One of the most difficult and frustrating things, when you're trying to grow your business, is simply to get noticed. I've been online for more than 25 years, and you wouldn't believe some of the things I've seen people do to attempt to stand out in their niche.
For those of us not willing to bare our skin or commit a crime, there's still hope. I know it can seem like there's a lot of competition out there - especially if you're new to business, or still trying to get things off the ground. But, there are still plenty of eyeballs to go around when it comes to getting your work seen.
If you're a creative entrepreneur that's been following the hot trends in marketing, it can feel like you're on a never-ending hamster wheel. "Should I do facebook ads, or start a podcast? What about Youtube or TikTok?"
It can be hard to cut through the noise and come up with the right ways to market your services. If you've been trying to promote your business, but you haven't had much attention, you probably need to do some experimenting, or change the way you've been doing things.
In all my years online, one thing has remained true: the most successful people are those who stayed true to themselves. Take a look at the suggestions below and see what you may need to change to gain more visibility.
Maximize Your ROR
Return on Resources - that means ALL the things you're investing: time, energy, money, effort, attention. Spreading yourself too thin is a sure fire way to be wasting your resources.
Choosing the right method(s) to promote yourself is vital if you want to get anywhere. When you only have a small budget, you have to be especially careful about which platforms you're using to market your business. You should think about your audience and your budget when you're deciding which platforms to use. Just because a platform is free, doesn't mean there's no cost to use it. Is the best use of your limited resources really to use social media marketing, or should you focus on SEO for your website?
You may not have that answer right away. It's okay to experiment, but make sure you're tracking your results. Then, armed with the data, make a decision about where to invest and where to cut your losses.
Remember: You can always come back later and try again if things change. Don't summarily exclude a platform that hasn't worked in the past. When I first got on facebook (10+ years ago), it was worthless, so I jumped to twitter full time. Now, I am hardly ever on Twitter, while Facebook gets a dedicated amount of my time each week. And that could change next year.
Hire Professional Help
It's understandable that you might feel like you have to do everything yourself if your marketing budget is thin. At some point, however, you have to let go of doing #allthethings. Fusions, hear me on this. Yes, it might be faster right now to do everything yourself, but that still leaves you doing everything yourself! Get in the habit of delegating what isn't your IPA so you can focus on the things that only you can do for your business. Start small, sure, but for the love of all things holy, please start!
You have other things that need your attention. If you're not getting noticed, you may need professional help to reach your goals. Look for marketing support, social media management services, or SEO services that will take care of things for you. Work with them to create a strategy that works for you. Instead of trying to do it alone, get the help that you need.
Focus On ONE Platform
Earlier I said that in my early days on social I put all my attention on Twitter. That first full year on the platform generated $30k in revenue I could point directly to my time there. No other platform was giving me those kind of results, but I also didn't have time to put my attention anywhere else!
Social media marketing can definitely be a great way to get noticed, especially for creative professionals. Chaotics often have a social butterfly energy that allows them to flit between platforms with relative ease. But that doesn't mean all that flitting is getting results!
If you're not getting noticed on social media, one reason could be that you're not using the right platform. It's important to remember each social platform is useful for different purposes and audiences. For example, LinkedIn may not be much use to you if your target market is largely consumers and not businesses. YouTube is becoming increasingly more popular as a how-to learning channel for Gen Z. Take some time to understand the different social networks and their users, as well as how you can use them to promote your business.
Don't be afraid to NOT have a presence on a platform that you're not ready to be consistently. TikTok may be all the rage right now, but it's not something I'm considering for my business at this time. Amy I missing out? Maybe, but I also know I still have plenty of room to develop my audience on the platforms I'm already on.
Consistency is key when you're trying to get noticed. Without a consistent approach to your marketing, you will find it difficult to build any kind of recognition. Randomly posting on your social media accounts at odd intervals or dropping by to publish a monthly blog post won't get you far. I mean, it's better than nothing, and it will help boost your profile over time, but we're talking a LOOONG time! Finding a regular rhythm also helps your audience right-size their expectations about what to expect from you. It helps them build that much-needed know, like, and trust factor with you.
As well as being consistent in your activity, you also need to present a consistent brand message and image. You need to have a brand that is recognizable and helps you to build your business profile. Consistency is boring, not very sexy, and still, it's the number one best thing you can do for your visibility.
Celebrate Your Uniqueness
It's hard for your business to stand out when it looks, feels, and sounds just like everyone else. Your onlyness, your uniqueness is what makes you interesting to your audience. They need to know why they should pick you over your competition. You don't necessarily have to offer a very different service or product, but the way that you present yourself can make a huge difference.
There are lots of business coaches in the world. There are lots of coaches for creative entrepreneurs now, too. And in that pie, there's a slice of folks who have been successful as musicians, authors, or performing artists.
But there are VERY few who have done all of that, that are mixed-race women of color with two kids, a blended family, and a second marriage. And maybe a handful of those who have lived in small, medium, and large cities, and understand the economics of each. And there's only ONE who has the Creative Freedom Entrepreneur Type Spectrum (that's me!).
Your unique combination of skills, talents, and life experience make you unlike anyone else. I constantly say YOU are the most important product that your company has to offer. THAT is your onlyness and what makes your business different from anyone else.
You need to do something that will help you to stand out, whether it's aiming for a very specific target market or providing some useful extras with your service. Find the things that help you stand out, lean into them, and focus on serving the people who love you for it.
Use Your Voice
One of the reasons Rachel Rodgers had a breakout 2020 was because she used her voice. She spoke up and spoke out about issues that mattered to her in ways that her peers and colleagues couldn't. The result? She had her first million dollar month!
Rachel had been building her business for a decade. She had an audience, and she just kept speaking to them. She shared from her heart about what she was seeing in the world and how she wanted to change it. Her message was so timely, though, that her videos became part of a watershed moment in online marketing. Thousands of people joined her community because she used her voice to talk about what mattered to her - and by extension, to her audience.
Do others in your space know who you are? Do you speak up about the issues important to your community? Sharing your voice and making yourself heard is important if you want people to pay attention to you. Your blog and social feeds are a great place to start. You could also build your network with others in your industry so that they know who you are.
Remember that the groundwork you lay today can have lasting effects. I have blog posts from 10 years ago that still drive traffic to my site and guest appearances on podcasts from years back that people still reach out to me about. You're building a legacy of content that, if done properly, will continue to build your exposure for years to come.