13 Jan How to Be a Better Marketer This Year
Whoever came up with the idea of making life-changing New Year’s resolutions should have kept the idea to themselves. It’s a tall, unrealistic order. Smaller, more subtle changes? Totally doable. And guess what? I have one for you: be a better marketer this year.
I am willing to bet you are already doing a lot of things. And I am also willing to bet that with a few small tweaks, you can be an even better marketer.
You don’t need to be a marketing professional, either. If you own a business or are building a personal brand, this is for you, too.
How to be a better marketer this year
Focus on building relationships
Marketing isn’t about selling. It’s not about talking ‘til you’re blue in the face or shoving your message or idea down someone’s throat. It’s about building relationships, period.
And building a relationship with a new prospect online is no different than building a relationship with a new friend in real life. You ask questions, listen to the answer, offer advice, tell jokes, share ideas, invite them to do stuff, reach out to say hi and swoop in to help as needed.
The more you do this, the deeper the trust and the better the relationship.
I challenge you to start thinking of every prospective and current client as a friend IRL. I bet it’ll change your perspective and entire approach to marketing.
If you were lucky enough to get together with friends and family during the holiday season (I know Omicron ruined it for a lot of us), think about your interactions. Did you walk into your friend’s house, skip the hello, and just start talking?
Of course not.
You said hello, asked how they were doing, and followed their lead.
When you ambled over to the couch to join your cousins watching football, did you plop down and start talking about all those flight cancellations?
You listened to their banter about the players and coaches and joined in.
Why would you do anything differently when you’re wearing your marketing hat? Listen to what your audience wants and needs. Then respond.
Write like you talk
I’ve been pounding this drum for years. Unless you spend your days writing legal briefs and contracts, please just write like you talk.
First, your writing will be a lot easier to read and understand. If you think of your clients as friends, you wouldn’t want to confuse them just so you sound smart, right?
Second, if you write like you talk, your prospects will get a good sense of who you are as a person. And as I’ve said many times, we like to work with people we like.
Afraid of offending someone? Don’t be. If a prospect is turned off by, say, your subtle sarcasm, it’s actually a win. You probably won’t like working with them either.
Third, when you do talk to a prospect for the first time, there will be zero confusion. They’ll instantly recognize you as the person with that deadpan humor they found so amusing. Hide the deadpan humor online but let it rip on the phone, and your prospect’s head will be spinning.
Allow me to climb on my latest soapbox for a moment. There is a lot of garbage online, and much of it is useless fluff. Don’t add to the problem by churning out content for content’s sake. It’ll hurt you in the long run.
Remember that your prospects and clients are friends. Don’t bombard them with junk. Strive to be that friend who always shows up with a smile and helping hand. They’ll be glad to see you!
To that end, you want to create thoughtful content that they can use. Inspire them. Advise them. Teach them. Help them. You’ll know what they need and want because you listened (see above).
Choose quality over quantity
This is a corollary to rejecting fluff, and it can help you eliminate useless content from your life.
You don’t have to be on every marketing platform or social network. Concentrate your brilliance on a few key platforms where you are happy to devote time and energy.
How many social networks do you use right now? And which one do you get engagement on? Use that one and dump the others.
Where else do you share your ideas online? Email? Podcasts? Webinars? YouTube? Medium? Substack? Live video? Community forums?
Just like on social media, you don’t need to be everywhere. Invest time in the one or two platforms that provides bang for your buck. Eliminate everything else.
Revisit your strategy and messaging
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our lives in myriad ways. Though it forced us to change everything overnight, the truth is that things never stop changing.
My agency is very different today than it was on March 13, 2020. I responded to the lockdown by taking on all new clients and projects, while my team continued working with the clients we already had. I doubled down on marketing but completely changed what I was writing and talking about to respond to the massive uncertainty we were all facing.
The summer didn’t feel so emotionally heavy, so I went back to topics that focused squarely on content marketing. I’ve continued to adjust as we’ve negotiated our way through two years of nonstop changes.
Now we are in year three of the pandemic. Life in the Before Times almost feels like a fever dream. We’re not going back to it, so just keep looking ahead. What opportunities are available to you now that weren’t before?
Revisit your marketing strategy and messaging, not just today, but every few months. It’s the only way to stay relevant, ride trends and survive.
Track your progress
If you don’t track your progress, why bother marketing? You’re basically throwing your money away.
As you make friends and build those relationships, set aside time once a month for a check-in. Are people listening to what you have to say? Seeking out more ways to deepen the relationship? Talking about you to their friends? Emailing or calling you? Buying from you?
Look at your email open and click-through rates, your level of social media engagement (not likes – comments and shares) and look at Google Analytics (if it’s installed on your site) to know what pages people are spending time on and bouncing off.
What will you do to be a better marketer, or at least better at marketing, this year?