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5 Confessions Marketers Are Afraid To Admit, Even To Themselves

As someone who’s been marketing things online for about a decade, I can tell you first hand that the fear of marketing is real. It prevented me from growing my business in the earlier stages, and it still does from time to time.

It also held me back from taking on client work for YEARS.

But thankfully, I also learned that I’m not alone. In fact, most marketers can probably tell you at least one or two things that cause them anxiety when it comes to marketing. Here are 5 of the most common.

1. Can I actually market?

Can I Actually Market for marketing confessions

The kind of SEO results you want to be able to send to a client.

Maybe you’re looking at all the shiny emails in your inbox, trying to figure out how email marketing works, how SEO works, and it just seems like it’s too much. So you think to yourself, “I can’t do this.”

One of the biggest fears for marketing newcomers was echoed by Margo Aaron, founder of The Arena, the first virtual coworking space for solopreneurs.

“I hear from marketers all the time and it’s their biggest fear: Can I actually market?  

They develop niche expertise, like design or editing or SEO or headlines. But actually getting more customers into a funnel or increasing sales (or just awareness) for their clients – that creates impostor syndrome.

I definitely had this when I was consulting. It’s part of what’s been so fun about being on my own, I get to control the entire funnel and can actually judge my chops on their own merit (whereas with clients, you might control the website copy or design, but you’re not responsible for sending it traffic).” – Margo Aaron

Let’s get this straight. No one is born out of the womb knowing how to market. It’s a skill that we all have to learn, and it’s possible. It’s also always changing.

You don’t even have to go back to business school (unless you want to) because the internet is a goldmine of marketing resources. Find a course that teaches digital marketing skills or hire someone who can help you and teach it to you.

The other thing is that doing things for other people is HARD. I don’t care if you’re doing copywriting or mowing a lawn. Sure, I can mow my own lawn, but if somebody else is paying me for it (and paying me well), can I do it to their satisfaction? Maybe not.

The problem is that many people get stuck in the learning phase. Why? Fear. Every time you learn something, go try it out and see if it works for you. This is the only way that I know of to truly learn and get over fear and the imposter syndrome that many entrepreneurs suffer from.

2. I’m a spammer

“That they’re one of those spammy marketer types that everyone not so secretly HATES.” – Kaleigh Moore

I get it. You don’t want to come off as the person spamming everyone’s inbox or be the person behind the website with all the pop-ups. But there are tactful ways to get people’s attention without annoying them.
I’m a Spammer for marketing confessions

Please don’t be this guy. Do this instead.

Take for instance the businesses or person whose emails you can’t wait to read when you see them in your inbox. You don’t roll your eyes but instead, you’re excited to read them. What sets them apart from everyone else? TRUST.

They offer value, they delight, they sound like real people. They teach you something new or interesting. They are not pushing a sale every time they send you something.

When you give – whether that’s offering tips, resources free guides etc., and you are consistent – people will naturally show up at your doorstep when you have something to sell because by then, you’ve already won their trust.

And remember: attract, don’t chase. Chasing is what you do when people are running away. Chasing is what causes us to look for tools to do our jobs for us.

3. I want this tool to do my job for me

“If I buy this tool, it’ll put my marketing on autopilot.” – Me for my entire career, including the horrible purchase below.
I Want This Tool To Do My Job For Me for marketing confessions

But seriously, am I the only one who bought this?

If I asked you to write out the top three marketing “tools” you’ve wasted money on, you’d probably have to think for a second. Not because you don’t have three, but more because you have over ten and you’re just trying to rank them.

We’ve ALL bought tools hoping they’d do our jobs for us: make starting new relationships, getting sales, etc. easier.

The great thing about marketing in the 21st century is that there are many tools to help us automate tasks. We can schedule Twitter or Facebook posts for several weeks in advance or program promotional materials to be sent out automatically.

But this doesn’t mean we should try to put all our marketing on autopilot and pray for the best, especially when you’re just getting started.

No current clients or customers? You don’t need an outreach tool.

No social media followers? You don’t need a post scheduler.

In both of the above cases, you just need to start talking to people.

Most of the people trying to sell you on the dream of entrepreneurship are also trying to sell you some sort of product or tool. You don’t need them.

