MARKETING: My Warning About The Cliche Marketing Mistakes You're Falling For
Marketing basics that unravel us when we're trying to be successful at promoting what makes us money.
Hello! 😊 I’m, as always, Ellen “Jelly” McRae, the writer/solopreneur/content creator sharing my experiences working from home, the extensive business process and journey, and managing a work-life balance as I start and grow a business. This is my ⭐️ weekly email for free subscribers to The Frolics ⭐️ For the VIP exclusive, visit Highway🔓
Yes, you can make marketing mistakes (despite how basic they may be)
I’m back in the thick of my social media resurrection and finding the return intriguing, to say the least.
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Though I’ve been hanging around Twitter all this time, Instagram is an entirely different and strange beast that I’ve put this platform aside. It has changed so much since 18 months ago, and the influencer doesn’t look the same. Where has all the Botox gone??
What I find strangest about being back on these platforms is my attitude. For me, as I evaluate all of the social media available, I’m noticing Instagram, TikTok and Tumblr are fun and less about marketing. Though there are people marketing on Instagram, for example, the content isn’t hitting the right note anymore.
People want to not feel as if they’re being constantly marketed to anymore.
This is distinct from Pinterest, which is a visual search engine. For that, I’m approaching with raging solopreneur veracity.
With everything I do, I’m all about having the maximum amount of fun without taking myself too seriously. If I venture down the too serious path, I might collapse into a lump, with the inability to ever return to the online space.
I can’t sell myself like I once did. I can’t be the influencer/sales executive/content creator the way others are aspiring to be. All I want to be is me, real and raw, with a space to express myself.
Yeah, I know it sounds pretentious. But I’m doing everything possible to avoid becoming fixated on followers, likes, comments, views, etc.
Marketing mistakes are rife: An introduction
Despite all of my protests, marketing has to happen. I’m running a business.
And like every facet of running a business, there come the dreaded cliches. Everything we think we know about business, what we should be doing, what works, and what is considered entrepreneurial sabotage should we engage in it.
Cliches are problematic as a solopreneur. We’re never going to stand out with our often non-unique product with equally non-unique marketing.
Doing what everyone else does isn’t going to gain us any success.
Ok, so what is everyone doing that we shouldn’t?
Marketing Mistake / Cliché #1: You have to share what you offer all-the-time
The point of marketing yourself is to have people buy your “product”, whatever that may be. Well duh, I hear you say.
So what is the most obvious way of getting people to buy your product? Share your product.
We all know it has to be done. If people don’t know about your product, how do they know to buy it?
Here’s the issue with this approach. Everyone is doing that. Every content creator, business owner, and writer, is pushing their products. I’m guilty of doing this on Twitter and Pinterest, sharing my links like confetti.
But there has to be a balance. People aren’t going to buy your product because you tell them you have a product. As much as it sounds like it should be simple, people need reasons to buy from you.
Instead of only posting to sell, or only marketing with sales content, we’re better off:
Solving your customer’s problem - You can demonstrate how your business, product and knowledge can make your customer’s life better. You can do this without holding your product like an infomercial, too. It can be like communicating with a friend about something you’re passionate over. Genuine, honest and raw.
Building community - People want to feel like they belong and that the brands they buy from care about them, understand them, and are one of them.
Creating demand - If you spend your time asking customers what they want, you take the guesswork out of business. Simply asking what your customer wants is enough to make your next launch feel special to those who want it.
Showing personality - People want to buy from people, not faceless companies. Here is your chance to show you’re real.
Marketing Mistake / Cliché #2: The idea that content creation has to be “perfect”
If you took your marketing lessons from watching Mad Men, you’re in for a horrible shock.
If you took your marketing lessons from influencers of pre-2020, you’re also in trouble too.
The way marketing imagery is headed is the opposite of where it has been for the last however many decades. What people want is:
Real, raw, content
Truth in the imagery with a clear message
A connection to real life
What marketing is pulling away from is:
Unrealistic representations of the truth - Everyone knows life isn’t always fun, positive, and perfectly lit to hide all flaws and imperfections. And we’re tired of being told through marketing that it is.
Airbrushing - Photoshopping has gone too far. It’s always been a problem, but considering the ease of doing so through apps, it’s become its own pandemic. It’s broken the circle of trust with customers, and people don’t believe anyone anymore.
