Running out of ideas for your social media content? Are you putting in a lot of work but not seeing results from your marketing? If you’re feeling stuck with your marketing, you’re not alone. This is something most small business owners experience at one point or another. (Including me!)
Luckily there are some steps you can take to evaluate where you’re at and get over that hump. Here are a few of my top suggestions for getting unstuck and moving your small business marketing forward.
From figuring out where your pain points are to beating boredom, these tips will help get you back on track.
Where does it hurt?
First things first – where does it hurt? Before you can figure out what steps to take, you need to establish what the issue is. And it isn’t always about money, much as though it’s the first thing that often comes to mind!
Sure, it could be that you’re not making enough sales or not getting enough clients. But it could also be that you’re getting plenty interest, but not from the right people. Perhaps people are misunderstanding what it is that you do, or the work that is coming in isn’t what you are most passionate about.
Or it could simply be that you’ve been marketing your small business for a long time and that initial spark and energy has faded a little bit. In which case, you need to find ways to feel reinvigorated.
Whichever it is, one of the following steps should help you stop feeling stuck with your marketing!
Get more of the right people
A common issue when it comes to feeling stuck with your marketing is not getting enough of the clients or customers you really want. This can become frustrating. If you have a strategy, and you’re doing all the “right things”, why aren’t you getting more of the work you really want?
One of the best places to start is with your past and existing clients; the ones who brought you projects you couldn’t stop thinking about. Find out where they found you. Was it through your social media? Your blog? An in-person networking event?
The problem could be that you’re spending too much time on tactics that aren’t reaching the right people. By establishing where the people you loved working with came from, either through online analytics or by asking them directly, you can make these successful tactics more of a priority in your strategy.
You could also reverse this by analysing where you are failing to bring in new clients (which platforms aren’t generating business) and even where the projects you don’t enjoy are coming from. And, as I’m sure you can imagine, uncovering this can help you pull back on the tactics that aren’t working.
To dive a little deeper into this, check out my post on upgrading your audience and reaching more valuable clients.
Do more of what you enjoy
Every business owner has marketing tactics they absolutely love, and others they aren’t so crazy about. In the early stages of running your small business, you are likely to use a few more of the latter in an attempt to generate income and build your brand.
As time goes on, however, you’ll begin to learn what works and what you’re passionate about. And that isn’t always what you expect! It’s easy to go in with an idea and then discover along the way that it’s just not doing it for you anymore.
The thing is – you don’t have to do what you’ve always done. People evolve and, therefore, so do their businesses. So if you’re finding yourself reluctant to market yourself because you’re dreading doing more of the same, the answer isn’t to suck it up. It’s to follow your passion.
Think about the last time you really enjoyed getting your teeth into your marketing. That’s what you need to be doing more of. Maybe you’ve been writing a blog and finding it draining, but sharing your expertise in person is more your style.
In this case, pull back on the writing and start speaking at networking events and conferences! By doing this, you’re still getting your business out there, but in a way that excites you rather than stressing or boring you.
You don’t have to change course altogether right away – it’s usually a process! But the quicker you start working towards what you really love, the less stuck you’ll feel when marketing your business.
Re-examine your marketing strategy
If you feel that your marketing isn’t working as well as you hoped it would, it’s an opportunity to take some time for reflection. It could be the case that your marketing strategy itself needs some tweaking.
First, take a look at these two foundational building blocks of your business: Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and your ideal client.
Your USP is what makes you special. It’s what sets you apart from the competition and makes it easier for people to remember you. It’s often what made you start your business in the first place! It could be that you struggled as a newly vegan consumer to find a plant-based alternative to your favourite cakes. So you went out there and made them.
With that in mind, look at your marketing. Are you talking about the things your ideal client cares about? Does your marketing content reflect who you are as a business? And are you showing, through your marketing, how that USP sets you apart?
On top of that, are you still serving the same people all these years on? Has your target customer changed at all? If so, your marketing will need an update. Everything from your content and tone of voice to the imagery you use and the platforms you market yourself on are tied to your niche.
If, in step one of this post, you established that you wanted to change course slightly or that you’re not seeing results from your marketing, go back to the drawing board and update your marketing strategy.
It will not just give you renewed focus for your marketing, but will also get better results for your small business.
Beat the boredom
Another reason for feeling stuck with your marketing is your feeling bored. This could be with your branding or with your marketing strategy more broadly. If this is the case, the answer is simple. You have to fall in love with your business again! So why not take a moment to assess whether or not your logo, colour scheme, font or tone of voice could use a refresh?
I have talked previously about why you should never update your branding for the sake of it. Being bored of your logo is not a good enough reason to completely change it! Your customers need consistency, and they become attached to what they know from you.
However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t times when something needs to be modernised or tweaked to fit with a change in your products or services. If you started out with a really specific logo and have since expanded your services, maybe it needs to be made a little more general.
To reiterate – unless you are planning to start from scratch with an entirely new venture, do not make your branding unrecognisable! Stick to similar fonts, shades and logo features. But a little bit of a re-fresh can go a long way to help you stop feeling stuck with your marketing!
Or, if it’s your strategy you are struggling to get motivated with, why not try testing out some new approaches? For example, if you haven’t explored video marketing before, now might be the perfect time to give it a try. Getting stuck into something new can be really exciting, and can ease the boredom that can occasionally take hold when things are just ticking along.
Measure the outcome
If you feel like you’re shouting into the void or wondering if your marketing is worth the effort, it might be time to start measuring your results.
Creating and scheduling social media content, going to networking events and conferences, and sending out a regular email newsletter – all that can feel a bit overwhelming if you don’t see the effect it has.
Your intended outcome for all the work you put into your marketing – apart from sales – depends on your marketing strategy. Anything from clicks to your online shop, people subscribing to your mailing list or following you on social media can be measured to see if your marketing is working.
It’s also an excellent way to avoid feeling stuck with your small business marketing. Nothing is a better motivation than seeing the results of all your efforts. But marketing is a long-term game, so only looking at how many new clients you got can make it feel like you’re not getting much traction.
Instead, measure all the (relevant) results from your marketing regularly to see how it’s performing over a longer period. I, for example, measure web traffic, online search performance, social media stats and leads every quarter and at the end of every year. It’s not just good practice, but also great to see if anything needs improving. And it shows you that all your hard work is making a difference.
Find out more about marketing analytics in my post on how to find out if your marketing is working.
Remember why you’re doing this
And finally, it’s important to remind yourself why you’re doing this in the first place. Why did you decide to become a small business owner? For most of us, the freedom and flexibility was a massive part of it.
Running your own business means you make the rules. You decide what you do and don’t want to do with your days, and you are the person with the power to change what they look like. So if you’re feeling stuck and you realise it’s because you’re not enjoying your daily schedule, change it!
Swap working from home for working from a cafe or co-working space – or vice versa! Try booking in meetings for a different time of day. Give a four-day work week a try, or swap a morning work session for an evening one day a week. Whatever it takes to help you find your passion for your business again.
And when you find that passion, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you stop feeling stuck with your marketing – you’ll be putting yourself out there again in no time!
Even better, once your marketing is more aligned again with what motivates you most, it’ll come to you easily and naturally once more.
If you are interested in reading more about this topic, have a look at these:
Stop! What are you actually selling?!
7 Common Marketing Myths You Need to Stop Believing
What Exactly IS Marketing? OR: Marketing Strategy v Marketing Tactics
5 Small Business Marketing Truths You Need to Know About