know your Marketing Fundamentals
The basics every entrepreneur needs to understand before they hire
I get a lot of inquiries from early-stage entrepreneurs — most of them searching for someone to “do their social media.”
But when I speak with them about what they want to achieve on social, or why they’re on there in the first place, they’re not entirely sure…
Running your own business is going to introduce you to about a billion new challenges, skills and lessons.
You’re going to get pretty comfortable with “not entirely sure.” And it’s admirable to focus on the pieces of your business that cater to your experience, knowledge and strengths — and delegate the rest of it.
I certainly don’t know everything. And I’d be nowhere without my team.
What I can’t get behind is this: delegating before you’re ready.
Let’s use the example above: hiring someone else to handle your social media. Sounds good, right? Social media can be a real distraction day-to-day! How many minutes have you wasted mindlessly scrolling on Instagram today alone? (Look it up on your phone activity tracker. It will shock you.)
Thing is: social media (just like email or video content or your website…) is one point on your marketing mind map. It’s a pretty meaningless time-waster when floating off in the distance, disconnected from the other points in your marketing strategy.
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When you hire someone new to run a piece of your strategy, you should be introducing them to that larger marketing map.
How does your social media connect to your website traffic? What are the goals you have related to the relationship between the two? Where are you sourcing visuals for social? What about copy?
Sorry, but if you can’t yet explain these connections, you aren’t ready to delegate.
In my Confident + Consistent Marketing program, we spend one week on each of the fundamentals of modern marketing: your audience, your website, your copy & content, your email and your social media. Why entire units on each? Because without a basic understanding of each of these pillars alone, you’ll never be able to plan how they all work together.
Understand the marketing fundamentals first, and you’ll save money, save face — and my favorite, save yourself from confusion!
Let’s start here, because it’s a big one. As small business owners, we don’t have money to waste. And just about everyone I’ve worked with has made a marketing spend misstep in the past, myself included.
Last year, I spent too much money on Facebook ads management without giving enough context of who I wanted to reach with my ads. Now, I have a segment of my audience hanging around that knows what I do, but isn’t interested in buying my programs or services. They’re not my ideal clients.
A client of mine spent months of retainer fees on different social media agencies with zero sales and minimal growth to show for it. The larger objectives were never discussed, and so Facebook and Instagram posts went up for the sake of posting, not for the sake of growing the business.
When you invest in a new member of your team, you want to be able to couple that expense with an increase in revenue. If you don’t know how their duties can support an increase revenue, there is no point in hiring them.
Go ahead. Hire a freelancer or virtual assistant or consultant without giving them a clear picture of your ideal audience, your style of writing, or your desired tone of voice and brand aesthetic. Unless it’s their job to determine and design those things with you, how do you expect them to execute your marketing in a way that represents your company’s values?
Another client of mine spent hundreds of dollars on an agency to help them run Google Ads. A few weeks into the contract, they weren’t picking up any speed. We pressed pause and reviewed the copy. It wasn’t at all reflective of the brand this client had built over a decade in business. The bulk of the ads promoted achievements or results that were not at all important to their business or their clientele. Bottom line? These ads were off-brand and not impactful.
You can avoid a disastrous run of out-of-touch content and communications if you first understand how you want your marketing to work, and fully explain it to your team.
Save Yourself From Confusion
If you give yourself a bit of time to experiment with your marketing on your own, you’ll discover what you love and what you hate.
You may learn that you actually enjoy hanging out in your Instagram DMs and chatting directly with new contacts. You may find that writing comes easily to you, and you can batch create captions or articles in a few hours a month. You might realize that setting up your blog is a technical task that kills your creative spirit.
I highly recommend doing everything yourself for a little while, and taking lots of notes.
Take a note when you would rather do the dishes than do the next task on your list. What “to do” is prompting the most procrastination? Take a note when you feel like you found your flow. What kind of marketing task were you doing that sparked that energy in you? Take a note when you’ve tried a tactic for two full months to the sound of crickets. Have you tried something that doesn’t resonate with your ideal audience?
We spend an entire week on each of the fundamentals of modern marketing in my Confident + Consistent Marketing program.
I’m opening this program again mid-March 2020. If you’re on our email list, you’ll hear about it soon!
Learning the marketing fundamentals and practicing them on your own is the quickest way to clarify what could work and what doesn’t, and most importantly, it will clarify what you want out of your marketing.
The things you don’t want to be responsible for become very clear, very fast. And the way you hope things work together become clearer, too. So you’ll have an easier time articulating what you expect from your team.
By learning the marketing ropes yourself first, you become a better manager of your future team. You’ll be quicker to change course when things aren’t working, and you’ll be more open to trying new things, as long as they lean into your grander objectives. You’ll have the confidence to expect more from your hires and encourage them to expand their own talents.
Don’t delegate before you’re ready. Make your marketing plan, and then find the help to execute it.
I strategize, consult and manage digital marketing and communications for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. I’m based in Brooklyn, because I have a thing for exposed brick, cozy, local coffee shops and the can’t stop, won’t stop energy of New York.
Because I work with small companies, I get the chance to really know my clients – what makes them tick and how and why they should stand out in a crowded marketplace. A lot of my clients have a smaller staff, a limited budget and are already stretched thin for time. This leads us to tailor marketing strategies and solutions to each company’s unique needs and actual capacity.