Gotta love life and business! It’s always standing ready to deliver lessons, whether you want to learn them or not. At the end of every year, it’s always a time of reflection for me, as I look back on what the year has taught me. And since I spend the majority of my working hours immersed in the marketing world, it made sense that I would share with you the 10 marketing lessons I learned this year. Chances are you’ve learned some of these lessons yourself, or at the very least, it will enlighten you to heed these lessons in the new year.
So grab your favorite beverage and settle in for this marketing lesson roundup. I promise it will be worth your time.
Marketing Lessons I Learned from Clients
#1: Charge what you’re worth and walk away from clients who don’t see it.
This year I had a strategy session with a client and we immediately hit it off. I respected her leadership and supported her mission. She got a lot of value from our time together. But when I presented her with options to work together, along with my corresponding pricing, she communicated her surprise immediately, and she disappeared. Now I know my pricing is competitive (if not lower) than most digital marketing agencies, but for some reason, this client did not see my value.
In her eyes, I was expensive. But I’ve had countless other clients that happily pay my rates and are thrilled to be working with me and my team. What’s the difference? You might think that clients who are willing to pay my rates make more money and therefore, can afford it. Nothing could be further from the truth. This client actually made more money than a lot of my clients.
The difference is this client did not see or understand my worth. I could have spent time trying to overcome her price objections but I know better. It is a road I don’t want to travel down. And neither should you. Work with clients who are excited to work with you – that see your value and understand that what you charge is fair, even if they can’t afford you. Walk away from clients who complain about your pricing. Own your worth and the “right” clients will come.
#2: Treasure your ideal clients.
This year I had one “less than ideal” client. I didn’t see it coming. Even though looking back, I should have. In our first two meetings, she cried and I felt bad for her. A previous digital marketing agency left her hanging. She had personal problems that derailed her mindset. She was carrying some heavy baggage but I was convinced my agency would solve all her problems. I was wrong.
I worked my ass off for her. I stayed up at night worrying about her and her business. My team bent over backward to deliver a quality experience. But then one day she flipped and I was left sitting in my disbelief. What the hell just happened? She momentarily shattered my confidence.
But then I remembered. I have several other (particularly two new ones) clients that are absolutely freaking amazing to work with. They gush over our relationship and the quality of work my team and I deliver. Meetings with them are a joy and I’m excited to help them grow their business. We collaborate well together. We learn from each other and support one another personally and professionally.
These clients are the epitome of ideal. And we must always treasure these relationships. Some clients will not be ideal and sometimes you can work with them, and other times you cannot. But the ideal ones are the ones you want to hang onto for as long as you can. They are the ones who help you sleep peacefully at night.
Marketing Requires a Systematic Approach
#3: Consistency in marketing pays off.
Consistency is my middle name and this year it paid off. I consistently wrote blogs, and posted to my website, LinkedIn and Medium. Every month, I faithfully put out new social media content at least three times a week. I built a system to follow up on potential new opportunities.
And I saw the fruits of my labor. New clients found me on LinkedIn. My newsletter subscribers grew month over month. My revenue and net income increased. New visitors found my website by Google search. I landed a great coaching opportunity that had a tremendous effect on my marketing growth and confidence. One guy even found my article on Medium and reached out for a conversation. Who knew?
All of this would not have happened if I didn’t stay the course with my marketing efforts. Even when I wanted to give up (because things weren’t happening fast enough), I persevered and continued to market. Organic marketing is a long game. You will not see results overnight but I can guarantee with consistent and targeted efforts, it will pay off for you.
#4: Systems and planning in marketing are crucial.
One of the things I did consistently this year with my retainer clients is make them go through a quarterly planning process. For some clients, this was a welcoming exercise, while others struggled with reflection and planning. But one thing I can tell you is that spending time planning out your next quarter goes a long way toward greater clarity and focus. It helps you know exactly what you will be working on and allows you to measure your progress based on your quarterly goals. Through the reflection process, you are also able to see what truly matters to you, rather than getting lost in the never ending to do list of ideas.
Just as critical as planning is creating and refining systems that maximize efficiency and allow for consistency in your marketing activities. We helped clients put together content creation systems, social media calendars, lead generation systems, and website funnels that automate marketing. When you have systems in place, you save time and money and give your team members a roadmap to follow. You feel more in control of your marketing and it enables you to build that long term consistency.
Measuring Your Marketing Matters
#5: Google search is a viable marketing channel to optimize.
This year, over 50% of my website traffic came from Google search. To be honest, I was somewhat surprised by that. In addition, prospects that found me through Google search were booking free consultations with me. All the hard work over the years of blogging and SEO finally paid off for me.
So I decided to take this viable marketing channel and optimize it even further. To do that, I set up my Google online business profile and started requesting Google reviews. Posting a link to all my blogs on my Google profile was added to my list of marketing systems. I paid for an account on UberSuggest to dive deeper into keywords, so I could choose keywords that people looking for my services are searching for.
If you are not taking advantage of the largest search engine in the world, then 2023 may be the time for you to do that. Give Google a reason to keep crawling your website. Update your website with fresh content that your audience wants. People are always searching for solutions to their problems and Google will undoubtedly deliver.
