4 Simple Steps to Creating a Clear Marketing Message

4 Simple Steps to Creating a Clear Marketing Message

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Your marketing message is a part of everything you do to promote your business. When it isn’t clear it creates a lot of problems for your marketing activity, and your business. A poorly created marketing message, or a misdirected marketing message, will make any marketing activity you try ineffective. It will waste your money, time and effort. It will wreak havoc on your business, and might even cause your business to fail.

So, your marketing message is important. Really important.

Before I continue, do you know what your marketing message is? Many business owners think their marketing message is a description of what they do. But, it’s not. A good marketing message follows through the thought and tells the world what you do “for your customer”! In order words, what’s in it for them?

Your marketing message tells your prospects how you, and only you, solve their problem. As memorable as your tagline or slogan might be, it’s neither of these. It’s your secret sauce, the thing that makes you different from anyone else in your competitive space. It should be recognizable, compelling, and relative. It needs to be in a language your prospects understand. As your prospects hear it, they need to be thinking, “You’re talking to me!”

When do you create your marketing message? It’s created in the branding phase of your business development. As you’re answering the questions about your business, and identifying your target audience, you’re addressing the hot buttons of your ideal target. You’re formulating your brand. As a person. As a company. Your marketing message is a part of your branding.

You may do feasibility studies, or other research to learn about your prospects. And, the more precise you can be about what they need, what they fear, and what they worry about, the more effective a marketing message you’ll create.

Understanding these four things will give you everything you need to create an effective, compelling and unique brand message. And, that is the first step to building awareness of your business, and inspiring your prospects to action.

  • What makes you, and your business, truly unique? What is your specific expertise, proprietary process or approach? What is the reason you got into business in the first place? What do you plan to accomplish? How are you different from everyone else in your competitive space?
  • Who is your real primary ideal target audience? This is where you get very specific and identify the absolute best person you can help. What is her specific challenge? What keeps her up at night? What does she need? What does she want? Why does she need what you have to offer?
  • How well do you know your prospect? Do you speak in her voice? Her ideal language? What are the words and phrases that perk up her ears and get her to listen to you? How does she describe her challenge? Don’t put words into her mouth, or assume she has a problem she doesn’t think she has. Use her words and phrases to create your compelling argument.
  • How much of your own voice are you using? Are you provocative? Does your message reflect your personality? Be you. In a way that clearly positions you at the solution to her challenge.

Now, the good news. Most business owners don’t have an effective marketing message. Imagine what your prospects will think when you’re actually able to communicate who you are and what you do for your prospect, and create it in a language they understand? Of course, you still need to create marketing activity that will help your prospect find you and compel them to action, but the right marketing message will improve your marketing activity, and speed up success!

Popular marketing activity changes frequently, but once you develop your marketing message it can evolve as your business evolves. It should be consistent and intentional in all of your marketing activity so it really is the first step to developing an effective and strategic marketing plan. And, a thriving business. To your SWEET success!

Are you making one of these marketing mistakes?

Are you making one of these marketing mistakes?

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  1. There is no rhyme or reason to your marketing activity. You’re doing a little of this, and a little of that without any clear plan. No Plan = No Purpose.
  2. You’re listening to tactical experts and building your marketing based on random tactical strikes versus having your tactics support a clearly defined strategy.
  3. You’re bootstrapping your marketing without any consistent and dedicated funding. No Budget = No Profit.
  1. You’re under the impression that you can do marketing for free, forgetting that there is the cost of your time and effort. And, forgetting that you don’t know what you don’t know and may be missing some critical foundational marketing elements.
  2. You’re not looking at the bigger marketing picture. Instead, you’re focusing on short term efforts without thinking about next steps.
  3. You have no analytics in place so you don’t understand what works and what doesn’t.
  4. You’re trying too many marketing activities at one time. If the content isn’t consistent you can be your own worst enemy by creating confusion over your unique brand position.
  5. You’re not marketing consistently so your prospects don’t know where to find you when they’re ready to buy.
  6. You keep changing your marketing message, or your marketing message is too broad which can be confusing to your prospects.
  7. You’re not following up. Most prospects need 7-16 touches before they make a decision. Be honest, how many times are you communicating with them?

