Having too many ideas or spending too much time thinking about marketing can be a distraction. Being distracted will make you worse at marketing!
In marketing, more work doesn’t mean more results. We can grow faster by focusing on doing less.
If the bulk of your brand’s growth comes from just a handful of ideas, you are forced to think deep about creating a simplified marketing strategy.
To arrive at a simplified strategy, we need an effective decision framework to help keep us grounded.
At ViralSweep we use a simple decision framework to answer two very basic questions any time we want to pursue a new marketing tactic.
For every marketing tactic you feel inclined to use, ask yourself these two fundamental questions:
1. Does this make sense for my business?
Do you want to run Facebook ads because your competitors are, or because it aligns with the priorities of your brand?
Most marketing tactics don’t make sense for your business, but it’s tempting to try them because they’re new or novel. Nobody wants to end up regretting a missed opportunity.
The remedy to regret? A clear vision.
A strong brand vision is essential for determining the final destination—the ideals that evolve into your brand’s core identity.
Be as specific as you can when envisioning your brand’s end target. Dream big.
We want to be #1 in our industry.
We want to have the fastest growing fashion brand.
That’s not going to cut it.
We want our product to dominate one small niche and repeat that success to become the go-to product for anyone in our industry.
We want our fashion brand to grow by 150% every year over five years while focusing intensely on selling just three products.
These visions paint a very clear, precise picture.
The more specific your vision is, the easier it becomes to say “no” to distracting opportunities.
Knowing when to say “no” ensures your vision is more likely to become reality. You can’t determine if a marketing tactic makes sense for your brand unless you know what your brand is not.
This applies directly to everyday life as well.
As an extreme example, Nike will never sell a wedding dress.
Less extreme: ViralSweep will never offer discounts.
ViralSweep is targeted to smart, established brands. We’ll teach you how to get more out of our service, but we won’t entice you with a better price—our product is worth every penny.
This requires committing to the principles of your brand and showing restraint—having the confidence to pass an opportunity by because it’s not perfect.
Exhibiting restraint makes it easier to maintain your vision.
Restraint: The Core of an Effective Decision Framework
With so many marketing tools, channels, etc. popping up every day, how do you exercise restraint for your brand?
Derek Sivers provides a simple example: “HELL YEAH!” or “no.”
We’re all busy. We’ve all taken on too much. Saying yes to less is the way out.
Defaulting to “no” preserves your time and frees you of stress. Now you can focus on the Big Wins.
2. Are we willing to make this really awesome?
Half-assed marketing tactics are a symptom of a brand that over-commits to too many ideas and doesn’t have a clear vision for its future.
If you’re spending the time to build a brand, it deserves to be amazing.
Shopify’s Build A Business competition both makes sense for their business and is really awesome.
Every year Shopify gives over $100,000 in prizes to the most successful new brands using Shopify’s platform, both generating revenue for Shopify and providing a clear marketing strategy to focus on company-wide.
In its inaugural year, the contest brought an extra $400,000 in monthly revenue to Shopify before the competition even ended.
Making Your Own Marketing Really Awesome
You don’t need to give away $100,000 prizes like Shopify did.
They key insight is to leverage aspects of your business that create success for your customers. Every business has a unique way to make their customers feel successful.
Now let’s return to your brand vision. With this vision in mind, you can:
Create a list of ways your brand helps customers find success.
At ViralSweep, we help brands find new customers and make more revenue.
Maybe you are a fashion brand that helps people become the best version of themselves for a date night, job interview, or wedding?
Run micro-tests to find what works.
In Shopify’s case, they could have started small by inviting 10-20 customers to enter a 1-month contest with a prize of $1,000, seeing who could generate the most revenue on their Shopify store in the 1-month period.
If it didn’t work, they could move on to the next idea.
Do more or what works.
Too many brands stop a marketing tactic too soon. If your campaign breaks even the first time, it’s very likely you’re on to something!
A little optimization and testing will help you turn a moderate success into a massive one next time. What matters is focusing on consistent improvement. You don’t need to hit the lottery the first time.
As your customers find more success, you should find more success as well. If you selected a strategy that makes sense for your business, your marketing should become even more effective.
Keep at it!
Shopify has been running their Build A Business contest every year since 2010, and their 2017 contest has prizes over $1,000,000 in value. Their contest has come a long way, just like their customers.
You can accomplish the same thing.
Marketing Doesn’t Need to Be Complex
Overcome the desire to do everything by creating a marketing decision framework. Feel free to find your own fundamental questions or stick with the ones we use at ViralSweep:
- Does it make sense for our business?
- Are we willing to make it really awesome?
Hone your brand’s vision with a specific end point in mind, then exercise restraint by saying “no” to ideas that don’t make you think, “HELL YEAH!”
Let the big ideas have room to breathe so that you aren’t bogged down and can give your brand the love it deserves with laser-focused effort.
Remember to test everything, and when an idea sticks, do it again with small improvements. Structure your marketing so that when your customers win, you win.
It really is possible to grow faster by focusing on doing less.
This post is featured as continued reading for our Advanced Guide to Sweepstakes, which has helped over 15,000 brands master viral marketing with sweepstakes.