The Dummy-Proof Guide to Marketing

27 Jun 2016

Susan Payton

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, including “How to Get More Customers With Press Releases,” and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

Many entrepreneurs get wrapped around the axle when it comes to marketing. They assume it’s over their heads, and therefore simply leave it alone.

But take it from me: marketing isn’t rocket science, and ignoring it will be to the detriment of your business. Below, you will find some super simple tips to instantly apply in order to get your marketing moving in the right direction.

Talk like a human

Whether you’re writing a blog post, updating your Twitter feed, or sending an email to your subscribers, it’s important that you use natural language, like you were having a conversation with a friend. You might be more formal than you would be with a friend in order to be relatable. Many of us have a tendency to try to write over our own heads, in an attempt to sound more intelligent. Keep your audience in mind; most experts suggest writing for the 6th or 7th grade level.

Need help being more conversational? Check out the Hemingway app. Just paste in your writing and the app will identify roadblocks like overly complex sentences or passive voice, which you can then fix.

Choose your channels wisely

I’m not sure why there has been a trend toward businesses trying to be on every single social media channel out there. You’re better off putting your resources into two or three social sites (those being the ones where your audience spends the most time), rather than spreading yourself thin across a dozen sites and not getting traction on any of them. The fewer places you put your attention, the better you can monitor people talking about you there, or spot trends that you can leverage in your marketing.

Be a not-exactly copycat

There’s no law saying you can’t take a peek at what your competitors are doing. It’s good karma not to rip them off, but there’s no reason you can’t use their marketing strategies as inspiration for your own. Let’s say a competitor is holding a giveaway on their blog. Who’s to say you can’t hold an Instagram contest?

Look for what the competition is missing in terms of reaching your audience and fill in the gaps so that you’re the brand people turn to.


Also on StartupNation.com: Mobile Marketing for Entrepreneurs


Automate your marketing smartly

We’ve got some amazing marketing tools at our disposal these days, and many of them can automate tasks we were doing manually. Choose the things that make the most sense to automate, such as:

  • Publish dates for your blog posts
  • Social media updates
  • Email blasts

Just don’t lean too hard on automation; when you’re automatically publishing new blog content to your social channels, you should also schedule manually-written updates so that you reach the maximum number of people with multiple promotions, and they all don’t sound so robotic. Automated updates often just publish the title of your post, so the manual updates can include a quote, a good point, or a question about the post to get people engaged.

KYGS (or keep your goals simple)

Having objectives for your marketing is essential. But they don’t have to be overly complex. Maybe you’d like to grow your Twitter followers by 200 in the next month. Totally doable. Perhaps you’d like to see your blog send more traffic to your site. Keep your goals measurable (an increase in sales of how much? What percent growth in followers?) so you can, you know, measure them. Set a timeframe to achieve your goals, and if you don’t quite hit the mark, don’t cry about it. Just recalibrate those goals and move forward.

I told you marketing isn’t rocket science. It’s really intuitive and easy to understand when you remember that, at the core of marketing, you’re simply trying to connect with other human beings.

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