Most industry professionals are confident in their products and services, but don’t feel comfortable about their marketing prowess. In many cases, this is because they try to replicate exactly what the competition is doing.
The reality is, there’s no way to discern whether those strategies are even successful. You could very well be copying ineffective marketing strategies that will do little for your business.
Even if they are successful strategies, when you show up looking like a carbon copy of your competitors, it will confuse potential clients who will have difficulty distinguishing you from your competition. Just as your competitors have their own unique selling points and brand ownership, so should you. When they can’t tell you apart from others, they will differentiate based on price and will always opt for the cheaper option.
A fruitless marketing strategy is demoralizing at any time, but is particularly crushing as we come out of a difficult year marked by a global pandemic and economic downturn. Bookings were down and the market’s confidence in rescheduling events remains shaky. At times, it can feel like the ground is shifting under your feet. There is no time nor resources to waste, especially on failed marketing efforts.
It’s time to rebuild your confidence and your business. Start with these steps to rediscover the self-assurance and conviction you need to ensure success in your marketing this year.
Stop comparing yourself to competition.
It’s difficult to feel confident in your business decisions if you’re adopting them from other people. When you are constantly comparing yourself to competitors, you start to feel like you can never measure up to them. You also lose sight of what “success” means for you and your business. If you’re new to the industry, you might be thrilled to book 20 events a year—but it can be disheartening to discover your competitor books 20 events a month, even if it’s an established company with a large team. Instead of aspiring to be like another brand, focus on building the best version of your business and leveling up your success in reasonable increments.
Define your brand adjectives for clarity.
Performing a self-audit is a great way to hone in on how your brand fits into the market and one of the easiest methods is to determine three to five brand adjectives that represent your core values. Look at all of your marketing through the lens of those adjectives to ensure that your messaging is consistent and on point. Suppose your brand is designed to be romantic and sophisticated, yet your social media displays budget weddings and your captions are filled with typos. While you might have a certain vision of your brand in mind, you need to make sure that your marketing is conveying that image to your prospective clients as well.
Develop your content strategy around your brand adjectives.
Once you’ve boiled down your brand adjectives, you can begin creating core topics that you can continually rehash on your website, social media, and email marketing. If one of your brand adjectives is “detail-oriented,” tell a story about how your attention to detail saved the day for a client. If you pride yourself on being “eclectic,” write a blog post about your favorite one-of-a-kind details from past events. As you generate new content around your brand adjectives, you’ll start to see patterns and learn which topics drive the most (and least) traffic to your website.
Knowing what works and what doesn’t is one of the best ways to build confidence in your marketing, as you can make data-based decisions to optimize your approach. It also makes it far easier to plan and produce content. Instead of asking yourself “what do I post?” every day, you’ll be able to look at your strategic categories from which you can create content over and over. Sticking to your expertise and values is how you become known for what you do; that’s when you begin to attract more ideal clients and beat out your competition.
Lean on your network for support.
Rebuilding confidence in a turbulent market doesn’t need to be a solo project. In fact, uniting with fellow event pros can be mutually beneficial to lift everyone’s spirits and propel the industry at-large towards success. We don’t put on events alone; there is always a team to ensure everything runs smoothly and seamlessly. Yet, the pandemic has isolated us and many of us are feeling distant from our industry peers. Pile on additional stressors, like juggling virtual school and managing grocery deliveries, and it’s no surprise that we’re often left feeling depleted.
If you’re looking at your marketing and feeling overwhelmed by all that has happened in the past year, you’re not alone. It’s an appropriate reaction for what we’ve been going through! The real antidote is in revisiting our roots and collaborating with our vendor community. There are many ways to do this—from starting a guest blog pool to organizing social media takeovers—and the big point is that you do not have to do this by yourself. We work as a team during real events, so there is no reason we cannot work as a team to amplify one another and lift up our colleagues.
Rebuilding confidence is as much about mindset as it is about strategy. While you must take action to refine your marketing approach, you also need to spend some time with yourself focusing on the positives and setting goals that motivate you to move forward.