Content that took three hours to set up - We’ve come to appreciate the simple things in life, marketing content included. If it’s taken three hours to set up, it shows in the content. Consumers are seeing through over stylised content, no matter how casual it seems.
Scripted advertising - Bye-bye copywriters who produce script-like copy promoting content. It doesn’t feel real when it’s scripted, and consumers know this.
Be careful of following marketing trends without research
What the marketing world became overconsumed with are copy-cats. Everyone doing the same thing as the person next to them.
We grew old with the influencer stereotype. Perfect hair. Perfect bodies. Perfect life. Unrealistic expectations that no one else can possibly reach but highly desire to mimic.
And everyone has mimicked the marketing standards they set. The problem with following trends, and repeating what everyone else is doing, is that you will never stand out. You will never be unique.
It’s the repetition that’s the problem. It’s the same thing over and again, which doesn’t show the world anything new or exciting.
It doesn’t reveal anything more about your business except for the idea that you can follow trends. And that’s not what you’re trying to sell.
Marketing Mistake / Cliché #3: Social media won’t work for my business
I was talking to some other writers the other day, telling them about my TikTok videos and creating content. One of the writers, someone I respect, said to me,
“Who would want to watch a video about writing or something you’ve written?”
Well, I would, for one. And if the topic of your writing is interesting, funny, entertaining or informative, I would happily spend time watching anyone discuss their writing.
I showed this friend the writers on TikTok and how many millions of views were being devoted to the writers. It would seem I wasn’t alone.
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I felt sorry for this writer. They assumed something about their profession that was completely wrong.
Here are the problems with assuming anything about marketing:
Assumptions are the mother of all fuck ups. In general.
Marketing relies on numbers and facts, not feelings, hunches or vibes. Assumptions are those feelings; what you think you know versus what is true.
Marketing techniques and approaches are constantly changing. Assumptions stop you from keeping up with the ever-changing landscape. Assumptions keep you rigid in your thinking or lack thereof.
Here is also why your business needs social media:
Social media is at the forefront of the marketing landscape - Suprassing all forms of traditional marketing, social media dominates them all. And it will continue to as the world tightens on antiquated and climate unfriendly alternatives, such as flyers, business cards and paper advertising.
Social media directly links to Google - When Google is ranking website results, it factors in content with social media. It looks at Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and ranks its results with their content too. The more opportunity you have to win over Google, the better.
Social proof - More and more consumers are looking to social proof to validate their purchasing decisions. Customers will look to social media to find people like them using the product/engaging with the business. If there isn’t any there, customers will become suspicious in this modern era.
I know how easy it is to hide behind your desk/office/warehouse. It’s a safe space for business owners. But in true success stories, we aren’t going to succeed with safe approaches.
Marketing Mistake / Cliché #4: Market To People Exactly Like You
In a lot of the writing circles I’m in, there is this push on social media for writers to support writers. #writerslift is a commonly used way to get the follow-for-follow method of marketing to work.
You follow me and then I will follow you back.
What is the result of doing this? It ends up with the only people supporting your writing being other writers. You’re essentially supported by your competition.
Let’s look at this with some honesty and ask ourselves.
Do you think your competition will read your work? At all? Forever?
Do you think they will buy your books? Probably not. They only followed you because you followed them. It’s a hollow exchange, which will likely only lead to hollow interactions.
If you don’t buy their books, will they buy yours?
Are these the people who are going to help you grow, as your lifelong fans?
This is one example of a marketing technique following the marketing to people like you approach.
Whilst it’s easier to market to people like you, and easier to create content because you imagine yourself in their shoes, it’s hurting you.
Marketing to yourself, pretending you are your customer, means:
You assume aspects about your customer that aren’t true - You aren’t your customer. You aren’t the ones buying the product. You aren’t the one who needs a problem solved.
You miss what your customer wants and likes - When you can’t see beyond yourself as the customer, you miss who the customer is. It’s impossibly to see them telling you what you need to hear about what you’re offering. It’s like you’ve put the metaphorical blinkers on.
You think you know better - When a customer contradicts your view of your product/offer, you can’t see if they have a valid point or not. Worse than that, you think they’re sabotaging you. It doesn’t align with your point of view, so it must be wrong.
Together, we can do anything! Whether you’re a solopreneur like me, or a fascinated onlooker watching this business documentary, say hello! Ask me anything or share your concerns here!
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