I love the way the internet marketing world has changed throughout the years.
Back in the day, it was all about the tactics. People wanted all the stuff they thought would make money now. I’d mention strategic thinking and I’d get that apathetic, eye-roll response, reminiscent of teenagers being told they should wear sunscreen. BO-RING.
But now? Now, something has changed in the zeitgeist. Now the most common question I get is, “YES, BUT NOM NOM NOM STRATEGY!!!” (Paraphrased, but only lightly.)
So, shall we talk marketing strategy?
Marketing strategy: I have a dirty little secret for you.
For businesses of nearly all sizes – but particularly at the ittybiz level – you can pick almost any marketing strategy you want as long as it meets the three criteria I’m going to tell you about today.
Which marketing strategy should you pick? Well, it actually doesn’t matter a damn. (Please see 10 Perfectly Good Marketing Strategies And What To Do If You Don’t Like Any Of Them for more on this. Warning: Perhaps a little ranty? A little? Maybe?)
It doesn’t matter a damn if you can answer “Yes” to the following three questions. Answer “yes” to these three questions and just assume you have the Naomi From IttyBiz Stamp of Approval.
As we go into the questions, you may want to put a strategy you’ve been considering in your mind. Then you can kind of do it in real time.
So, think of a marketing strategy you’ve thought about before you move forward.
You want to be a guest on a bunch of podcasts, say.
Or you want to run weekly webinars, promoted via Facebook ads.
Or you want to be on Twitter 22 hours a day.
Or you want to follow 200 Instagram users a day and ruthlessly unfollow everyone who doesn’t follow you back.
Whatever you’ve been quietly daydreaming about, slot it in, and we’ll get on with the questions.
Marketing Strategy Question 1: The Affinity Question
This is the first question, because it’s the easiest to answer.
Do you like it?
Think of the thing you’re considering and ask yourself, “Do I like the idea of doing this?”
This separates out most marketing strategies, right off the hop.
If you hate Facebook, and in particular you hate Facebook ads, it would be wise for you to avoid planning your business around ads… on Facebook.
You’d be surprised how many options this eliminates.
There are some people who can effectively implement strategies they don’t personally like. They are usually men, and they usually come from a corporate background. The rest of us don’t stand much of a chance.
For the rest of us, if we don’t actively like the marketing strategy we’re engaging in – if it doesn’t actively light us up – we’re going to suck at it. Like, super suck. Like, we’re going to stick out like a sore thumb and it’s going to look really awkward and people are going to cringe.
So, that’s question one.
Do you like this marketing strategy?
If the answer is yes, move on to the next question.
Marketing Strategy Question 2: The Ability Question
Now that we’ve established you like this option, the next issue up for consideration is whether you’re even capable of it.
It’s amazing the things we’ll consider in times of desperation.
If you can’t write? Don’t write.
If you clam up in front of a microphone? Stay away from podcasts.
If you have no money? Advertising is not for you.
Now, a common issue that comes up here is that sometimes, it’s difficult to know if you’d be good at implementing a particular strategy. When it comes to marketing, we all get a sort of self-created stupidity about our own abilities. We think we don’t know things that are pretty obvious.
My recommendation here is to think of a marketing strategy like you would think of a fitness strategy. You’re probably pretty good at knowing what you would or would not be capable of, even if you’ve never tried it before.
Seriously – try it now. I’ll throw some fitness approaches at you, and give me your first answer – you’d be good at it or you wouldn’t.
If you honestly asked yourself, you’ll find your first answer was pretty close to the truth. (The exception to this is if you think you suck all the time. If that’s the case, hire me as a coach. I’m REALLY good at beating that belief out of you with a pink fluffy stick.)
Now, if you really have no idea because a concept is COMPLETELY new to you, that’s fine. In that case what you do is you put your Big Kid Brain on, the one you’ve used when being awesomely smart in the past, and consider the COMPONENTS of a strategy, and see if you think you could get good at them.
So, webinars, for example.
And sometimes sales-y.
Think you could get good at those kinda things? Awesome. We’ll move forward.
Think it would make you break out in permanent hives like that Ravenclaw girl in Order of the Phoenix? Then we go back to the drawing board with a different strategy.
So. If we establish that you would like a strategy, and we establish that you could conceivably be good at the strategy, we move to the last of our questions.
Marketing Strategy Question 3: The Consistency Question
Our last question is the consistency question.
Do you believe you could engage in this strategy consistently and sustainably?
For marketing to work, you usually have to do it for a long time.
Sometimes this is not true. If you have a truly spectacular new app, and you’re offering it for free, yeah, your first ad campaign might get you 100,000 users. But in general, for the average ittybiz owner, you’re going to have to do it for a while before you see indicative results.
There are a few reasons for this.
One, there’s the old “13 exposures” adage – someone has to see an ad 13 times, on average, before they’ll do anything about it. (Notice here that “do anything about it” DOES NOT EQUAL “buy”. Sometimes “do” is simply “click”.) So, on average, I’m going to have to see your ad, or your Instagram post, or your name in a guest post bio box 13 TIMES before I’ll get off my ass.
And two, for most ittybiz owners, word-of-mouth is a huge source of their traffic/readers/clients/users. For me to mention you with my mouth, I have to trust that what you’re doing is a real thing that you’re actually doing.
So, if you do, I don’t know, weekly free webinars? And you’re relying on me to send my friends over to you? You’ll have to do a lot of them before my brain associates you with them sufficiently that I’ll think of you/them spontaneously.
You do one webinar? I might go.
You do three webinars? Cool.
You do ALL THE WEBINARS? Then I tell my friends you do these really awesome webinars… whether I attend them personally or not.
So, if it’s going to work, it has to be done consistently and sustainably.
A marketing strategy that works matches all 3 of these criteria.
If you’ve been struggling with making your marketing strategy work (or struggling to decide!) maybe the problem isn’t “you”. You don’t necessarily suck. Maybe it’s just a mismatch on one of these fronts.
If you like it…
and you’re relatively good at it…
and you do it consistently and sustainably…
…you can’t fail.
I’ve honestly never seen someone fail to grow if they use these three little questions.
If you use the three questions, you can pick any marketing strategy you like. :)
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