Hi there, lucky pants! You might have seen that I’m going to be writing a bonus series on “What Makes Marketing Hard” (or at least what makes it feel hard).
(If you didn’t see it, the post is here: What Makes Marketing Hard. It also details the fiendish evil plans I have in store for you.)
I’m going to hit the big one first. This was probably the biggest block for me, and it’s the one I hear again and again.
Ewwww, marketing is gross
Trust me, I get this one. Before I had a business to promote, I hated marketing, I hated selling, I hated marketers, and I hated salespeople.
Then I had to become one.
I’d been working in corporate “marcom” (that’s marketing communication, in case you’re not a jargon junkie) for a long time, but marcom is a whole different beast from getting the word out about your own little tiny business that consists mainly of you.
When I decided to go solo, all I wanted to do was to find some clients and do copywriting. I couldn’t afford advertising, I had no idea what Google Adwords even was, and SEO was definitely some kind of black magic.
Figuring it out
Because I was so grossed out by the marketing advice I was finding, I realized I was going to have to totally reframe this thing for myself or I’d never actually do it.
(I’m extremely bad at doing anything I don’t want to do. That’s both a good and a bad thing, but anyway, it’s how I’m wired.)
So I read every book and blog I could find. Then I went back and re-read the ones I thought were any good.
I bought courses with money I didn’t have. I went to hear talks from experts, and then I read some more.
And I tried stuff. I actually tried the cold calling thing, because books on “How to Not Starve as a Copywriter” told me I didn’t have an option.
Cold calling made living in a homeless shelter look quite attractive, so I scratched that one.
But I liked to write, and I especially liked to write to pals online, so I thought maybe a blog would be ok.
And one day it sort of went “Bing!”
It wasn’t about me
It wasn’t about beating my chest and saying how awesome I was, or some ugly sales process called “closing” that would manipulate a person into saying yes when they wanted to say no.
Because I had worked in marcom all that time, I did know lots of techniques that would help people. They just needed a little adaptation.
And because I was figuring out for myself how to promote my copywriting biz without wanting to shoot myself, I had a good take on what worked and what didn’t.
I knew that if I worked out a system that worked for me, it would help other people in the same spot.
I wasn’t setting myself up as some kind of marketing and communications god. I was just putting my hand out and offering some help.
It was about them.
Changing the focus = changing the results
The thing is, in corporate marketing, you have to make the CEO happy. And the odds are good that the CEO is a) an idiot, and/or b) a jackass.
80% chance he’s one, at least 50% chance he’s both.
And so you hardly ever get to put together marketing that’s really, truly about the customer. You know, the person whose life is made better by what you do. And, coincidentally, the one who pays everybody’s salary.
If I could put together a marketing process that was about them, about the people I served, it wouldn’t feel gross. And even when people got mad at me for being “too salesy” (I do get that sometimes), I wouldn’t feel bad. Because I’d know that I was helping a lot more people than I was turning off.
That’s how Remarkable Communication got started, a little over two years ago. It took a little over a year to make it a really viable business because a) I had to figure everything out, since I didn’t know of any good models, and b) I’m a slow learner.
My favorite 5 ways to make marketing feel less gross
- Make your “advertising” into something valuable. Instead of creating junk that makes people angry, create great stuff that helps people and makes them feel wonderful.
- Know that what you’re doing is noble work. This is obviously my personal belief, but I’ll share it with you: Creating a business is an inherently good thing to do. Business is about creating value, and value is just another way of saying that you’re making the lives of your fellow humans better in some way. Big businesses can get distracted from that. Tiny businesses can’t, because when we do, we fail.
- Be yourself. Don’t try to turn yourself into that weirdly extroverted yet bland guy who did the sales training you went to one time. You’ll feel like a fraud and a creep. You totally get to be weird, shy, quiet, funny-looking, have a strange sense of humor, and like things hardly anyone else likes. Embrace your weird. Call it your USP if you really want to.
- Work, all the time, to get your ego out of it. It’s about the people you serve. This is hard but it’s rewarding.
- Don’t do stuff you hate. There’s always another way. Sometimes I might encourage you to try something that will get you a little out of your comfort zone. But that’s not the same as doing something that just feels wrong. You’ll get really good at spotting the difference. Trust your instincts.
Dang, that was long
Sorry, I’m pounding this out in a coffee shop on my laptop and I guess I just had a lot to say. I promise I’ll try to make the next ones shorter. 🙂
So what’s up next?
This is the first of five bonus lessons on why marketing is so hard for us, and what can make it a lot easier.
Bonus lesson #2 is going to be about the second giant boulder in your marketing path: overwhelm. The topic of “marketing” is so huge, and there are so many pieces you can put together, that it just all seems too big for one normal person to figure out.
If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for sticking with me. I hope this was helpful to you! You can let me know what you think by replying to this email, or if you’re reading the post on the blog, leave a comment. I’d love to know your experience with it.
Lots of love, thanks for being in my little tribe. I think the world of you, I hope you know that.
(P.S., if a friend sent you to this page and you aren’t subscribed to one of my free classes (delivered via email), you won’t get the rest of the bonus lessons!
Just fill in your name and email address here. I promise I will never, ever spam you or clog your mailbox up with junk. I hate that too.)