I was thinking about some of the mistakes I have made in marketing my business and began to delve into why I made those mistakes so I can avoid making them in the future. I came up with a list of "marketing sins" that can keep your marketing from being what it was intended to be. Just like in our personal life, marketing sins begin in the mind and end up effecting our actions, those actions become habits, and those habits turn into our character.
Confusion is the original sin of marketing. Everyone has committed it at least once. Anytime you step out on a new venture confusion is your first companion. With all the parts in motion, all the variables, and all the items out of your control, it is quite easy to be confused about what to do, when to do it, who to speak to, and what to say. Many people run into confusion and never find a way out of it. Your first instinct is to push harder, even if it is in the wrong direction, just push through it. Usually that results in working yourself into exhaustion, which is followed by surrender, and confusion has won. To win over confusion, you must take a simple step that is hard to take. Admit you don't know what to do. That's it. After you admit that, you will be ready to ask for help. You can ask for help from those in the marketing field, fellow entrepreneurs, marketing books, or business coaches. There is a lot of help available. Just slow down and ask.
Ambition is generally regarded as a good trait, especially as an entrepreneur, but when we say, "I must succeed at any cost." Is when it becomes a marketing sin. By raising the bar to a level that doesn't allow room for mistakes or failure, you remove any room for improvement. You adopt perfectionist tendencies that accept nothing less than success, adding to the ample stress of running a business. Ambition, is a great motivator but give yourself room for error. Approach marketing as a game. Of course you want to win, there are many benefits of winning, but this isn't a "Hunger Games" scenario of life or death. It's a game, you win some, you lose some. When you lose, learn from it and play better next time. Enjoy the game. Don't take yourself so seriously. Enjoy the wins, learn from the losses and play better next time.
Impatience is quite epidemic in our world today. Think about how we get everything at the click of a button these days, movies, information, communication. We are in such a hurry we even need microwave instructions for PopTarts because the toaster is too slow. We tend to have the same expectations from our marketing. We want results now! We feel that we put all of this time and money into our marketing we should get results immediately. The only way I know of to combat this sin is to realize that your potential clients don't owe you anything. No one is obliged to respond to your message, your ad or your call to action. We assume everyone will applaud our work and effort, unfortunately, no one really cares. The facts are marketing takes time, the world turns slowly no matter how hard we wish it would move faster, and no one owes us anything. Impatience actually works against you. Your customers can hear it in your voice, and will avoid it if they can.
Arrogance is often the hardest sin to overcome. When we know something well, I mean backwards and forwards, we tend to project our command over a certain subject onto other things we do not know. Success in one arena doesn't guarantee success in any other arena, no matter how closely related. Successful businessmen aren't assured of success as an entrepreneur. Great cooks aren't ensured success running a restaurant. Ironically the absolution from arrogance is the same as the one for confusion. Admit you don't know. Ask for help. Follow the advice of the experts, and avoid thinking that you know everything about everything. You don't, no one does.
Paralysis typically comes from when you know there is so much to do but you feel like you should be able to handle all of it. Not knowing where to start you become overwhelmed and do nothing. The frequent reaction to being overwhelmed is to quit or to avoid the decision all together. The first step to breaking this paralysis is to realize that you in all of you multitasking bravado can do only one thing at a time. Next step is to organize and prioritize the tasks in front of you. Finally, look at your tasks and decide on what you can get done now. It doesn't have to be big, just get something off the list as quickly as possible. Now you have a success behind you. Choose another task, and finish it. Before you know it your list will be short and the paralysis is just a memory.
Self-doubt and low self-esteem come from when we believe that we are not worth spending time or money marketing services or products. We view our company in such low regard that we doubt our ability to help our clients or even attempt to approach new ones. Self-doubt often precedes quitting even though we seldom let go of it. To fight self-doubt we must build a cache of successes or compliments. Create a box or folder to hold good job reviews, client testimonials, and thank you letters. If you have none of these, you can go online and take IQ quizzes, personality tests and aptitude tests that give you what jobs and situations fit you best. They are worded to make you feel good about yourself. Ask your current clients for a testimonial about your business, if they are still hiring you, you are doing something right. Celebrate what you do well.
Fear is a pretty broad topic and has effects on our marketing in many ways. We fear rejection, success, embarrassment, ridicule, failure and the list goes on. The result of fear is that we tend to operate from our safe zone, never taking any chances, never trying something new. Fear tends to shut down creativity and vision, lowering our sights to what is sure to keep us from any pain. Fear magnifies our worst imagined result until it is so large it becomes insurmountable and we become unable to compete against it. The only known way to battle fear is truth. Decide to find the truth about your fear. Will people really ridicule you if you write that article? What evidence do you have to support that theory? Are follow up calls really that bad? Is everyone going to buy what you offer? No. That is highly unlikely. So you can expect some rejection. Is there a way to market your business and avoid the in person rejection? Of course there is. Find the truth, then test the truth one step at a time. Soon fear will have no hold on you.
8. The Blame Game
It's not my fault! It's the economy! I got bad advice! We have all played that game. We grow up playing that game. It is always beyond our control. There was nothing we could do. The blame game is typically used to absolve ourselves from any fault so we don't have to take responsibility for the mistakes that were made. Were there many factors at work in any failure (or success)? Of course. But until you own up to your failures, you will never learn from them. By passing the buck, the tuition for the school of hard knocks moves to someone else. When we take responsibility for our actions, we learn more and we benefit more. We also tend to stop making the same mistake again and again.
An article by Mark Combs, Cre8iveDept.com. Do any of these step on your toes? I know my feet are hurting. We all tend to bounce around between these, but until we identify them we can't work on them and get better about avoiding these deadly marketing sins. Do you have any I didn't mention? I would love to hear about them and see if I can help you with them. Send me an email. - MarkCombs@Cre8iveDept.com