Often when we start figuring out how to market our business online we end up with a list of 50 different apps and platforms to set up.
We’re looking at what everyone else is doing, how they’re marketing their businesses, and we are consuming all blog posts, podcasts, videos, and adding more to our task list WITHOUT having a plan for how those platforms work together and how we’ll create that much content.
I did the exact same thing when I started my business. I was blogging and posting to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, and I even started a YouTube channel at some point. But keeping all of those platforms updated was SO MUCH WORK.
And because I was so focused on doing all the things I skipped out on really important stuff like setting up my email list. ::face palm::
So in today’s episode of The Dare to Grow Show I’m giving you a list of the marketing essentials, in the order you should set them up, so you can just go down the line and make sure that you have all of the pieces in place.
Hopefully this will allow you to simplify your marketing strategy, give you less platforms to create content for, and reduce the amount of marketing tasks you’re doing every week.
1 ➜ Brand story
Your brand story is what will guide how you show up and how you speak to your audience. It’s going to include who you’re speaking to, what you help them do, and why you are the person to help them do that.
And when you write a brand story you want to get really specific.
For example, if I’m talking to my ideal clients about their workday I’m not going to say do you feel overwhelmed by all of the work on your plate. Because anyone can address that. We want to be very specific with the examples we share to help our audience see that we understand exactly what they’re going through and to help us stand out from the crowd.
So instead I’m going to talk about things like…
Working non-stop all day, feeling stressed and super busy. You’ve got 27 browser tabs open, you’re skipping from task to task, and when 5 or 6 or 8 PM rolls around you realize you haven’t actually checked off anything significant.
My messaging could speak to things like:
- Having so much to do that you start every day staring at a blank screen stuck for what to start on
- Watching other people make it look effortless and wondering what you’re doing wrong
That is going to connect with my audience better than just asking if they feel stressed or overwhelmed. I’m pointing to a specific REASON that is causing that stress.
Your brand story and your messaging should attract your ideal clients like a magnet and it should also repel people who are not a good fit.
Once you know who you’re talking to, what you help them do, the major challenges they face, and why you are the expert they need to be hanging out with, you need to communicate this on your website.
2 ➜ Website
Your website doesn’t have to be fancy, but it’s helpful for your audience to have one place to find everything related to what you do.
This needs to include a tagline or a paragraph that explains who you help and what you help them do. Mine is I help you set up the marketing essentials necessary to grow your business and start earning $5K per month consistently.
You also want to introduce yourself, share a little of your story (with a photo of your gorgeous face), and spell out how people can work with you or learn from you.
Then give them an opportunity to connect with you further – an email opt-in along with links to your social media and your contact info.
Now most people waste a ton of time setting up and perfecting their website but there are so many pre-made templates out there that you can pick one, adjust the colors to match your branding, add your photos and text and be done.
It doesn’t have to be a massive design project and if you are not making money from your business you do not need to invest in a web designer. Once you do have income from your business totally invest in a web designer but, at the beginning, often our websites are massive distraction from the most important thing showing up and selling. And this is coming from a web designer. I spent years building websites and I still think we waste too much time screwing around with it.
Also I want to give a quick shoutout to @coachtish (you can find her on IG) who set up a Google doc to sell her program and made $1000 in one day. So you don’t need a fancy website – you just need a spot where people can get the info about what you sell and instructions on how to purchase.
3 ➜ Email list
Like I said, I had no email list for the first two years of my business. I had my website, a blog that I was posting to multiple times a week, and social media. But even though I heard from multiple marketing experts and really successful business owners that I needed an email list I put it off for two years.
I put it off until after I already had taken tons of clients, I had already left my corporate job, and I had already created and launched a couple digital products. But the reason I want you to set up your email list from the start is because once I did that it made it so much easier to earn more and grow my business.
Social media is great for attracting new leads but it’s not always great for converting followers into clients and customers. Why? Because people are totally distracted when they’re on social media. People pay more attention to what’s in their inbox than they do as they are scrolling through Instagram or Facebook. Move them onto your email list so you can show up in their inbox where you’ll have their undivided attention.
