I'm dropping some #realtalk on the blog today... So let's just dive into it. Despite what you may have heard, there is no silver bullet when it comes to business success. It's not your branding or your website... It's not your PR strategy... and it's not your social media strategy. Which are ALL important in their own right, but truth bomb.... not one of those things is going to make or break you. This, coming from a firm that business owners hire to help them do ALL of those things!
So what gives? There are so many businesses marketing to us these days (ding, there's that marketing strategy) that their course or services or book are going to be the one thing you need to make your business successful. And while we will all definitely have things that are game-changers in our businesses, I think this approach is setting a lot of people up for disappointment. Because unless you just get lucky (which some do), there's usually a lot more work to making your business successful than just reading one book, or taking one course, or designing the perfect logo. It's about putting your best foot forward on ALL of the things and creating synergy between all of those components.
Below I'm digging in deeper on my theory and what you should consider while creating your strategies.
If you build it they will come... Well, maybe not
Your branding and website are incredibly important to your business. The way you present your business or blog on social media and on your website is often the first impression people will have on your business and there is NO doubt that that is super important. Here's that but part though. Having a beautiful logo and website is great, but if you're not marketing it or getting the word out about your business... chances are, orders and clients aren't just going to flood in.
Just because you build it, does not mean they will come. Slapping up a few Facebook ads doesn't cut it these days either. When you're a small business or start-up and working with a small business budget, often you need to get scrappy when it comes to your marketing strategies. You're not Nike, so even though you just invested a lot of money into your website, no one knows about you yet and SEO will only get you so far when you're starting out.
Just like the phrase, "don't put all of your eggs in one basket," the same goes for your business strategy as well. Having a plan for your business is great, but equally as important is having a comprehensive marketing and sales strategy to actually get your business off the ground. This means nailing your branding and web design, plus having a marketing strategy, PLUS having a sales or conversion plan. You can't just build things these days, you have to hit the ground to tell people about your business or blog and then have a plan to try and convert those engagements into sales, views or whatever goal you're going after.
You're getting the views and interest... now what?
Whether you're working hard on your own getting your business name out there or you hired a professional to help, you need to think big picture with your marketing plans. Just like how your website and logo design aren't going to magically print you money once they're launched, neither is one element of your marketing plan.
When we work with small businesses, we're usually focusing our social media, PR, and influencer marketing strategies on a few key things -- awareness being a top one. To get people to book with your company or buy your products, they need to not only know about you but also trust your brand. Now hereeee is where your stellar web and logo design come into play. The goals of your marketing and PR strategies is to introduce people to your business and peak their interest. To get them to go back to your website... to call or email you... to buy your products. Having a user-friendly website and branding that really speaks to your target market will indeed help you heaps once you have people landing on your website, but there's still a lot more that goes into that process.
This is where a lot of people get tied up or lost on the concept that PR and social media does not always correlate directly to sales. Say what?! But, that's why I'm hiring someone to do these things for me.. to get featured in the media and grow my communities to then grow my business. I hear you, and the end goal of sales and booking up your services is certainly in our minds as we're working on your strategies, but as mentioned that your website is only one piece of the puzzle, so is your marketing strategy.
First things first, we need to increase awareness of your business and begin to grow that trust. If you think of the brands you purchase on a regular basis it's because you've learned their names, you've come to learn about the quality that they provide and what to expect. When you're a new business that no one knows about yet, they don't know you and might not be as eager to just give you a shot. Building your reputation and growing your audience is a marathon, not a sprint. This is why it's important to have a plan (yep another one) for how you will convert the audience you grow from your marketing efforts. As you get momentum on your marketing strategy the views will start coming in, and then it is up to you to prove to people that your business is worth spending their hard-earned dollars on.
Finding Your Synergy
And here is where everything comes together. What really brings you success in your business is finding your synergy. Coming up with a plan for how all of the moving pieces in your business pull together. I can grow your social media accounts by thousands and get eyeballs on your website, but if you don't have a user-friendly website or you don't have an opt-in setup, my work is likely going to waste. You need to have a plan and process to first grow your community and then convert those new followers, into customers and clients.
Sometimes it feels like a what came first, the egg or the chicken situation, but when you launch anything, you really need to think about the big picture for your goals. Because it's probably going to take a strategy or two... or ten to actually get you from point A to point B. That's why, while we can all learn a TON from other business owners, there is never going to be an easy roadmap to tell you exactly what turns to make. You have to test strategies, see how your audience responds and adjust accordingly. Every success story is different and that's really why there is no silver bullet.
What you can do, is take the strategies you've learned and map out your big picture goals and make plans for each of your strategies and how they will work together. What are your goals for each step of your marketing and business plan and how do they work together? A lot of times I think people just do things because they think they're "supposed to", but if it isn't serving a purpose in your bigger picture then.. well there is no point. Better yet, do you have the capacity to maximize the efforts of each?
Too often, I see clients who launch PR campaigns and are excited to be featured in the press and then they don't highlight their mentions on their website. Or clients who launch influencer marketing campaigns but then don't re-post the user-generated content anywhere. Or clients who launch social media campaigns to increase their awareness but then they don't update their website or get back to inquiries in a timely manner. I get it more than anyone, running a small business is a lot of work, but make sure you can keep up with the goals and start to find that synergy between all of your efforts. Otherwise, you'll put a whole lot of effort in without seeing the fruit of your labor.
I know it seems like a lot, and it can be, but I'd rather dish up some truth than buy into this magical illusion that is being sold to people. Is it hard work and does it take a lot of planning and adjusting? You bet, but keep at it and you'll get it!