Recently, it became clear to me that I was not walking the talk. That as a marketer, I was using excuses like: “I spend my days marketing others” and “I am very fortunate that I get so many referrals, so I don't need to be marketing myself.” But then, it occurred to me I couldn't ask other folks to be investing their time to doing email marketing, blogging and social media, if I was putting it on the back burner, myself.
I understand how hard it is to find time, and how easy it is to ‘do it later'. So, to help me, as well as all of you reading this, I have decided to start back to the basics, not only to give me a fresh start, but also to help all of you learn during my process.
To get started, I am going to have to make sure I know my intended audience. Then I can create an editorial calendar, which will keep me more focused on blogging several times a month, mentioning those blog posts on appropriate social media outlets, and then wrap each month up with an email recap.
I currently mention a lot of great articles in my status updates on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, so I will continue doing that, as well. The articles are ones which inspire my/your business, offer insights on cool new tools (from a new WordPress plugin to a time management app), and bring new ideas on how to communicate my/your meaningful difference.
So, how to get started (or re-energized) and accomplish the goal of understanding my intended audience better?
First, I need to do the first thing I have my prospective clients do. Answer some questions about who my audience is, what they really want/need from me, and where my business is at with its current marketing efforts.
Why don't you do this along with me? Answer the questions for your own business…
I have a list of questions that I tend to start with, and sometimes I have to ask less of them, because the client makes it easy by being clear up front. Other times, I have to dig deeper.
Here is the first (and yes, obvious) question that helps me know whether the client has put thought into what they say when folks ask them what they do. Though the question is obvious, it really makes it clear how well the client knows their own audience:
Describe your company – what is your Elevator Speech? (an elevator speech is a short – very short – statement you can say to folks ‘between floors in an elevator', to explain what you do, and whether they or someone they know can benefit from finding out more).
Here is a bad elevator speech, I should know, I used it my first year out: “I can do any kind of marketing you need. What are you looking for?”
This was bad because most people don't really know what marketing is – they might think it is sales, public relations, or marketing research (calling folks to ask their opinion on a product). I don't really do those tasks, though I have and could, I really did not want to be doing ‘those things'. And, yet, I was telling them I could do anything. Also, what I found was though it was an open ended question, when I asked them what they were looking for, they usually didn't know. If they wanted anything from me, it was help to figure out why they would need me. I was not being clear with my own marketing message.
Here is a better elevator speech: “I help people build their complete online presence: blogging, email marketing, social media… Since my forte is marketing, I also create or redesign websites (using WordPress) with the goal to make it easier for your visitors to get the info they want.”
Though I don't always say it exactly like that, I can state something to that effect in about 14 seconds. At which point, people either say, they have been considering one or another of these activities, they know someone else who is looking for help with marketing, they don't know what social media really is or they just heard about WordPress and have a question.
Sometimes, they tell me they have no interest in Twitter, or some other site, and I get to ask what it is that they don't like. And we begin to have a great conversation.
On occasion, they say they know someone else who offers similar services and then I can ask who the person is – because I may either know them or may find someone new to align with (I'm always open to talk with folks who are doing similar things – as I've found often its more complimentary than competition).
However they respond, at least they are responding. I don't get that blank stare I used to get from my old conversation ‘stopper', where I was leaving it up to them to tell me what they didn't know they needed.
Anyway, getting back to the questions I ask, I've provided a link to download UniqueThink's New Client Questionnaire. This way, you can quiz yourself on how well you know your own company and why you are doing things you are doing and what you are trying to accomplish with any new marketing goals. It is a very helpful exercise, so I truly hope you take advantage of this and try it, now.
You can either print it out and ask yourself the questions or [intlink id=”8″ type=”page”]call me for a 1-hr free consult[/intlink], to go over it together. Again, when I go over these questions with the client, it is to help them figure this all out, as much as it is for me to understand where to go next. I don't always ask every client every question. Sometimes I skip around and sometimes I probe deeper on one specific question. If you are reading the questionnaire, right now, you may notice, some of the questions are repetitive. Those are for those times I haven't felt like I fully gathered the insights I needed to understand the clients goals (or that they haven't really addressed the goal), with the way the question was originally framed. And in most cases, I tend to ask 5-8 of the questions and ‘get it' enough to move to the next step.
Well, that's enough info to get you started on the first step. Any questions, yet? How do you feel about going on this journey with me? Do you see the value of exploring or re-exploring this (even if you've already begun your own marketing efforts)? Feel free to share your experiences, insights, and more… by commenting below.
Bethany, it was really great to meet you tonight at the Colorado Blogettes’ meeting. I’m sorry that we didn’t exchange business cards.
I came home to check out your blog. Really like your post here and the list of questions that you use. I’ve put your blog in my feed reader and look forward to reading more!
Tamara G. Suttle
Bethany, I meant to ask . . . you reference taglines and elevator speeches . . . . Just wondering if you have any great “recipes” or tips that you can share for either of these?
Tamara G. Suttle
It was great to finally meet you, as well. I’ve heard lovely things about you. Good suggestions for future blog posts, to write about tips for taglines and elevator speeches.
As for a quick tip right now, ask multiple friends/clients how they would describe your product/service to someone else. Sometimes others can distill down what you do. And, of course, sometimes people know you for different skills/products or have a different way of referring to something you do, which is another reason to ask multiple people. Write them all down and see what patterns emerge.
And, I will add these ideas to my future blog post list. Thanks for some great topics to explore!
Focusing on the many possibilities…