Three things you need to set up once you create your email list:
- Set up your email list on a platform like ConvertKit (affiliate link) Very easy to set up and use especially if you have not had an email list before.
- Create opt-in boxes – exit pop up on your website, an opt-in on your homepage, a link in your Instagram bio.
- Add an incentive – a discount, a free PDF download, a free workshop or training. Something more than sign up for my newsletter because that sounds boring and doesn’t really tell subscribers what they’re going to get.
And then you need to be sending email a few times/month so you’re not showing up out of the blue twice/year to subscribers who can’t even remember who you are.
Once you have your branding, your website, and your email is set up THEN you can go over and create your Instagram or your Facebook account.
Most people start with social media but if you skip putting the foundations in place you’re going to have a hard time creating content that connects with your ideal audience and you’ll have no where to send them to actually hire you or purchase from you.
So foundations first, then the fun, creative stuff.
4 ➜ Social platform
This is where you’ll attract and warm up new leads. My choices are Instagram + my podcast, but this could be Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, or even Reddit.
Pick your social platform based on two things:
First, determine where your audience is actually hanging out. If your audience is teenagers or 20-somethings they’re probably on TikTok. If they are entrepreneurs they’re on Instagram. And if they’re over 50 they’re probably on Facebook.
Second, consider how you like to show up and create content. If you believe your audience is on YouTube but you don’t like creating videos that’s not going to be a good match for you. Or if you believe your audience is on Instagram but you don’t like taking photos or creating graphics that might not be a good match.
The other thing I want to remind you of – you don’t need to be on every platform. Like I said, I mostly use Instagram. I ditched Twitter after a few years even though I had 11k followers – I just wasn’t enjoying the platform and it wasn’t driving traffic or sales. And I still have a Pinterest account, but I hired someone else to run it.
You want to get really good at creating content for ONE space before you add more. That’s where a lot of you get stuck. You make all the accounts and then are overwhelmed by keeping them all running.
So focus on ONE platform and then you’re going to jump into #5 – setting up systems.
5 ➜ Systems
Often we create an email list and a website and our social media platform and then spend our entire week creating content.
So you need to set up systems systems for how you are:
- planning your work
- systems for creating content
- systems for moving social media followers into your email list
- systems for selling to your audience
- systems for all the little admin tasks that can eat through an entire day
And this can be connecting multiple platforms and setting up automations, but it can also be as simple as looking at how you create your Instagram posts, writing out all the steps and figuring out where you can speed things up, simplify, take out steps, and automate pieces of the process so you don’t manually have to do everything yourself.
And not only does creating systems help for you to have a less stressful day today, but it also allows you to take those workflows, those processes, those systems and hand them off to someone else.
6 ➜ Community
The last piece of the marketing puzzle is community and this actually means two things
1. The community that you build around your brand filled with your most enthusiastic clients + customers. This might be a Facebook group, it might be a community on your website, it might be a hashtag that all of your people are using on Instagram.
You want your audience to feel like they’re part of something so that they feel excited to participate. And your brand story and messaging goes a long way toward drawing your audience in.
2. A community that you’re part of so you don’t have to make every decision on your own. Support is SO IMPORTANT when growing your biz.
And again this is some thing that I put off for a really long time because I’m very introverted, I like working alone, and I like having the flexibility to be spontaneous with what I’m creating.
However now that I’ve been part of multiple communities I can tell you how helpful it is to have a space where people are all working toward the same things so you’re able to see their challenges and what works for them instead of wasting a ton of time researching and testing things. And you’re also able to ask questions when you get stuck – sometimes Google and Pinterest is not enough to find the answer.
So you need your brand story, website, email list, social media platforms, systems, community.
If any piece of your marketing strategy is missing or not working effectively – you’re putting time or money into it and not seeing results, then I highly encourage you to join The Essentials Membership. It includes step-by-step trainings for every piece of the puzzle, coaching calls twice/month, and access to our members-only community where you can get help, feedback and a little accountability and motivation whenever you need it.
All the info is over at xosarah.com/essentials!