Is a lack of marketing know-how holding your business back? You’re not alone.
As most new holistic business owners learn the hard way, having a great product or service isn’t always enough to succeed.
If you want your product or service to truly shine, you’re going to need to learn some marketing skills.
And that’s outside of a lot of people’s comfort zone.
Fortunately, marketing isn’t all that difficult to learn. You don’t have to be a pro and you certainly don’t need to pay for marketing classes to be successful.
And in fact, I’m going to let you in on a little high-level secret: you don’t HAVE to know “how” to market your product or service. You just need to know the “why” and “what”.
What do I mean? Simple: you don’t have to spend months or even years studying how to market a brand or develop a social media strategy.
That’s grunt work.
You can designate that to someone else.
You just need to know why it works and what needs to be implemented – the basics.
I mean, sure you can go ahead and spend a year or two learning the technicalities and how to do everything on your own… or you could just spend a few weeks studying the “why” and “what” and then have someone else do it for you.
So, what happens when you don’t learn the basics of marketing?
A lot of mistakes, that’s what.
Mistakes that can cost you time and money.
Here are 5 of the most common marketing mistakes I see from businesses.
Mistake #1: Neglecting Your Online Presence
It doesn’t matter whether you’re just starting out or well-established, you MUST have an online presence to stay relevant in today’s day and age.
Nowadays, people are going to Google your business before they schedule an appointment or make a purchase. If you don’t have an online presence, then they’re going to choose a competitor instead.
Some businesses have told me that they do just fine without a website or Facebook. That might be true but let me ask you this: what if the difference between no online presence and having one was another 50 customers per month?
What would that look like for you?
While owning your own domain and staying active on a few different social media accounts is ideal, it’s not always necessary.
If you don’t have the budget to start a website, then consider creating a Facebook Page instead.
Facebook Pages are a free and robust way to market your holistic business online. They’re easy to set-up and can even be fun to use. Just make sure that you post regularly as a neglected Facebook Page can reflect poorly on your business.
The Takeaway: Want to stay relevant? Make sure you have an online presence. A website and multiple social media accounts are ideal, but you can start small.Marketing Tip #1: Want to stay relevant? Make sure you have an online presence. A website and multiple social media accounts are ideal, but you can start small. Click To Tweet
Mistake #2: Writing Crappy Ads
I had to download one of those fake incoming call apps on my cell phone today. You know, the kind you use to get out of talking to people.
Let me tell you a little story of why…
I recently moved to a small neighborhood down in the south. There are a lot of friendly people here always wanting to strike up a conversation.
But there’re also a few people who really enjoy chatting in this neighborhood.
And when I say chatting I mean they want to spend half an hour talking about themselves. It’s gotten to the point where I must peek out my window and devise alternative dog walking routes just to avoid getting stuck talking to them.
Now don’t get me wrong – I enjoy listening to other people. It’s my job as a copywriter to listen.
But it gets a little tiring when my daily 30-minute dog walk turns into 2 hours of listening to someone’s life story.
I bet you’ve probably stumbled into someone like that in your life. Someone who won’t stop rambling on about themselves, leaving you to just nod your head while you devise an exit strategy?
That’s pretty much what most advertisements are like nowadays. Businesses spend billions of dollars a year on ads that talk about themselves.
These ads go in the trash and get ignored.
When you’re putting out an advertisement for your business, it’s easy to make the grave mistake of talking all about yourself.
Yeah, don’t do that.
When you write an ad, you’re having a one-on-one conversation with your potential customer. You should keep the ad interactive and keep the focus on your customer. Ask them questions. Write in the second person, using the word “you”.
People don’t enjoy getting sold to and they don’t enjoy reading about all your company’s accomplishments. They just want their problems solved and they only care if you can help them live a better life.
To do this, start focusing on the benefits of your service instead of the features. Benefits are really what your customer is after. Think about how your product or service can help them. That’s the benefits.
Features are what your product or service does. So, for example, if you offer online scheduling for appointments, that’s a feature. The benefit for the customer is saved time and convenience.
When writing advertisements, you should always focus on the primary benefits your service provides your customer.
If all you’re doing is advertising the features of your product or service, then you’re leaving it up to your customer to figure out how it benefits them.
If you really want to level-up your advertising skills, consider learning sales psychology.
The Takeaway: Always write your advertisements with a focus on your prospect. Think about how your service can help improve their lives and communicate it clearly.Marketing Tip #2: Always write your advertisements with a focus on your prospect. Think about how your service can help improve their lives and communicate it clearly. Click To Tweet
Mistake #3: Ignoring the Market
Ignoring what your target customers want is a good way to send your business to an early grave. If you’re creating a product or service only because YOU think its cool, then it’s likely not going to sell.
