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Things I learned about marketing while building my business

A few years back I despised everything about marketing and advertising. I thought it was all about lying to good people, tricking them into buying something and all that to make more profit. Today I see things differently: There are still enough marketing and sales strategies out there which I don’t like, but generally, I learned to understand that marketing isn’t all black and white. There are so many ways to reach your goals which allow you to stick with your ethics and motives.

As you probably know, I’ve been working on starting my own business for the last couple of months. Naturally, I spend a lot of time on Google and Pinterest reading everything I could about going solo. During this time I learned a lot about marketing, myself and my future business.

Now I want to share my learnings with you. But be aware that this is not a guide, I am not writing much about how to do things/how I’m doing things exactly. But feel free to let me know if something comes up you’d like to know more about.

Knowing your target audience is the most important thing ever

This is something you read everywhere, and I know you’re assuming that you know your audience, don’t you?
Well, I thought so too, but it turned out I was wrong. And it didn’t occur to me until somebody asked me if I’m writing for niche X also, and I was like ‘mmmh eehmm … yes, I think so?’. It wasn’t that I didn’t study my audience, I didn’t do enough to fully understand with whom I want to work with and not.

Thinking about your perfect client and the market you are selling to for a couple of hours is not enough. I am still not a 100 percent sure about my readers – I even made it harder for myself by having two different audiences.
Still, even if I’m not there yet, I’ll already feel like doing a better job than before. I can make decisions much faster and don’t have to spend hours (slightly exaggerating here) thinking about how I should write a Social Media posting.

I advise you to invest a lot of time into this. You’ll feel nourished, are more productive and also faster!

Marketing is like playing with dough

Marketing is not Physics nor rocket science.
There are no ‘laws’ on how things work – it’s always hard to predict the outcome of your marketing strategy precisely.
Knowing this and keeping it in your head, allows you to market yourself more freely and in a style that fits you.

You’ll come across approaches people promote as the one decisive move that got them a thousand Twitter followers in a month – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that this is what you need to do. The recommended way might not be a good fit for your business or you as a person.
When you’re not feeling relaxed with a strategy and want to try it nevertheless, adapt it to make it a better fit.

Your marketing will not work as good if you’re uncomfortable with your tactics – people aren’t stupid, and they’ll notice that you’re not authentic.

You can’t replicate strategies

Mimicking a plan from another person or company probably won’t work for you. Look out for inspiration and see how other people are doing stuff but make sure to spend enough time on thinking about it on your own and how you can get the best out of it.
No blind copying!

Obviously, you’ll want some guidance at the beginning because you may have no idea how things work and are scared to do something wrong (you hardly can do anything wrong). It’s entirely okay to experiment with what others recommend but like I said, always bring your personal touch into it.

Also, make sure to analyze the results to see what works for you and what doesn’t. This is a process that might take you a long time to complete, but that’s okay, feel free to explore and change your course of action every so often until you find your ideal plan.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

It’s not about lying – it’ about being yourself

Be honest and keep it real; it’s wonderful to be like you are, you don’t have to be like person X to be appreciated by others. If you’re trying to be somebody else nevertheless, sooner or later, your mask will crumble, and that could damage your reputation.
Keep in mind that you’re human, you don’t need to know everything, and it’s entirely advisable to ask others for help, in return, you can help them with things you are proficient in.

Patience is a virtue

The more time (and money) you invest into your marketing strategy the more you’ll get out of it.
But let’s be honest: you’ll probably don’t have the time to spend 4 hours a day marketing yourself on different social media sites and blogs etc. Which is totally fine, but you need a realistic view of what you can accomplish with the time you have left for marketing.

Maybe it will take you 4 months to get 40 people into your Facebook group, perhaps it will take 2 years to gain a thousand followers on Twitter.
Also, know what those numbers are providing you with! Quality over quantity is mostly a rule you should follow.
What’s better: having a 100 followers who appreciate your work and are potential clients or having 300 followers who aren’t even real people?

Be patient and grateful for every little achievement.
Things are going slow, especially if you’re just starting out. But this also allows you to go wild an experiment a lot!
Give yourself the time to get acquainted with the mechanics and allow yourself to fail. What is the worst that could happen?

What are your experiences with marketing? Are there any rules you thought you must follow and now laugh about? Let me know in the comments!

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Hi there!

I’m Sarah, technical content writer and former web developer. On my blog, I share share my writing and marketing knowledge with developers like you and hopefully help. Want me to do the writing instead? Shoot me a note 🙂

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