Welcome to the Marketing in the Wild podcast. I’m Julia from Stratos Creative Marketing, where we are obsessed with finding real-life examples of the good, the bad, and sometimes wild, in marketing.

Julia: So today we’re going to talk about marketing checklists. My team asked me to put this together thinking about what we’ve seen that works. What we’ve seen that hasn’t worked. And I’ve realized that literally almost every marketer has a marketing checklist out there. We probably have one also as a lead generator.

But the problem is, is that it’s actually really confusing to know what is essential and what is not when it comes to marketing. And so if you’re sitting with that discomfort or confusion I just want to say you’re not alone. I always say marketing is half art, half science. Like we kind of get to be creative with what we do. We get to measure whether it does work or doesn’t work. That’s the science part afterwards. 

And so this is the thing, there are things that will work for you that will not work for somebody else and vice versa. And so I want to acknowledge that. If you are looking at your friend’s business saying I’ve tried everything and they’re making a ton of money and I am not making a ton of money, don’t feel bad. Don’t think that you’re a failure. You might just be missing some things. 

And so when we think about all of the different things that we could do when it comes to marketing, we think of social media. We think of email lists. We think of ads. We think of websites. We think of SEO. We think of all of these things, blogging, copywriting, design. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, that’s okay. I also feel overwhelmed by all of those things, because this is the thing, we see all of these things. And so many times, a lot of our customers think, oh, bright and shiny. I got to try that new thing and that’s what will make things work. But there are some essentials that you need to check off your list before you try the bright and shiny things, friends.

So let’s talk about what I would consider the six important things that should be on your marketing checklist. And this is what I would say, is there’s a foundation. The first four are kind of this foundation that everybody has to have. The five and six are where you get to experiment. So without further ado, I’m going to walk you through them.

So the first one is a good product and service. This might be like, oh duh, Julia, of course we need a good product or service, but I can’t tell you how many times people come to us and it’s a bad product or service and they don’t know it. And it is very uncomfortable to have to try to communicate that with them.

Obviously, people don’t intentionally come up with a bad product or service. But some of the things that can happen is they might not have tried it out on people. And so they don’t know whether it is what the people want. Another thing is they might not know who their audience even is, and they might make a solution to something that was never a problem.

And something like that could potentially sell but is it worth it? People will ask that. Sometimes the good product or service fails because it’s not priced well. And so this is the thing, is you have to have something that is good, that people want, that solves a problem, that’s priced well. Is your service something that people can use?

Or is it something that they might want? Either way, is it a necessity or is it a luxury? You should also know that. None of these things disqualify it, but if you don’t have a good product or service, we can’t market it, no matter what you give us. So that’s the first step, good product or service.

The second is a clear message. And I’ll give you some examples of these, like at the end, but a clear message you need to, again, you might have a good product or service and it solves a problem, but can you say that clearly, what problem does it solve? How can people get it? What will their life look like if they use it?

You want to create these clear messages so that people can understand the value of your product. We use the StoryBrand framework, which you’re probably familiar with if you’ve been around here for two seconds, but regardless of what framework you use, is it clear and concise? Do people understand it? 

The third, basic branding. What I mean by this is you need to have logos, colors, fonts. Our designers might tell you that you need more things and I would totally defer to them, but you need to at least have the basics. From those basics then you can make any of your design items. But this is the problem, is that if you don’t have your basic branding, you’re going to show up in the world inconsistently.

If you use this set of colors on your social media and this set of colors on your website, you’re going to create this dissonance. And when you create that dissonance, people are less likely to trust you, even if they are not doing it consciously. Plus, you want to have your identifying mark. You want to have a logo that people can identify with, that they can recognize you with so that they can see you amidst your competitor.

So, so far we have a good product or service. We have your clear message and you have your basic branding. That leads me to number four, you need a landing page. You need somewhere where people can land and it has a call to action button where they can purchase or make an appointment. Whatever your call to action is, you have to have your basic branding and your clear message in order to create a good landing page.

It doesn’t have to be fancy you guys, but you need to have a place to send people to.

Guys, I hate to interrupt this podcast, but I want to share a quick message about a resource we have here at Stratos for you.

