomas Edison

Too many business owners get frustrated when they don’t see results right away. It’s understandable. After all, we live in a world where Amazon can deliver to you in under and hour and we can communicate instantaneously with people across the globe.



However, successful marketing doesn’t provide us with instant gratification. You have to keep at it day after day. It’s the only way to build momentum, trust and success.

Solution: Find a Way to Be Accountable

Many of us struggle with being inconsistent. It’s why the weight loss industry is booming; why we struggle with breaking bad habits; and why our marketing often sucks.

Wanna break the cycle? Become accountable. At the beginning of this year, online fitness coach Mike Vacanti did this in a really powerful way: he committed to writing one blog post a week, otherwise he’d give his entire net worth to his biological father (who he hates).

Screenshot 2016-05-08 16.40.34

Take a piece from Mike’s playbook or find another way that motivates you. The key here is to be accountable to your commitment in a way that inspires you.

3. You’re Focused on the Wrong Channels

Sometimes you can have strategic, consistent marketing yet still have a lackluster execution. I’ve seen many business owners make this mistake; their creative is strong, but they’re promoting it in all the wrong places.



In the digital world, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the options. Social media marketing alone is enough to give you a headache, not to mention other marketing verticals.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat? If you’re publishing in the wrong places, you may never get in front of the right audience. That’s why it’s so important to understand your customer.

Solution: Talk With Your Real Customers

If you want to know something, the best way to find out is to just ask! For those who have been in business a while, you likely have a strong base of current and past customers. Reach out to them and request a few moments of their time.

During the interview, ask questions that will help direct your marketing efforts. A few questions that you may want to ask include:

  • What social networks do you spend the most time on?
  • Do you regularly ready and blogs, newspapers or magazines? If so, which ones?
  • When trying to find a new service provider for [industry], where would you search?

As you interview multiple customers, you’ll start to find common threads. That’s where you’ll want to point your marketing campaigns.

4. You Don’t Add Enough Value

Finally – and perhaps the biggest culprit of sucky marketing – not actually adding any value. If you’ve spent most of your business life around billboards and commercials, this concept can seem pretty foreign. However, in today’s world, it’s vitally important that your marketing efforts often not even seem like marketing.

You should be adding real value to your customers through education, engagement and/or entertainment. It’s the only way to be truly remarkable in a crowded, noisy marketplace.

Keep Your Finger on the Pulse: Like FreshBooks on Facebook

Solution: Have a Long-Term View of Success

As a close partner to consistency, adding value is also a long-term investment. If you’re looking at adding value as a one-time or few-times thing, then you’ll never make an impact.

Consumers buy from those they know, like and trust. And the only want to become that person is to selflessly add value everywhere you can. If you’re giving as much as you can to your audience, the ROI, metrics and success will follow. It’s just a matter of time.

Conclusion

If you want marketing that doesn’t suck, you’ll need to make an investment. Successful companies aren’t born overnight or by happenstance.

For many, reaching accomplishing goals and building a truly amazing business will remain an elusive hope. But for those of you willing to build a strategy, be consistent and provide value in the right places, you can build something remarkable.

How are you creating marketing that matters? Have you ever had marketing that sucks but managed to turn it all around? I’d love to hear your story in the comments!


about the author

Freelance Contributor Chelsei Henderson is a content marketing consultant helping freelancers and entrepreneurs build successful companies in the digital world.