As someone who’s been marketing things online for about a decade, I can tell you first hand that the fear of marketing is real. It prevented me from growing my business in the earlier stages, and it still does from time to time.
It also held me back from taking on client work for YEARS.
But thankfully, I also learned that I’m not alone. In fact, most marketers can probably tell you at least one or two things that cause them anxiety when it comes to marketing. Here are 5 of the most common.
1. Can I actually market?
The kind of SEO results you want to be able to send to a client.
Maybe you’re looking at all the shiny emails in your inbox, trying to figure out how email marketing works, how SEO works, and it just seems like it’s too much. So you think to yourself, “I can’t do this.”
One of the biggest fears for marketing newcomers was echoed by Margo Aaron, founder of The Arena, the first virtual coworking space for solopreneurs.
“I hear from marketers all the time and it’s their biggest fear: Can I actually market?
They develop niche expertise, like design or editing or SEO or headlines. But actually getting more customers into a funnel or increasing sales (or just awareness) for their clients – that creates impostor syndrome.
I definitely had this when I was consulting. It’s part of what’s been so fun about being on my own, I get to control the entire funnel and can actually judge my chops on their own merit (whereas with clients, you might control the website copy or design, but you’re not responsible for sending it traffic).” – Margo Aaron
Let’s get this straight. No one is born out of the womb knowing how to market. It’s a skill that we all have to learn, and it’s possible. It’s also always changing.
You don’t even have to go back to business school (unless you want to) because the internet is a goldmine of marketing resources. Find a course that teaches digital marketing skills or hire someone who can help you and teach it to you.
The other thing is that doing things for other people is HARD. I don’t care if you’re doing copywriting or mowing a lawn. Sure, I can mow my own lawn, but if somebody else is paying me for it (and paying me well), can I do it to their satisfaction? Maybe not.
The problem is that many people get stuck in the learning phase. Why? Fear. Every time you learn something, go try it out and see if it works for you. This is the only way that I know of to truly learn and get over fear and the imposter syndrome that many entrepreneurs suffer from.
2. I’m a spammer
“That they’re one of those spammy marketer types that everyone not so secretly HATES.” – Kaleigh Moore
I get it. You don’t want to come off as the person spamming everyone’s inbox or be the person behind the website with all the pop-ups. But there are tactful ways to get people’s attention without annoying them.
Please don’t be this guy. Do this instead.
Take for instance the businesses or person whose emails you can’t wait to read when you see them in your inbox. You don’t roll your eyes but instead, you’re excited to read them. What sets them apart from everyone else? TRUST.
They offer value, they delight, they sound like real people. They teach you something new or interesting. They are not pushing a sale every time they send you something.
When you give – whether that’s offering tips, resources free guides etc., and you are consistent – people will naturally show up at your doorstep when you have something to sell because by then, you’ve already won their trust.
And remember: attract, don’t chase. Chasing is what you do when people are running away. Chasing is what causes us to look for tools to do our jobs for us.
3. I want this tool to do my job for me
“If I buy this tool, it’ll put my marketing on autopilot.” – Me for my entire career, including the horrible purchase below.
But seriously, am I the only one who bought this?
If I asked you to write out the top three marketing “tools” you’ve wasted money on, you’d probably have to think for a second. Not because you don’t have three, but more because you have over ten and you’re just trying to rank them.
We’ve ALL bought tools hoping they’d do our jobs for us: make starting new relationships, getting sales, etc. easier.
The great thing about marketing in the 21st century is that there are many tools to help us automate tasks. We can schedule Twitter or Facebook posts for several weeks in advance or program promotional materials to be sent out automatically.
But this doesn’t mean we should try to put all our marketing on autopilot and pray for the best, especially when you’re just getting started.
No current clients or customers? You don’t need an outreach tool.
No social media followers? You don’t need a post scheduler.
In both of the above cases, you just need to start talking to people.
Most of the people trying to sell you on the dream of entrepreneurship are also trying to sell you some sort of product or tool. You don’t need them.
The world of marketing is always changing which means the strategies you use today will change next year or in less time, so while automation helps, it’s best to devise a strong strategy and keep yourself aligned with it.
And even with the right tools, the human part of marketing is absolutely necessary. Trends change, algorithms get rewritten, comments need responses, but what will set you apart from the rest is you. Your unique voice and perspective is a huge part of your marketing strategy whether you know it or not. And it cannot be replaced by any tool.
4. I’m just selling this to make money
“Depending on which side of the fence they fall on… That they might be selling something to get a financial leg up rather than something they’re 100% passionate about. Which, by the way, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but sometimes I think those of us who don’t want to be a ‘sleazy marketing person’ go too far to the other side and think everything we sell has to save the world”. – Caroline Zook, Wandering Aimfully
The reason why many marketers struggle with this one is that subconsciously or consciously, we’ve been taught money is the end all, be all. Whether you believe that or not, it still doesn’t dismiss the fact that we all need money to survive.
I realized this was true when I got on the email list of a famous joint venture (JV) marketer. He’s famous for setting up big affiliate programs and bringing a ton of affiliates on board.
Ever see a big launch where it seems like everybody was promoting a product? That’s probably him behind the scenes. But, what I didn’t realize is that most of the people promoting the product had never even seen it.
He’d sent out videos and slide decks and landing pages that told you all the giveaways they were doing for top affiliates and how to set up your affiliate account, but when I asked to see the product…
he told me it wasn’t even done being produced.
I asked how people could be promoting it without ever seeing the product and he could not, after five more emails, understand why I’d have a problem with that.
Authenticity matters more than ever in marketing so next time you promote a product (or even your own product) consider whether it’s making the world better for other people, or just yourself.
5. I wouldn’t buy what I’m selling
That’s right, many marketers aren’t even sure about the prices they charge their clients. One marketer confessed he still struggles with pricing. Asking for $10,000 for a consulting agreement when he wouldn’t purchase that himself is a weird paradox for him. He KNOWS that the training he’d provide or the work he’d do is part of a larger six-figure budget in both cases.
“Even though I’d never buy this for myself, it’s still priced correctly. Yep. They’ve budgeted for exactly this. It’s priced at or below market it’s a good option logically but the emotion is what it is.” – Kade Dworkin
There are two main reasons why marketers feel this way:
- Lack of confidence in their own skills.
- Confusion about what the market rate is.
In order to overcome the first one, you must remember all you’ve accomplished in order to get to where you are today. This means the number of years you worked in a related field, the number of years you spent in school, or even just the soul-searching part of your life that brought you here. Those were all not easy things to get through but I don’t have to tell you that. Factor this in when you are coming up with your prices.
Second, If you don’t know what your competitors are charging, you’re missing out on crucial information. Find out what they’re charging. Do this for several people and you’ll have a good idea of where your rates should be, which should help you stop questioning yours.
You need to know that there are people in need of the skills you have who are willing to pay for it. Do not water down your commodities for clients who will not appreciate it.
The bottom line
Business marketing can be scary especially if you’re just starting out, but don’t let the professionals who’ve been in the game a lot longer scare you. Everyone had to start somewhere and just like any skill, the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Amazing talents or products do speak for themselves but in our overcrowded market today, you need to do marketing to lift it up, otherwise, no one will be able to hear you.
The best piece of advice I can offer is this: continue learning, and try what you learn.
Don’t be afraid to admit and confront these confessions.
That’s the only way you’ll truly get over your fears. Just remember that your skills and talents are unique and someone is looking for them. And when you find those people, charge what you’re worth but also deliver the heck out of the results.