Ryann: Hey podcast listeners, Ryann here. Are you struggling to write social media posts for this week? Our team has compiled a list of 101 social media prompts so you’ll never run out of posts again. Head over to our website to download your free guide at marketinginthewildpodcast.com/freebies 

Julia: So, like I said, number one through four, once you have them stable, that’s where you want them. They can always change you guys, it’s not like anything is set in stone. Every time we work with people on StoryBrand, we talk about how the StoryBrand documents are living documents as your product and services change, your messaging is going to change. As you get deeper and deeper into your business, you’re going to realize, hey, this is the value so we’ve got to tweak some things. 

Your basic branding, you might add more to your branding, but you need to have these four things stable before you get into five and six. You don’t have to do all of six of these things at once, but you do want to make sure those first four are set, not in stone, but pretty close before you start at five and six.

So five and six. What are five and six? Five is a traffic source. So many people come to me with a landing page and they’re like, this is a beautiful website why aren’t people coming to it? And that is because they have no way to send traffic to their site. Some great ways to do this are via ads, whether those are Google or social. SEO is another great traffic source.

Your email lists can often be a traffic source as you create an email list. But you need to have a way to send people to your page, remind them that you exist. You want ways that will send your current people like the people that you’ve already found and ways that we’ll find you new people. Remember you can’t have a traffic source if you don’t have a landing page because you have to send them somewhere. So that is number five, a traffic source. 

Number six is communication channels. We don’t just want to be spewing words and messaging out. We also want feedback from people. And so your email list is a great way to get in communication with your clients or prospective clients. Your social media is another way. So, as you’ve noticed, both of these can operate as traffic sources, but they can also operate as communication channels.

And so you don’t have to pick all of them, but you need to have some way to have this circular communication where you’re sending traffic to your landing page, they’re signing up for your email list or your social media. You have a chance to hear from them, and then you’re sending them back to it. And so that is super, super important.

So quick recap, we have number one, good product and service. Number two, clear message. Number three, basic branding. Number four, a landing page with a call to action. Number five, a traffic source. Number six, communication channels. I know I’ve already stressed this a whole bunch, number one through four, you have to get it to a place that is stable before you start with five and six. 

Then five and six that’s where the experimentation comes in. You might try Google ads, realize hey, this is not the best way to spend my marketing money. But then you might try SEO and that is a great way to spend your marketing money. So, this is where often a lot of the bright and shiny stuff comes in. Like you might say, oh my gosh, I got to do TikTok for my social media.

You don’t have to, but if you want to, you can try it. 

But that’s where this art and science comes in. Make sure that with your traffic sources and your communication channels, you are testing and measuring. Because if you can prove that you have a good product, clear message, basic branding and a landing page, and those are stable, then you don’t really have to do a lot of experimenting with them.

You might do a little bit of experimenting with your clear message as you learn more about your product and how people use it. But the experimentation comes in the traffic sources and the communication channel. So make sure you’re constantly testing and measuring to make sure that you’re using these checklist items to their max capacity.

So here’s the thing is if you’re missing out on a few of these, you’re missing out on opportunities. I’m going to give you some examples: two bad, and one, awesome. And to kind of give you a picture of how you might fall short. So the first one is this wood store. You heard me right. They sell, they sell wood.

The reason that I know about this place, it’s actually a lot where they have a bunch of wood that is cut up for people. Like people might use it for campfires. They might use it for wood stoves. Our family, we use it because my husband likes to smoke meat. And so we went there the other day to pick some up because he was going to make a brisket and they didn’t have what he wanted.

And I was just thinking about it afterwards and I was like, man, they have a good product and service. They’re landing page could be a little bit more, there’s a little bit left to be desired there. But what if they had an email list and I am a big proponent of email lists for all businesses, but this particular wood that my husband was looking for for the brisket, what if they could email out as soon as they got it in? Because they could tell him, oh yeah, it’ll be in here, like in seven to 10 days. And do we have time to go for like the seventh, eighth, ninth, and 10th day, because it’s a high demand wood. And so what if they were able to email out to their customers and say, hey, we got this wood in. First come first serve.

They’d probably be able to predict some of their supply and demand a little bit more, or at least predict their purchases. They could also announce sales. Like maybe they have too much of one kind of wood and they need to get rid of some of it on the lot, et cetera. I know it’s a silly example, but I really wanted to walk into their office and say, can you please let me make you an email list because I think it will make your revenue grow because you’ll have consistent communication with your clients.

