Have you given up creating, brunching with your friends and date night with your man to spend all your time on marketing only to still have less than eight people subscribed to your email list (and two of those people are your mom and a friend who feels sorry for you)?
Maybe you want to smash your keyboard into itty-bitty pieces after spending two weeks learning how to market your business on Pinterest and testing what you learned to only get seven new followers and no sales?
Maybe you spent more than 10 hours writing your latest blog post and no one commented or shared it?
We’ve all had moments where we want to drown in a tub of mint chocolate chip because the hours we put in didn’t pay off.
If you’re having a lot of these moments, it might not be the actual marketing tactics that aren’t working. Marketing strategies don’t work when the basics aren’t there.
Here are 10 reasons your marketing efforts might not be working:
1. Your website is a mess.
Often when you spend time on marketing, you’re trying to get more people to your website, right? You want them to browse your online shop or sign up for your email list or read your latest blog post about your new product line.
You’ve got seconds to make a good first impression. If someone clicks a link from Facebook and they land on your website which looks like it was designed back in the 90’s, they’re going to skedaddle. It doesn’t matter how great your blog post is, because they won’t even begin reading it.
And, let’s say that by some miracle you get people to stick around and check out your products. They’re not going to trust your cluttered website enough to actually buy something. That would mean giving you their credit card information. Ain’t nobody got time to get scammed.
If your website needs an overhaul you’ve got two choices: 1) learn how to do it yourself or 2) hire a professional. Remember that this is your online home, so this is important.
If you’re going to do it yourself, you should at least learn how to do it right. I recommend Amanda Creek’s course: WordPress Made Easy. She walks you through how to set up your own site in less than three hours.
2. Your products photos are too blurry, small, dark, yellow, blue or anything else other than AMAZING.
If you’re a product-based business selling online, you’ve got to have professional product photos. That means you have to learn how to take high-quality photos or you need to hire a photographer to take them for you.
No matter how much time you spend on marketing, if your product photos don’t make your ideal customer feel like she has to have your product, you’re going to struggle for every single sale.
This is where you should focus all of your marketing time until you’re proud of your photos.
3. Your copy lacks oomph.
To connect to your ideal customer, you’ve got be YOU. I know that sounds like a cheesy afternoon special (which I totally dug in middle school and yes I was a geek), but if your product descriptions sound like everything else out there and if your blog posts read like anyone could’ve written them, you’re going to struggle to sell your products and grow your following.
You’ve got to move away from what you learned in school and leap towards how you really talk. Personality sells.
And, if you’re not editing every single word and sentence and paragraph, you need to start. Every piece of writing in your business gives you the chance to connect to the person reading it (hey there, beauty!). Are you taking advantage of those opportunities?
4. You don’t have a clear plan.
In my CreativeLive bootcamp, Double Your Followers with Creative Marketing, I talk about the importance of having a clear marketing plan.
If you’re just publishing blog posts, updating Facebook, posting on Instagram and pinning on Pinterest because you think you’re supposed to without any clear rhyme or reason, you’re going to land in frustration nation fast.
You need a plan that includes goals and how you’re going to accomplish those goals. If you need help with this, you should check out my course because I walk you through every part of marketing your creative business in it. Through that course, you’ll figure out how you should spend your marketing time and even more importantly, how to promote your business effectively.
5. You’re the only one talking about your brand.
What do you trust more? An ad for a new moisturizer or your best friend raving about how this moisturizer got rid of her acne and made her skin glow like when she was pregnant minus puking around the clock and oh yeah, growing a human?
You trust your friend more, right? The ad doesn’t necessarily make you want to drive to Sephora and pick it up but when your friend can’t stop talking about it, you get online and order it immediately.
What do you think your potential customers trust more? When you say your products are amazing or when other people say they’re amazing?
If you’re the only one talking about your brand and products, it’s going to take you forever to reach your sales goals. If happy customers and other creatives are helping you spread the word, marketing is going to feel so much easier.
6. You don’t have a way to keep in contact with potential customers.
If you’re new to business, you might not realize how important it is to have an email newsletter. Let me tell you: IT’S. THE. MOST. IMPORTANT. THING. EVER.
People often don’t buy on the first touch—the first time they see a product. Think about your buying habits. You see a pair of earrings that you really like. You probably don’t buy them right away. You think about it, you go back to the page a few days later and reread the description and any reviews, you think about it some more, you read some more reviews and then you finally buy.
What happens waaaaaay too often? You find something that you’re going to “come back to later” and you completely forget how to get back to it when you think about it a few days later.
If you’re not collecting email addresses, you’re losing a lot of potential business. If you get people signed up for your emails and you email your list once a week, you stay on their minds regularly.
7. You aren’t putting in enough effort.
I hear lots of complaints: No one reads my blog. No one likes my Facebook posts. I don’t get any new follows on Instagram. My email list only has 10 subscribers.
Not always, but very often, when an entrepreneur says something like that it’s their own fault.
No one reads her blog posts because she only spend 20 minutes on them, not caring enough to even edit them before publishing.
No one likes her Facebook posts—not because Facebook is an evil demon that only shows posts when people pay—but because she only posts when she adds a new product to her Etsy shop.
No one follows her on Instagram because her photos aren’t pretty. The latest post is a semi-disgusting photo of her mushy oatmeal.
You get the picture. If you don’t put in time and energy into your marketing efforts, they’re not going to get you far. If you’re complaining that something isn’t working for you, be really honest with yourself. Are you really putting in your best work?
8. You aren’t being social or helping others.
If you want other people to help you succeed in business, you’ve got to give as well. If you see a blog post that you think your followers would enjoy, post about it on Facebook.
If someone leaves you a thoughtful comment, respond. If someone asks you a question on Twitter, answer her.
We’re all busy and we all miss things every once in a while (I’m not perfect by any means) but if you make an effort to be social on social media, instead of only using it to promote your business, you’ll see that when you do promote your business people pay more attention.
9. You lack confidence.
If you lack confidence, it’s probably evident throughout your business. Your copy probably reflects your insecurity, and you might not be making the best decisions for your business. If you don’t have confidence in what you’re selling, you’re going to have a really hard time selling it.
Do what it takes to increase your confidence. Take a course to improve your craft. Spend the first hour of every day practicing your craft. Spend the next two weeks improving that ebook you sell—adding more content, redoing the photos and editing it again. Take whatever steps will make you feel good about yourself and your business.
10. Your prices say the wrong thing about your products.
Lots of creative entrepreneurs price their products lower than they should because they think that’ll help them sell more in the beginning. Often, that just makes your potential customers question the quality.
If your prices scream “cheap!” then you might be giving off the wrong impression.
What do your prices say about your products?
There are other reasons that your marketing efforts might not be working, but these are the big ones I see impacting creative entrepreneurs regularly.
If you’re struggling, be honest with yourself. Could one of these areas be the reason that your marketing efforts leave you feeling frustrated?