Campaign Monitor offers a recurring series titled Marketing
Mistakes which is about the biggest email or digital marketing
missteps made by various thought leaders across the industry. As
these leaders share some hard-won wisdom from earlier in their
careers, the rest of us have the opportunity to learn from their
mistakes without the accompanying costly consequences.
In this series, we’ll cover the mistakes people have made, how
they fixed them, and what they learned in order to make us all
better digital marketers.
Marketing Mistakes with Mari Smith, the queen of Facebook
Mari Smith is widely
known as the premier Facebook marketing expert and a top social
media thought leader. Mari is a sought after keynote speaker and
brand ambassador for leading organizations, helping them establish
social media marketing that connects with their audience and builds
a loyal following.
Image Source: Mari Smith
She is also an expert webinar leader, live webcast host, and
author of The New Relationship Marketing and co-author of Facebook
Marketing: An Hour A Day.
But before she was social media marketing royalty, she was CEO
of Mari Smith International, Inc., and her company was about to
take off. Unfortunately, Mari wouldn’t quite be ready to handle
all the rapid growth without encountering a few snags along the
Read on to discover what she did and how you can avoid her
Mari’s biggest marketing mistake
When she was CEO of Mari Smith International, Inc., Mari owned
more than just the company. She was responsible for growing the
business in every way. She headed up marketing for her business,
driving sales and revenue, as well as actually delivering the
She was no longer just starting out. Her business was doing well
and, in fact, it was about to experience exponential growth unlike
anything it had undergone before. Up until that point, Mari had
still been able to handle most tasks on her own.
But not for much longer.
The mistake: Not hiring enough employees to anticipate growth
Mari Smith International, Inc. had grown beyond a one-woman
operation at that point, and Mari worked with a small team of
virtual assistants and freelance contractors. And while that worked
for a while, contractors and virtual assistants couldn’t cut it
when it was time to graduate to the next level.
“Without certain key roles filled with dedicated full-time
team members, I’ve limited my growth.”
Full-time team members bring dedication and creativity to
projects that freelance professionals just can’t.
Takeaway: Working with contract employees might
work for your business, but don’t underestimate the power of
bringing on full-time team members who can be dedicated to your
company and its success.
Working harder, not smarter
According to Mari, “My Achilles heel is that I can turn my
hand to such a variety of skills, and I really have trouble
delegating.” When it’s your name on the company, it’s
understandable that you feel responsible for every single thing
that has to get done, but if you want to grow past a certain point,
you’ll run out of bandwidth.
While you might have the desire and even the skill to do it all,
there will come a time when you no longer have the time or the
I allowed myself to get caught up ‘doing it all’ and worked
longer hours: working harder not smarter.
Takeaway: Just because you have the skills to
“do it all” doesn’t mean you should.
Prepare for the growth you want
Although she’d been running her own business since the early
2000s and started specializing in Facebook in 2007, her business
really skyrocketed in 2009 when everything seemed to line up.
After being active as a Facebook marketing expert for several
years, Mari found success teaching, speaking, and presenting
webinars aimed at helping businesses develop their Facebook
Building this loyal following meant she had a section of her
audience that eagerly wanted a training program, and that’s
exactly what Mari delivered. She launched “Mentoring with Mari”
in the spring of 2009, which then catapulted her business
“Things were pregnant with possibility and I just didn’t
realize it. But I’d been laying the groundwork for years.”
Takeaway: When you’re trying to grow, don’t
forget about the devoted audience you already have. While you need
new customers, consider the ways your current following can take
your business and your revenue to the next level
What I missed: Opportunities for growth during a period of growth
Opening the floodgates
Mari put up a sales page on her website with very little
information, asking people to pay a fully refundable deposit just
to figure out what the pitch was about.
This tactic meant she “got rid of the looky-loos,” allowing
her to focus on high-value leads who didn’t balk at paying in
advance for a well-trusted thought leader. While some people
decided they weren’t interested and asked for their money back,
plenty of people were glad they bought in.
The floodgates opened and Mari’s business pretty much tripled
overnight. “In hindsight,” she tells us, “I ought to have
staffed up well in advance.”
