The truth is (not myth) that a lot of people are wasting a lot of money on marketing. This has left many business owners skeptical and frustrated by any attempt at marketing at all. "I've been promised 10x's return on investment before and nothing happened." Many are left cynical of marketing techniques.
It is frustrating to waste money on gimmicks that don't work. It's also wrong that maybe you've been taken advantage of in the past.
However, to not-market is not the key. Because unless your message is heard, no one's going to buy from you and it's going to be pretty hard to grow your business or reach your audience.
Marketing is surrounded by a ton of myths. Whether you are a beginner or a veteran, de-bunking these myths will help your bottom line and will grow your business.
I've done some digging into the most pervasive myths surrounding marketing and I'd like to present my findings.
Myth #1: I need a new website
Chances are you might need a new website. But the thing that happens and wastes tons of money is a business knows they need to do something with their marketing, so the first thing they do is call up a design agency and say "We need a new website. Our's looks like crap." Then the design agency helps them pick out websites they like, much like choosing paint chips at Home Depot. Tons of dollars later the business now has this brand new beautiful site to show off to all their friends. But sadly after spending all this money they end up with the same results. Browsers aren’t turning into buyers.
The problem with getting a new website is this: you paid a graphic designer to make your website look great and they put all the content you wanted onto your website. But they never coached you on what content actually needs to be on your website. Many design companies are happy to take your money and give you an aesthetically pleasing design, but few of them actually talk about content that sells.
It does not matter how nice your website looks if you don't take the time first to figure out what content needs to go on your website. Your website will not work if it does not have clear and compelling content on it! A website cannot get by on looks alone!
So before you build a beautiful new website, the things you need to be asking yourself are: “Does our website effectively communicate the problems we solve for our customer? When our customer gets on our website, is it easy for our customer to do business with us? Do they understand what to do?”
Here is a scary statistic: It takes 5-8 seconds for a customer to click away from your website! In that short amount of time you are losing business. Your words matter more than you think. Words are free but confusion is expensive.
Sure you may need a new website, but before you get a beautiful (expensive) site, get those words right!
Myth #2: I need something really creative to catch someone's attention
You sit in a room full of creatives and start to brainstorm your next campaign. Knowing you want something to stick with your customers your team tries to ramp up their creative energy. Your company sells an easy-to-use app that helps people save time and money by organizing their day. Since it's fun to have talking animals your team decides to create a talking beaver, after all beavers seem to accomplish a lot every day! Your ad campaign says "Stay busy like a beaver!"
Now there is a chance this ad campaign will be awesome! But there is also a huge chance this ad fails. Before you spend time getting creative you must get clear.
Clarity must always come before creativity. After you get your message down, then get as creative as you like, but make sure the creativity brings zero confusion.
Many companies waste money because they use vague, overly creative language. The header on their website says "Trust. Empowerment. Security." with a "contact us" button. And nobody calls them because they have no clue what exactly they sell.
There is so much noise out there that the human brain has become conditioned to ignore advertisements that don't quickly make sense. Specifically, your marketing needs to speak quickly to how your product or service helps your customer survive or thrive.
It is super important for businesses to be creative. Just don't lose your clarity. In fact the best artists out there are the ones who know what not to include in a picture. The most comfortable and beautiful rooms you go into are the ones where the clutter has been removed--there is one simply placed picture on a wall with only a few pieces of furniture, but nothing more. In fact, the cleaner a design often the more inspiring the design is. The best artists know that creativity and clarity go hand in hand.
Do this with your message. Less is always more. Stop being cute and start being clear.
Myth #3: I need more people opening my emails
You may be getting frustrated with your email open rate. If no one is opening it feels like you're the middle school kid who just passed the note to the cute girl only to have her toss it in the trash can unopened.
If you have trauma from your middle school years, fear not. An unopened email is not the same as rejection. If someone continues to allow your emails to come into their inbox, even if the email goes unopened, know that the door has not been fully closed on the potential for them to do business with you.
An unopened email often means, "I'm not unsubscribing from this list because I know one day I might want to do business with this company." Many people view that random once a month email as a reminder for them that you still exist. They are letting the emails come each month because they are interested in doing business one day when the timing is right.
If you keep sending useful and helpful content into their inbox eventually the subject line might hit them just right, or their schedule might happen to be just flexible enough for them to engage. Notice I said helpful content. People will get annoyed if you are sending them crap. Our customers aren't dumb and they really do know if you have their best interest in mind.
Don't be afraid to send the useful emails. Don't be worried too much about open rates. Sure take the time to write killer subject lines that people want to open. Monitor effectiveness. But sometimes our customers are just busy. The simple fact they received your email with a helpful subject line is your brand reminding them you exist to help them win the day.
Myth #4: I need to share my company's story
This is a surprising paradigm shift but will make a huge difference in how you market. Your customers care very little about the story of your business. Before you stop reading, notice I said "very little". It is important to talk about yourself to establish the history and heart of what you do, you just need to do it at the right time.
What many companies do is lead with their story. "Let me tell you about our vision and values and how my grandfather started the company." Sorry to say, nobody cares. I'm sure your grandpa was a great man! What they really care about is whether or not you can solve their problems. What they really need you to do is tell their story and how their story intersects with your product or service.
How do you tell your customer’s story? It takes empathy. You need to understand the problems they are facing. You lead by talking about their problems. You need to share how you identify with their problems. All of this needs to come before you talk about your company's story.
And only after you've identified their problems do you share the back story. "We understand your problems, that's why we started our company, because we've dealt with the same struggles you deal with."
Your company’s story doesn't really matter all that much if you can't identify with your customer’s story.
Any other myths about marketing?
What most of us have found in life is if everyone is saying we need to do something then we might need to take the time to ask, "Why?" This is especially true when it comes to marketing.
Hopefully this post helped clear up any confusion. Are there any myths I missed?