marketing mistakesMarketing Mistakes Creative Entrepreneurs Make – Part 3

This is part 3 of a 4 part series on twelve marketing mistakes creative entrepreneurs make that keep them stuck and stop them from making a profit in their business. You can read part one here or part two here. Being successful as a marketer requires consistency and learning what you don’t know. The goal of these posts is to help you understand what you may not know. A few small shifts can have big impact on your bottom line.

Marketing Mistake #7 – Relying on only one or two marketing tactics to market your business.

Relying on only one or two tactics to market your business is like eating only one or two types of foods day after day: soon your body won’t be getting the nutrition it needs. A robust marketing plan is one that includes a variety of tactics.

One of the things I often hear from creative entrepreneurs is that they rely strictly on word-of-mouth to build their business. While this is certainly a wonderful marketing tactic, it’s one that you have no control over and it is severely limiting. At some point, this stream of marketing will dry up, and you will find yourself wondering where all your clients are. Referral marketing is an important tactic, but it should be just one of many tactics you implement to grow your business.

Another marketing tactic that creative entrepreneurs rely on too heavily, especially the shyer ones who don’t like networking or speaking in public, is social media. I’m not going to get on my soapbox right now, but you cannot build your business by relying only on tactics that are free or by thinking you can have the freedom and flexibility you dream of by hiding behind your computer.

So what tactics should you use? A variety of online and offline strategies that consistently get you in front of your target market. At my live event in Burbank CA in December, The Path to Profit: Design Your Roadmap to Success, I will be sharing exactly what a profitable marketing plan looks like. And no, it’s not a plan that will leave you feeling overwhelmed and burnt out but instead it will give you the structure and consistency you need to get on the path to profit and stay there.

Marketing Mistake # 8 – Not having a follow-up system in place.

Creative entrepreneurs struggle with systems and with structure. They prefer to have a business that flows from their creative genius and doesn’t require them to be tied down. Sadly, this hits creative entrepreneurs where it hurts the most—in their wallets. I am talking about leaving money lying on the table in plain sight. One of the secrets to being a successful entrepreneur is to have multiple automated systems in place for following up religiously with your prospects.

Let me give you a more specific example of what I mean by failing to follow up religiously. Let’s say speaking is one of your favorite marketing tactics, and you love to talk about nutrition tips for raising healthy kids. You are speaking to a group of parents at a local preschool who are all concerned about raising healthy kids or they wouldn’t be there. Suddenly, you have an entire room full of people who are leaning in—they liked what you had to say, and they want to learn more. Many of them probably come up to you following your presentation and ask a lot of questions, and you are delighted to stay and answer every single one because you are passionate about your topic and about helping these parents.

However, the mistake creative entrepreneurs make is believing that if they get in front of their specific audience and share great information, those people will somehow remember to call you when they really need you.

People don’t care about you: they care about themselves and their Three Ps (pain, problems, predicament). You might have touched them for a moment, but if you failed to create a follow-up system to stay in touch with those prospects, you have lost them forever. You must have a system in place that will enable you to take them from being just a person sitting in that room to being someone with whom you can follow up and continue to build a relationship.

Here are three examples of systems that can help you follow up religiously with your prospects and continue to nurture your relationships with them, without feeling like a used-car salesman

  1. In the scenario above, you could have a system for getting people onto your mailing list so that you can follow up with them using an e-mail newsletter or autoresponder system. How do you collect their e-mail addresses? Offer to give them an additional free report, a recipe booklet, or a checklist they can use right away. In exchange for the free gift, you ask for their e-mail.
  2. Imagine that you spoke to a room of twenty parents and five of them handed you their business cards and asked you to please follow up with them. You drop those business cards into your purse or briefcase, go home, and forget about them for a week or two. By the time you follow up, it’s too late. The person has already found another solution to their problem—yikes! Create a simple system for yourself for following up with people you meet, whether you are speaking, networking, or standing in line at Starbucks. Where could you put those business cards so that you would not forget to send a follow-up e-mail or make a phone call? One suggestion would be to make sure that at the end of each day, you ask yourself, “Was there anyone I promised to follow up with today?” Don’t go to bed until you have done it!
  3. There are two other systems I want to mention here for following up religiously with your clients: spreadsheets and what is called CRM (client relationship management) software. The type of business you are in and the number of people with whom you are trying to follow up will determine which system will work for you. I prefer a simple spreadsheet.

Marketing Mistake #9 – Spending too much time trying to get their marketing right rather than get it going.

I think this mistake is especially true for creative entrepreneurs who tend to be perfectionists and are hypercritical of their own work. When creative entrepreneurs start their business or decide to launch something new, they spend so long trying to get their marketing perfect that they never get it going. If you are not marketing, you are not making money. Clients will ask me, “Is my logo right?” My response? “Nobody cares about your logo—go get a client! Why are you stuck on your logo? What problem does that solve for your specific audience?” Your marketing collateral can be irrelevant if you are not making money.

Let me share an example of the impact this can have on your business. Julie was a client of mine who was sitting on her website and not taking any action. She didn’t want to do any marketing because she didn’t like her website and didn’t want people to see it. If she hadn’t waited to perfect her website before marketing her business, her life and her earnings would have changed dramatically. Because she didn’t have her website updated, she didn’t want to do networking, and she didn’t want to send out mailers or do anything that might allow people to see what she considered to be a less than perfect website. Julie didn’t do any marketing to get new clients for four or five months. No marketing equals no new clients and no cash flowing in. She experienced a big dip in her income during the first quarter of the year because she refused to take action. One new client usually means anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 a year for Julie. Yikes!

Moving forward without waiting for your marketing collateral, website, speech, or whatever to be perfect is a secret that successful creative entrepreneurs know. “A body in motion stays in motion” applies to your business, not just to physics. You don’t have to get everything right. You just have to start marketing today. Remember, you have to be a marketer first and foremost and not worry about all the little details. They’ll come along as you need them—I guarantee it.

If you are reading this post and thinking it’s going to be a challenge to shift your mindset, then I want to invite you to join me for a 3 day live workshop in December where we will be focusing on money, marketing and mindset as we create our business plans for 2016. It’s called The Path to Profit: Design Your Roadmap to Success. You can get all of the details here: www.PathtoProfit.net