Is marketing all about luck?

Sometimes it feels like there’s no rhyme or reason when it comes to marketing.

What seems to work perfectly well for one person turns out to be a complete waste of time and money for someone else.

Something you put loads of effort into doesn’t generate a single enquiry, while a throwaway comment results in an influx of leads.

You get great results from one campaign, but when you try and replicate it, all you get is tumbleweed.

Sometimes it feels like marketing is all just a game of chance.

And in some ways, it is. Kind of.

Because marketing mainly relies on simply being in the right place at the right time with the right message.

That’s it.

No magic formula.

No fool-proof strategy.

No special secret you haven’t uncovered yet.

Just right place, right time, right message.

But don’t get disheartened. Because although marketing isn’t an exact science, it’s not all luck either.

Most of the time, conversions don’t come down to a single thing. It’s a combination of things working together to create a chain reaction – a domino effect.

And that means there are some things you can do to improve your chances of ‘getting lucky’…

Do I owe my entire business to Twitter?

Until 2013, I’d never heard of copywriting. But while I was researching how to start a blog, I came across a copywriting course.

From what I could gather, copywriting combined two things I was very good at: sales and writing. It sounded like the perfect career, so I signed up for the course.

While I was doing one of the first assignments, I set up a Twitter account. I thought it would be good to learn how to use it ready for when I launched my business.    

Within days of setting it up, I received a message from a guy inviting me to a networking event. He told me some of the group members were really keen to meet a copywriter.

Although I didn’t have a clue what I was doing at that point, I decided I had nothing to lose. So off I went to this networking event.

I got talking to a marketing consultant, and I was completely honest about where I was in my copywriting career (which was nowhere). He told me he was in the process of building a new website. He was going to write the copy himself, but if I was interested, maybe I could have a crack at it instead.

He ended up being my first client and my biggest source of work in those first two years. He still refers work to me now, eight years after we met.

But what if I had never set up that Twitter account?

What if nobody had invited me to that group? Or I’d declined the invitation (which I very nearly did)?

What if that marketing consultant hadn’t been there that day? Or he’d already written his website copy?

Who knows when I’d have got my first client – maybe my business would never have got off the ground.

Make your own luck: Be visible

I got lucky that someone saw my profile and invited me to an event where there just happened to be someone who needed what I could offer.

But if I hadn’t been on Twitter in the first place, they never would have found me. And it helped that I’d chosen ‘Leeds Copywriter’ as my Twitter name, making it obvious where I was based and what I did.

I might not have had a proper marketing strategy, but I was doing something. I was building my visibility.  

If you want clients, you’ve got to be visible. If nobody knows you exist, how can they do business with you?

You don’t have to be on every platform or doing every kind of marketing activity, but you need to be doing something.

Be visible and be clear about what you do.  

Turning a £500 video into £10,000 of business

Fast-forward to October 2020, where I knew far more about copywriting, marketing, and business.

I’d been following a guy called Mike on LinkedIn for quite some time. He had a big following (around 70,000), and many of those followers were small business owners (my ideal clients).

He shared an idea he had for how he could help his followers help each other. For £500, you could go to the IAM Productions’ studio and share your expertise in a video interview, which would then be shared with Mike’s followers. Those making the videos would be tapping into a big audience, and those watching the videos would be getting helpful business advice on a range of topics. 

I saw it as a fantastic opportunity to increase my reach, so I signed up without hesitation.    

And it paid off.

At the time of writing this article (just over a year after the video went live), I can directly track £9870 worth of business back to that video.

I can track it back to that video because people tell me that’s how they found me. There could be other business that stemmed from that video, and I’m sure there will be more in the future.

Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t as simple as making a video, sharing it once and watching the work come flooding in.

That video helped me attract new followers, (including a web designer who has so far referred three of his clients to me). But it was other marketing – LinkedIn posts, blog posts, emails and so on – that helped me convert those followers into clients. Creating content is only step one – it’s what you do with it that matters.

That video was simply a catalyst – it caused a chain reaction.

And while £10k isn’t life-changing money, it’s not a bad return on £500.

Make your own luck: Be where your ideal clients are

I knew that video would get me in front of my ideal clients because Mike’s audience was made up of my ideal clients. But if I sold custom-made fish tanks, it wouldn’t have been the best way to market my products.  

Before you invest money into marketing, you need to ask yourself whether it’s the right fit. Will it get you in front of your ideal clients?

And bear in mind that attracting new followers or subscribers is only part of the equation. Once you have those followers and subscribers, you need to nurture them until they are ready to buy. That might take a few days, or it might take a few years.

A lot of marketing, especially content marketing, is about playing the long game…

Playing the long game

In Autumn 2021, I was invited to do a Facebook Live. After we’d finished, the host shared a link to my email sign-up page, and I got a handful of new subscribers.   

Four months later, one of those subscribers got in touch and booked a 90-minute consultation.

What I shared on the Facebook Live had attracted her attention – it had resonated with her. She wasn’t ready to buy from me immediately, but she did think I might be able to help her in the future.

If I didn’t have an email list, it’s likely she’d have forgotten about me. Even if she did remember me, she might not remember my name, the name of my company or even where she’d seen me.

But because she subscribed to my emails, I appeared in her inbox every day for four months. Admittedly, she didn’t read every email (I’d be surprised if anyone does), but one morning she woke up and decided to take the next step. 

