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Digital Marketing is Hard*

* Even when you’re a digital marketing company.

We will be the first to admit it – for a digital marketing company, Good Egg’s digital marketing has been… sparse. A cute little egg graphic and an Oprah Winfrey meme are all we’ve posted since we officially became a company in May of 2021. And both of those posts were in September. We are now in April.

So, why have we not been marketing ourselves?

And more pressingly for you — friend/potential client/confused egg enthusiast — why are we admitting to it on the internet?

The short answer is: marketing yourself is hard.

An initial caveat to the long answer is that this categorically isn’t us saying we are bad at our jobs or that we have nothing to talk about. Between us, after navigating a move out of Vietnam during a very strict lockdown, Sophie has written 30,000 words of client copy, moved to Mexico, and gotten a publishing deal for her Normal Bodies project. Meanwhile, Holly has racked up nearly a quarter of a million views on Instagram Reels videos and started the process of buying a house. We’ve been doing the work of running a business, but have found it difficult to talk about, and here’s why…

You Are Too Close to the Product

Throwing your heart and soul into a project feels great. Having an idea and bringing it to life is thrilling. Working hard to create something new is empowering. But when it comes time to share your baby with the world, it feels terrifying. What if people hate your baby, call it names or just ignore it? There’s also something about selling yourself that can feel a bit… icky. Or, like me, you might struggle with perfectionism and be very afraid of getting things wrong. None of these are feelings you want to bring to a marketing plan!

Alternatively, you might be so enthusiastic about your product that it can be hard to look at it through the eyes of a new customer. You know you need to sell your business, but you can’t put your passion into words.

One way to deal with this spectrum of emotions is to go back to your ‘why’. Why have you made this product? Why have you started this business? The problem-solving business technique ‘Five Whys’ takes this even further: ask yourself why you’re running your business, and to each response, ask why again, until you’ve done it five times. It’s like if a peevish seven-year-old was your business coach. If you have a clear sense of why you’re doing what you’re doing, it makes it much easier to share with others. 

Another obvious solution (and here comes the ick for me) is to hire a creative digital marketing agency like Good Egg to help you translate your passion for the project into a persuasive campaign. When you’re working on someone else’s project it’s much easier to detach and take some of the emotions out of the process — whether that’s alleviating your fears or putting enthusiasm into words.

A Lack of Clarity Means Digital Marketing is Hard

What are you offering and who is it for? These should be straightforward questions for any business owner. They’re related to your ‘why’ and the answers translate into the backbone of a strong marketing strategy. 

For us, we know that Good Egg offers affordable digital marketing services for solopreneurs and small teams. However, we were suffering from a lack of clarity around what our ‘digital marketing’ offer actually was. In the excitement of putting together our initial packages, we listed such a wide variety of services that trying to market them all felt overwhelming and confusing. There was too much to talk about, which in real terms translated into decision paralysis and ultimately not being able to talk about any of it.

By talking through the elements of our offering that we were most excited and confident about, we could clarify our priorities for our marketing plan going forward.

The Job Feels Too Big for Your Saturated To-Do List * 

*Aka The Whelm

How can you make marketing your business a priority when faced with the whelm? The whelm is a feeling Sophie and I often share when discussing our workload. As company directors, freelancers working across multiple jobs, and humans trying to get through life, there’s a lot to do. The whelm (as in ‘Hey Holly, how’s your whelm at the moment?’) is the point where you can see overwhelm coming up on the horizon, but you’re not quite there yet. The to-do list is at maximum capacity and you’re operating a one-in, one-out policy.

Although marketing is a vital part of any business, at times like that, it can feel like one job too many. When the whelm hits, how can you ensure that promoting your project doesn’t fall off your agenda? Find a system that works for you. 

As James Clear writes in the productivity phenomenon Atomic Habits, “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” And setting up a marketing system needs to account for whelm; to be manageable even when you’re at your most preoccupied. Sporadic posting when you have time doesn’t feel great for you, and is unlikely to have an impact on your audience. Committing to a system of posting regularly — or outsourcing that system to an external company — can help keep the whelm at bay.

Why Are We Talking About This?

When we first began the exciting process of bringing our little Egg to life, we discussed creating a company with strong values. Two of those values are transparency and authenticity. We feel it’s important to share the struggles of building and growing a business — that things aren’t always easy and don’t always go to plan. That digital marketing is hard, especially when you’re trying to sell yourself. Even behind websites and emails, we’re just human beings.

Perhaps you’ve had some (or all) of these feelings about your business too. It was a huge relief to be able to share these worries with Sophie, so hopefully this blog has made you feel a little less alone, a little more seen — especially if you’re out there running a company on your own. When you don’t have an office or a team around you, it can be hard to articulate your business anxieties. And having those niggling concerns in the back of your mind certainly isn’t conducive to creating an enthusiastic and authentic marketing strategy.

What’s the Solution?

To sum up, marketing yourself is hard. However, once you recognise why you’re finding it difficult and interrogate those feelings, it’s easier to solve the problem. So much of marketing is about emotions: not just those of your potential customers, but yours too. When a lot of the process is online and scheduled and faceless, it’s easy to forget that many human impulses are involved as well.

For us at Good Egg, the solution was being honest about the issue, taking action, and committing to improve the situation (aka writing this blog).

And what about for you, fellow business owner? Well, all of the above really. Along with a reminder that if the whelm has gotten too overwhelming, now might also be the time to consider bringing in extra support. If you’re struggling to find the words and ways to talk about your business online, we’re certainly here to help. Digital marketing is hard, but when you can put the right people on the job, it becomes so much easier. Get in touch to see how we can work on it together.

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