market your business

The Fortune is in the Focus: How to Properly Market Your Business

Why do some marketing campaigns succeed while others fail? The fortune is in the focus.

Throwing spaghetti against the wall to see if it will stick may ultimately get you to your goal, but it will be a painful process. Having a clear idea of what you are looking to achieve so you can map your route from Point A to Point B is significantly more efficient.

To get started, we’ll map out three necessary elements of a marketing campaign. Let’s take a look at a fictional business — a brick-and-mortar candy shop — as a way to illustrate each point.

Know Your Goal

What is the goal of this candy shop? Don’t jump the gun! Yes, the goal is entice individuals to purchase candy, but let’s get even more specific than that.

As a content marketing effort, the company writes a blog post about their love for Halloween. The title and social media messaging are critical to converting passive readers of that blog post into attentive, potential customers.

For example, a generic title or social media post may read, “Candy Corner’s Love of Halloween Has Lasted A Decade.” That line is accurate, but it doesn’t speak to the business focus, which is to draw people to the store.

A more focused title or post may read, “Candy Corner is a Must-Stop Shop on Halloween.”

The story itself is the same in both examples, but the messaging in the focused post is specifically targeted toward the business goal.

Know Your Worth

What is it you are offering your customers or clients? Be careful with this one because it isn’t always what you believe to be the obvious answer.

In our candy store example, your knee-jerk response may be that this particular business is offering customers candy. Easy enough, right?

While that may be true, promoting “candy” as the reason customers should purchase won’t set this business apart from others. The key is to look at the differentiating factors between this business and the competition.

A few things to consider:

  • How many stores are there specifically dedicated to candy nowadays? Perhaps this business is providing an experience to customers beyond walking into a chain store to purchase candy.
  • What kind of variety exists within this candy store? More than likely, a candy store will have a much wider selection than a grocery store.
  • Is the product of higher quality than packaged candy? Maybe this store makes their own candy or chocolate without preservatives.

Understanding what sets your business apart from the competition is critical to an effective marketing campaign.

Know Your Audience

You must get inside the heads of your target customers to know why they are the right people to buy from you. Making this a bit more tricky, you may have multiple audiences you are targeting at any given time.

For our fictional candy store, there would be multiple audiences:

  • Grandparents may come to the store because they want to have a fun day out with grandchildren and provide them something special. Messaging may speak to “spoiling” them.
  • Parents may appreciate the higher quality of candy. Messaging may speak to ingredients, fewer preservatives, or better taste.
  • Older individuals may have a sense of nostalgia going to a candy store as they did when they were younger. Messaging can speak to re-living their youth.
  • Children are an obvious target audience, but this is a great example a need for a different marketing strategy. How much money will children have and how will they get to your store? While they will consume your product, they may not be one of your primary targets.

The audience you speak to will depend on which is the most likely to convert. You may start with one group and then add another once you’ve found success with the first.

It’s important that you don’t try to speak to everyone at once. The more specific you are with your targeting, the better the results. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s true that when you try to speak to everyone, you ultimately speak to no one.

How do you focus your marketing campaigns? Where do you start and how do you come up with your messaging?

passion career

I Get Paid to be Passionate … Is That A Thing?

Success

Exactly.

My entrepreneurial journey has been anything but a straight line. In fact, the picture to the right is exactly how I would illustrate it.

It’s been two years of twists and turns that have driven my husband crazy. It isn’t out of the ordinary for him to turn to me and say, “Okay, what are you doing now?”

In actuality, he has no clue. I’ve always known that is a problem, but not for the reason you’d think. It’s a problem because I haven’t been able to articulate it. When someone asks, “What do you do?” an entrepreneur should be able to answer the question in a sentence or two. For me, the question would dredge up a monologue. Even I would end up confused.

The truth is, I have taken on projects at a gut level. I have pursued and said yes to opportunities because they felt right, not quite understanding what they all had in common. It’s been frustrating to say the least. I haven’t felt like a real business owner because I haven’t been able to sum it all up in one easy phrase.

Then it all came together in one of those ‘aha’ moments.

It’s passion. The common thread to all of my projects and all of my clients is that I am passionate about each and every one of them. Yes, these projects have similar subjects (we’ll get to that later), but I’m like the Olivia Pope of content marketing.

Come to me with your problem to be solved. If you manage to touch my soul, we’re in business.

You Have to Have A Pure Heart

I am a real person to a fault. I don’t operate in superficiality and I tell it like it is. I can’t lie. I can’t misdirect. It’s both a blessing and a curse.

A blessing in that I’m a genuine person. A curse in that you can read me like a book. The latter isn’t always the best in the business world.

Because this is who I am, I need my clients to be the same way, both in the way they do business and in their professional intentions. If you are someone who gives back to others just to make yourself look good, you aren’t the person for me. If you are someone who has a goal of making a lot of money for no other reason than to make a lot of money, you aren’t the person for me.

That isn’t to say there is anything wrong with people who operate that way — to each their own — but it’s not how I operate. I am a gut-level, tell-it-like-it-is person and professional. You get the best of me when you want the best for others.

You Have to be Able to Pay Me

This is particularly tough for me because I always want to help in areas where I’m passionate, especially when I really believe I can make a difference. But the truth is that I can’t help others if I can’t pay my bills.

My ultimate goal isn’t to be a millionaire (though that wouldn’t suck), but I have to make enough to sustain and grow my business. While I would love to help everyone, I’m engaged in all of the grassroots work I can be engaged in right now, so any additional projects I take on have to be paid.

You Have to Have A Human Element

I am passionate about people. I am an extrovert if there ever was one, fueled by conversation and engagement. It’s why I am a good writer, social media manager, and marketer. I understand what makes people tick and love to move people to action, whether that’s visiting a website, donating to a cause, or purchasing a quality product.

This is where I’ve lost my focus in the past. A passion for people is a broad topic that spans across humanity. How do I narrow it? As it turns out, I’ve been very narrow in my actions, I just haven’t articulated it. Well, now I am.

Kids
If you have a cause focused on children, you’ve found the right person. I am deeply involved with The ChadTough Foundation, which is dedicated to raising money and awareness for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG. I knew nothing about DIPG before meeting Chad and his family. Now it is one of my greatest passions.
Parenting
I am a mom of three young children and love providing comic relief by writing about my own experiences. It’s my way of helping parents find the humor and joy in the day-to-day monotony of parenting. I am also passionate about helping parents solve problems. If you have a product or service that will make life easier for families, I’m all ears.
Sports
I have always loved sports, both because I am a huge competitor and because I love strategy. I worked for the Detroit Lions for a long time and loved interviewing coaches and players about the nuances of the game.
My time in the NFL coupled with my husband’s job with the University of Michigan athletic department have produced many sports and media connections. Those connections have resulted in projects for me, directly and indirectly.
Women in Business
I love coaching other women in promoting their businesses because I think women need to be fearless and pursue their dreams. Currently I’m working LeShonda Martin, founder of WAGS Redefined, a website focused on defying the stereotype of wives, fiancees, and girlfriends of NFL players. When I heard all she was trying to accomplish, I knew it was a perfect match.

So, that’s my story.  Now, if you’ve made it to the end and believe you have a business that fits my skill set and passion, please reach out. I’d love to discuss your mission and direction and see if working together would be a great fit.

Who knows? We might just change the world.

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