Maybe her decision to buy had been made much earlier in the process, and she was simply waiting for a convenient time. Or perhaps something in that day’s email inspired her decision to get in touch. Either way, I was there when she was ready to buy.

Make your own luck: Nurture your audience

Think of marketing like playing the lottery – you’ve got to be in it to win it. You might play the same numbers for years, but if you haven’t got a ticket on the week your numbers come up, you can’t claim the prize.

If you opt for a direct approach to marketing – cold calls, cold emails or direct messaging – you might get lucky and catch a few people when they are open to buying. But what about those who aren’t quite ready to buy yet?

You never know when your prospects will wake up ready to buy from you, but it helps if you’re there when they are.

That’s why I’m a fan of the attract, nurture, convert approach, rather than trying to take people from cold to sold in one swoop.

If you engage with your audience consistently – through social media or via email – you increase your chances of being in the right place at the right time.

But that’s not to say every sale takes months or even weeks…

Make a good first impression

Remember how that video I mentioned earlier got me a load of new connections, and some of those connections turned into clients?

Well, one of those lovely clients went on to recommend me in a post on LinkedIn.

It wasn’t a post specifically about me – it was a post giving general business tips.

Number two on his list of tips was: “Learn about copywriting or pay Lisa Slater to teach you.”

That was it – one single line. No specific details. No context as to why he was recommending me. Nothing spectacular.

But within 24 hours of him sharing that post, I’d had a connection request from a lady who saw that post, clicked on my profile and decided she wanted to work with me.

I know that’s exactly what happened because she told me in her first message.

I replied, and two messages later, she’d booked and paid for a 90-minute consultation.

Within a week of her consultation, she’d booked up and paid for my 12-week copywriting training and mentoring programme.

All because I got a passing mention in someone’s post.

Make your own luck: Get your messaging right

It was lucky that client happened to see the post I was mentioned in (thanks to the LinkedIn algorithms). And it was lucky she was curious enough to click through to my profile.

But that’s where the luck stops.

Because if my profile had been generic or boring or completely unclear as to who I help and how, that lady would have clicked back off without giving me a second thought.

My profile resonated with her because it is written specifically to appeal to my ideal clients – people just like her.

All my marketing is tailored to my ideal clients because I want to attract the right people – people I enjoy working with. Nobody wants to work with dickheads, do they?

Your social media profiles, your website, your content – it should all speak to your ideal clients. If you try and appeal to everyone, you probably won’t appeal to anyone.

And it won’t matter how many people click through to your profile or website because none of them will take the next step.

 

From attraction to conversion, one step at a time

I hate the terms ‘lead magnet’ and ‘sales funnel’ or ‘nurture sequence’. They sound so impersonal, so I prefer to think of them as stepping stones.

Imagine your ideal clients are on one side of the river, and your products or services are on the other. You need to put stepping stones in the water to help them get across.

For example, someone (who I now work with) saw a post of mine on LinkedIn. We weren’t connected, but it somehow made it into his feed and caught his attention, so he connected with me.

He then saw a post where I promoted my free email series, so he clicked through to the sign-up page and subscribed.

After receiving all the emails, he contacted me and booked an initial consultation call, and following that call, he signed up for my 12-week programme.

See? Stepping stones.

Each stepping stone should move your prospect closer towards buying from you.

And the more stepping stones you put in the river, the more chances you give yourself of getting people across.

Make your own luck: Guide people through the buying process

It goes back to the point I made earlier about having a system to attract, nurture and convert your ideal clients – you need to do all three things. There’s no point attracting loads of followers or subscribers if none of them turn into paying customers. And there’s no point having great content if you haven’t got a strategy for getting it in front of people.

Think about who you want to work with and what problems you can solve for them, then create content around that.

Promote that content, then have a process for nurturing your audience. 

My email series lasts for 14 days, but not everyone is ready to buy immediately after. So, once they have received all 14 emails, they start getting my daily emails. I want to be there when they are ready to buy.

Of course, if they get sick of seeing me in their inbox, they can always unsubscribe. Not everyone will become a paying client, and that’s fine. I can only take three new people on my 12-week programme each month anyway, so it’s for the best that not everyone converts.

And if your marketing does its job properly, you’ll attract more of the clients you want and filter out those you don’t. Better for you and better for your clients.

Improve your chances of 'getting lucky'

As I said at the start of this article, marketing isn’t an exact science, but it isn’t all luck.

There are ways you can improve your chances of attracting the right people and taking them from mildly interested to wildly interested.

You’ve got to be:

  • in the right place – be visible – be where your ideal clients are
  • at the right time – be consistent – nurture your audience until they are ready to buy
  • with the right message – be clear about who you help and how – make sure your marketing messages resonate with your ideal clients

Hopefully, my examples show that it’s rarely a single thing that leads to a sale. It’s a culmination of things – a chain reaction.

A video leading to a connection, leading to an enquiry, leading to a sale, leading to a recommendation, leading to a profile view, leading to another enquiry, leading to another sale.

And the more pieces of content you have working for you – videos, blogs, social media posts, emails – the more chance you have of starting those chains or ‘getting lucky’.

You need marketing content and sales copy that will attract, nurture and convert.

And do you know who can help you with all those things?

Me.

I can help you ‘get lucky’.

My 90-minute consultations are only £150+vat. And if it turns out I can’t help you, or you go on to join my 12-week programme, I’ll refund the fee.

Can’t say fairer than that, so what are you waiting for?

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