What the heck is marketing really? We all think we know, but there’s usually some missing pieces. We’re going to go over why you need it, and how to leverage it in your business. 

I've done so many different things in my career. My latest adventure is helping small business owners like me with the tech of their business and specifically with their marketing tech. 

I'm a mom, I'm a wife, and I even have a fluffy golden retriever. I'm obsessed with tea. I love to dance, and one of my favorite things to do is to enjoy the little things as they come. 

I'm passionate about helping other small business owners because I'm coming from that corporate environment and I see so many small business owners make easily fixed mistakes because they're trying to do it all themselves. 

I bring my corporate knowledge to the table to help people make better marketing decisions and to grow their business faster than they ever thought possible. 

Marketing Basics

All right, so let's talk marketing a bit more. If a tree falls in the forest and no one's around to hear it, it doesn't make a sound?

I’m sure we've all heard this a million times. I know I have, but if you're anything like me, realize that this can apply to business as well. 

If you're a coach or a virtual assistant, or you own a hair salon or a dance studio, anything like that, if you have an amazing offer and you have an amazing service that you provide to the world, but no one ever finds out about it, are you really in business? 

Marketing is that key piece. It's the piece that pulls it all together. It's getting your message in front of the right people at the right time. 

Marketing is what brings us clients and what makes our entire business roll along. Without marketing, you don't have a business. Or at least you don't have a profitable one.

Marketing is what brings us clients and what makes our entire business roll along. Without marketing, you don't have a business. Or at least you don't have a profitable one.

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What is marketing exactly? Well, there are two different types. 

There's the kind of marketing that we all want, which is the kind that brings us clients passively. We don't actually have to do anything. We do all the work up front and it just keeps rolling along and bringing us great people to work with. 

Then there's another type of marketing where we have to go out and find our ideal clients and we have to talk to them and convince them to come work with us because we're amazing and we know it, and it's all about proving that to them as well.

Outbound Marketing

Now to be successful in business, you're going to need both.  There's outbound marketing, and this is really step one. This is where you get out in front of people and you tell them about your offer. This is very useful, especially when you're starting out your business for the first time. This is how you find those first couple of clients. 

Now, I'm not going to lie.  This is going to require a lot of work, like a lot of work. This means that you are going to spend way more time than you ever thought imaginable chatting with people, making a little bit of small talk, and then asking them if they're interested in talking to you about their business. 

It's not easy, but that's okay because if it was easy, everybody would be doing it right?

There's a number of ways you can do this. You can do this using social media. You can cold call, you can cold email. You can go door to door.  You can do all of these different things. 

With the Internet being what it is, social media is probably the easiest, and that's where most people start.

While you're doing all of this and trying to get those first couple of clients, you also want to be working on the second type, which is step two, and that is the inbound marketing. You don't want to be spending all of your time hunting down clients forever. 

You don't want to be spending all of your time hunting down clients forever. 

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In the beginning, it's fine.  Sometimes even after you're established, you're going to want to do it in order to get your finger on the pulse. See what's happening out there in your niche.

Inbound Marketing

But ultimately what we really want is that passive income coming in. And so this is where you start to get into funnels and systems. And this is where we start to get into a more complex type of marketing. 

Inbound marketing is mainly putting content out there for people to see and find. And that content pulls them into a funnel or system.

The whole idea of a funnel is that you spread your message out to a number of people, a large amount of people on top. And some people naturally are not going to want to work with you, and that's fine, but another percentage will. 

So you move them to the next stage in your funnel. And again, somewhere along the way, you'll lose a little bit. And that's okay because some people will still make it through step two and they'll want to go on to step three.

As each person moves through this marketing funnel, you are making money. You are helping them solve problems, and it's a win-win. 

This is where we start to talk about things like advertisements, referrals, and search engines. If you've got a sign out front, that's inbound marketing because you're putting your message out there and you're hoping that somebody sees that sign and decides to contact you or walk into your store.

But when it comes down to it, at its core, it's about putting you and your business in front of your ideal clients.  You need to be putting yourself in the right places so that your ideal client can come and find you.

I'm personally not a fan of thinking of marketing like a funnel. I like to think of it as a system but that's a story for another day.

Ideally, you want your message and your business to come in front of the right person at exactly the right time. And that right time is when they're looking for an answer to a problem that you can solve for them. 

Putting It Together

What we want to do is get out there, do some outbound marketing, and then while we're doing that work on the inbound marketing so that we'll have a system set up in no time. We want to make sure that you're covering all of your bases.

I need to repeat this again because it is so important. 

It's all about putting yourself and your business out there in the right places for your ideal clients to come and find you. You want your message, your business to come right out and be in front of your ideal client at the exact moment that they're looking for an answer. 

It's all about putting yourself and your business out there in the right places for your ideal clients to come and find you. You want your message, your business to come right out and be in front of your ideal client at the exact moment that they're looking for an answer.

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So how can we accomplish this? 

Your Website

It all starts with a solid home-base. I've heard people out there say that you don't need a website, all you need is a Facebook page. I strongly disagree with that!

If you're an online business owner and you don't have a website that’s sending red flags to any potential clients.

Think about it. Would you let an electrician walk into your home who knocked on your door and said, "Hey, I'm an electrician. You want me to put some lights in for you?"

No, probably not. You want to vet this person out a little bit and most likely you're not going to entrust something so important as say, your home and the safety of your home to somebody you know nothing about. It doesn't seem legitimate.

Having that strong website and online presence is going to set you apart from all those other people out there who are trying unsuccessfully to gain a lot of clients passively through using social media instead of a website.

Social Media

The next step is expanding your digital footprint. This means things like setting up proper social media pages. Now, I know I just said Facebook pages are not the be-all-end-all, but it's still important to have one. It just needs to be tied to your website.

It's things like setting up a Facebook page, Instagram and LinkedIn profiles, and a YouTube channel. Setting those up the right way is important, just like having a legitimate email list that complies with all the laws and has a great sign up on your website. 

All of these are going to establish the digital footprint that you have. It's not just your website anymore. Now it's a complete online presence. 

Getting Out There

Once you have your social media setup and tied to your website, you really need to get out there and have those conversations, look at them and really dive in. Be an active listener and get to know your potential clients. 

Then with that, you're going to hone in on your message and make sure that you're really clear about what you're offering and how that solves their problems. 

At this point, you’ve set yourself up to have a following. You’ve been talking to a lot of people, already have some clients, and you’ve stumbled across that ideal client a time or two. You have cash coming in and now it’s time to get serious about automating things.

You don't want to have to work one-to-one all the time. You want to have passive income. The way to do this is using things like funnels to find and attract our ideal clients and bring them through the stage of the game so we're only talking to people who are already pre-sold. 

And you need to do this daily! If you aren't marketing your business every day, you're doing something wrong and leaving money on the table.

Wrapping It Up

When it comes down to it, you need marketing in order to alert your potential clients of your services. Without marketing, you can’t sustain a profitable business.

There are two main types of marketing - inbound and outbound. A good strategy will provide both.

Once you bring people back to your website, it needs to be set up to convert. A poorly designed website will kill any marketing strategies dead in their tracks.

About the Author Jennifer Anastasi

I’m Jennifer Anastasi, an Engineer turned Brand Strategist. I empower other service-based businesses to find that clear brand and online presence using my background in tech mixed with creativity (I'm a lifelong creative after all). Unlike courses or group programs, I focus on each business as a unique entity and break down complex and intimidating concepts into easy-to-understand ideas for custom results.

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