The world of marketing is always changing which means the strategies you use today will change next year or in less time, so while automation helps, it’s best to devise a strong strategy and keep yourself aligned with it.

And even with the right tools, the human part of marketing is absolutely necessary. Trends change, algorithms get rewritten, comments need responses, but what will set you apart from the rest is you. Your unique voice and perspective is a huge part of your marketing strategy whether you know it or not. And it cannot be replaced by any tool.

4. I’m just selling this to make money

I’m Just Selling This To Make Money for marketing confessions

“Depending on which side of the fence they fall on… That they might be selling something to get a financial leg up rather than something they’re 100% passionate about. Which, by the way, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but sometimes I think those of us who don’t want to be a ‘sleazy marketing person’ go too far to the other side and think everything we sell has to save the world”. – Caroline Zook, Wandering Aimfully

The reason why many marketers struggle with this one is that subconsciously or consciously, we’ve been taught money is the end all, be all. Whether you believe that or not, it still doesn’t dismiss the fact that we all need money to survive.

service@paypal for marketing confessions

I realized this was true when I got on the email list of a famous joint venture (JV) marketer. He’s famous for setting up big affiliate programs and bringing a ton of affiliates on board.

Ever see a big launch where it seems like everybody was promoting a product? That’s probably him behind the scenes. But, what I didn’t realize is that most of the people promoting the product had never even seen it.

He’d sent out videos and slide decks and landing pages that told you all the giveaways they were doing for top affiliates and how to set up your affiliate account, but when I asked to see the product…

he told me it wasn’t even done being produced.

I asked how people could be promoting it without ever seeing the product and he could not, after five more emails, understand why I’d have a problem with that.

Authenticity matters more than ever in marketing so next time you promote a product (or even your own product) consider whether it’s making the world better for other people, or just yourself.

5. I wouldn’t buy what I’m selling

I Wouldn’t Buy What I’m Selling

That’s right, many marketers aren’t even sure about the prices they charge their clients. One marketer confessed he still struggles with pricing. Asking for $10,000 for a consulting agreement when he wouldn’t purchase that himself is a weird paradox for him. He KNOWS that the training he’d provide or the work he’d do is part of a larger six-figure budget in both cases.

“Even though I’d never buy this for myself, it’s still priced correctly. Yep. They’ve budgeted for exactly this. It’s priced at or below market it’s a good option logically but the emotion is what it is.” – Kade Dworkin

There are two main reasons why marketers feel this way:

  1. Lack of confidence in their own skills.
  2. Confusion about what the market rate is.

In order to overcome the first one, you must remember all you’ve accomplished in order to get to where you are today. This means the number of years you worked in a related field, the number of years you spent in school, or even just the soul-searching part of your life that brought you here. Those were all not easy things to get through but I don’t have to tell you that. Factor this in when you are coming up with your prices.

Second, If you don’t know what your competitors are charging, you’re missing out on crucial information. Find out what they’re charging. Do this for several people and you’ll have a good idea of where your rates should be, which should help you stop questioning yours.

You need to know that there are people in need of the skills you have who are willing to pay for it. Do not water down your commodities for clients who will not appreciate it.

The bottom line

Business marketing can be scary especially if you’re just starting out, but don’t let the professionals who’ve been in the game a lot longer scare you. Everyone had to start somewhere and just like any skill, the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Amazing talents or products do speak for themselves but in our overcrowded market today, you need to do marketing to lift it up, otherwise, no one will be able to hear you.

The best piece of advice I can offer is this: continue learning, and try what you learn.

Don’t be afraid to admit and confront these confessions.

That’s the only way you’ll truly get over your fears. Just remember that your skills and talents are unique and someone is looking for them. And when you find those people, charge what you’re worth but also deliver the heck out of the results.

By: Jeff Bullas

Forbes calls him a top influencer of Chief Marketing Officers and the world’s top social marketing talent. Entrepreneur lists him among 50 online marketing influencers to watch. Inc.com has him on the list of 20 digital marketing experts to follow on Twitter. Oanalytica named him #1 Global Content Marketing Influencer. BizHUMM ranks him as the world’s #1 business blogger.

