In this guest blog, Clare Wood shares her journey from marketing sceptic to full blown fangirl (and the marketing mindset lessons she learned in between).
Meet Clare Wood — a business coach, money mentor, ex-accountant, chief wrangler (aka mum) of two boys, drinker of wine, and mega reality TV fan.
Hello, hello! I’m Clare Wood and through my business (which turns six in December! 🎉), I’ve helped women to grow their business by hundreds of thousands of dollars; all while living a life of passion, purpose and flexibility.
I’ve also learnt a thing or two about small business marketing in the six years I’ve run my business (and supported my clients with theirs)!
I used to be very conservative when it came to spending money on marketing my business.
Before I started my business I was a corporate accountant. And it was my responsibility to keep the business I worked for profitable. So, it would look at the marketing team and think: “Oh my gosh…why are you always spending money?!”
Whether they were doing photoshoots, producing videos, spending money on branding, or advertising. There was always something.
And this mindset definitely translated into my early years in business. I just didn’t see the value of marketing in those earlier days.
Paid marketing? Ha ha, no thanks.
My initial marketing efforts were very much based around networking. I actually ran my own networking group, which was instrumental in growing my business in those early days.
But I reached a point where the potential of that group started to cap. Fewer new faces were joining the group and I realised that I was limiting the ability of my business to grow by focusing so much of my effort and energy into one marketing tactic.
Then I had a really pivotal moment two or three years into my business journey.
Growth of the business had slowed down and I started looking around me and really seriously thinking about what other people were doing and what I needed to change if I wanted to keep growing.
And I realised: “Hang on a minute. The people around me that ARE investing money back into their businesses – hiring coaches, investing in branding, websites, and blogging – they’re the ones that are actually getting the results.”
My understanding of the value of marketing shifted dramatically from this point.
Now I would say I am so pro investing in your marketing!
Because you have to get your message out there. It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to keep your expenses low but this shouldn’t be at the expense of your long-term growth.
At this point in my business the vast majority of my leads and clients come from these two channels.
But my next stage of business? Well, I’ll be focusing on significantly increasing my brand awareness.
And with this my marketing approach will shift to include more activities like investing in Facebook Ads, featuring on guest blogs (like this one!), guest podcasts, and taking advantage of more speaking opportunities.
Facebook Ads and Google Ads have never really worked for me.
I’ve worked with a few different businesses to test the waters of both these channels and unfortunately haven’t seen much success
This has been incredibly frustrating at times — especially when I hear how successful these channels have been for others!
But I actually now look at it as a blessing in disguise. Because it has highlighted how important a diversified marketing strategy is.
I know many businesses that have built their marketing strategy around Facebook Ads funnels but guess what? When those platforms make changes, like the iOS14 update, they’re leaving themselves entirely at the mercy of a third party platform. And that’s scary!
I’ve outsourced many, many aspects of my marketing in the past. And, while letting go of control has been challenging, it’s something I’d definitely recommend.
I’m always telling my clients to outsource work that’s outside their zone of genius to agencies. They’re experts in their craft just like you’re an expert in yours!
I definitely did this with my marketing. I’ve honestly outsourced everything — Facebook ads, Google ads, copywriting, email marketing, website design — the list is long!
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing though. Often I’ve known I needed to get certain tasks off my plate but relinquishing control has been hard.
My marketing content is a great example of this. Being a service-based business owner, I do really feel like I am my brand. So finding the right person to write content for me — be it blogs, emails, website copy or social captions — has often felt like an uphill battle.
At the end of the day though, you can’t keep doing everything if you want to scale.
I’ve since brought some of these skills in house, recently hiring a permanent team member to lead the marketing function of my business.
But you know what? It might not ever be right for your business to bring certain roles or functions in house and that’s fine! Long-term agency relationships can be just effective.
GROW. YOUR. MAILING LIST.
This is, without a doubt, my biggest marketing regret from the early days of my business.
I was so focused on keeping expenses low and maximising my short-term profit that I didn’t think about the long game.
But now? I honestly believe that your audience — be it your email list or your social media following — is your business’ biggest asset.
And I wish I’d spent more time focusing on this in the earlier stages of my business.