You have your fabulous business idea, you have your goals written out, and you have written a killer business plan. The next step can be the most daunting one when it comes to launching any business – you have to tell people about what it is you do.
Once you start marketing your business one of three things can happen:
- You are an “instant” hit – it looks like you are going to meet or surpass your goals.
- Nothing – no one seems interested in buying what you are selling, or perhaps you aren’t reaching them in the right ways.
- Your audience vocally doesn’t like what you are offering – this is pretty rare unless you have completely misread your audience.
Often, for an entrepreneur, the fear of failure can hold you back from putting together the best marketing strategy you can. You are afraid that if you put yourself out there completely you won’t be received well. The best way to get over your fears is strategic planning and focus.
I know what you are thinking… I read this blog for THAT?! As simple as it might seem, the one thing that gets pushed aside is great planning. You may have a lot of great ideas for a marketing plan, but is it a full strategy? And do you have a plan to keep yourself on track?
Here are 5 things to consider to help get over the entrepreneurial fear hump and get your marketing strategy in order:
- Have you considered your target audience’s needs and behaviours? Your audience should always dictate how you market your business. For example, if you are targeting an audience that isn’t very tech-savvy, that Twitter Q&A you have planned is the wrong place to invest. You may want to consider more traditional tactics like direct mail or event-based marketing.
- Do your selected tactics fit within your overall business goals? It’s easy to get caught up with what your competitors are doing or the latest and greatest technology that is on the market, however you should take a step back and consider those goals and objectives in your business plan. If your goal is to become an industry leader in your field but you hadn’t considered a strong content marketing or PR plan, then you should reconsider your planning.
- Focus is your best friend. It is easy to look at all of the things you have to do and find smaller, less important tasks that you “just have to” complete first. While cleaning out your junk drawer in your desk can probably wait as well, I am talking about all of the things that can derail a great strategy. For example, you have set out to market your business on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but you heard about how neat Snapchat is and you thought you would “just set up” an account. Before you know it, you have spent half a day on something that you hadn’t planned on.
- Are you evaluating your strategy on a regular basis? Changing your original strategy isn’t a bad thing as long as it comes from a strategic evaluation of what is working and what isn’t. If you aren’t getting the traction you expected from Facebook, maybe you should consider a different social channel or focusing your time and resources into a different strategy altogether. It’s important to track the success of your efforts so you can look at your success over time and tweak your strategy as necessary.
- Are you trying to be an island? This is a huge cause of entrepreneurial fear (and failure). You may be the biggest champion of your own idea, however, sometimes it’s good to bring a third party in to look at your strategy with an unbiased eye. You don’t have to hire someone to do your entire strategy and execution for you (your budget might not allow for that!) but you can work with a consultant or coach to make sure you are on the right track. Your hesitation in starting your marketing outreach could stem from not feeling confident in your strategy and this will help with that.
As a business owner you should always give yourself enough space to take a step back, take a deep breath, and get back to the basics of what makes your business a business – your idea, your goals and objectives, your brand story, and your target audience. As long as you have a good foundation in the basics, you can approach everything else with confidence.
Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.
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