When you're busy onboarding clients or replying to student questions in your course's community, it's hard to imagine adding marketing on top of everything else.
You don't want to waste time on anything that doesn't work!
But you know that there's a ceiling on how much you can earn if you rely entirely on referrals or word of mouth, and you're not satisfied with not having control over how much you earn.
So let's talk about how to choose where to start marketing your business.
I've boiled this down to three questions you can ask yourself.
These choices allowed my clients to start earning thousands of dollars with paid speaking gigs, hit their revenue goals half-way through the year, and hit their first $300k year. If that sounds good, then keep on reading!
I strongly recommend choosing 1-2 areas to focus all your marketing efforts on and set the rest aside.
But how do you choose?
Well, have you ever had your eyes checked? Imagine sitting in the chair, looking at the chart with little letters on it while an optometrist flips tiny lenses in front of your eyes to find out what prescription is right for your glasses?
You're going to do the same thing. You'll examine ways you could market your business through three different lenses, and for each, you'll ask yourself, “Hmm… is that better or worse?”.
What you're looking for is the feeling of alignment with how you want to live your life and how you want to feel while working toward business goals.
Here are three of the most important things to consider for any tempting marketing tactic or platform:
What's the lifespan of your effort?
Some ways to become known or build relationships have an impact that lasts longer than others. Neither is good or bad, but it's essential to consider your effort's lifespan, so you can ask yourself if you want to work on that timeframe.
Example: SEO optimizing blog posts can take a week to start getting traction, but your posts can attract the perfect people and has a long lifespan – your work can pay off for years to come. Engagement-based social media, like Instagram, Facebook, or Linkedin, appear immediately but have a short lifespan, usually about one day.
Ask yourself: If I use this marketing tactic well, how long can I expect my effort to last? If I can only commit 15 or 30 minutes per day, how often will I finish? How does that match up with how frequently I need to book new clients or bring in new customers?
How deep is your personal network?
Do you have friends and peers who could help you?
(Side note: The fact that most marketing doesn't touch on this is utterly baffling and privileged. Don't get me started!)
Knowing people who are a few steps ahead of you in a field is a massive advantage. When you have more personal connections in a given area, it's easier and faster to find high-quality resources, meet helpful people, ask for feedback, or get accountability.
Example: Let's say you're deciding between starting a podcast or starting a Youtube channel. A good friend of yours has a podcast. You've heard that Youtube is excellent – but you don't use it yourself, and you don't know anyone else who uses it. Given all that, I would recommend podcasting. You can't underestimate the confidence that comes with having a friend who's working on the same problems.
How many people do I know who are already doing this who might be willing to have a coffee date with me, or recommend resources? If I don't have any, am I willing to invest in a coach or a program?
What does your gut reaction tell you?
Some of my busiest clients skip asking themselves what their heart and their body tells them. They don't pause long enough to think about their reaction, or they steamroll over themselves and think it's not valuable information.
It's valuable, and the reason is simple: It's tough to do anything you hate. It's really tough to do anything you hate consistently. And there are lots of ways to market your business that you would enjoy!
So stop, and visualize yourself doing the work. Sending the email, asking someone for a coffee chat, hosting the webinar – you name it.
What is your gut reaction to it? What do you experience in your body? Do feel butterflies in your stomach and can't wait to get started? Maybe you feel hesitant but curious? This is going to change over time, and it's absolutely something you can coach yourself through – but if you're strapped for time, this isn't the place to lean into a growth edge.
Instead, name what comes up, and consider it when you're choosing.
Example: If the thought of pitching podcast interviews ties your stomach into knots and you have a viable, lower stress option? Do that instead, unless you're highly committed to following through.
Similarly, if the idea of inviting other business owners onto coffee chats to look for opportunities to help each other feels energizing? Bump that higher up on your list of possibilities.
Ask yourself: What sensations come up in my body when I think about doing the day-to-day work that would be needed to succeed? What emotions do I feel, when I think about any previous experiences I've had with this?
One final note: Audience growth is a complete afterthought for most businesses, and it's one of the most important things to plan for.
As you weigh the options, make sure you ask yourself:
If I was marketing my business using _____________, what actions would I take to get in front of people who have never heard about me before?
If you don't know, you don't have a marketing plan, you have a plan for busywork. Being in control of finding new leads, or new audience members, is critical. Without it, you're painting yourself into a corner because there's a ceiling on what your time and effort can give back to you.
Ineffective, time-wasting marketing happens when:
- You don't regularly make offers and/or
- You don't have a plan to grow your audience
With a plan you enjoy, a strategy that makes it easy to make offers, and a simple habit of growing your audience, you can grow your business in as little as 15 minutes a day.
That's how I grew my Pinterest account to over 140k followers, and have worked with over 600 clients over the years.
If you've been saying too little about your brilliant ideas and the work that's going on behind closed doors, it's never too late to start.
I hope this makes getting started a little easier :)