What to do when your marketing efforts aren’t working

What to do when your marketing efforts aren’t working
Hannah Brice
Hannah BriceUpmarketry

Posted: Thu 16th Feb 2023

If you’re reading this, I’m willing to guess you’re feeling pretty fed up with how your business growth is going at the moment.

You don’t know for certain how much time you’ve wasted trying to attract and engage potential customers, but you think it’s over a hundred hours. And you feel like you’ve made no difference whatsoever.

Perhaps you’ve also managed to tie yourself in knots over what type of marketing approach to take and now find yourself juggling a weekly e-newsletter (which you feel very few people read), at least four social media profiles (and the ridiculous content commitments each one requires), and you’re trying to keep your website or store looking fresh and up-to-date, too.

Am I right? It’s EXHAUSTING. But I have three things to say to you which hopefully shall provide some comfort:

1) What you’re feeling right now is completely normal

The economy is in a horrible place and consumers and businesses alike are being far more careful about how they spend their money.

I am also finding marketing stressful and challenging at the moment and I have nearly two decades of PR and marketing experience under my belt.

2) Not all of what you have done will have been wasted

Every brand has to start somewhere and the content you have been creating is helping to establish your audience. It just requires patience.

3) This blog will tell you how to achieve smarter marketing results

That's right! And with less effort, so you can feel better and in more control going forward. So let’s get started.

You feel like your marketing efforts aren’t working so what I want you to gain from reading this (to the end) is a clear idea of what “working” means to you, a plan of how to get there, and some tips to help you when you go off-track.

What does not working mean for you?

Starting with defining what you mean by “working” - what is it that you want to gain from marketing? Why are you doing it? It sounds like such a basic question but so many small business owners (and big business owners, in fact) don’t think about this before they plunge right in.

I blame marketing itself. Social media algorithms fire ads at us for courses and worksheets promising “incredible mailing list growth” or “100 leads in a week”, and so many people get swept up in the excitement without even checking if either of those “results” will help their business.

So, get a piece of paper and right in the middle, write down where you’d like your business to be in a year. As an example, when I first started, I said I wanted:

Six retained clients who I loved working with and a recurring monthly income of £8,000.

You might say you want to be known as the village’s best florist. Or maybe you want to secure three big business contracts. Be aspirational but also realistic and write it down. Draw a circle around it.

What do you need to be doing?

The next step is to think about what you need to be doing in order to get to that goal. I want you to write each one out somewhere on the paper and then draw a line from it to the circle goal in the middle of your sheet. Basically like a mindmap.

For example, to find clients who I’d enjoy working with, it made sense for me to use my network on LinkedIn, email and wherever else, focussing on the people I liked and making the assumption that they’re connected to similar people.

Therefore one of my goals was to get recommendations and referrals from people whom I liked and whom I had worked with in the past.

If we use the florist example again, I’d want to look at what my competition is like in the local area to identify what I could do to landgrab.

Keep thinking of specific actions like these until you’ve run out of ideas. Draw a circle around each one.

What specific action do you need to take?

The final step is to then add to each new circle specific actions you can take. For the florist’s landgrab, you could create price promotions, offer special extras, research higher-quality packaging, or create care tips.

For my business, I gave special attention to the people that I thought were my biggest fans so that I would stay front of mind and make a point of commenting on relevant posts they had commented on too.

Once you’ve done this step, your sheet will look pretty busy. Don’t worry, this is good! Or are you struggling? That’s ok too – just click on my profile to book a consultation and I’ll be happy to help you out.

What doing this mindmap exercise has established

Three things:

  1. What it should look like when your marketing is working

  2. Where you need to be focussing your efforts

  3. Where you don’t need to focus your efforts

How? I’ll explain. The central circle is your main goal, and the outer circles are your initial targets. If your marketing efforts are “working”, then you are getting closer to meeting those targets. These are your focuses.

Anything that isn’t on that sheet – email marketing, gated content, speaker engagements, or a particular social media platform - is therefore not a priority. You are busy and your time can be put to better use.

I hope that all makes sense, but what if you find yourself picking up bad habits again? Perhaps the pull of Insta is just too strong? Simply refer back to your sheet and refocus.

Does your sheet have too many actions on it? Then it’s in need of a trim. Go through each outer circle and number them in order of priority. Any number higher than six should probably be removed and written elsewhere for a quiet day.

Relevant resources

Hannah Brice
Hannah BriceUpmarketry

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