Fear and Loathing of Marketing

Updated: 6 days ago

When I talk to people about marketing, I hear a lot of people saying things like, they’re not good at it, it is overwhelming, they hate it. I get it. But then I dig a little deeper, and I’m told other reasons. People feel uncomfortable singing their own praises. There’s so much advice that it is confusing and overwhelming. What if my plan fails? Related to this if my plan fails, I just wasted my time and money. There’s so much to do that I don’t know where to start. Let’s look at these concerns:

  1. I feel uncomfortable tooting my own horn,

  2. So much advice,

  3. What if I fail?

  4. Don’t know where to start.

I feel uncomfortable tooting my own horn

A big one is that people don’t feel comfortable tooting their own horn.

I’ll let you in on a secret. I don’t either.

I don’t have low self-esteem (I’m actually quite proud of my accomplishments). I have, though, absorbed some cultural values where I shouldn’t call attention to myself. I still do it. I’m doing it now. But my barriers are from culture. You may have similar cultural values, where your work should speak for itself or you’re bragging (and bragging is bad) if you call attention to your accomplishments and your skills.

You may have other reasons for not liking to sing your own praises.

Maybe, you’re not confident about yourself.

Perhaps, you haven’t thought a lot about it to know why you’re uncomfortable.

The reason for your being uncomfortable may not be what’s important. For most people knowing the reason may not lead to their feeling more comfortable.

What will help for most people is just practicing.

The more that you can clearly articulate what you’re good at, what you offer, and what you’re all about, the more comfortable you will become in being able to do it.

But, the question becomes, what exactly do you practice? Your pitch should be the story of your brand, what you offer, and who you offer your product or service to. I have a free email course to help you with this, but I can give you the gist here.

The story of your brand, like any story, has a beginning, a middle, and an end. If you’re a writer, the beginning will be the first time you thought about becoming a writer or the inspiration for your story or series. If you’re a freelancer, it will be the first time you saw that you could help someone solve a problem. Who was that person? What problem did they have? How did you help them solve it? How do you wish you could’ve helped them to solve their problem? That’s the beginning of the story. The next part is the middle, or what you did next. How did you go from the moment of inspiration to deciding to write an entire book? How did you go from solving one person’s problems to wanting to help others? If you’re a freelancer, there’ are a lot of things that you can do to solve people’s problems. What was it about this problem and this skill that made you want to do it for others? What drives your passion? Now put that together. That’s the story of your brand.

Your offer is not only the story you’re selling, the genre, the tropes, or the services and product that you’re selling. It’s you. If you’re a writer, then it’s your unique voice. Your unique perspective that you’re selling. If you’re a freelancer, it’s your unique perspective too. Perhaps you’re a no-nonsense kind of person. That might appeal to some. Perhaps you’re very nurturing and gentle. That might appeal to others. Perhaps you’re very hands on and directive about how you do projects. Perhaps you respond to what others want. Whatever is unique to you, that is one thing that you’re selling. You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be exactly who you are to the right customers, because you are exactly what someone is looking for and that is part of your pitch.

Your audience and your customer is who you are serving. They are the reason that you are writing or providing your service. They are the hero of your brand’s story. Can you describe who they are and what they need and want? You should have a bit of a handle on this based on your offer. They are looking for someone like you, but why? Why do they want a no-nonsense freelancer? Is it because they have 10 million things to do? Do they need nurturing because whatever service you offer scares the bejeezus out of them? If you’re a creative, are they looking for a fresh take on the trope you write about? Perhaps you’re a fantasy writer who writes in YA with young women (instead of men) as the main character.

Need help coming honing your pitch or developing your branding strategy? If you want an individual session or group session, book one of these services.

So much advice

Yeah. There is a lot of advice in blogs, in books, on webinars, etc. Sometimes, it seems like if you don’t do all of it then you will fail. Worse yet, there is advice that is contradictory. I’m going to let you in on a secret.

There are many ways to market your product or service.

There are many tactics that you can use.

If you try one way and it’s not working, then you can try another way.

What you should do is have a plan with a concrete goal that you can track, so that you know if your marketing efforts are working or not.

Those of us who are sole proprietors, creative entrepreneurs, and freelancers – we don’t have the same kind of resources that big companies have. But in some ways we have more freedom than those companies. We can change our marketing campaigns more easily than they can. We can respond to customer feedback quicker and with more proximity to our customers than they can. We can afford to go into places that they can’t – like niche marketing.

They’re too big.

We aren’t small.

We are nimble.

Our flexibility is our strength.

Because we are more flexible, that means that we can think outside of the box for marketing.

This leads me to my point about marketing advice:

There is no ONE magical formula for success.

There are many ways to market your product or service.

The key is having a foundation on the mechanics of marketing so that you can optimally take advantage of our flexibility. This is why I don’t just give advice. I also teach the mechanics of marketing to my clients and share those marketing mechanics with my readers.

But what if my plan fails

Your marketing plan didn’t fail. It just didn’t have the expected outcome.

Let’s unpack that.

Your marketing plan is made up of four parts. The strategy. The tactics. Implementing the tactics. The result.

The strategy is why you’re using the tactic you’re going to be using.

For example, your goal is to get name recognition (aka brand awareness) because people can’t buy your products or service if they don’t know you exist. Your plan involves getting your name in front of potential customers. Let’s say that you are using social media for that. You’d measure your success based on reach, or how many people saw your post. You’d also look at engagement, of those people who saw your post, how many people responded to it. That will give you a feel for how you did on that post regarding name recognition.

If your marketing plan is to get traffic to your websites, then you would look at the post to see how many click-throughs you got if you’re on Facebook. You’d also look at your websites analytics to see from where your traffic was originating: social media platforms, search keywords, et cetera.

For either case, you’d want to look at what the average is for a comparable business like you. The fewer followers you have the more engagement you can expect[1].

You also want to look at your metrics (the numbers for your engagement, traffic, click-throughs, etc) over time. When do you get the highest? Is it going up? Up and down?

From that you can get a feel for why certain posts and certain efforts get the intended attention. Getting more than a feel would require a full analysis. A how-to on this is worthy of a mini-ecourse.

If you’re not getting the results you want (not enough attention or reach), then look to posts of companies in your industry who do. What are they doing differently? How can you replicate it? When you try, what results do you get?