There are 2 main mistakes I see entrepreneurs making in their marketing, and they are almost opposites… which is to say, they’re enough to drive anyone nuts.
Let’s look at “Sheila” as an example. Sheila runs a sports medicine clinic where she and her associates offer physical therapy and massage.
Here’s how Sheila’s currently burning herself out. She oscillates back and forth between
- Outsourcing Nothing
- Outsourcing Her Voice
Outsourcing Nothing is what Sheila does when she’s trying to DO IT ALL. Instead of knowing when to farm something out to a contractor, Sheila is attempting to run the marketing show herself.
She does this at the expense of other duties – duties that she likes better and that are within her natural skill-set. Duties like giving massages, working with clients, and organizing meetings with her associates.
Sheila ends up sporadically “working” on her marketing. She haphazardly tries the latest tactics without any big-picture strategy (Facebook Ads! Promotion! Discount! Instagram!) She generally resents the ever-living -life out of anything marketing, messaging, or content related.
Outsourcing Her Voice happens when Sheila’s overwhelm peaks, and she shouts (figuratively, literally, perhaps both…) ENOUGH!
She wants someone – anyone – to take her marketing misery away. So she hastily hires a firm for a “one and done” project and leaves everything up to them. They’re supposed to be the experts, right? They can just fix it, right?
Um, sorry, Sheila. No.
Anyone who promises to tactically “fix” a strategic problem is not going to be able to deliver. Even if they really want to. Even if they’re really nice. Even if they have a really great-looking logo.
And anyone who approaches your marketing and content without first understanding your business process is, in fact, attempting to overwrite your voice. That is a disservice.
So when Sheila is not satisfied with the results, she feels “screwed over.” She goes back to Outsourcing Nothing. The cycle repeats.
How to Find Helpful Help
Getting help with your content and marketing should be liberating! That’s how you know you’ve found the right fit.
As a solopreneur or small business owner, your company’s messaging needs to be in your brand voice – not a marketing company’s voice. A useful marketing service will help you figure out what your voice is, and how to best position it.
Instead of coming up with a tagline or a body of content from the outside and applying it like an outfit or a suit of armor, I work with clients to reveal what’s already inside and at work in their businesses.
THEN we refine it and create messaging that fits in a variety of outlets – such as social media, site content, internal documents like handbooks or contracts.
My process is not about plastering the buzzwordiest bumper stickers I can think of all over your business. It’s not about crafting a suit clothes fit for an Emperor.
It’s about working together to find, strengthen, and direct your voice throughout all of your communications. This will show clients and customers what you have to offer – clearly, unabashedly, and with no nonsense.
Unless nonsense is part of your voice, in which case it makes sense.
Mary Beth Huwe is a writer, an editor, and a strategist. She helps people identify, articulate, and translate their most essential messages into kickin’ content that is both communicative and practical.
These essays are forays into the art and essence of communication. They have not been subjected to the full scrutiny of said editor’s eye, and may contain typos. (But you’ll probably never find apostrophe abuse, because that’s just cruel.)