They had a good product. How are they telling their people about it? How are they getting new customers in or how are they retaining their old customers? So a little nerdy, but there you go. The second one is actually a former client of ours. They came to us with a journal for kids. There was something really, really cool about this product, but as we started working with them, we realized that they had never tested this product.

They said that there was a lot of kids who liked it turns out that a lot of kids were actually this person’s grandkids. Which is not a problem, everybody, but you need to have more than just your family members who love you test out your products before you take them to market. And so this is the thing is that one, they were missing that foundational piece.

They actually had brilliant messaging and they had a landing page with great branding. We were helping them with their traffic source. They had an email list. They had all of the right pieces, but it came down to the fact that this product had not been tested or approved by people other than their family.

And again, have your family test your stuff, but remember that they love you and they’re going to tell you what you want to hear sometimes. So that’s where I think that you need to start with a good product. The other problem with this was that they would send out emails with different branding than what was in their website.

And so it will create a lot of dissonance. The ads and the website and the emails all differently because this particular business owner didn’t find it important to stick with their branding. So it created a lot of confusion about an already “bad product”. So I’ve told you two examples where I think that they were missing something and because they were missing something, they were missing out on an opportunity.

But I want to share with you about a client that we’re working with called Health Hawk and how they’re doing these things right. Granted, they are our clients. So we get to be a part of it and lead them through this checklist. But they have been doing a lot of the work on their own, and we’re just supplementing with the things that they need.

Like for example, they wrote their own site because they created their clear messaging. Now we’re creating the website. So, what is Health Hawk? Health Hawk is a software and app that is going to aggregate data from all of your health apps. So you don’t have to worry about finding all of your information. It’s all stored in one place.

And so here’s the thing, one, it is a good product. It is a good product and a good service. It is something that people need. This person, Health Hawks director, Jamison, has tested and looked at people, figured it out whether people will need it, does it actually solve a problem, et cetera. So he’s done the hard work there. He’s created the product and the service, and he knows that it works. 

Number two. The reason I met him is because he actually came to a StoryBrand workshop and he created a really good clear message via that StoryBrand framework. We were then able to help him create a logo, his branding, et cetera.

So now we’ll be able to take that clear message and the branding that we’ve created and marry them into this landing page with a clear call to action. And so, like I mentioned, he wrote his site because he understood his clear message. We’ve helped him edit it. We’ve helped him build the site. And when we launch later this summer, we’ll be able to help him with traffic sources.

So whether we use ads or Facebook, Google ads or Facebook ads or social media, et cetera, we’ll be able to direct people to that site. And then we’re also going to have ways that they communicate back to us so that we have this revolving door of new customers, old customers, prospective customers, all working together where they’re communicating with us and we are communicating with them to create really, really good marketing. 

So I wanted to end on that example because, yes, if you forget one of these items, you may have missed opportunities. But that doesn’t mean that you’re done, like Health Hawk is just launching so we have a lot of these pieces still in motion. But remember those first four: the good product, clear message, basic branding and a landing page with call to action, we’re making those stable so that then we can hit number five, traffic source and number six, communication channels really well.

So, if you’re missing a few of these things, don’t be discouraged. You could still have great, great marketing, but use these six elements as guideposts to make sure that you are creating a marketing that is really working. And also that is meaningful and that you can test and measure eventually. And know that it is working for you and not you for it. 

So, if you are finding that you’re floundering in one of these areas, let us know. We’re happy to help or direct you to somebody who can help. If you have questions about any of it, also let us know as well.

We’re always here. We’re always cheering you on and we are always here for your success. In the meantime, we will be back next week with some more marketing in the wild content. I will be here and I hope you are too.

Friends, thanks for tuning into this week’s podcast episode. I am so glad that you have, if you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have, I just ask you to subscribe so you know each time we have a new episode coming out. If you loved our podcast and want to give us a rating or a review, I promise we will read each and every one of them. A special shout out to our friend, Carson Childers, who is producing our podcast. We really appreciate him and all the hard work that he’s done for us.

Also thanks to the Stratos team. They have been behind the scenes doing all of the graphic design, brainstorming, et cetera, et cetera. Really, this wouldn’t be possible without them. I’m thankful for each and every one of you guys. Lastly, listener, we’ll be back next week and I hope you will be too.