The next way I like to listen is Market Trends. And this goes to that market sophistication piece. I need to know how the market is changing at any given time, so that I can anticipate it, and make changes ahead of time so I'm not always feeling behind, right? So when you're listening to trends in your market, in your industry, in your audience, that's just another way that you can always stay ahead of the game instead of always feeling behind. So how are you connected? How do you stay connected to your market? To your industry? To the people, the movers and shakers, in your field? I gotta tell you, I've heard from a lotta folks over the last few years, you know, I'm really, I'm really unplugging from social media, I'm unplugging from this, I'm unplugging from that, I'm just heads down, I'm just doing my own thing. I get why you would do that. But if you don't stay connected to influencers, if you don't stay connected to the audience, if you don't stay connected to the places where peo...
ple are talking about interesting things going on in your field, you're gonna miss out on a lot. And eventually, you're gonna be so heads down, your head is going to be down on the ground, and you're gonna be out of business. (giggling) Alright, so you have to stay connected. You can absolutely have boundaries around that connection. You can do it in a way that works for you, but you must stay connected. One of the ways I do that is not just through social media. I'm with you, social media, I'm doing less and less of personally, but one thing that I do more and more of it seems every year, and my frequent flyer miles will show you that, is I go to events where my ideal customers are, and most importantly, I go to events where influencers I love are. The people who are actually setting the trends. The people who are exploring new territory. So over the last year or so, I've been to Podcast Movement, I've been to Pioneer Nation, I've been to a conference called Venture Pop down in New Orleans that was awesome, I was at the Digital Commerce Summit last year, just a couple of weeks ago I went to Mighty Networks headquarters and did a retreat. And it was on very short notice, but I was like, I've gotta be there. Because the CEO of this company to me is so inspiring, she's got her finger, her name's Gina Bianchini, she's got her finger on the pulse of what's going on in digital community building today, and with digital brands in general. She's awesome. I was like I gotta be there, I've gotta hear what she has to say. It was worth every penny of the flight out to get there, and was worth the transcontinental flight one day, and transcontinental flight back 24-hours later. So, it was worth it. Of course, also, shameless plug again, I stay connected to influencers in my audience at CoCOMMERCIAL as well. I happen to run a place where people stay connected. It's very convenient for me, I have to say. (giggles) But how are you gonna stay connected? Who do you wanna listen to? Because, no matter where you go, no matter what you're doing, the more you can plug in to the influencers who are shaping your field, the audiences that are asking the right questions, and in that capacity, you will better be able to plan out your marketing. And you'll better be able to figure out what's gonna resonate and what's not. So when you're at an event, or when you're paying attention in a Facebook group, or in a forum, or at a local networking event, I want you to be thinking about what are influencers getting excited about. Influencers get excited, real influencers, thought leaders, get excited about things before everyone else gets excited about them. If someone's talking about the same thing that everybody else is talking about, you can ignore that. You already know people are excited about that stuff. Pay attention to the influencers who are talking about things you haven't heard about. Who are really foraging new territory. What topics are becoming all the rage? Sometimes it's helpful to identify that everyone's talking about sales funnels, so you can start thinking about what's next. 'Cause sales funnels are gonna be here today, gone tomorrow. Not in practice, but in terms of what people are talking about. What frustrations are influencers expressing, and why? Influencers are also really good at ranting about things. I've ranted about several things just since we've gotten started this morning. (giggling) And so, pay attention to that too. Because influencers are going to help you see, alright, this is not a best practice. Or everyone might be doing this, but it's not the right thing to be doing, and I need to be out over here. Or I could distance myself, or differentiate myself, from the rest of the market if I talked about this differently. And influencers are gonna help you connect with that as well.
Marketing your small business can feel like throwing spaghetti at the proverbial wall.
You try all the things you’re “supposed" to do (blogging, making videos, posting to social media…) and you try to keep up with the “hot new trends” that promise to change the way customers find you.
You spend tons of time and energy—and probably some money too. And after all that…
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