Any of these issues will sabotage your marketing, and make it less effective than it should be causing you to waste time, money and effort. So, before you start your marketing activity, pause and take a strategic look at where you want to go. Then, devise a plan to get there. I promise that a little strategic effort will go a long way toward having your marketing engage and compel your prospects to action. To your SWEET success!

7 Signs You Need a Marketing Budget

7 Signs You Need a Marketing Budget

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Marketing is everything! And without it, your business will fail. But, before you decide to invest in marketing make sure you’re doing these seven things first. If you’re not, chances are your marketing investment will be a waste of your money, time, and effort.

  1. You’ve made a Commitment to run your business like a business.

You are creating structure around your business. You are organizing your day, performing specific tasks, committing to a certain number of work hours, finding a balance of working both in your business and on your business, and creating specific expectations. You have a measurement for productivity, and an evaluation criteria for activities. You understand how structure is your fastest path to freedom.

  1. You plan on turning a Profit in 2016.

You plan on making more money than you spend, and realizing a profit in your business. You have identified specific financial goals. You have determined how many clients you need, how much product you need to sell, the value of a client, and the types of activities you need to do to reach your financial goals. You will dedicate time to think about how you spend your money, time, and effort so you can maximize your productivity.

  1. You’re confident in your Brand.

You have completed a Brand review. You’re ready to bring your brand to life. You have your Who, What, Where, When, and Why answered. You know your USP. You have a clear positioning statement. You can segment your potential market, and target your various ideal client groups by pain point and key messaging.

  1. Your products and services are Packaged and Priced.

You’ve done an audit of your competitive market and identified gaps that only you can fill. You have research that supports your decision on the types of products and services you offer. You’re confident in how you’ve packaged and priced your offerings. You’ve done your homework, and you’re ready to promote your products.

  1. You’re creating a Plan that aligns your activities with your goals.

No more “BSOS” (Bright Shiny Object Syndrome) for you! You have a clear path to take with your money, time, and effort. You have identified a few (only 2 or 3) key strategies so your tactics can be focused, intentional, and consistent. You know which media outlets and social media platforms will best reach your ideal target. You understand the type of content you need to create to help your customer’s choose you. You can use your customer’s voice. You’ve identified analytics to measure the success of your activity.

  1. You’re ready for the Sales conversation.

You are ready and willing to talk to your prospects to qualify them, overcome their objections, and close them. You know how to listen and respond to their questions. You know how to understand their needs. You know the results you offer. You’re letting your prospects come to you in their own time.

  1. You will Follow Up until you receive a Yes/No answer.

You will do what it takes to create follow up activities that get a response from your prospects. These activities will include multiple points of contact to build awareness, visibility, credibility, and authority. You will remind your prospect that you will be there when they’re ready to make a decision. You will not stop speaking to that prospect until they become a customer or say, “No thanks.” And then, you will not take their NO personally!

These seven activities point to a place where you’re READY to invest in marketing! So now, make sure you’re doing everything you can to ensure that your investment in marketing leads to success by creating programs around the best strategies for you and your prospect! To your SWEET success!

Strategy and the Entrepreneur

Strategy and the Entrepreneur

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When you hear the word strategy do you think, “Who has time for that? I’m too busy running my business to think about my business!”

Or, are you the entrepreneur who states, “Strategy is worthless. All it does is add time and cost to my business.”

You might even be the entrepreneur who longingly dreams,  “I know a strategic plan would help me, but I don’t know how to pick a strategy that is right for me.”

Or, the entrepreneur who laughs and says, “Strategy is a big business necessity because there are so many people involved in running the business. I’m a one man show, I don’t need a strategy to know what to do.”

And, you know what? You’re right with whatever you think. If you think strategy is for big business only, you’re right. If strategy is worthless, you’re right. If you know strategy would help your business, you’re right. And, if strategy is a pipe dream because you’re too busy working in your business, instead of on your business, you’re right again.

