Updated: Nov 21, 2022
In 2020 I was pondering the ifs, buts and maybes of starting my own business as a freelance marketing consultant. Perhaps it was the impact of Covid or the onslaught of mid-life, but I decided it was now or never! Belter Marketing was established.
As a Chartered Marketer with 20 years' marketing experience there were expectations. Not just from connections and clients but from myself - if I couldn't get my own marketing right it didn't bode well!
Two years later, Belter Marketing is thriving and I wish I'd taken that leap of faith sooner. To celebrate my second business birthday, I thought I'd share some marketing essentials that have helped grow my business.
How many do you consider in your marketing approach? Could you review or develop any of the points below in relation to your business?
Pexels, November 2022
1. Knowing my clients
I've spent time getting to know my clients. That's meant asking a lot of questions and gathering feedback - either face-to-face, over email, through questionnaires and surveys or on social media using polls and direct questions. I spot common themes or trends that then shape my marketing services. And I review on a semi-regular basis - my clients' needs and wants may not stay the same or new ones come along. I'd rather know about these changes sooner than later and be able to adapt my marketing services when necessary.
2. Refining my message
This has taken work and has evolved over the last two years. And I know it'll change again. Messaging links very closely to point 1 above. By knowing my clients I discover new messages to include in my marketing and communications. Or realise there are messages that no longer resonate with or engage, my clients. It's worth considering messaging in relation to how you pitch or talk about your business too. And if online, consider how your key messages integrate with SEO.
3. Consistency brings results
I often use the cliché "Marketing is a marathon not a sprint" with my clients, much to their frustration! But when it comes to marketing, consistency does bring results. I've had clients that have come from connections I made 10 years ago in previous roles that have been quietly following my posts on Linked In. I've had referrals from other business owners I've developed a working relationship with through networking over 6-12 months. And I've seen my metrics improve on newsletters, blogs and socials as I've written or posted consistently. I've also seen them dip when I've taken my foot of the accelerator!
So, keep on going with your marketing even if you feel being consistent isn't working or it's taking a while. It will pay off - as long as you've the right messages aimed at the right clients!
4. Watching my metrics
While data is often deemed king, it's the insights from the data that bring benefits for me. For example, knowing the subject lines or links that my mailing list get excited about, where most of my website traffic comes from or where the majority of my new business enquiries come from. Gaining insights enables you to be more strategic about your marketing approach and develop a marketing plan that's geared towards your ideal clients' preferences.
Wix and Unsplash, November 2022
5. Being human
Every bit of my marketing activity that has included a human element e.g., sharing something personal, adding a photo of the dog, taking a selfie, talking about my children, being open about my experiences or views etc. has performed better than anything generic or impersonal. The necessity to be authentic and show your personality can't be underestimated when it comes to marketing your business.
6. Networking is a powerful marketing tool
I know networking can be a bit like marmite - you either love it or hate it! But there's no denying it's a powerful marketing tool. It's one of the few marketing activities that enable you to gain visibility, sales and growth all at the same time. For example, in one networking session you can meet a new connection and increase your visibility with them (and their network). You may also meet someone that needs your service/product right away. And you can meet future collaborators or individuals with experience and knowledge to share with you.
7. Leverage what works
Combining some of the points above should enable you to build a picture of what works (and what doesn't!) in your marketing approach. When you find that sweet spot then make sure you leverage it. Whether that's repeating a marketing activity or promotion, developing a particular product/service further or finding new ways to expand your existing target market/client. And when it comes to successful marketing content - remember to repeat, reuse and recycle!
8. Always have a marketing purpose
Don't do any marketing activity without having (or setting) a clear purpose. Why are you doing this piece of marketing? What do you want to happen next? And does it take you closer to achieving your overall business goals? If you can't easily answer these questions, chances are it's not worth developing that marketing activity.
So, there you have it - my 8 marketing essentials!
I should add that my marketing's not perfect. There's always more to do (than I've time, budget or resources for) and new technology, platforms or activities to experiment with. It's what I love about the profession though - it's constantly evolving! There's also been a few marketing activities I've tried that haven't worked so well but I've always learnt something. And the next iteration or a different approach, gets results.
Finally, thank you for your support.! Without my connections, community and clients Belter Marketing wouldn't have reached it's second business birthday 💙.