3 Things To Focus On In Your Marketing in 2018

If you're a small business owner, you most likely know that your marketing efforts take, well, a lot of effort. Between the ever-changing Instagram algorithms, the getting-harder-and-harder-to-reach-your-audience-Facebook, Pinterest, your blog, your website, your email newsletters - it's a lot. Like a whole hanky doodle lot.

I know so many friends and fellow business owners who are hitting their head up against the walls or smack down on their desks in defeat, claiming that marketing their biz is taking up all of their time. And I get it. It absolutely can if you let it. And if marketing isn't your strongest suit, or you don't particularly enjoy it (gasp! how could anyone not enjoy marketing their business?!?!?), or you have a business to run and simply don't have the time to devote to mastering six different marketing channels and creating all of that content, then it's easy to freeze up and do absolutely nothing. But we both know that'll get you to exactly the same place you're at right now in three months - and none of us want that. So let's focus on three simple things you can actually handle in your marketing this year, okay?

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Alright, step 1:

DIAL DOWN -

Instagram (what most consider the holy grail), Instagram Stories, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter (yes, it still exists), Snapchat, YouTube, keeping up to date with your own website, blog, and email newsletters - Keeping up with each of these platforms is LITERALLY A FULL TIME JOB. Trust me, I do it for a living. Pick two of these platforms - aside from your own website/blog and newsletters, those are non negotiable - and focus on growing and establishing your presence on these two platforms only.

Your time and resources are limited. You can't afford to spread yourself thin across every single platform out there just because it exists. We call that shiny object syndrome. Don't do it. Let's say you're going to focus purely on Instagram (and Instagram Stories) along with Pinterest this year. Create a solid strategy that uses Instagram to communicate with your customers on a daily basis and to direct back to your website and email newsletter list. Use Pinterest to drive the majority of traffic to your blog, or back to your Instagram, and back to your blog/newsletter list again. Study these platforms. Get really good at them. Find out what your customer wants from you on each platform. Grow and establish yourself on these two selected platforms. Don't get distracted and decide to experiment with YouTube in two months. Stay focused, dial in, dial down. Eye on the prize, people.

 

FIND OUT WHAT THEY WANT, WHAT THEY REALLY, REALLY WANT -

Ever feel like you're talking into the dark out there and not even the boogie man is responding?

You may be doing just that.

How often do you go back through your content and analyze each post, article, newsletter, etc.? If you're thinking "mmm.. rarely?" right about now, then we gotta change that, mmkay? There's a reason analytics have been a trusted resource of brands and businesses for years upon years - they tell the truth.

Your audience will most likely tell you what they want more of and what they don't really care to see again - you just need to be paying close attention, and be ready and willing to hear them out and change your plans if need be.

And if you don't know your audience better than you know your pups, that's an issue, too. You need to have your ideal and current audience and customer in mind with every piece of marketing content you create. If you've tried to narrow down what your audience wants and still feel stuck, don't underestimate the power of a good survey. With Instagram Stories, it's easier than ever (ever ever ever) to create a quick content/marketing survey and get real life answers from real life humans. Don't be afraid to ask your customers if they prefer x, y, and z. As we all learned in kindergarten, most people are more than ready and willing to share their opinions. Especially when you make it as easy as an Instagram Stories survey. Not sure how to set this up or what questions to ask? Just shoot me an email and I'll happily guide you along!

Having a clear picture of exactly who you're talking to and creating for can radically change your marketing results. Who knows - you may even start to enjoy the marketing side! Shocking, huh?

 

STOP LOOKING AT EVERYONE ELSE -

Listen, the best marketing is truth telling. It's that often overused, but true, word, authentic. When you stay entirely true to your brand, the magic can happen. Your customers won't be confused, they'll begin to understand, and spread, your message and business for you, YOU won't be confused anymore when you stay focused on you, yourself, and your brand.

I know I manage numerous social media platforms for numerous clientfriends, but I'm here to tell you right now: social media can be crazycakes dangerous, particularly in the self comparison trap. I don't care how successful of a business owner you may be - the comparison game is real, especially while you're scrolling through Instagram or browsing Pinterest. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Stop comparing yourself to other companies within your industry or any company entirely out of your industry. Stay in your own lane. Stay focused on your message and what your customers really want from you, stay focused on the two or so social media platforms you're committing yourself to this year, stay focused on the marketing plan you've put together this year (need help with this? holla at your girl.), stop looking around at what everyone else is doing and adjusting your sails based on their perceived wind path.

I highly suggest taking a couple of days to get away - if you can swing it, a staycation is perfect for this - with your team or by yourself if you're a one woman or one man show and plotting out each quarter of 2018 in as much detail as possible - in terms of your marketing, product launches, projects, etc. Get a plan down for the year and then make sure you stick to it. Of course, adjust as needed based on your own company, resources, life changes, and so forth. But don't adjust or scrap your plans because you saw Sally do this on Instagram.

Stay focused on yourself.

 

Write these three things on a big piece of paper and tape it to your wall. Write them on a post it note and snap it onto your laptop. Just remember to stay in your own lane and stop looking at everyone else, focus on a couple of platforms and a couple of platforms only, and figure out exactly what your customers want and who you're talking to. Do these three things consistently and I promise you will feel and see a difference in your marketing this year. I promise, homegirl/boy.

Until next time,
Allie