Thinking strategically about your business may not seem like a crucial key to success, but it is. And, I’m not just saying this because I’m a strategist. I’m saying it because it’s true. In the business world strategy helps you connect your activities to your goals. Strategy forces you to plan. And, if you don’t think you need to plan, try taking a long distance trip without one!

You may not even be thinking about strategy because you’re too busy going from tactic to tactic trying to make something work for you. Strategy helps you figure out what’s working, and what’s not working. Strategy helps you identify gaps and challenges. Strategy gets you out of your day-to-day thinking and gets you thinking about what ifs. Remember, when you first started your business, you probably thought about a bigger vision. Strategy gets you back to those thoughts.

Strategy is not designed to waste your time, money, or resources. It’s sole purpose is to help you determine a course of action for your business so you can align activities to goals, and maximize time, money and effort. Working a strategic plan of action gives you permission to “check the program” and decide whether a course of action makes sense, or not. It allows you to see your activities as steps towards a greater end. Using a strategy means you are weaving your activities together so at the end of the month, your focused effort translates to success.

Every business owner has many strategies they can employ to build their business, but focusing on one or two will give you clarity of purpose, and help you stay focused on the bigger picture. Most entrepreneurs love what they do, but every entrepreneur has tasks they must do to run their business successfully that aren’t a lot of fun. When you stay focused on the bigger picture you realize these tasks are a part of the process. The goal in this case is not the journey, but the destination.

So how does the “Chief cook and bottle washer” of your business (you) add yet another “task” to the running of your business? Like everything else important to the success of your business you carve out time. The good news is that a little planning goes a long way, and strategy planning can be done in as little as two hours a month. Below are steps that will get you thinking strategically about your business.

1. Schedule a day and time for your strategy session. Make sure you have at least sixty minutes of uninterrupted time.

2. Assess where you are now by knowing your current:

  • Gross sales
  • Number of customers served
  • Average sale per customer
  • Type of customer (new vs. repeat)
  • Investment in marketing activity
  • Three good things that happened in your business recently
  • One or two things that you would change, if you did them again

3. Review and reflect. Look at the information before you. Imagine you’re telling it to someone who supports your success. How would they respond?

4. Identify potential strategies you can employ to align your actions to your goals. Select one specific strategy and outline a plan of action to achieve that goal. Do you see gaps? Do you know how to get those gaps addressed so nothing stands in your way?

5. Commit. To your goal. To your strategy. To your plan.

6. Take action. Be prepared for hiccups. Be prepared for your sabotage patterns to show up. Be confident in your ability to address them.

7. Schedule your next strategy session.

So, now when you hear the question, “Which entrepreneur are you?” You’ll answer, “One that uses strategy, because it works.”

To your SWEET success!

The Secret To Turning Your Clients Into Forever Fanatics

Entrepreneur Marketing Strategies Marketing Tips Small Business

How would you feel if you knew your ideal client so well you were in a relationship with them before you ever exchanged business? Pretty powerful, right! Marketing at its core, is the place where successful companies are made, and asking one specific question can be a great first step to getting you and your prospect aligned and moving toward closing the sale. Are you ready for that question?
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The question is, “Who’s your who?” Continue reading

Frequency Is Your Friend

Entrepreneur Marketing Tips Small Business

When it comes to marketing, frequency is your friend. What do I mean by this? Remember, marketing is about engagement. If you see a guy you like at the dance you don’t just walk by him once, you find ways to be near him all night long. You make eye contact across the room. A lot, right! Marketing is about getting your prospect’s attention. Marketing is about timing. Marketing is about frequency.

best marketing tipsWhy is this important? Continue reading

Accountability: Your Path to Success

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effective-marketing-strategiesWe talk about accountability, but what does it really mean? Accountability is a key area of difference between an entrepreneurial mindset and an employee mindset. Accountability is a key area of difference between a successful business owner and a struggling business owner. So how does accountability make you successful? Continue reading