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Are you just going through the motions?

Tim Reid 6 minute read

I came across a magazine recently that ticked so many boxes. The content was genuinely interesting – well-written articles on useful topics that were in-depth but not too long, intuitively laid out, beautifully designed. It included engaging imagery, and was printed on interesting, textured stock. Every aspect of it had been considered with the end user in mind.

As a result, I found myself spending much longer than I normally would reading it – no page flicking. In fact, I was genuinely looking forward to what appeared around the next corner.

However, this is not an article about what makes a great magazine – it’s much bigger than that. What I was reminded of as I read it was that so much marketing that I see small-business owners create seems to just be going through the motions, in a way that shows little or no regard for what the end user really wants.

Websites that have the obligatory five navigation buttons – ‘Home’, ‘About Us’, ‘Services’, ‘Testimonials’ and ‘Contact Us’. Press advertisements with poorly considered headlines, stock photos, a weak (or sometimes non-existent) call to action and a big logo. Expo stands with the obligatory bowl of M&Ms, or if the stand-holder wants to funk it up, a bowl of (often unripe) green apples. Apps that offer no real functionality, but appear to exist more because the business owner thought an app would be a cool idea. Cool is not cool, team!


Going through the motions is not cool either. It’s a waste of time for you and your prospects.

Now, I don’t for a minute think that any small-business owner sets out to go through the motions – to create marketing that is underwhelming and ineffectual. The thing is that often life and busy-ness get in the way, and as a result, marketing gets compromised – left to the last minute or to whoever’s got time to knock something together.

So, how do you avoid just going through the motions? Here are four ways:

1. Ask yourself what your ideal client would really love to see when they visit your website or read your brochure. What information is going to be so compelling that they’ll be prompted to contact you?

2. Whilst the type of information is important, so is the way the information is provided. Do your clients want to read all about you? We often seem to default to the written word, but maybe they want to hear you or watch you. Ask them!


3. I repeat … ask them! I’m not sure we’re actually making contact with our tribe often enough. Do you really know what they want? How they want it? What problems they have that your business can solve? How they feel when purchasing in your industry?

4. Be courageous and acknowledge that just because your competitors have a website with a certain structure or a fancy eight-page glossy brochure doesn’t mean you should as well.

Realising you’ve fallen into the trap of just going through the motions with your marketing is the first step to recovery. Finding out what your prospects really want and how they want it in order to make an informed purchase decision is step two.

Implement this thinking and you’re away.

Tim Reid is the founder and host of the podcast show Small Business Big Marketing, as well as a marketing keynote speaker.

Are you just going through the motions?
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