The marketing experts on Entrepreneur's Team Digital provide answers to your common questions about building an online presence. Got a question? Ask it in our comment section below or on Twitter using #TeamDigital.
In this week's column, our Team Digital answers: What's one habit that you personally practice that makes you a better marketer?
I have a genuine interest in people and what triggers them to want to both buy and advocate for a brand. To me, marketing is not about selling. It's about cultivating an audience of passionate friends who both do business with and for you. It's a utopian notion, but not impossible to achieve.
I consider "curiosity" to be my superpower. I have to know how things work and why. It's a trait that drives my wife crazy from time to time but it also drives me to experiment, try new things, read deeply in fields unrelated to marketing and think beyond the obvious -- all of these things I believe make me a better marketer or at least allow me to provide more value to my community.
I am persistent. It's super-useful to be persistent with anything in life. You'll fail lots. You won't understand lots of things on the first try. But none of that matters because you know that if you persist, you'll get where you want to be initially.
I remind myself: Nobody dies in marketing. Marketers are not doctors. We are not in jobs where people's lives are in our hands. We are helping businesses solve problems, reduce costs and/or make more money. My advice: Have fun. Smile. Laugh. Dance. Don't take yourself too seriously. Be human. Positive energy is contagious - SPREAD IT!
I have absolute certainty that not every potential client is the right fit. This keeps me from spending time trying to convince someone to work with me. Instead I look for a natural fit and obvious connection. This makes for the happiest and most successful client relationships in the long run.
I have a deep-seeded desire to make people smile. Seriously. It's the same desire that got me branded as "Class Clown" in school and got me in trouble. But as an adult, it helps. I can figure out what a person needs, and figure out a way to get it. I'm not afraid to take the gamble - - get up at 4 a.m. to get online to bring a "cronut" to a meeting, for example, or take a client skydiving. Once you've gotten a client's trust and made them smile, doing business with them is the easy part.
I never stop learning. I've accomplished a few things: I've run an agency for 12 years; worked with some of the world's greatest brands; my company just came in second place on the West Coast for Ad Age Small Agency of the Year. You'd think I would consider myself a guy who knows what he's doing. But I don't. I walk into my office every day asking, "How could I do this better?" I take every opportunity I can to learn the answer to that question. I'm like a sponge when I meet people, trying to soak up bits of their knowledge. I read voraciously. I attend conferences. I watch people. I experiment. We live in such a rapidly changing world—the only way to constantly improve as a marketer is to seek out lessons to learn, each and every day.
I keep an eye on what brands outside of my own industry are doing. It's great to keep track of what our competitors are doing but breakthroughs often happen when we take a step back and look outside our own industry. This is when we often find unique inspiration and ideas for growth.
I make time to meet with startup founders. We all get super busy but I do a couple of coffees or chats a week with new founders whether in person or via email. They tend to be tackling new market problems which keeps my creative juices flowing, and their passion is contagious. When I approach a new marketing campaign or channel or challenges I try to keep in mind smart people are out there hustling to build great things and I find I push myself for the better.
I take action without hesitation. I trust my gut on the right thing to when faced with any business decision, and I don't procrastinate when I know what I need to do. Without action, results can't manifest, and I've found that many people know what they need to do, but have trouble taking action on it. If you can overcome your hesitations and excuses, you'll find that you can be much more productive.
I constantly experiment with new ideas, platforms, technologies, companies and people to see what's working or what could potentially work for the future. Applying this practice to everything I do helps to consistently push me out of my comfort zone, make me more agile and flexible to the needs of customers and partners.