When Your Business Changes, Bringing Your Audience Along for the Ride

This month, my baby turned seven, and my business turned six. 

A lot has changed since 2013:

  • I don’t change diapers any more.
  • I work while my baby is at school, instead of while she naps.
  • I have six team members, instead of doing everything myself.
  • My logo no longer looks like this: 
  • And I do a lot more than blogging these days.

Every business evolves

I saw a funny comment the other day that if Blockbuster had kept up with the trends, we might “Blockbuster and chill” instead of “Netflix and chill.” 

Businesses, like people, have to evolve and change over time. Especially in this online world, we have to evolve and change to keep up with the times, the trends and the fashions, or we run the risk of becoming obsolete and irrelevant. 

What can be difficult, however, is communicating that change to an audience that’s been with us for the previous iterations. 

If you’ve ever had the experience of going to a family function (or a high school reunion?) and interacting with distant relatives that knew you best when you were a teenager, you might grasp what I mean. They still treat you like you’re the snotty kid / rebel without a clue / jock / nerd you were when you were young, despite your many advanced degrees / resounding success / political shift / family and kids of your own. 

I find that’s sometimes true of business as well. 

I’m fascinated with the idea of what other people say about me — not (hopefully) in an unhealthy or narcissistic way, but rather I want to know how others describe what I do. This is particularly important for me because no less than 70 percent of my business comes from referrals.

Over the last week, however, a few interactions indicated to me that I have not been doing a great job of communicating everything I offer these days.

One colleague recommended us to another for copyediting — and while we certainly offer that service, I was surprised that I was the first name that popped into his head. (We took the job and, by all accounts, did a bang up job. But still.) 

A different person posted in a group I belong to that she was looking for a “marketing maven” who could:

  • Set sales targets and metrics
  • Set up the marketing strategy and execution
  • Define sales and marketing processes
  • Design/create sales and marketing promotional materials.

When I piped up and said that I’d love to talk to her about it, another person in the group exclaimed, “I didn’t know you did all that, Lacy!”

Yup!

And finally, a wonderful call with a prospective client (who DIDN’T decide to work with us… yet!) resulted in her posting these thoughts in another entrepreneurial group:

I just had a consultation with Lacy Boggs this week and wanted to share two things that I thought would help anyone else who knows they need to get their business marketing in gear.

1. I’ve admired Lacy for a long time and had a sense that at some point I would invest in working with her, but I was never sure when… I wanted to be 100% sure that I wanted to move forward with her before I booked a consult so I didn’t waste her time. but….

2. Like many small business owners graduating from scrappy phase to “I have some money to invest but I have to choose where in my tangled mess of business issues that need help” I knew I had a big marketing tangle, but wasn’t sure where to make that strategic investment. Did I need an editorial calendar (I like to write but know I could be more strategic and knew I didn’t need to know just what to write about but how to get it in front of more appropriate eyes) did I need to learn SEO? Did I need a social media strategy? Did I need a podcasting pitching strategy? And I got stuck for a while not knowing quite what intervention point to choose.

What I learned in the consult is that in Lacy’s strategy session she can cover and make recommendations for all of that—or at least help me untangle it and know where to put my energy first—and she shared some preliminary thoughts in the consult that were super valuable. So it’s not just knowing what to post, but a mapping of a proposed funnel and a suggestion of strategies to fill it. Plus her strategy offering includes some SEO analysis and suggestions so that doesn’t have to live in a separate place. So if the big “marketing” bucket is a place you know you need to invest in but you’re not sure quite what the strategic investment is, I found that her strategy session covered a lot more ground and interrelation in that bucket than I originally thought—so it’s a good investment if you’re going to make one strategic one.

Can you tell that she made my heart incredibly happy, even though she didn’t become a customer??? But there was even a comment on her message that said, “Even though I love producing my own content, like you, I’ve been curious about how these sessions with Lacy work.”

What these experiences tell me is that I need to be more proactive about communicating all we have to offer.

Bringing your audience along with you

I often use the phrase “the cobbler’s children have no shoes” in a self deprecating way when I’m talking to clients as a shorthand for “Do as I say, not as I do.”

I’ve been busy and happy over the last year or so, and that has led me to slack off on keeping my own marketing messages up to date! 

When I was working on growing my own list, I wrote about my new mantra, #dothedamnwork. What I was talking about was actually implementing all the list building best practices I knew, but wasn’t actually doing. (Duh.)

Well, I’m about to embark on a new round of #dothedamnwork to get my marketing message up to speed. Over this summer, I’m going to carve out the time to do all the things I know I should be doing, and actually, you know, do them.

Off the top of my head, this will probably include:

  • updating my lead magnets
  • deciding what to do with my free library
  • updating my email sequences
  • updating my website copy
  • creating new, better ways of explaining what we actually do around here.

Very much in the spirit of Tara Gentile’s What Works podcast, I’ll be sharing how I do these things and what works for me. These won’t be prescriptive how-to posts that tell you what you should be doing, but rather descriptive posts of how I’m approaching these new, unique challenges in my business along with suggestions of how you might start to think about tackling similar problems in your business.

(And, obviously, this post is a first step in that direction!)

If you’re interested in following along, I highly recommend getting on my email list so that you get a notice every time I write a new post. Emails happen roughly weekly, and I share additional insights with my inner circle crew that don’t make it onto the blog. Click here to get registered now
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