Every marketing strategy is unique, just like each company is unique. But, regardless of the industry or company size, I hear the same few complaints over and over again from prospective clients.
We’re not getting enough traffic.
Our competitors are killing us.
We don’t have enough money for marketing.
Sound familiar? If you sell something, chances are you’ve run into at least one of the problems in this post.
I’m taking some of the most common challenges I help clients tackle and sharing the very best resources I know of to help you overcome them. Some are my own, some of from other experts in the field, but all of them will help you better understand the problem you’re having and what you might be able to do right now to solve it.
Problem #1: You’re Not Getting Enough Website Traffic
You can’t sell anything if you don’t have traffic, be it to your website or your brick-and-mortar store. It’s the most common complaint from new brands, but believe it or not it’s also a fairly frequent problem among established brands that are having trouble keeping up with the pace of technology.
Before you can do anything about your sales pipeline, you’ve gotta get some customers in it.
Website traffic tool suite Sumo has an awesome series of blog posts designed to help you take your website from 0 to 10,000 visitors per month. If you haven’t yet reached that milestone, these posts are an awesome place to start. Once you’ve crossed the 10K a month threshold, it gets a lot easier from there.
The posts are great because each writer shares his or her own formula for getting to 10K monthly visits, and none of them are alike. Here are three of my favorites from the series:
Sarah’s strategy centers around creating be-all, end-all content on your topic, kind of like what I am to do on this blog.
Nat’s strategy is built around becoming an online resource about your field, then creating a guest-posting strategy to gain eyeballs based on your expertise.
Entrepreneurial powerhouse Noah Kagan and his apprentice Julien grow a brand spanking new website to 10K monthly visits in a matter of months using networking, giveaways and interviews.
Problem #2: You’re Getting Traffic, But No One’s Buying
The saying goes “If you build it, they will come.” But no one ever promised they would buy!
This has to be hands-down one of the most frustrating problems in business, but it happens all the time. The interest is there, but the inclination to buy? Zilch.
It could be that you’re making your would-be customer jump through too many hoops before they finally hit the ‘Submit Order’ button. In this post, PCA Predict breaks down the top causes of friction in the checkout process—many of which you probably hadn’t thought of—and shows you how to fix them.
Sometimes, all it takes is a few small tweaks to make a world of difference in your conversion rate. You’ll never know if you don’t tweak and test. This exhaustive guide from Visual Website Optimizer shows you how to run A/B tests (and what elements to test) to identify and improve your traffic-to-sales conversions.
Problem #3: There’s Too Much Competition
Very rarely is a business lucky enough to be the only one in its field. At a minimum, you’ll have at least a few strong competitors, and you might have a few dozen.
Competition isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though; it proves there’s a market for what you sell and forces you to innovate. It’s up to you to set yourself apart with your marketing.
The best way to differentiate yourself from the competition is to think smaller. Yes, really.
When you’re trying to sell to everyone, your marketing message won’t be relatable to anyone. Your customer is an individual, and speaking to their needs in a way your competitor can’t is a surefire way to win their business. Mish Slade does a great job illustrating this in the above article on Beliyf.
When I ask our clients how they’re different from their competition, they never say “we’re actually not different at all.” Instead, they rattle off a laundry list of things that make them unique, whether it’s their level of service, their personalization, or a materially superior product.
YOU know what makes you unique. Now show this to your target customer with a laser-focused value proposition. ConversionXL has an excellent guide on engineering your value proposition with actual examples of great (and not-so-great) ones from name brands.
Problem #4: You’re Attracting the Wrong Customer
When you’re talking to potential buyers, do you run into the same roadblocks over and over again? Maybe you keep coming across would-be customers that are just a little too young, a little too thrifty, a little too conservative, a little too whatever to actually buy from you. You’re attracting the wrong type of person.
All those people coming to your website or walking in your door do you no good if they don’t need what you’re selling. Narrowing down your buyer personas before you ever hang that ‘Open for Business’ sign is a key component for converting the right types of people into paying customers. Shopify has an awesomely thorough guide with helpful questions to ask as you’re building your ideal buyer persona.