While it’s difficult to anticipate exactly what new hires
you’re going to need and how many, taking the time to think ahead
and strategize before launching a big initiative can be the
difference between sustaining a new rate of growth and continuing
to increase it.
Takeaway: When you offer a higher-end,
big-ticket product, think outside of the box to create curiosity
and mystique around the offer in order to build anticipation and
drive in leads.
Opportunities fell through the cracks
Ironically, even though her company experienced massive growth,
not staffing up early enough meant Mari couldn’t and didn’t
take advantage of the opportunities that accompanied the rapid
expansion. “I know there were numerous opportunities back then
that ended up falling through the cracks,” she said.
Not to mention, she had to push herself to get everything done,
often at the expense of her own self-care.
“I had to say ‘no’ to some invitations as I was so caught
up in the operation of my business, in conjunction with being the
talent delivering all the training, speaking, consulting,
Of course, Mari loves what she does and wouldn’t change being
the talent behind her business. But that meant she couldn’t scale
her company properly while also covering so many roles, even with
the small team she had.
Takeaway: Find what area of your company or
what projects you cannot step away from and delegate other tasks.
You’ll be able to invest more of your time, energy, and skills
into the tasks and projects where you’re most effective
What I learned: The right team makes all the difference Don’t
forget the coach
Mari learned that no matter how good you are at what you do,
your business will eventually reach a point where you can no longer
manage everything on your own. And that’s a good thing! But when
that time comes, you’ll need to ask for help in more ways than
one, such as hiring a business coach, seeking mentors, and
recruiting the right team.
That’s what Mari learned: “It’s impossible to truly grow
my business without a skilled coach and without the right team
In addition to guiding you and offering assistance as you build
your business strategy, the right coach can also help you decide
who the right team members are: The right people will bring their
A-game to their work every day, ultimately impacting the bottom
line across the board, in all roles.
Takeaway: No one can do it all on their own.
Having the right people in place will help your business succeed
without sacrificing the quality of your life.
Say yes with discernment
Mari also learned to be much more mindful when saying yes, only
saying yes to specific things and always taking commitments
“I do my best to stay focused on my ‘one thing’ that
impacts everything else. For me, that is creating content,
typically in the form of educational Facebook live video broadcasts
on my business page, along with leading webinars and
Takeaway: Find the one thing you do best that
differentiates you and your business and give that role everything
The solution: Hire your all-star team Guidance for you, guidance
for your team
So in 2011, Mari hired a highly skilled business development
coach who guided her in recruiting the right team members for her
business growth. And it worked: Within just a few months of that
hire, everything changed for her and her business.
“I ended up generating my previous year’s annual revenue in
one week during Q1 the following year.”
Takeaway: Having the right team in place will
help you, your business, and your bottom line.
Her advice? Ask for help.
Mari’s advice? “Absolutely do not be afraid to put your hand
up and ask for help!” You shouldn’t expect yourself to know how
to run your business as it grows and expands. You’re exploring
new territory, after all, so Mari suggests getting a mentor and/or
a business coach to help you and your business succeed.
To that end, join a Mastermind that’s a good fit for the role
you’re growing into. Regardless of your experience level, seek
people out who are where you’re at, but who are also looking to
“Seek out opportunities to grow yourself as a person. Document
all your internal processes. Be sure to hire slow and fire fast!
Clarity on the vision and goals of your business will help identify
the ideal team members you need.”
Takeaway: Surround yourself with people who
will help you grow, whether that’s a mastermind, a mentor, a
business coach, a great team, or some mixture of them all.
Whether you’re just starting out or your business has gained
some momentum, knowing when to delegate and hire more help is a
valuable skill. But more than that, not knowing when to bring in
more people can be detrimental to your company. It might seem like
everything with your business is fine, and business is progressing
as usual, but business as usual is rarely the point.
Usually, you want your company to thrive, not just succeed.
This means surrounding yourself with the right people and the
right mentors. Take it from Mari, you want to be ready when your
business takes off. Don’t wait to prepare yourself, your team,
and your strategy until you start gaining momentum, because by that
point, you’ll already be behind.
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Mistakes series? Submit a guest
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Marketing Mistakes: Prepare for Growth Before It’s Too Late
appeared first on Campaign Monitor.
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Marketing Mistakes: Prepare for Growth Before It’s Too Late