Amy Evans, host of the AlignWomen podcast, interviewed me for her “Enabling Sustainable Marketing Strategies for Intentional Entrepreneurs” episode. The AlignWomen podcast features female entrepreneurs, leaders, and other professional women who’ve demonstrated agency and innovation in their personal and professional lives. It’s a podcast I enjoy watching and listening to, and I was happy to speak with Amy to share my advice.
In this interview, I talked about how to create a sustainable and effective marketing strategy, why and how I added business mentor and coach to my marketing specialist role, the importance of identifying and being guided by our values, and how retreats power transformational growth for women.
And of course, we had fun along the way, including brief appearances by my 9-year-old daughter (in person) and my dog (audio only, sorry).
One of my gifts is always being open to being open, which has served me well and gotten me so far. Running a business has its challenges and that it takes a special kind of person to be a leader. A business is more than nuts and bolts. While running my full-service marketing agency over the years, I noticed women were coming to me for other things as well. I get questions like:
- How did you build the infrastructure for your company? How do I build mine?
- How do you run a business without walls?
- How do you get so much done?
- How do you keep your team motivated?
Some of these questions related to operations, some to administrative, some to marketing, but the core of all of it was self-work.
That’s when I really stepped into the transformational marketing guide work.
Whole women lead nourished, rich companies.
So, I began to share my success strategies and those of my team.
Five Factors for Marketing Success
Years ago, I wrote a book for McGraw Hill called “The 36-Hour Course to Online Marketing.” I covered website, email, content marketing, and social media. I began seeing common threads throughout each chapter, so I went back to the publishing company to add a solid intro chapter that sets the stage for each of them. Here they are (and pssst, here is a great short video I made on these Five Factors for Marketing Success).
Credibility. People need to know, like, and trust you before they buy. People want to feel like they know you, feel connected and have a relationship of sorts.
Usability. Can people use your website or your blog easily? Can you get your elevator pitch at a networking event across clearly and succinctly? A confused customer does not buy. But with clarity in place, your ideal customers will get through and buy from you.
Visibility. We can be the best at what we do but if no one knows we exist, there’s no point. We need to be seen, something we as women sometimes struggle with, but if we want to run a business, it’s a big piece of the puzzle. Remember Field of Dreams? If you build a website, they will come, right? No, it does not work that way. Your website and digital marketing is there to support you; it’s Robin to your Batman, to use a clumsy analogy.
You can’t disassociate from ownership; you need to take radical responsibility for your success.
Sellability. You’re not the only one offering your service, so why should they choose you over someone else? It’s time to get those great testimonials you’ve been holding onto out there and help people understand what makes you different! It may not feel comfortable getting out of that snuggly blanket with your cup of tea, but we don’t grow in comfort.
This is the area I see women struggle with the most because we don’t want to appear to be egotistical. We do need to be confident, and it definitely takes some nurturing to get that clarity.
Scalability. Marketing isn’t the only area we need to spend in, we need to invest in scalable solutions. I guide my clients through the “need to haves” first, and then the “nice to haves.” So, we want to make sure we prime the foundation so that whatever we sow can grow and grow sustainably.
I’m a solution provider, not a service provider. My team and I will only do what the client needs to grow. So, someone might come to me and say, “Oh, I need to do a video,” but if their website looks like a 14-year-old built it, I’m going to be the no fun lady and say, “Hang on. Let’s build the foundation and then sow the seeds.”
I have clients who I work with who do exactly what we do and there’s no competition – it’s coopertition, and it’s just magical how it works.
I have to ask the tough questions. Part of my work is reviewing contracts, so if I’m asked to look at a proposal for social media, “It’s a good deal, what do you think?” I may respond, “Well, you just told me you’re getting hosed in the search engines and your competition is outranking you in paid and organic search, so why are we looking at a social media contract?”
We look at the whole puzzle to see if it fits – at this time. It’s not that the companies trying to sell you social media are lazy, crazy, or bad, but they’re not hearing what your need is. They’re doing what companies do – selling what they’re good at selling.
You need people who really understand what you do and why you do it. My diagnose, prescribe, guide process that I use through Web Marketing Therapy is to understand what needs to happen and in what order, so that the improvements are moving the growth needle in a scalable and sustainable way. That’s what we do – we listen first, and then identify projects and put processes into place.
The fluff language is the diagnose, prescribe, and guide.
The business language is the projects, processes, and systems.
Amy mentioned something we’d discussed in a previous conversation about the impact my values have had on my business. A big one for me was – and is – freedom. I’m a Sagittarius. I need my freedom! My aha moment came when I was living in Santa Barbara on my way to work in Ventura in a horrible rain with the freeway blocked. I couldn’t get to work, but that week turned out to be the most productive week I’d ever had!
It was a wake-up call that I could still do all my marketing magic without all the distractions and confinements of the corporate world. And if you’re going to have your own business, I’m a huge supporter of architecting it to support the life that you want. How empowering and liberating is that??
So, now I’m living the lifestyle that I want, the one that matters to me. I get to have two houses to suit my mood, one in the gritty city and one in the serene country. I’ve never had to miss a school volunteer event with my daughter, and I get to go on all her trips. My lifestyle is flexible, and I love it! Those are my values and they have attracted my ideal team, working out of five different states where we live in places that sing to us as we work and support each other, making sure that what is important to us is always a priority.
We need to disconnect so we can reconnect.
We’ve all been through a rough winter recently with the pain and suffering many of us have experienced, but part of the whole wintering process is going quiet and reflecting. And now, like spring, I am seeing entrepreneurs emerge and begin to bloom again with some really beautiful clarity.
I’m a digital woman, but I know how important it is to unplug. We need the rest! We live in a high-tech world, and sometimes we need to get out of the office and connect with nature and with other women.
I’ve been fortunate to live in a community called Serenbe, south of the Atlanta airport, for about six years now. That space and place has been so transformative for me, but I’ve also invested quite a bit in my self-development and personal work. We need to be guided in the process, do the exercises, and have that cup of tea with other women.
That’s why I began offering retreats, customized group, and one-on-one retreats, where we can identify what’s not working for us and, with gratitude, identify what’s really great in our lives. I fell in love with my business all over again because of the power of retreat! It’s a magical experience and being able to facilitate that powerful transformation totally lights me up.
If you’d like to learn more about these retreats where you’ll learn to get rid of FOG (fatigue, obligation and guilt), release “perfection,” enjoy the gorgeous space, get nourishing food, walk to hiking trails, go through my process, and experience transformation, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!