#6: Pay attention to your traffic sources.
Engaging in marketing activities without measuring your results is like throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping it sticks. This year Google Analytics became one of my BFFs in marketing. Why? Because this tool tells you a lot about your business, your marketing efforts, and specifically, where your traffic is coming from.
I will never forget the day I started digging deeper into my Google Analytics account and discovered in a three month period, only three people visited my website from Instagram, and 13 came from Pinterest to my website. And I didn’t even have a Pinterest marketing strategy in place. As a matter of fact, I had a couple of very old Pinterest pins that I had completely forgotten about.
What made matters worse was that I was spending a lot of time and money investing in my Instagram strategy and absolutely nothing was working. You can bet I made some tough decisions that day. Decisions were made from paying attention to where my traffic was coming from. The lesson here is to make informed decisions about which marketing activities you engage in. Even though organic marketing can take some time to take hold, never ignore what the numbers are telling you. Use that information to make different decisions.
#7: You need to know what to start and stop.
Marketing is a constant game of trying new things, testing and paying attention to what works and what doesn’t. It’s a playground for you to learn, have fun, and sometimes get into some “scuffles”. From this adventure, you learn what to start and what to stop.
This year I stopped a lead magnet that I was using because it was not bringing in many new leads. Originally, I thought the “queen quiz” plus the business growth guide was a great idea, but my audience disagreed. So I canned it and created a new lead magnet “The A to Z Marketing Checklist”. Guess what? This one is working much better.
In addition, I stopped spending so much energy on Instagram because the fruits of my labor were not paying off. Instead, I implemented a full blown Pinterest strategy. Pinterest became my #1 traffic source to my website, with double the amount of traffic over LinkedIn and Facebook. Imagine that. Proof it’s important to pay attention to what you need to stop doing and what you should start doing instead. Make a stop and start list for 2023.
Marketing Lessons that Were Hard to Swallow
#8: Social media doesn’t work unless you have lots of time to engage.
Wow, if there was one thing that dramatically changed this year – it is social media. Saturated and noisy environments. The big guys changed their algorithms, making engagement difficult, to say the least. Individuals and businesses constantly vying for eyeballs on their content. I literally got sick of visiting social platforms. I would log on for a few seconds and quickly become overwhelmed and leave.
And here is what I learned. Because I was so tired of engaging on social media, nobody engaged with me. But there was a stark contrast between my personal social media and my business social media. My personal content was getting lots of engagement because I had built relationships with all these people in my life.
Social media is just that – social. And if you don’t have the time to be social on social media, your content is not going to get much engagement. So you have to decide. Is social media where you want to spend your time engaging with your audience or are there other, more effective ways to reach them? Only you can decide that.
#9: Launching this year was hard.
You might have gotten sucked into the social media world where gurus rave about all the success they had with their latest launch. And you might be scratching your head and wondering why you didn’t experience the same thing. I will tell you from personal experience, you are not alone. A large number of business owners struggled with launches this year.
As a matter of fact, I even sat in on a panel of experts discussing this very topic “Launching was Hard”. For nine months this year, I was a launch coach for a very successful launch company. I guided many clients through their online course launches and I can tell you the landscape of launching was not easy. People were just not buying like they used to. This said launch company has even decided to at least temporarily cease offering her launch services.
Whatever the reason, be it the economy, course overload, or the changing landscape brought on by the pandemic, launching online this year was different. It remains to be seen whether things will continue in the same direction for 2023, but the lesson to be learned with this is that you are not alone if you struggled to bring in the targeted revenue you planned for with your launches.
#10: Only the stand out content gets attention.
As you can imagine, I read a lot of content online. I’m on a lot of people’s lists and receive a lot of emails. I spend time daily on social media perusing the various platforms. I watch videos and read articles to keep me informed and up to date. And I pay attention to what is getting noticed and what isn’t.
And it is the cream of the crop content that receives the most attention. Email subject lines that pique curiosity and make you want to open. Headlines that grab your attention and make you want to learn more. Business owners that are making bold statements, unafraid to ruffle feathers or go against the grain. Inspirational and heartwarming content on social and corporate issues no one wants to talk about: suicide, mental health, diversity and inclusion, death, and the trenches of parenting. The real stuff that tugs on the heartstrings of people.
The world is stirring and we are waking up emotionally. And the content creators that aren’t afraid to be bold and different are the ones that are getting noticed. So 2023 is your year to come out of your shell, own your creativity, speak your ever lovin mind, and create stand out content. If you don’t, I promise you will just be one of the millions vying for seconds of someone’s time.
The year 2022 is coming to a close and the new year will bring new lessons for all of us to learn. Take a moment to reflect on this year. What lessons did you learn that changed who you are and how you think? Share those lessons with your fellow humans so we can all learn from one another.
And if you’re looking for a high-touch digital marketing team to support your efforts in 2023, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I promise we will learn and work together to grow your business.
10 Marketing Lessons I Learned This Year
December 22, 2022