Don’t create a product or service then go out and look for an audience to buy it. Instead, look for demand in the market and then create your product or service.
Legendary marketer and copywriter Eugene Schwartz once said:
“What are you doing when you market something? You are not creating demand for a product. If you think that you are creating demand for your product, you’ve doomed yourself to a lifetime of hard work and failure. You can’t create demand for anything because demand is too large for you to create. The demand has to be out there. The demand has to exist before you even walk into the picture.”
Schwartz goes on to further state that once you’ve found demand, you should try to channel it into your product or service.
Here are a few ways to find out what your potential customers want:
• Send out surveys
• Visit forums
• Browse social media groups
• Read bad reviews for similar services/products
• Review business journals and statistics for your industry
The Takeaway: Smart businesses understand what their customers want, and they fill those needs better than the competition.Marketing Tip #3: Smart businesses understand what their customers want, and they fill those needs better than the competition. Click To Tweet
Mistake #4: Not Explaining Why You’re Special
If you’re running a business, then there’s a good chance that you have competitors or will have some eventually. So how do you ensure customers come to you and not a competitor?
Undercut their pricing?
Price undercutting is nothing but a race to the bottom. Instead, you create a unique selling proposition (USP).
A USP is what defines your business. It’s what sets you apart from the competition. It answers the question “why should I buy from you?”
And it’s not optional. You must have a USP to survive.
To create a USP, think about what makes your business unique when compared to the competition and communicate that throughout your ads and marketing material.
Check out WordStream’s take on how to create an effective USP for more help.
The Takeaway: A unique selling proposition is your life vest in an ocean of competitors. Without a USP, your company is doomed to sink to the bottom.Marketing Tip #4: A unique selling proposition is your life vest in an ocean of competitors. Without a USP, your company is doomed to sink to the bottom. Click To Tweet
Mistake #5: Not Conveying Value
When I was younger, I used to work as a salesman. The job sucked but I had a pretty sweet employee discount: I could buy anything I wanted at retail cost.
I quit that job after a few months but not before I bought a brand-new luxury mattress – a king sized bed that retailed for a whopping $5,000.
How much did it cost me after my discount?
And it was worth every cent.
But I imagine the true cost of that bed is even lower for the manufacturer – maybe $600 bucks.
Still, we’d get people coming in and happily paying the full $5,000 for it, even though it wasn’t worth anywhere near that price.
This phenomenon isn’t limited to just mattresses. Just about everything in the world is marked up yet people will still shell out cash for what they want, regardless of the real monetary value of the item.
The truth is, people don’t care about the costs associated with producing something, they only care about whether it can help them or not. Business Dictionary defines perceived value as:
“A customer’s opinion of a product’s value to him or her. It may have little or nothing to do with the product’s market price, and depends on the product’s ability to satisfy his or her needs or requirements.”
It’s why people spend $5,000 on a mattress or $3,000 on a self-improvement e-book. If the product or service will satisfy one of their deep needs or desires, then they’re going to want it – regardless of cost.
In other words, your customers don’t care about many of the technical reasons behind your pricing. If you try to justify your pricing based on your overhead or other meaningless factors, then you’re going to lose sales.People don’t care about the costs associated with producing something, they only care about whether it can help them or not. Click To Tweet
Your job as a business owner is to increase the perceived value of your product or service.
How do you do this? A few different ways…
For starters, make sure you’re communicating the benefits of your product or service. For example, if you offer nutrition services, explain how much more energy they’ll have or how great they’ll feel.
To discover meaningful benefits, you must research your target customer and dig down to the nitty-gritty of what really motivates them. The more benefits your service or product provides, the higher its perceived value is.
Another way to increase value is comparing your product or service to something more expensive.
For more strategies on increasing perceived value, check out CXL’s excellent write-up on the subject here.
The Takeaway: People don’t like parting with their hard-earned money unless what they’re buying has a higher perceived value than the money they’re losing. Increase the perceived value of your product or service and you’ll get more customers.Marketing Tip #5: People don't like parting with their hard-earned money unless what they're buying has a higher perceived value than the money they're losing. Increase the perceived value of your product or service and you’ll get… Click To Tweet
Persistence Is Key – Don’t Give Up!
If you’re just starting out, marketing your holistic business can be overwhelming. You’re probably going to make mistakes and that’s okay.
Success doesn’t come overnight. Instead, keep plugging away and learn from your errors. Eventually, you’ll be able to reap the rewards of your hard work and dedication – perhaps sooner than you think.
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Jake Toughill is a Direct Response Copywriter living in Greenville, South Carolina. He uses persuasive writing and sales psychology to help natural health businesses get more customers. When not writing, Jake enjoys studying alternative health, spending time at the gym, and exploring the world with his fiancée.