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Why isn't my marketing generating sales?

“Why isn’t my marketing generating sales?”

It’s a question I get asked a lot.

My answer is that it can be several things. You may have too many products and lack focus in your message. You may be selling features instead of outcomes or making long-tail efforts that increase traffic but not qualified leads.

However, most of the time, it really comes down to whether you have developed a solid brand identity and strategy. Your brand identity and strategy are the foundation on which you set the tone for every other type of communication and messaging you send out to your audience. It should be developed well before thinking of launching any campaign or doing any PR.

Marketing fail

I was talking to a founder on slack recently, and he shared a common scenario. After many long months and sleepless nights developing new technology, Jonathan and his team were ready to launch—in other words, expand their customer base (and revenue) fast.

So he ran a paid ad campaign, put out social media posts, pushed the tech at a tradeshow, and gave free trials to entice customers. But despite the traffic coming to the website, there were still so few leads.

Jonathan felt confused and dejected. (who hasn’t been there?!) Seeking to identify the possible culprit, he asks:

*Was the design bad?

*Should they change the ad image?

*Should they increase their campaign budget?

*Maybe they need to hire a more experienced marketing specialist?

Jonathan’s problem was not the ad image or the spend. It was that he got the steps out of order. When I looked a little closer at his stuff, I found a logo that didn’t match the website style, feature selling, inconsistent messaging, and different metrics of success from leadership.

Brand identity: a better place to start

Marketing is the set of activities you use to generate interest in your products and services. In contrast, brand strategy is rooted in the company identity.

Focusing on marketing before developing a brand strategy is like a story without a meaningful plot or engaging characters. It feels like it’s all over the place and doesn’t keep your attention.

That’s why when someone approaches me for marketing help, the first place I start is with the foundation, or identity, of the brand. Because for the other stuff to make sense, you have to have your basics right.

The second significant problem is that if you haven’t done the foundational work, your new hires may not have the experience to create it (or the boldness to tell you it’s missing). Your efforts may become fractional as the strategy will lack cohesiveness across departments.

So, where can you put some focus to make your marketing meaningful?

*hint – it’s not time to play with your logo, get a fancy new website, or change your color palette (though that is likely on the horizon).

Start by looking at your taglines and copy on your home page or landing page. Does it say you are a SaaS company? Or does it speak to emotion or problem? Don’t tell me that you have an app or software; tell me something deeper like one-click connections so you can get to your loved ones faster. In other words, don’t tell me what you do. Tell me what I’m going to experience.

If this is a place you get stuck (as many of us do!), go back and revisit your core messages—your mission, vision, “why,” differentiator, value proposition, etc. Create your company story if you don’t have one, and tell us what you hated about the industry that set you down the path of entrepreneurship.

Creating content from this place is what makes connections with your audience and draws them in for more. Think about it in your own life… would you stop buying from someone you are already familiar with who gives reliable (if sometimes underwhelming) service and choose instead to buy something new from someone you don’t know, like, and trust?

Unlikely, at best.

The truth is that if a company cannot build trust and create positive associations in the minds of its target audience, it’s unlikely it will be able to persuade said audience to buy from them.

Sounds simple enough on paper, right? It’s not uncommon to hire agencies or freelancers to handle marketing, PR, or social media without the foundational work. I think that that’s where things go sideways. We often jump in due to mounting pressure of “getting eyeballs” or producing revenue.

That’s the long way home.

A distinct purpose and a tight focus on the one market you serve set you so far apart from the competition that it makes you impossible to ignore. Find your slice of the market, be absolutely clear in what you solve, and then bake that into everything you do. That’s how you make sales.

If you’ve lost your “why,” let’s go find it >> Work with Me | Brandi Holder


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