How to stop feeling overwhelmed by marketing

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As a changemaker and business owner, you want to be able to maximise your opportunities. And yet, you might have so many opportunities you are in a permanent state of marketing overwhelm.

It might sound like a nice problem to have. The idea you have so many things you could be doing that choice is plentiful. But this can lead to all kinds of issues with self-doubt, paralysis and feeling as though any progress you do make is simply not enough.

Let’s take a look at the sickening effects of marketing overwhelm and what you can do to challenge them when they strike

Unable to choose

scrabble tiles read pause, breathe, ponder, choose, do
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Having a lot of things to choose from sounds like a great thing, right? Wrong!

Too many options leads to what psychologists call ‘decision fatigue.’ This is where we have so many decisions to make, we start getting worn out. This in turn leads to a drop in the quality of the decisions we make and/or being unable to choose what to do next.

When we’re fatigued by the decisions we make, we can:

  • Find ourselves procrastinating over decisions rather than making them
  • Looking for shortcuts in the decision-making process, meaning we don’t reflect on the decision or it’s impact enough
  • Begin to feel overwhelmed by all the options and start avoiding the choices altogether
  • Find our resolve weakening. And with that, we can start saying yes to as a reaction rather than a choice we’re intentionally making

Marketing overwhelm can become a chronic form of decision fatigue. The sheer number of opportunities a business owner is presented with together with all the options available can stretch your mental glue pretty thin.

Even simple options like which social media platform is right for you or whether or not to choose one event appearance over another can become difficult to navigate. There is always another potential partner or body wanting to offer you more access, opportunities and support. And that often means more decisions, large and small.

What do you do when decision-fatigue is a feature of your daily life?

  • Look for the opportunities to reduce the volume of decisions you need to make. Set clear goals for each month and quarter that you can measure opportunities against
  • Delegate and automate what you can. There are no prizes for living in a state of marketing overwhelm because you refuse to delegate or automate tasks
  • Leave space to think. If you are always working, always fully booked and always in demand, you don’t create the mental space required to vet the available opportunities properly
  • Get comfortable with staging your growth. Know the difference between what looks good and what will create uptake and traction at each stage of your idea’s growth
  • Build a strong routine. Make sure you are set up with a roadmap that helps you navigate each day and puts productivity at the centre of your work
  • Gatekeep decision making. Get an agent or a manager to function as the gatekeeper that assesses each opportunity as they arise. Or use forms on your website and/or social media that directs approaching entities to qualify what they want from you against your set criteria.

By dealing with decision fatigue, you are better able to counter marketing overwhelm.

Fish-out-of-water syndrome

You got into what you wanted to do to change the world, not crow about it on online platforms or in marketing campaigns. Yet here you are having to take on promotion and marketing.

This is a full-time job in itself.

And even though some aspects of it might be enjoyable, marketing overwhelm stalks you because you’d much prefer to do your core work than spend time talking about it.

This is a common situation for so many self-employed businesspeople. And it’s completely understandable.

Changemakers get into the work to change the world, not be insta-famous. Responsibilities like marketing, sales, public relations and pipeline management can feel at odds with what you want to do. It might also be contrary to your nature if you are more introverted.

And yet, if you don’t market yourself, how will people know what you are trying to do?

We live in a world that wants hope and optimism. And with that comes leadership in a digital form and the ability to look the behind the scenes. Your customers want the story to buy in on. They want to share your idea with their friends.

As a changemaker, that means having less of the product do the talking and bringing yourself more to the fore. Heck, that conflict can even bring up feelings of being a fraud and that fish-out-of-water feeling.

It’s OK to feel overwhelmed by something new. The expectation that everyone is going to feel comfortable with marketing, especially if you’ve never really been into marketing, says more about the industry than it is about you.

Personally, I don’t agree with the assumption that everyone wants to be a brand or advocate for their product, service or idea. Just because you know something well and believe in what you do doesn’t mean you want to be known as an oracle.

So, how do you avoid marketing overwhelm when it’s something you don’t like to do?

You can work out how you can delegate aspects to marketing freelancers (hi there!) or staff members to take it off your plate. Or if you can’t afford to delegate your marketing, be brutal about the marketing you choose do to.

How do you work out what the minimum marketing is that you need?

Look for commonalities in your leads

  1. Do the leads come from a particular source or activity?
  2. What activities, events and places you can be do they have in common?
  3. Do the respond to a common form of media or marketing format?

Identify your champions

If someone is already singing your praises and advocating for you, encourage more of the same. Love them up for helping you, look to replicate their enthusiasm in others, and learn from their approach when selling your good name

Know your marketing comfort level

Screw what’s hot and happening in marketing. What your customers want is sincere. And sincere exists in what works for you. If you want to blog, blog. If you want to shake hands at networking events, shake the damn hands. I know that sounds basic, but if you are happy marketing somewhere, don’t force yourself to be somewhere else!

And if you are feeling like a fish-out-of-water with your marketing efforts, be honest about it. Marketing overwhelm is common for people that don’t come from a marketing background. Or who prefer to let their products do the talking. Or who aren’t so great with the spotlight.

Your clients and customers can identify with this cringe. And they will reward the bravery if you choose to talk to them that way.

Want help defeating your marketing overwhelm? Get in touch! I can help with practical support, coaching and more.

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