Source: 5 Confessions Marketers Are Afraid To Admit, Even To Themselves

John Crestani

153K subscribers
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Your Marketing Stinks Like Fear That’s Why Your Content is Getting Ignored

Fear is like sex, sweet onions, and a seven-day road trip: Once the stink gets on you, it’s hard to shake. And, when it comes to the marketing strategies used and the content created by most organizations, that stink is so overwhelming it drives their audience toward any alternative that seems even remotely bold.

How do you gauge the influence fear has in your approach to marketing, communications, and content?

It’s relatively simple.

Do you make decisions about marketing, communications, and content based on:

  • Unwritten industry norms?
  • A desire to appeal to every possible audience?
  • A reluctance to be the first?
  • An avoidance of anything remotely controversial or political?
  • A lack of faith in your marketing and communications team?
  • A lack of knowledge about (or worse, judgement of) modern, diverse cultures and generations?
  • The way you’ve always done it?
  • An unwillingness to avoid making anyone angry?
  • A worry that you’ll look, feel, or get called stupid?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, fear is playing a big role in your marketing and content creation.

Fear can be useful. For example, that guy who made the documentary where he canoodled with grizzly bears before being eaten by a grizzly bear could have used a little more natural fear encoded in his DNA.

But you aren’t canoodling with grizzly bears.

You are running a business.

In business, fear is the fastest road to irrelevancy.

And irrelevancy is failure.

To better understand how fear leads directly to irrelevancy in your marketing and communications, take a broader view of the word “content.” That word means more than just Instagram posts, videos, and blogs.

Content also includes movies, books, music, and art.

Using that definition, think of the content that forms big parts of our shared cultural history. Think Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Grapes of Wrath, Invisible Man, Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, every Motown record Berry Gordy ever produced, “This Land is Your Land,” every painting Frida Kahlo ever painted, The Catcher in the Rye, every book Toni Morrison ever authored–all part of our shared history.

Combined, all the great works of content like the ones mentioned above represent an immeasurably small percentage of all the content produced, period. But the content we remember? The content that changes all of us collectively, and each of us individually? Behavioral change is the goal of any marketer, and content that succeeds in changing behavior–regardless of whether it is a great novel or a thirty-second commercial–is fearless.

Always.

Every time.

The same is true for your organization’s marketing and communications strategy. The only way to succeed as a marketer is to be heard, and the only way to be heard is to be fearless.

Finally, being bold and being fearless do not justify using Gandhi’s voice to sell Hyundais during the Super Bowl. That sort of “fearlessness” is just cynicism with good cinematography.

Plus, everyone knows Gandhi would never drive a Hyundai Accent.

The man was a revolutionary.

And revolutionaries only drive the all-new, redesigned Hemi-powered Dodge Ram.

Be bold.

Be fearless.

Be a better marketer.

 

By: Dustin McKissen

Source: Your Marketing Stinks Like Fear. That’s Why Your Content is Getting Ignored | Inc.com

5 Key Elements of a Great Content Marketing Plan – Neema Kapoor

 

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First of all, I know that you are in all probability a one-man team with a deadline that expired yesterday but having a written plan is not only important but non-negotiable for the following 5 reasons.

  • A written plan with personas, themes, and strategies is a part of a formal process that allows you to request a budget and support without which even the best content will remain unseen.
  • A document allows you to get inputs from people smarter but busier than you (including the future you) and helps you map trackable goals of what you expect to achieve and when.
  • Writing down all the good ideas reduces the organization’s dependence on people (mostly you), plus it enables teamwork and is intuitively a smart idea in every way.

Good campaigns are ongoing and a lot more work than a single person can handle. You will need approvals, often be asked to make modifications, and be required to work with subject matter experts, writers, and designers for the final output. At times like these, having a document that you can send over or use as a common discussion point helps immensely and is far more efficient than explaining the bald, depressed potbellied guy in your head who you know NEEDS a shower head with 5 pressure settings.

Now plans follow standard templates with predetermined sections, often standardized within companies or downloadable by the dozen from a standard online search. You may often choose to combine or break down sections to make it your own but all plans should ideally cover the 5 elements outlined below.

1. THE STORY:

This is the foundation stone and, if neglected, also the place where most plans come to die. It is the “why” behind everything else. Why are you the fairest of them all? Create desire, passion, and drama, and elevate it BEYOND the ordinary. Do a short video, include props when you finally present it but make sure your team understands and shares the vision. A lot of companies create story boards with real life characters and details that get more vivid with time.