Once you’ve zeroed in on your buyer personas, you must create content offers that speak directly to their pain points. Content offers act as a fishing line to reel in warm leads, but they also act as a barrier to keep the wrong leads out.
The above guide from Spark Reaction takes you step-by-step through creating targeted content offers to narrow down the right customer.
Problem #5: People Seem Interested, But They’re Not Ready to Buy
You’re attracting the traffic, and they’re the right people, but when it’s time to swipe the credit card they’re just not ready to buy. It’s time to pay closer attention to your buyer’s journey: the process every customer goes through before making a purchase.
The buyer’s journey consists of three phases: Awareness, when the customer is gathering information about their problem; Consideration, when the customer is weighing options for what they might buy; and Decision, when they’re ready to pull the trigger on a purchase.
The guide above from the sales funnel experts at Hubspot explains how to create content for buyers at every phase in this journey, not just the decision phase. When you do this, you’ll have a strategy in place to manage and follow-up with those individuals who are interested, but not ready to buy just yet.
Problem #6: People Always Want A Discount
There are bargain shoppers and tire kickers in every industry. It’s not just you who’s dealing with them. The better question is why are you dealing with them?
Is it because you’re positioning yourself as a “bargain” choice? Or maybe your product just doesn’t seem worthy of the price to your customers. You’re not doing a good enough job of conveying its value.
What’s the difference between a BMW 5 Series and a Toyota Camry? Well, when it comes to function, not much. But there’s a nearly 100% price difference between the two automobiles. As the guys at Crazyegg explain in the article above, the power of re-framing your products and services can’t be overstated.
You know your product is valuable, but you’re a bit biased. Are you proving that value to your customer?
From demonstrating outcomes to providing ongoing consumer education, the 6 value-building strategies outlined in this post will help you clearly demonstrate exactly what your customer is getting for his money—and why it’s so worthwhile.
Problem #7: You Don’t Know If Your Marketing Efforts Are Working
You’re throwing all this money into your marketing efforts, but is it paying off? If you’re not measuring your efforts and their results, you might as well take that pile of cash and set it on fire. Without good data, you can’t make informed decisions about your marketing.
In this post, I break marketing data down into three baseline metrics: goals, traffic sources and search queries. If you’re just getting started with tracking and measuring your marketing campaigns, these three metrics are a great place to start.
Okay, so tracking things like sales is pretty easy. But what about things that aren’t so cut and dry, like your content efforts? How do you determine the effectiveness of, say, a blog post or a social media campaign? Content Marketing Institute has an easy formula and worksheet for it in the post above.
Problem #8: You Don’t Have A Big Enough Marketing Budget
Feel like you need a bigger budget to “really” do marketing? You and everybody else, friend!
More dollars for marketing are always nice, but honestly, sometimes having a small budget is a good thing because it forces you to get creative and only focus on tactics that prove results.
It’s well-documented that in most results-driven situations, 20% of the efforts breed 80% of the results. It’s known as the Pareto Principle, and lucky for us, it also applies to marketing. In this insightful Quicksprout article, Neil Patel explains how to find and take advantage of that magic 20% in our marketing efforts.
Problem #9: You Need More Exposure
Maybe you’ve seen your competitors getting shoutouts from sites like Forbes or getting featured in the local newspaper. You want that kind of exposure, but you have no idea how they got it or maybe you think they just got lucky.
Getting exposure and press coverage is no accident. Sure, sometimes you just get lucky, but most of the time it results from a planned and strategic approach to working with media. In my self-guided online course, I show you the exact steps I take to get media coverage for my clients, from the local news all the way up to The Wall Street Journal.
Get weekly marketing ideas delivered to your inbox! Subscribe to my blog below and never miss an update.
Latest posts by Tami Brehse (see all)
- 9 Common Marketing Problems And How To Solve Them - January 11, 2018
- 27 Ideas For Marketing Your Business Online - January 4, 2018
- 19 Types of Marketing Emails (With Examples!) To Send Your Customers - December 14, 2017