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!

Finding the right support to help you grow your business NOW.

Finding the right support to help you grow your business NOW.

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Lines are blurred today regarding the types of business support available to entrepreneurs and small business owners which has created confusion in the market. Part of the problem comes from a misunderstanding of the definition of a Coach, a Mentor, and a Consultant within the business community. And, the phenomena of advisors crossing lines, creating new advisor types like “coachsultant” isn’t helping the industry either.

This confusion over which advisor is better at addressing business issues may come from the fact that some business issues actually originate in one area, but are realized in a different area. So, it can be hard to really figure out what’s needed. A business owner may inaccurately diagnose their own problem, and then contact a specific type of advisor who may, or may not, be equipped to solve the actual problem. And, many advisors may start working with a client and realize later in the process that the challenge is rooted in an area that is not their specialty. At this point, wasted time, money, and effort by both parties can create disappointment and frustration all around.

If business owners don’t  know that they have a choice in bringing on a Coach, Mentor, or Consultant, and don’t understand the primary strengths of these different advisor types, or the scope of skills each advisor type specializes in, trouble is likely.

Below is my explanation of the types of business advisors available to a business owner. Knowing what type of advisor you need offers you the best opportunity for great results. First, my definition each advisor type.

Coach – a professional who understands where you are now, and helps equip you with the mindset tools you need to run your business. They can also give you access to some business skills training.

Mentor – a professional, usually from the same industry, that helps provide guidance and support based on their personal experience and success in that industry.

Consultant – a professional who looks at the specific challenges of a business, provides a recommendation to address them, and can oversee implementation. They work across business disciplines to help a business owner create a flow to their business that is tailored to their needs specifically.

All three advisor types provide accountability and alignment, and help you with expectations around your business. They just do it from differing perspectives.

Coaches and Mentors support the business owner with mindset blocks, while Consultants support the business by providing recommendations on improving the way the business is created, and how it’s run. All types of support can lead to a better business. The wrong support however, may not create the results you desire.

Coaches and Mentors excel with mindset issues. And, because they’re mindset focused, they are more likely to be short term focused. Their strengths are in their ability to clear blocks, get clarity, and reframe a challenge, so they help address personal limitations to create results in your business.  Coaches are trained to look internally, and I think they’re better with “Whole to Part” learners (see separate post on learning styles coming soon). Coaches will guide you using a specific methodology that they’re trained in to get you moving your business forward. Coaches understand human behavior. They may, or may not, have any industry specific experience or knowledge.

Consultants excel at business issues. Their job is to strategically look at how a business runs. Because they’re looking at overall business flow, they are more likely to look at the business from a longer term lens. They’re trained to look at a business overall, as well as from specific disciplines, to identify the root cause of a business challenge. They are good with both “Whole to Part” and “Part to Whole” learning styles because they can provide training, or identify steps needed to reach goals and reverse engineer solutions to realize goals. Consultants may focus on processes and systems that enhance management, productivity, and order flow by identifying gaps and voids that can be addressed simply and quickly to get results. Consultants are usually jacks of many industries, masters at strategy.

You may have no clue how to run a business. You may not be emotionally ready for entrepreneurship. Or, financially ready for it either. You may not be equipped with the proper skill sets required to run your business successfully. And yet, you can still be successful!

Are, there people who can create something from nothing without a Coach, Mentor, or Consultant? Sure. But, most can’t. And, many who can, work with advisors because it can get them to success  faster.

So, if you choose to consider working with an advisor, how do you decide which advisor is best for you? Start by determining the following.

1)The type of help you need. Be honest. Do you need personal support or business support, primarily? Are you looking to address limitations in your skills, or in your thoughts? Are you constantly repeating the same mistakes? Or, are you stopped cold because you don’t understand the next step?

2) Their success doing what you want to do. Are they a success from your industry? Are they going to teach you tools to manage the mind games that impact your ability to run your business? Are they going to provide skills training in areas where you need to grow?

3) The type of support you’re getting. Is it a group program? One-on-one? Are you getting personal time with the program creator, or someone on their team? Do you get live access via email, private group, phone time? Are you expected to interact in a group environment?

4) All of the costs associated with the relationship. Bringing on an advisor should be an investment, and you should know how it will impact your budget. In addition to hiring your advisor, you may have to pay to implement projects. Or, travel to meetings. Know what’s involved financially so you’re prepared. Be prepared to carve time out of your schedule to do the work. Be prepared energetically because you will be stepping out of your comfort zone, and that can drain and frustrate you. It’s great, you’re trying new things. Be prepared for any frustration associated with the process.

5) Your readiness to show up. And, your readiness to do the work. No work with a Coach, Consultant or Mentor will be productive if you find excuses to implementing their recommendations. You need to put in the effort.

Regardless of which advisor you bring on, be patient. The impact to your business may not be immediate. Advisors will recommend tools that  introduce coping skills, destressors, and organizational methods that take time to show up in your business. Let the process flow!

And remember, any experience works best when you’re consistent with it. While many challenges can be simple to address, some require additional effort. Even the best expert can need time to tweak strategy and implementation before you will see some traction in your business.  There are a lot of moving parts. And, if your advisor is not trained to spot gaps, they can miss the root cause of the problem entirely, adding additional time to the tweaking process.

Many successful business owners rely on Coaches, Consultants, and Mentors. Know what you need, know how much you’re willing to invest, and find an advisor that can help you take your business to the next level. Anything is possible with the right support!

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