What the Heck is Marketing?

As a new business owner, I had absolutely no idea what marketing was. I knew that it was a word that a lot of people threw around. I knew that it was essential to the survival of a business. I even knew that marketing could be a really high paying and rewarding job in the corporate world. I knew all of this, but I still had no clue what marketing actually was. 

I started a lot of businesses when I was younger. None them actually got off the ground and many of them never really got passed the planning stages, but I did eventually publicize and officially start my first business. This was about two years ago. I had quite a bit of knowledge about starting a business itself, but jumped into an industry that I knew nothing about: food. My husband and I started this together because it was something that I wanted to do and it seemed like it was a pretty easy area to start with. Deliver brownies to college students - how hard can that be?

The age old phrase "you can have the best product in the world, but if nobody knows about it, what good is it," came into play here. We were a big hit by our family and friends, but there comes a time when you have eaten way too many brownies. We tried expanding and moving our business to college students who didn't already know us (and subsequently avoided us as an attempt to not have to eat more brownies).

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I was put in charge of marketing, but I had no clue what the meant. It was just a big empty word that I knew was super important. I had no idea how to approach tackling the definition and implementing a plan to expand my business and it caused a lot of tension and arguments between my husband and I. I want to let you in on a little secret to hopefully save you from experiencing the same things that we went through. 

Here's the big secret that nobody tells you: you already know how to market. You are already marketing. If you are on any social media channel, write a blog, have a logo, create videos, host any webinars, you are marketing. You just didn't know it. Cool, right?

Marketing is such a big concept to the corporate world, because they need numbers and spreadsheets to track and prove that the time and money they spend focusing on doing exactly what you are doing - only probably with more resources and time devoted to it - is worth it. They need to prove that spending the money to pay someone to sit and monitor social media accounts, write blog posts, and create advertisements for the company is actually helping the company earn profit or improving the brand's value in some way. 

As a small business, marketing isn't some big scary thing that you have to have six different spreadsheets and a college degree in to be able to do. Marketing comes down to this simple sentence: Any time you put your brand on something, you are marketing to the world. Any time you put your brand on something, you are marketing to the world. Get it?

"Kaylee, when you say my brand, are you talking about just my logo?" NO! When I say your brand, I am talking about your logo, your business name, your name, your job title, your website link, tag line, slogan, or any copy that you write in your style. This includes all of your social media channels, the posts that you send out through those channels, any time you create a video and say "Hey I'm so and so from my business," and even when you advertise. 

Now before you run off and believe that all you have to do is advertise and you're done, let me stop you. Advertising is not marketing. Should I repeat that again? Advertising is not marketing. Advertising is a part of marketing, but there is so much more to marketing than that. 

Now that we went through what marketing is, I want to give you some actionable to dos so that you can really work through this concept. First thing I want you to do is to download this worksheet:

Now that you have the worksheet, follow along and fill in the appropriate sections to be able to figure out your marketing and what it is you should do next.

You need to decide what you want your brand to convey. This will make deciding everything else later on so much easier. Do you want your brand to convey intelligence, organization, playfulness? Do you want your brand to be resourceful and valuable? Do you want it to be relate-able and positive? What do you want your brand to say about you?

Next, you need to figure out what your brand style is. You need to know your style so that when you create images, texts, or videos, they can all look the same and people will start to get to know you for it. Examples of different types of style characteristics include being light, colorful, mystical, dark, bold, hars, in-your-face, or soft. Decide what you want your brand to look like and make sure you stick to it at all times.

The next thing to do is to get your brand on all social media outlets available. I don't care if you use all of them or not. Your brand needs to have a large social media presence and that means when someone goes onto a social media channel and looks to see if you have an account, your business name, bio which includes what you do/offer, and a link back to your shop or website is included, at the very least.

Finally, start to plan out your marketing. Create a list of all of the possible videos, webinars, Twitter chats, or promotions that you can do. Brainstorm ideas on how to interact with your audience face-to-face from the comfort of your home. Do you want to fork up some cash for a contest that you can promote for more likes and follows? Do you want to create an eProduct that you can then do a webinar for to give free information and promote it? Do you want to start a Youtube channel and really place yourself in the position of expert, by giving away free and helpful content? Do you want to answer any questions that your audience may have about products or business in general and could hold a Twitter chat or Periscope Q&A for an hour?

Taking these steps to really help you figure out what you want your audience to get from your company and how to get that image will help you stay clear on your priorities. This way if someone comes to you to promote something that you aren't quite sure about or asks you to partner up with them and you don't know if their brand lines up with your brand's values, you can take a look at this sheet and easily figure out if it will be good or bad marketing.

When you've finished the worksheet, put your answers in a comment below! Also, I will be holding a Periscope Q&A on this topic on Tuesday, July 28th at 4pm Pacific time. Put your questions below and I will answer all of them on Tuesdsay! See you there.