If you are stuck, I would recommend the HubSpot Academy Content Marketing Certification Course  to get started. It covers basic concepts but does a really good job of explaining the storytelling bit.

2. USER PERSONAS:

While tackled at the story level, this section is about their income, their lives, and their hopes and aspirations.

Where they shop, what they eat and how many children they wished they had. What they read, where they hang out and what other brands keep them company. This detail is important for 2 reasons.

A) It helps you visualize and therefore talk to them better.

B) It helps your media department advise you on how best to find them.

The niche you define needs to be large enough to be profitable but similar enough to have enough common features that make them a relevant sub group.

It is also extremely important to update these personas when necessary. A 60 year old grandma in 2018 looks and acts very different from a grandma in 1972.

A buyer persona is simply the most detailed, composite visual and textual sketch that you can create on the basis of hard evidence. I find the below 3 absolutely necessary before you can start writing.

  • Demographics along with a picture. (Age / Gender / Income Group… etc.)
  • Hobbies / Interests / Dreams in the context of how your brand fits.
  • Challenges / Difficulties / Problems in the context of how your brand can help.

But in case you have a mature understanding of your customer then you can refer to the nine that are discussed here:

60-75 year old grandmother who lives alone on a fixed but small school teacher pension.

Interested in keeping herself busy. Reads a lot. Always trying to learn a new recipe or skill in her free time.

Educated but still struggling to grasp new apps and smart gadgets which she wants to use to stay in touch with her family and friends.

3. DESIRED ACTION AND METRICS:

What do you want them to do? How will you know if they have done it? DO NOT write a word till you have a clear idea of your objectives. Now, setting quantitative goals is hard especially if this is the first campaign that you are doing with no benchmark data but it is essential to have a number to work towards.

The simple act of having a number brings you way closer to it that you can imagine.

While everything ultimately maps onto the customer journey cycle, I found this one article particularly useful, one way to visualize it is as below.

DO THEY KNOW YOU EXIST?

Depending on how competitive your niche is, this first step can be hard enough and the metric will depend on the channel used. The simplest measure for this is traffic, sessions, or views. Unfortunately, while the Rule of 7 is not cast in stone, getting noticed takes more than a casual bump in the hall. You will need to ensure that each prospect gets multiple opportunities to interact with your brand and story in order to truly understand it.

NOW THAT THEY KNOW YOU EXIST, DO THEY WANT TO HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH YOU?

Ok, so far you could blame your measly marketing budget or your ancient website’s loading speed but now comes the BIG moment of truth when your story REALLY comes into play. It is truly wise to set as many micro goals like session time/comments on a blog post or the downloads for an e-book as you can. These help ease your prospects into a more definite engagement, whatever that may be.

WHAT DO THEY SAY ABOUT YOU WHEN YOU ARE NOT AROUND?

This is a clear bonus, an icing or sprinkles kind of an extra, but having people say nice things about you, refer your services, promote, and even defend you is every marketer’s wet dream. Make sure you put in place processes, tools and even rewards that allow and incentivize people to put you on a pedestal.

4. PROMOTION STRATEGY AND BUDGET

Once you have a number of leads, views or shares in mind, you need to ensure that you have a promotion plan that supports it. You could write the greatest piece of content ever created but your customer is NOT going to see it till you invest in promoting it in the right channels be it a sponsored post, social advertisement or email. You will need a budget and point 3 is the only way you are going to get it sanctioned.

Now, I’m going to skim over this section but only because I plan to give you the link to the greatest book ever written on the subject. Please just read it cover to cover and become a content promotion GOD overnight.

5. TEAM AND THE OPERATIONAL SPECIFICS

Who will write, edit, QA, and promote it? In what quantity? Do you need subject matter experts, freelancers, or full time staff? What will be their respective roles and responsibilities? These are all questions you must ask yourself.

A content campaign is ideally not a one person job. You may feel

the need for subject matter experts, writers, editors, analytics pros, IT folks or marketing promotion support. You should work towards building efficiencies and scale through repurposing and recycling content that is successful. Modify and re-test the content that is not.

If everyone who read the articles and like it, that would be favorable to have your donations – Thank you.

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