There’s a basic strategy that grows every business. If you have been in business for any amount of time, you know that you need lead generation, a customer base, and a way to consistently get in front of your potential audience. Businesses fail when there is no marketing plan. You can have the best product or service in the world, but you won’t generate revenue if no one is there to see it. You have even seen terrible products and services sell like wildfire because of good marketing.
Fortunately, we don’t lack for information on creating good marketing plans that help entrepreneurs build their audience. There’s a wealth of articles, podcast episodes, and videos on growing your audience and generating leads. There are also some tactics that are passed around as if they’re law. You see them posted everywhere and it’s not uncommon for you to be treated a certain way if you don’t adopt them. While these over-hyped tactics sound like they’re the only way — beware. Don’t rely solely on these audience-building strategies or you’ll end up disappointed.
1. Hoping for organic reach on social media.
The social media platforms we know and spend time on have billions of daily users. The rise and growth of social media has created an opportunity but that opportunity is different today. You can still reach your audience organically but that reach is very small and only getting smaller. These days, the way you really reach people on social media is to pay for ads. Paid ads are effective but not a strategy every entrepreneur can afford.
What we see too often is entrepreneurs trying to “market” through social media. This entails posting about a product or service and then tagging a bunch of people. Even if you tagged everyone on your list, it would not be a real marketing plan. If your marketing plan relies too heavily on organic reach, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Social media and organic reach should be one part of a larger marketing plan.
2. Adding people who didn’t ask you to.
To build your business, you can build your email list, social media presence, social media groups, and exposure. One strategy that has been taught is to add people to your different communities. You have probably been added against your will yourself. It’s super annoying and a tactic that will do just the opposite.
Just because you can add people to your communities doesn’t mean you should. You never get a second chance to make a first impression and adding people hurts that impression. Give people the option. Tell them about who you are and what you offer. Let them make the decision to join on their own.
3. Teaming up with entrepreneurs who are all talk.
You are who you surround yourself with. Your business will grow if you are connected to entrepreneurs that motivate and inspire you. One tactic that won’t grow your business is teaming up with the loudest entrepreneurs. Actions speak louder than words and there is no shortage of people who will try to get you to believe their words. Don’t fall for the flash and hype. Look at an entrepreneur’s platform and results. Make your decision based on more than their words.
4. Chasing shiny, popular trends instead of doing what’s proven to work.
Every week there’s a new shiny object. Two months ago, it was Facebook chatbots. Last year, it was Snapchat. Next month, it will be live video. There will never be a shortage of new and exciting marketing tactics that can help your business. A lot of them would even work but that doesn’t mean it will work for you. It doesn’t mean now is the time to use them.
It’s very easy to get lost in a rabbit hole of learning. Information overload is a real issue for entrepreneurs. If your business is going to grow, you need a focused effort. You should create a real plan that has strategies that will work for where your business is at right now. Don’t chase the shiny objects.
There’s nothing stopping you from growing a business that gives you freedom and financial security. You can use today’s tools, technology, and strategies to reach new leads consistently and create a plan to convert them. Don’t get caught up in over-hyped tactics that will ultimately derail your growth.
This story originally appeared in Entrepreneur. Image courtesy of Leigh Righton/Getty Images.