Attention all creative entrepreneurs: are you making these common marketing mistakes in your business?
It’s no secret that marketing is essential for small businesses, but managing your marketing can also be challenging and confusing. There are seemingly endless ways to market your business, and it’s hard to know what strategy to use, what platforms to use, whether you should use paid advertisements, rely on earned media, etc.
The reality is marketing doesn’t have to be that complicated! And what we’re going over today might surprise you because I won’t tell you which platforms to use or how much money you should put into your marketing budget. (Major phew moment, right?) Instead, I’m going over the three most common marketing mistakes I see creatives make, which are changes you can make in your business model today — and I guarantee these changes will result in more leads and clients.
Putting more time and effort into visual branding over marketing is the most common mistake I see small business owners make. It’s understandable why because we assume the first encounter someone will have with a brand is usually with the aesthetics, such as the logo. You want to leave a good impression on them, after all!
But, while this is somewhat true, you can’t always rely on your logo (no matter how beautiful it is) to reel in your ideal clients. You first must focus on having an audience, and you can do this by figuring out where your ideal client is coming from and then form relationships with them. Are they hanging out on Facebook, Instagram, or are they coming from somewhere else? (More on how to figure this out in the second tip.) Once you figure out where they are, you can connect with them on two to three platforms and start engaging with them.
This is where the real magic happens because, as we established, you can’t simply rely on them remembering your logo, especially if this is their first encounter with your brand. But a pleasant interaction has strong staying power in a person’s mind because it’s… well, much more interactive!
For example, if you’re a wedding professional, your leads might come from a bridal show, Instagram, Facebook, The Knot, Wedding Wire, etc. Once you figure that out, you want to show up in two to three spaces and become engaged. Be part of the community, answer questions, provide education, and grow your relationship with them. This strategy is going to set you up for long-term success.
So when do you get to focus on branding? Once your business is expanding and you’re feeling satisfied with the number of leads coming through, you can focus more on a logo and visual branding. But remember: the first step is to make sure you have an audience you can show it off to.
This mistake goes hand-in-hand with the first mistake of putting more effort into branding over marketing because, to focus your energy on just a few platforms, you need to have data on what these platforms are.
An easy way to collect this data is to include a question on your contact form that asks, “Who can I thank for sending you here?” Or, “How did you find out about [enter you business name here]?”
This is going to be incredibly useful because you’ll be able to see right away if your marketing dollars are being put to good use and if the platforms you’re focusing on are bringing in leads (and converting them into clients). If you’re not tracking this at all, it’s very difficult to tell what’s working and what’s not working.
To go back to the wedding professional example, if you’ve been focusing a lot of your budget, time, and effort on WeddingWire, but your clients are reporting on your contact form that they’re finding you through Instagram, then that gives you the information you need to adjust your marketing strategy. (And as a result, bring in more leads!)
In conclusion, make sure you’re tracking:
Offering many services is a common mistake because many business owners think that more services = more money. For example, an event planner may believe they can offer day-of coordination and month-of coordination plus photography plus videography plus floral. This is a slippery slope towards burnout, my friends.
Instead of spreading yourself thin like this, you want to niche down (narrow down) your services and become the expert for that one service so when people find your brand they feel they can trust you because you’ve spent your career focusing on that one thing.
Another benefit of niching down is that you remove a lot of the hurdles or decision-making for your clients. In the wedding and events industry, couples are already making a ton of decisions and likely experiencing decision fatigue. So by giving them a straightforward solution, you’re making it much easier for them to know what you’re offering and if they want to say “yes” or “no.”
Here’s an example I love to use when talking about niching down:
Carhart Photography, a husband-and-wife photo and video duo, was a past client of ours who started out offering a wedding photography package, a wedding videography package, and a wedding photography and videography combination. Not only that, but they offered three different packages underneath each umbrella package. Overwhelming when you read it, right? They found themselves unsatisfied because they were getting price-shopped and felt like they weren’t living up to the brand’s true potential.
When we started their Signature Experience, I asked them what they really wanted to be booking? In other words, which service gave them the most success and satisfaction? They replied with their photography and videography package because they are a husband-and-wife team who work really well together. Plus, that was their biggest investment. With that information, we cut the other packages and only offered their one signature experience. They were apprehensive about this at first — it seems counter-intuitive to narrow your services (it feels like you’ll also narrow your audience). But by removing other options, they positioned themselves as confident experts in their field and like their services were a must-have because they had created a truly unique experience.
Bottom line: Narrow down the number of services or packages you offer to ease decision fatigue and boost your clients’ confidence in your skills.
Alright, I couldn’t leave you without these two bonus tips that I’ve seen all my clients go off and do. I’ve also incorporated these two tips into my business and saw an incredible amount of growth. These tips are:
Depending on the industry you’re in, you could hire an associate photographer, associate event planner, virtual assistant, or something else along these lines. I’m not exaggerating when I say adding to your team can also add thousands of dollars to your business because you can take on more clients, delegate tasks, and start expanding on other aspects of your business! In fact, hiring an associate is the next big step many of our Signature Experience clients take, and they often find quickly become six-figure businesses!
If adding an associate to your team isn’t your business plan right now, but you still want to add some income to your business, going the education route is a fantastic way to do that!
I’m willing to bet you’ve spent many hours perfecting your craft and have had many real-life experiences that taught you how to succeed in the industry. No matter how saturated your market seems, there are always going to be people who need your expertise. And the great part? You don’t even have to know everything about your field — you just need to be a few steps ahead of your audience.
Here are some ways you can offer your educational content:
I hope you learned a lot from this and feel much more in charge and confident about your marketing strategy.
Our goal at Carrylove Designs is to help entrepreneurs reach the next level of their business, and we would love to do that for you too! Whether you’re looking to book more of your ideal client, reach a larger market, become more competitive within your niche, establish yourself as a well-known professional, and/or expand your business, our team is here for you! Drop us a note by clicking here, and we’ll get in touch soon to see how we can help you and your business!