I’ve been doing a little bit of marketing consulting for entrepreneurs for 4 years now and I’ve found out something very interesting:
there is a marketing blindspot in the entrepreneurial world.
Many entrepreneurs and business owners easily get overwhelmed as they fail to generate precise and relevant insights, which results in a lot of frustration. Too much, and needlessly so, if you ask me.
The way I see it, it’s a matter of mindset, more than anything else.
Some entrepreneurs fear marketing
Entrepreneurs that reach out to me are quick to describe their dissatisfaction with the marketing service they are paying for. As I tried to uncover the reason behind the growing annoyance, a pattern emerged:
there was little to no deeper understanding of what happens behind the scenes and how it drives the business forward.
When it comes to marketing, it has been my experience that entrepreneurs fall into two categories: those who love it and those whose idea of it is mainly using Facebook and Google ads to “get to people”. In other words – they don’t quite understand why it matters.
Those who love it realize that marketing can glue together other aspects to provide an all-encompassing view of problems and solutions. Most of them realize the potential of marketing for growing their business to a different level.
Those who fall short of recognizing marketing’s overall importance even feel threatened by it, especially if things don’t go as planned. Numerous entrepreneurs and business owners have this firmly implanted notion that they offer exactly what their customers need so when they get sidetracked, they don’t know what to do.
Fear creeps in. They exhibit several levels of frustration, with the first and worst being ‘I’m paying a certain amount of money and nothing is happening’.
The main point should always be to set a goal with the marketer, understand the expectations from it, then examine the results.
So the real question here is: what is ‘nothing’, exactly? Not enough traffic, low conversion rate, no leads at all?
These remain without answers because they don’t know what’s really happening on their website.
How entrepreneurs can step up their marketing game
For starters, learning marketing is not as complicated as you might think. I’m not advocating to work on it on a daily basis or become a true marketing guru. It takes a lot of time, resources, and effort to learn, master, and apply that knowledge – things that entrepreneurs typically have in short supply. Hence, that’s why people that specialize in this type of work are in high demand – you can’t beat their powerful expertise.
What you can do is leverage it fully. While a passing familiarity with your marketing is certainly better than no familiarity, it’s still not enough to make a real impact. You don’t have to be involved in the decision-making (I don’t think you should, for that matter) nor necessarily know what is a good bounce rate or how to improve landing page exits.
What you should know is what’s going in the background to ask the right questions.
Here are three ways that can help you get that marketing-oriented mindset:
- Set goals that are measurable
Setting goals is the first and the most important step to both sides seeing things the same way. Goals provide clarity that makes it more likely to achieve them. Use the oft-repeated but never surpassed SMART framework to set boundaries and define the required steps, resources, and milestones needed.
- Define key performance indicators (KPIs) to track those goals
Whether it’s getting more website engagement, expanding a social following, or any other marketing goal, proper KPI selection goes hand in hand. You need to know exactly what impact your marketing effort is having so consider these as useful references.
- Define a way to track those KPIs in Google Analytics and such
I’m saying Google Analytics because it’s an epitome of an essential tool for leveraging business data but I may be well speaking for any other analytics tool out there.
The point is to track events (certain actions that happen) on the website that are not the usual run-of-the-mill.
Also, a bonus tip – you can use this as a litmus test of the quality of the marketing agency you’re working or about to work with. If they just provide you with the default events, they are more than likely not doing what they should be doing.
This leads us to:
The importance of tracking
In order to ask the right questions on how to improve your marketing goal(s), tracking is crucial.
Marketing usually comes up late in the business cycle so when it does, it’s rarely without major hiccups. Many think it’s simple and fairly straightforward or confuse it with advertising, selling, or simply common sense. They often rely on their perceptive (instead of their customers) and intuitive abilities, as well as close understanding and knowledge of consumers and competitors to see them through with marketing decisions.
But when they cast their misconceptions aside and scratch beneath the surface, they realize it’s more of a black box they’re dealing with. To be more precise, they fail to see the importance of tracking. Sure, they know why tools such as Google Analytics are must-haves but they don’t know what to expect from the valuable and detailed data that those tools unlock.
By default, tracking in any sphere of business will provide a clear view of what’s happening, which can then be used to base a hypothesis on. In marketing, tracking is crucial as it provides a more holistic perspective, which helps set goals and expectations that aren’t always entirely realistic.
For instance, let’s say you want to increase traffic to your website. You’re currently receiving 1,000 monthly viewers so growth to 5,000 in a couple of months seems unlikely. It’s not impossible but delivering a 500% increase in a short period, however grandiose it sounds, doesn’t seem feasible. But, meeting it halfway at 3,000 might be more attainable based on traffic history.
Do note that increasing traffic is not a goal on its own – it’s a step toward a goal that is something tangible, like getting more customers, increasing newsletter subscriptions, and anything else that goes according to the SMART framework.
Successful entrepreneurs know they will not make it in their journey if they are not continuously building their brands. The key is to ask questions, and on a micro-level at that, if possible, in terms of what are you trying to achieve. If the goal is to get 10 or 20 new users in a month, it might hold water but if the plan starts to leak, as an entrepreneur, you need to know why.
It’s the seemingly little things that matter – these will ultimately contribute to your success.