Marketing is often perceived negatively for many reasons.  People often don’t trust marketing experts and if you’re trying to market yourself it can feel uncomfortable, difficult and frustrating.  Most freelancers, self employed and small businesses don’t have dedicated marketing departments or teams so they have to do it themselves.  Usually the results are hit and miss.  

Many entrepreneurs rely heavily on social media for their marketing.  And if they don’t get the results they want they get frustrated and feel defeated.  But if you aren’t confident about promoting yourself you won’t have a consistent presence anywhere.  

If you aren’t showing up online, talking about your business and promoting your services your business will struggle to reach its full potential.  At time of writing, Facebook has 2.89 billion users, LinkedIn has 740 million, Instagram has 1.07 billion users and Twitter has 206 individual user accounts.  That’s a lot of customers and a lot of cash you are leaving behind.

So why aren’t you showing up and what can you do about it? Here are the 3 most common reasons people aren’t marketing themselves; 

#1 You’re comparing yourself to other people 

Comparisonitis is the crippling affliction of the entrepreneur.  We join online business communities and networking groups to meet people and what we can end up doing is comparing their business to ours.  We read their posts and get triggered.  

They seem more successful.  

They’ve got more clients.  

Their launch went better than mine.  

They’ve got a bigger group than me.

They are saying it better than me and so on.  

All this does is make you feel bad about yourself and your business.  It undermines your confidence and it takes your attention away from what you really need to be focussing on, which is your clients. 

What to do about it 

In horse racing the horses and the jockeys line up in the stalls.  The horses are each wearing blinkers.  This is done so that they can’t see what’s happening on either side of them and get spooked.  Put your blinkers on.  Focus on what your clients need and how best you can serve them.  Get really clear on what your offer is.  Who do you want to work with.  Who do you want to avoid?  

And remember, few people are talking about their failures on social media. 

#2 You don’t know what to say 

“I don’t know what to talk about” is one of the most common complaints I hear from entrepreneurs who are writing their own content.  If you don’t know what to talk about you either don’t know your ideal client well enough or you’re not clear on the benefits and outcomes of your services. 

What to do about it 

There is more to the Ideal Client Exercise than where they shop, how old they are and what car they drive.  What do they worry about? What keeps them awake at night? What does their dream life look like? 

Marketing is about making an emotional connection with your audience.  You have to give them a reason to care about your business and ten times out of ten that reason is what it can do for THEM. 

#3 You think you should be everywhere so you’re nowhere 

Between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Clubhouse (anyone remember Clubhouse) you could spend all day everyday writing posts on social media, checking comments, answering questions, engaging on other peoples posts and so on.  You could spend your life on social media and do nothing else.  There’s a reason social media managers exist.  It’s a full on part of your business.  But how do you manage when you’ve also got to do the actual service delivery, work with clients, read your emails, send your invoices and live your life? 

You end up so overwhelmed you either don’t post anywhere or you poist sporadically.  I worked with one client who would post everyday for five days straight and then completely disappear for a fortnight to recharge.  Unfortunately social media is a momentum based platform, which means that in order to be visible you need to be consistently posting.  

Now, as I’ve said before, consistency doesn’t mean posting 5 times a week, every week for the rest of your life.  It means working out a plan that’s manageable and sustainable for you. 

What to do about it 

Pick a platform and start posting.  Decide where you will post and how often.  Keep doing it until it becomes a habit.  If you want to be on multiple platforms, cut and paste your content from one platform to another.  It’s not always ideal to post identical content everywhere but when you’re pushed for time it’s infinitely better than not posting at all. 

I don’t use Twitter and I’ve never used Clubhouse, although I did register for an account.  I use the same content for Facebnook and Linkedin and my posts on Instagram are mostly behind the scenes more personal stuff. I get the majority of my clients from Facebook and LinkedIn so I use Instagram mostly for fun and do it in my spare time rather than it being part of my overall strategy. 

The bottom line

You can’t be a secret and a success.  No one can buy from you if they don’t know you exist. You don’t need to be everywhere, but you need to be somewhere and preferably the same place your clients are.  

My 3 top tips for showing up online when it feels hard;

  • Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing.  Focus on your clients 
  • Get to know your ideal client. What do they want and what are they struggling with?
  • Pick one or two social media platforms and post regularly.  Don’t try to be everywhere. 

Marketing is simple but it’s not easy. 

Do you need a simple, back to basics marketing approach? 

This September we are taking business owners back to basics with a free 3 day email challenge.  Each day you will receive one email containing one simple task.  

On Day One we’ll be looking at your goals and what’s getting in your way. 

On Day Two we will be exploring easy ways in which you can grow your online audience and finally on Day Three we’ll be giving you ideas for content to get your audience excited and engaged.  

If you’re ready to simplify your marketing this Autumn you can register for the challenge here………