Welcome to Ask Kyla – the marketing Q&A column for service-based business owners and course creators!
This is where you can submit anonymous questions and get practical, actionable answers about marketing your online business, and attracting and managing your clients.
Have a question? Click here to send it in anonymously and it may be featured in an upcoming column.
Should I use a podcast to reach my audience or stick to social media?
I'm a doula with a pretty healthy business, and I want to start marketing more intentionally.
Most of my clients have come from friends of friends, past-coworkers, or bookings through the collective I work with. Everyone else is effectively a referral from those people. I want to grow my client load, and maybe even hire someone to take over some of my workload next year.
This year I added coaching support to birthing people and their families with recovery after pregnancy. I can offer it to anyone, no matter where they live, which feels like a big opportunity!
But I know I have to step it up to make that happen. I'm too quiet. I haven't been marketing my business at all for a year.
I have 2 main objectives for marketing:
- Connecting with folks that will purchase my services.
- Creating a social shift in perceptions that will see post-pregnancy rest and recovery as a necessary, integral part of the process rather than a luxury or strange/foreign practice.
Initially, I had the idea of starting a podcast where I'd interview people who would share their post-pregnancy experiences. It's the kind of thing that many birthing people check these out in an attempt to prepare themselves for their own experiences.
After looking into it, I'm starting to realize that hosting a podcast is quite a bit of work. My business is already time consuming and happens at odd hours – so now I'm wondering if a podcast would be as effective as getting clients simply using social media, without creating an entire podcast and all that entails.
I'd love to get your opinion: what do you think? Do you think I should stick the course with starting a podcast? or can SM be enough? What so you think is the right track?
Thank you so much Kyla!
– Perplexed over a podcast
OK, LET'S DIVE IN:
You've dreamed up some amazing options, Perplexed!
I love how you've gone beyond how you want your marketing to give back to you, and are thinking about how you want to serve your community. That spirit is exactly why we need more big hearted business owners sharing their work.
But the struggle to get visible is real!
It sounds like you have a healthy slate of clients, you're short on time, and you want don't want to waste of time on social media or podcasting if you're going to find yourself shouting into the void.
Right now, my inner coach wants to ask you: When you think about podcasting and social media, which do you feel most excited about?
And my inner consultant wants to tell you:
Start with social media.
Today, the consultant wins.
I think you should start with social media for two reasons:
- You can use it to become successful at any marketing you want to take on!
- You don't sound over the moon excited about podcasts. (If I have that wrong, then run full speed toward the microphone set up you've been eyeing, and have at it!)
Since you haven't been marketing your business actively, one of the most important places you can start is with a plan that builds your marketing self trust.
Marketing can be so open ended, and a lot of small business owners start by committing to a publishing schedule that's impossible. Then they beat themselves up when they can't finish it all, and feel like they've failed.
This is a version of perfectionism, and it can erode your self trust.
Over time it's really damaging, because no matter how you're marketing your business, you need to be able to trust yourself!
You need marketing habits you can't f@$k up
You can think of this as a minimum viable marketing habit, but I prefer marketing habits you can't f@$k up because swearing is one of my pandemic hobbies.
Instead of focusing so much on the end results, like how many times a week you would want to publish a podcast or on social media, think about what a tiny, micro-bite sized action would be.
- Comment on one Instagram post.
- Leave one LinkedIn comment for someone you're building a relationship with
- Take 5 minutes to write the next line in a post that you're not ready to send yet.
The point is that it shouldn't look like it's going to change your life when it's in your day planner.
A marketing habit you can't f@$k up is one that fits into your REAL life.
It's something you could get yourself to do on Thursday afternoon, when the weekend is almost here, you're sugar crashing, half of the things on your to-do list are things that you rescheduled from earlier in the week, and there are children or pets impatient for you to feed them.
If your marketing habit doesn't work for THAT version of you? You're not done brainstorming yet.
For social media, you need a marketing habit that focuses on content creation.
Here are some questions you can ask to choose one that fits your life:
- What steps would you need to take from start to finish? What would you do once, and what would you do many times?
For example: I would need to choose the topics I'll write about once, and outline, draft, edit, and publish every week.
- Have there been times when you've maintained a creative habit or project over a series of months? What made that easier or harder for you, and how could you use that to stack the deck in favor of your success?
For example: In the past, it was easiest to journal when I did it first thing, because I was too tired at the end of the day. I'll plan things at the start of the day, especially before I open my email.
- When could you find 5-15 minutes per day for this, to start making progress and making it part of your life? (You can extend it gradually over time, and if you start skipping it, go back to the tiny, un-fuck up-able version!)
For example: I'll start with 5 minutes every morning tomorrow, and even if I just look at the blank screen I'll be starting to build my habit.
As you start making more room in your life for your marketing habit and start thinking about how social media fits into your life in general, you're inevitably going to have more questions come up.
It's important to me that you have more resources than just an answer to this one question, so I'm going to share one of my favorite strategies for keeping any project headed in the right direction.
When you're getting overwhelmed and aren't sure if you're making the right choices, try using a mental model called inversion. (From this resource on mental models.)
How to use the mental model of inversion:
- Ask yourself: How could I make sure fail at this?
- List out the actions you would take
- Ask yourself: Am I falling into any of these traps now?
- Make a plan to do the opposite.
The results are often a lot more specific than when you imagine possible routes to success!
If you want to build strong client relationships, ask yourself the opposite: “How would I alienate my clients?” (And then do the opposite.)
If you want to host a great webinar, you can ask yourself “How could I make sure no one finishes watching this?” (Again, make sure you then do the opposite! lol)
In this case, if you want to start consistently making time to write, post, and build relationships on social media, ask yourself “How can I make enemies on social media and prevent anyone from knowing what I do for a living?”
Write out THOSE steps, check if you're falling into any of those traps now, and make a plan to do the opposite.
If you keep creating proof that you can show up to market your business no matter what and keep connecting with people and creating from a place of so much care for your clients, You're going to build a version of your business that's better than you could have dreamed of, faster than you thought possible.
You've just got to keep prioritizing it, step by step.
I can't wait to hear all about it – keep me updated!