Stop Setting Money on Fire: What You Absolutely Need to Know Before Investing in Marketing
One of the things that breaks my heart more than anything is people setting their money on fire when it comes to investing in marketing. Entrepreneurs spend money on these elaborate funnels, marketing teams, webinars, and more with absolutely zero ROI.
Here's the truth though, It doesn’t matter how great the marketing strategy is or how talented your marketing team is or how high tech your funnel is if your message doesn’t work (or is non-existent).
So join me today as I share what you NEED to do before investing thousands in any type of marketing.
Table of Contents
- 1 Garbage In —> Garbage Out
- 2 Foundation #1: An Offer to Sell
- 3 Foundation #2: Your Messaging Platform
- 4 What if I Already Invested in Marketing Without Messaging?
- 5 I'm newer in business, and I feel like I need to work with more people before I do my messaging — should I invest in marketing?
Tune into the Audio:
This beaks my heart.
I’ve seen it happen so many times over the past few years that I couldn’t keep quiet about it any longer.
In fact, I’m hurting more people than I’m helping by not saying something about.
I’ve had the same conversation at least 50 times.
It looks like this and these are quotes from ACTUAL conversations:
- “I spent $15K on a funnel and it’s not working. We’ve tried everything.”
- “I hired a marketing team for $2K a month who said they would bring clients to me and they didn’t.”
- “I invested $8k in a marketing and content strategy. I feel like I am going backward and not forward.”
- “I bought this $2K webinar course by *insert big guru’s name here* that promised to get me clients on autopilot. I gave up because I didn’t know what to say on the webinar.”
Most businesses make big investments in marketing before their business is ready for it (I've done this so if you see yourself here — you're not alone!)
Investing in marketing can look like a high priced course on webinar funnels or Facebook ads, hiring a marketing team, investing in marketing/content strategy, building funnels or paying big money for highly produced videos.
If I spent the time to calculate all the money and time I’ve seen wasted, I’d say its at least a hundred grand and thousands of hours of time. Ooof!
But the real cost…
…It keeps talented business owners from making a difference in the lives of people who really need them.
It keeps those business owners struggling instead of making money and thriving in their business.
I realize that I can’t save business owners from making shitty investment decisions.
Sometimes part of the growth process is making these mistakes and learning how to be more discerning.
The Virgo in me really wants to try!
(Instead of doing the evil Virgo thing and sitting back, watching while people screw up, saying…)
If I can save one person from spending money, time, and energy into a strategy or a team they aren’t ready for, then writing this blog post is worth it!
So why do I keep having these conversations?
The big culprit is a lack of knowledge that you should be working on your message far sooner than you think.
(Yes, I’m partially to blame because I wish I would have had this conversation with you sooner…thank you for your patience).
There’s something I think we can learn from my research background that explains why these investments aren’t panning out.
It’s pretty harsh but the rebel truth is….
Garbage In —> Garbage Out
As a researcher, I know that if I have BAD data that it doesn’t matter how cool or sophisticated the statistical modeling is the results are still going to be TRASH.
Bad Data + Cool Statistical Model = Bad Results
This principle applies to business as well.
It doesn’t matter how great the marketing strategy is or how talented your marketing team is or how high tech your funnel is if your message doesn’t work (or is non-existent).
If your message doesn’t resonate with your audience, if it doesn’t position your business as the only option, if it doesn’t have a systematic approach to turn strangers into clients, the best marketing strategy is going to flop.
Poor Messaging + Best Marketing Strategy = Craptacular Results
That's what costing you time, money, and loads of effort.
When you should invest in marketing for your business?
Here are two foundations that you need in place so you don’t set your money on fire.
Foundation #1: An Offer to Sell
A business is not a business if it doesn’t have something to sell.
I know the majority of my audience already has an amazing offer that gets results so I am not going to spend much time here.
But if you don’t have something to sell (a book, a product, 1:1 work, programs, retreats…the possibilities are endless), then do not pass go, do not collect $200, go create an offer.
Working on messaging doesn’t make sense for you quite yet (although I’ve helped people with offers for sure).
