Well, this is an uncomfortable exercise in self-exposure of my marketing failings. Like most women in business, I struggle with marketing. I am the smoking Doctor, the Plumber with the broken toilet, a Chef with an empty fridge..
That’s embarrassing... Why are you telling us?
Because you’re likely struggling with a few of the same things I am, and my fixes might help you too. Even if one or two of my fixes help you, my embarrassment will be worth it.
All the good intentions of my content creator and me were dashed when the pandemic hit. We spent a very long day back in January (when we were virus free and naive) planning eight months of content. We stopped at eight months with content fatigue but intended to meet up mid-year to finish the last few months off.
We started the year with a bang, plan ready, content prepped and follow through on point. I was armed and prepared, not just for a weekly blog and email, but also YouTube and social media.
Then Covid-19 hit.
The Profit Lovers content plan was put on hold as I shifted focus from creating for to supporting clients and Profit Lovers. I have zero regrets about abandoning ship for Profit Lovers and clients. It was the right thing to do, and it made me feel like I was being useful during a time of financial and emotional crisis.
Sending happy emails full of business tips as a global pandemic kicked off, and people were overwhelmed and scared… well that would have been a d**k move!
So now as we move towards business as (un)usual, I have been reviewing my marketing. All the bad habits I had last year (and pretty much every year before that) are back in full force. I can’t use this pandemic as an excuse forever, so it’s time to get back to business.
Lack of Consistency
Inconsistency plagues my marketing, I get all excited and flushed with marketing enthusiasm, but it never lasts long. This feast and famine approach results in a flood of content that is short-lived.
My social media is the worst, so to counteract that in part, my Content VA has taken over and is creating and scheduling for me. We invested a very small amount in Later (Social Media scheduling tool), and we actually use it.
Not Enough Ideas
Marketers block. That has to be a thing, right? My ideas bank has been a dry, desolate wasteland of nothing good—just old trashed ideas blowing around in a dusty hole of emptiness.
I had nothing interesting to say or share. The reason? I wasn’t consuming any interesting content; my mind wasn’t seeking out new ideas. I was consuming a lot of Real Housewives and 90 Day Fiance (it’s total trash so feel free to judge my viewing choices) and not a lot of business books, podcasts, YouTube videos etc.
When you’re thirsty, you head to the places where water is; the fridge, the tap, the garden hose… I was thirsty for ideas but I continued to sit in the desert instead of moving myself closer to the water source.
I am prioritising interesting business, finance, and self-development content. I don’t consume a lot; I am not trying to read a book a week (or even a month - that was one of my goals at the start of the year that was weird and arbitrary), I am just consuming small useful chunks regularly.
I also designed myself a rough version of an ideas generator. A fancy name for a spreadsheet with headings, but it works!! You can see it in action over on my Instagram (I would love a follow while you’re there).
Doing too Much
Every now and then I get this new passion for marketing. Me and marketing will be super into each other, and I will want to do ALL THE THINGS. I will start hunting down the best courses and experts in Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram etc.. and I will attempt to learn it all. Every tip and trick and hack for growth and social media fame.
No prizes for guessing the outcome, my passion turned obsession quickly sours. I get marketing fatigued, overwhelmed, panicked, and I do nothing.
This year I have decided that I need a strategy to grow the platform I enjoy the most and have the best skill set for. That’s YouTube! I have all the gear, I don’t care about getting on camera and it works for my audience. I am also growing my Instagram by outsourcing that to my Content Assistant because I can’t do all the things!
**Did I mention I am actively building my Instagram? You can follow me here.
Doing Stuff with Little Result
You know how I always say to stop doing stuff that isn’t producing a result? Instead, either figure out how to fix what you’re doing or stop doing it all together. Resultless activity is the enemy of productivity and I was doing a resultless activity.
I had a poorly run free Facebook group for years, I never quite knew what it’s purpose was. It started out as a small fun community one year when I ran Spring Fling (a little challenge to fall back in love with your business) but after that ended, it just didn’t do anything. People were still joining, but there was no discussion and no value.
I pumped some hours into it a few months ago to see if I could revive it but it was dead and I was happy about it.
I want as many Profit Lovers out of free Facebook groups that serve no real purpose. They can be incredibly cynical and sometimes quite nasty; they’re also often a massive distraction. I didn’t want to be the distraction. I would prefer to channel the energy into my paid groups, where we take action and show up for accountability.
Free groups can be wonderful places for quality advice, I know a few that are pumping. The difference is I didn’t want to be there, and I wasn’t interested in learning how to run a great free group. Honestly, I just wanted out and I should have done it years ago.
We have shut the group down. If you have a marketing effort, something that is weighing on you and you can’t see a purpose then shut it down. Yes, you may have wasted years of energy (like I did), but the only thing worse is wasting another day.
I am so good at this I deserve some kind of “Melanie is bottlenecking” theme song! Firstly, I am going to practice a little self-love here. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that had slowly and insipidly destroyed my health. I physically and mentally had nothing left at the end of last year, so of course, I was a bottleneck. That aside (I now have regular treatments and medications) I still bottleneck.
I hold up my team when they’re ready to move forward so they get frustrated and end up doing “filler” work instead of the real work. Sick or not, it is my responsibility to lead the team and to do that I need to be working ahead of them.
Stop bottlenecking! It’s that simple. I now work two weeks ahead of my team, and I am aiming for four, once I reach four, I will aim for 6.. . The best thing I did was say “hey, we’re going to need to stop for a bit while I get ahead” and now my job is to stay ahead. The bigger the buffer I build, the more flexibility I will have because no one will be waiting on me before they can do their job.
If you’re the bottleneck in your business, you stop the work flowing because you’re not on top of things then you’re wasting money and possibly sucking the energy from your team. Quality team members won’t last long if you’re not allowing them to shine in the role you hired them for.
So that is it for the bad stuff, now a quick review of the good stuff I am doing.
I do track all my numbers, I know what’s going on with web traffic, I know how much each social platform is sending back to my site, I know how many subscribers I have, I know my conversion rates. My funnels are all doing well, and my offers are selling.
I only ever put out quality content I am proud of, I never post or send something just for the sake of it, even if that means sometimes it’s dead silence. My Instagram feed is no longer a digital shrine to office assistant, as it once was and I am never afraid to identify, share and fix areas of my business that aren’t as polished as they should be.
Business is a constantly evolving thing, being open to learning, and listening, accepting you’re not always doing things right but then celebrating that you’re nailing other areas. Your business will never be perfect, mine will never be perfect, but perfection is overrated anyway.
P.s The most exciting thing to come out of this whole “Melanie’s marketing brain is a wasteland” adventure is creating the solution.
My VA is getting creative with my marketing ideas generator, we hope to turn it into something we can share with you!
Stay tuned for more…