Your marketing hinges on these three ingredients

As a small business owner, I see hundreds of emails, blog posts, and ads with the promise of helping me go from 1 to 1,000,000 followers or to $15K in revenue virtually overnight.  If you’re a small business owner on social media, you probably see them too.

It’s so very tempting to click on those links because who doesn’t want all the success that those claims promise? But, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. I hate seeing all that click-bait because it diminishes the work that real marketers do and it gives us a bad rap. Frankly, a real marketer would have more dignity than to market themselves that way. 

So, to set the record straight, I wanted to share my 3 ingredients to running any successful marketing campaign and it has nothing to do with generating followers, getting clicks to convert, or increasing your page likes. In fact, it has very little to do with marketing and a lot more to do with good old-fashioned hard work.   

Without further adieu, here’s what really matters when it comes to your marketing.

When it comes to fast, good, and cheap, three’s a crowd.

Are you familiar with this triangle? It often applies to project management but in all the years I’ve worked in marketing, I’ve never seen it more true in the marketing world whether you’re a company just starting out or you’re an established company.

Essentially, the idea is that you can accomplish two out of the three options, but never all three. For example: 

  • To produce something fast  and cheap, you are going to have to give up on quality. 
  • To develop something fast and good, you are going to have to seek outside help and that’s going to cost you.
  • And, to create something cheap and good, it’s going to take time. 

It makes sense, doesn’t it? But, why does it make sense when it comes to marketing? Because marketing involves A LOT of brainpower and creativity. The kind of brain power that requires you to sit in silence for a few hours and just think, or to go to a whiteboard and just scribble nonsense until it finally makes sense, or to talk out loud to yourself over and over again. It’s the kind of brainpower that wipes you out so much that you can barely process the latest US magazine.  

And, that’s the biggest misconception about marketing. People think it’s just about creating “stuff”, but there’s real strategy that’s involved to create the “stuff” and make sure that it’s going to meet objectives, drive action, and be on brand. If I had a penny for every time someone told me they just want "stuff," "more stuff," or "stuff out there," we all know that I'd be sipping pina coladas in Turks and Caicos instead of working a full time job and running Keyword Marketing. And, the tradeoff of just getting something to market without going through the thought process means that you're sacrificing not only quality, but results.  

Slow and steady wins the race.

Ok, if you weren’t familiar with the good, fast, easy  triangle, I’m sure you’re familiar with the tale of the tortoise and the hare. To recap, the moral of the story is that  the tortoise wins the race against the hare because he did things slow and steady while the hare acted quickly and carelessly. And, when it comes to marketing, we’ve found that slow and steady is the key to success. 

In our fast-paced world, being slow is often associated with negativity, but sometimes it’s ok to be slow because it’s worth taking the time out to try new things to see what is really going to resonate with your audience instead of just pushing a bunch of things out there that may or may not work. And, it’s just as important, if not more, to take the time to do the analysis to understand what is working so you can spend your time doing more of that and less of the stuff that isn’t working. 

So slow is okay as long as you’re steady. Whatever platform you choose, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, blogs, Instagram, it’s so important to stick to it and be consistent about how often you’re posting whether it’s three social media posts a week or two blog posts a month. If you can’t keep up with the goal that you set for yourself, then it’s time to scale back. And, if you can’t manage more than one social media platform consistently that’s okay too. Just focus on building momentum with whichever one you decide is the priority. 

Our slow and steady approach has paid off really well for one of our clients, Vitality Women's Physical Therapy and Wellness. Over the last several months, we have consistently posted at least four times per week on their Facebook page and we are starting to see our efforts pay off in terms of engagement and new customers. 

But, our approach meant that we only focused on Facebook, tried many different types of social media posts to understand what was resonating most with their audience, replied to comments, participated in other Facebook groups, and committed to four posts a week. And, tracked results the entire time. 

Now, not only do we have a better sense of what their audience wants to read about, but we’re seeing a ton of engagement. For example:

  • The average number of shares and post reactions has more than tripled
  • Our average organic reach has gone from single to triple digits, and
  • Page likes have almost doubled

Patience is a virtue.

Ok, when it comes to anything good in life, things take time and that’s no different when it comes to seeing success from your marketing efforts. This is a tough one, because people want to see immediate results and expect something to happen after one blog post, a few social media posts, or one big ad - they don’t want to take the time, energy, or resources to stick with it for the long run.  

And, while social media is a great tool, it tends to convey this idea that you can achieve overnight success and hides all that energy and work that actually went into that success.  The truth is that it takes just as long to grow an online business as it does a brick-and-mortar business. 

And, this concept is even harder for all of us to grasp because we’ve gotten so used to immediate and instant gratification in all areas of our lives. I mean, I can’t be the only one that blows a gasket when my internet connection is running a little slow, right? 

You’ve got to believe me when I say, it’s going to take some time to gain traction, build a following, and create awareness. It’s going to take time for people to notice you and you have to get in front of them on a regular basis for them to even start recognizing you. In fact, the advertising world lives by the “rule of 7” in which someone needs to see an ad 7 times before it’s effective. And, what does effective even mean in this case? It doesn’t mean that they’re going to run right out and buy what you’re selling, but the mere idea that they might associate your brand with your product and your message. 

As I mentioned above, we’ve starting to see a lot happen with Vitality’s Facebook page, but that’s after five months of working on it. And, I think that’s pretty fast. I’ve worked with larger companies where it’s taken years to start seeing results. 

So, what does this all mean?  In short, next time you're feeling frustrated that your marketing's not delivering, remember that it's going to take some thoughtfulness, consistency, and patience. 

And, now for my shameless plug . . .if these ideas resonate with you, but you aren’t sure what to do next or where to go with your marketing, we’ve got a great little workshop called, “Let’s Get Down to Business” where we’ll help you brainstorm solutions to your biggest business challenges.

Check it out if you’re ready to stop spinning your wheels and say goodbye to your so-so marketing efforts.

Keyword Marketing inspires creators, builders, and self-starters to bring their company to life. We help businesses develop their identity, share their personality with the world, and connect with their customers through education, coaching and workshops, and personalized consulting.

This article was originally posted on The Huffington Post.