Marketing strategy sure the heck doesn’t make sense for you because the purpose of that strategy is to sell your thing.
Create something to sell then sell it.
If you have something that you know sells, now it’s time to put this second foundation in place.
Foundation #2: Your Messaging Platform
Unless you’ve gone to B School (not the Marie Forleo variety but the university kind) or worked in marketing in Corporate America, you’ve probably not heard of a brand messaging platform.
Frankly, it’s not talked about in the online business world (yes — that’s still my fault).
What the heck is this thing?
Your brand messaging platform summarizes how you write and speak about your business every single day.
It explains exactly the unique value that your business brings to your clients and how your business is different from everyone else who does what you do.
Every major brand has one of these and the most successful online business owners have one too!
Big brands like Microsoft have one for each of their products (fun fact I was on the team that helped do the research for the messaging for Xbox One).
When I create these in the 3 Word Rebellion Messaging Intensive, this is what is included in that guide:
- 3 Word Rebellion: How you’re different & the message you want to be known for
- Audience Deep Dive: Deep understanding of your clients, their values, their #1 problem and why they say no to your work ←-All messaging begins here!
- Audience Journey: The 3 to 5 key storylines of your business that move your audience from strangers to clients
- Model/Methodology/Framework: A simple way to explain the solution your business delivers that lets people INSTANTLY understand your work
- Signature Stories: People must feel if you want them to act. Identify at least three signature stories that support your audience’s journey.
- The Pitch: Whether it’s an elevator pitch or a pitch for podcast/speaking opportunities, this pitch creates instant intrigue.
- A Roadmap to Launch Your Rebellion: This is not standard in a messaging platform, but I know this message doesn’t help anyone if it dies in a Google Doc — so this is your plan to roll your messaging out
This is the blueprint from where all your marketing and sales efforts come from or are inspired by!
Here's an Overview of 3 Word Rebellion Brand Messaging Platform
(Yes, this is personalized and customized to your business — it’s not a one-size-fits-all thing — it’s one-of-a-kind just like your business).
Once you have this then it makes a ton of sense to create a year-long marketing/content strategy, hire a marketing team, invest in a funnel, and go-all in on an ad strategy.
If you don’t have this, then for the love of all things good and holy — don’t invest in marketing strategy or funnels or a team.
Do this first. It will save you thousands of dollars, countless hours of your time, and your energy and sanity.
If you don’t want to do this on your own (or know you can’t), I’d love to talk with you about it.
Now, I know there are some of you who are asking this question right now…
What if I Already Invested in Marketing Without Messaging?
The good news is that all is not lost. Much of what you created is highly fixable and can be reused.
It just needs to be reworked with a message that works.
When I work with a client in your situation, I always start with an audit of what they created with their marketing folks.
I can usually tell pretty quickly what’s gone wrong. It’s usually one of three problems (which I’ll talk about in another post).
Here’s what I recommend:
- Take a step back, troubleshoot, and find out exactly what’s not working with the message
- Create your brand messaging platform
- Rework your marketing with the new messaging
If you read that and thought, yeah I can’t do that by myself. Then I have one step for you…
Let’s see if I can help you figure it out and create that message with you!
I'm newer in business, and I feel like I need to work with more people before I do my messaging — should I invest in marketing?
No. Unless you like setting money on fire.
If you feel like you need to work with more people, a marketing/content strategy or a marketing team won’t help you with that.
Your ONE JOB is to create those clients and to do that go with the old school technique:
- Network your face off
- Tell everyone you know about what you do (your personal & professional network)
- Ask your past clients (even if you only have one for referrals)
- Identify potential collaborations
Maggie Patterson at Small Busines Boss created a great FREE resource to help you get those clients FAST.
Once you’ve created those clients and are feeling pretty kick-ass about what you’re offering, come back here and let’s create your 3 Word Rebellion Messaging Platform.
Once you’ve done that then you’re ready to accelerate your message with marketing.
Hire the team. Take the webinar course. Create a 90-day content strategy with that marketing expert.
Dominate the world with your message (through radical consistency).
Don’t go breaking my heart. Create your offer. Invest in your message. Dominate your industry.