Is your marketing working? How to know if you’re wasting your time

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Do you feel like you’re doing anything and everything to market your creative business, but still struggling to get consistent clients?

The truth is: we often are just throwing spaghetti at the wall, and hoping that clients come to us. We’re not taking the time to actually track what’s working and what’s not in our marketing.

In today’s interview with Kyla Roma, we break down some ideas on how you can determine where you should be spending your marketing efforts, so you waste less time and make better connections with your audience.

Tune in now, or hit the transcript below!

Visit Kyla: | Marketing Teardown | Instagram | Pinterest


Erin Flynn: Welcome back to the show, Kyla. I’m excited to have you back to talk more about marketing.

Kyla Roma: Thank you so much for having me.

Erin Flynn: You’ve been on the show before and we’ve talked about different marketing things, but today we’re going to go a little bit more in depth. Last time it was kind of a bigger overview, and today we’re going to dive in a little bit deeper into marketing. One of the first things I want to talk about is how we feel like we have to do all of the things on all of the social media and be absolutely everywhere. Should we be trying to do this? Should we not be trying to do this? What should we be trying to do?

Kyla Roma: I mean, personally, I think we should be trying to keep our lives humane. For most of the people that I work with, my clients, marketing is a small piece of the pie in terms of how they spend their time and it’s really not their favorite kind of pie. And social media is just kind of a little fraction of that. I think that it can feel really overwhelming because we maybe are learning from people who are so pumped about social media and we get caught up in the excitement and then feel like, gosh, I might be missing out on opportunities. I think in reality, if we spread ourselves too thin and try to just plaster content everywhere without doing the deeper work of looking at what helps us to grow and actually doing engagement, that actually creates worse results than focusing on a couple of places that you actually enjoy and you’re actually curious about.

Kyla Roma: So my bias is always towards keeping things simple. I’m a mom to a very rambunctious three year old. It’s rare that I have time where he’s not climbing me like I’m a human tree. So I like to keep things as simple as possible, really master a couple of places and then just breathe and picture the ocean anytime I feel like I’m missing out on opportunities and other places.

Erin Flynn: I love that. Well, I think the last time that we chatted, we talked about doing all of the things including Periscope and then like having different content for all of these different social media platforms and how exhausting that was back in the day. We don’t do that anymore, but let’s say that we’re someone who is currently trying to be everywhere because that’s what we’re told to do. And so we’ve got like 50 accounts, trying to post on each one of them every day. How do we discover which of those accounts are actually doing something for us and which we’re wasting our time on?

Kyla Roma: Definitely. A really, I think an important first point is just to slow down and get curious. And being curious at all about what’s working for you and what’s not is, like that’s, you’re already ahead of the game when you’ve slowed down enough that you’re not just putting content out there and then hoping that it’s going to work for you. So getting curious about this is really helpful, truly knowing what actually gets you results can be just a dramatic help for you. Every time you cross something off of your list that isn’t getting you results, you’re basically increasing the hourly rate that you’re making for yourself if you want to think of it that way.

Kyla Roma: I’d also just encourage people to remember that this isn’t unknowable. So marketing and posting on social media, it always works. By that, I mean you’re always going to get a result. Now you get to choose whether or not you know about it. But it is always working. So there’s lots of information. What I would say to overall, I think a great place to start if you’re not sure or you’re feeling uncertain is to go to the big picture. Go to Google Analytics, if you don’t have that set up for your business, it’s okay, that’s not your secret shame. Just install that on your website, then just continue as is for a little bit so you can get some data.

Kyla Roma: But then go to your Google Analytics and look at where are people actually coming from so that you can see exactly what your social referrals are. So that’s telling you how many people are coming to your site from different social media places. It’s a silly thing, but make sure that you adjust your dates so you can look at the last three months or the last six months or the last year, but get a sense of exactly how many people are coming from which social media platforms. Because oftentimes I find that the thing I’m excited about and energized about, that has more to do with me than it has to do with the actual numbers of how people are finding me.

Erin Flynn: All right. Here’s the other problem that I think a lot of people have is, so we maybe invest all of this time into something like Pinterest or Instagram or Twitter or whatever it is. It doesn’t matter what the platform is. Some platforms work for some people, some don’t, but we invest all of this time because we either love the platform or we were told this is the platform that we have to be on and we get this sum cost fallacy of like I’ve put all of this time and all of this effort into this and it’s not paying off.

Erin Flynn: So how do we stop doing something because we feel like we’ve, again, invested the time or the money or whatever it is into this thing that we were sure was going to work and then when we look at the data, it’s absolutely not converting? How do we stop doing that? Or do we stop doing that? What do you do?

Kyla Roma: Definitely, really what that is it’s as we, just as people, as we put more time and energy into something, it could be anything, the more then we perceive it to be valuable. So it can be, you could see this around like a hobby, for example, or maybe you had a high school relationship or anything. It really and truly can be anything. But in our, like you’re saying, around social media, we can get attached to these ideas of what was supposed to work. And then instead of responding to the facts on the ground, we’re looking at this idea of, man, I wasted all this time. I’ve put all this time and energy into it, if I stop now, then that was all a waste.

Kyla Roma: I guess the shorter answer is, put the phone down, delete the bookmark, step away from the computer. I think being decisive about it and making a choice to actively switch over to something else is the strongest position that you can be in because that’s time and energy that you can recoup and you can put into something else. If you know for sure that something’s getting you a very, very low return, there are higher return things that you could be doing in your business for sure. I personally think that that’s a great, that’s what I would do and that’s what I have done.

Kyla Roma: But I think it’s important to remember that just the time and energy that you’ve put in, it hasn’t been wasted. It has allowed you to maybe become a better writer, work on your time management, know what works for you and what doesn’t in your business. And really, it’s really allowed you to level up to be who you are right now. And that person is who you want driving your business, not the person from a year ago or six months ago, who said, “Oh, I think this will probably work.” And then if that hasn’t born out, you want this version of yourself to be able to make the call.

Kyla Roma: And they can do that without invalidating that other person, that other version of you was making the best call they could with the information that they had, now that’s your job and you can absolutely step into that.

Erin Flynn: Awesome. So we look at those things and we say, “Okay, this is not working.” Do you have a good way to calculate how much time we’re spending versus how much we’re getting back in return? Is there a magical formula or way that you do that?

Kyla Roma: I mean, I would love if there is. I think it really varies for everybody. I know when I first started out in blogging, I would spend the entire weekend pretty much sitting down on my computer. I would comment on other people’s blogs and then I would comment on the commenters of their blogs. And I would do that like it was the most intense reality show. I was so fascinated by it and I would pour time and energy into it. And now you couldn’t pay me. It’s a funny thing. So it really, it depends on what your time and your energy is like and what your focus is and what your goals are.

Kyla Roma: That being said, I think really what you want to look at, I think is beating your own personal best and looking at, are you making progress against that? Instead of comparing out or looking at… I’m sure you could say like, ideally if you’re getting in front of people who aren’t necessarily on your email list or people who are new to you, around two to 3% conversion rate overall in general in marketing is a benchmark that you could look for. I don’t know how useful that is necessarily on a day-to-day basis, it feels really abstract to me. So I would use your instincts, but then I would look at, on a post by post basis, what’s actually happening?

Kyla Roma: So over time, if you looked at the average number of likes or comments that you’ve had on your posts let’s say over the last month, how are you doing relative to a year ago? How are you doing relative to six months ago? What changes are you seeing in terms of people who are following you? Are you able to take a look at how many people are clicking through over to your site if you’re asking for that? I think looking at those metrics can really make a big difference.

Kyla Roma: And I would also add into that to say, looking at how well you are moving people from comments or general public engagement over towards messaging with you, over towards building relationships, that’s the big piece that I find so many people really struggle with, especially if you don’t have internet friends yet, or if you’re mostly listening to podcasts and then focusing on publishing content, but getting into actual conversations with people still feels awkward, or weird, or creepy. If that’s you, then I would really focus on looking at how you can start building more of those relationships with people.

Kyla Roma: And eventually even if it’s just, if you’re on Instagram, for example, replying to other people’s stories with a genuine comment and asking a question. That kind of a thing can really start real relationships. And that’s where you can start to make a big difference and you can start to have more of that personal relationship and that can lead to referrals. It can lead to asking for resources, rather like asking if somebody is looking to find somebody or looking for a tool, they’re struggling with something in their work. And jumping into masterminds or onto quick coffee chats to talk with people who are your ideal clients.

Kyla Roma: Things can kind of blossom from there, but it doesn’t happen just by leaving a heart or love this comment. So I think it’s difficult because the advice that’s out there, it can seem like, well, that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m supposed to be commenting and publishing. But we really need to go a little bit deeper if you want to get more momentum from your social media.

Erin Flynn: Awesome. I love that. And I think that’s one of the things, yeah, the general advice is just so vague that you get all of those, well, at least on Instagram, you get all of those bots that just leave hearts or whatever on the posts or answer your question, things in stories in ways that don’t make any sense. Because that’s how you market and that’s how you connect with people and it’s absolutely not true. And so having that deeper connection is what is really being looked for, especially I think for service providers who are offering a high ticket item or service that is something that is going to take some nurturing and leading up.

Erin Flynn: You can’t just throw up a post or comment with hearts and then magically expect someone to drop five or $10,000 with you, it’s not going to convert them in any way, shape, or form. It’s more likely to just annoy them.

Kyla Roma: Definitely. And if you feel like, gosh, I don’t have bandwidth for that, I would really think about like, well, what does the time that you’re spending marketing look like? Are you focusing so much on publishing that you don’t have time for that? Personally, I would rather somebody publish like once a week in Instagram or something like LinkedIn, and then just spend 15 minutes a day of actually leaving specific, kind, genuine comments on other people’s content. Look at the opportunities to share out and highlight what other people are doing.

Kyla Roma: And I think if you can think about what would be delightful if you receive that, like how would you feel if somebody took one of your posts, and then maybe I’m thinking of Instagram, share that to their story and then shared a video about why they thought that was so neat and why people should follow you. That would be incredible, right? Well, why don’t you shine that light on other people and then give them an opportunity to feel that, that’s memorable. That’s something you could do even just once a week or once every other week. You can be really, I don’t know. If that feels really dramatic, then it doesn’t have to be that way.

Kyla Roma: Or if you feel like video is really scary, then it doesn’t have to be that. But looking for opportunities to make an impact and make a genuine connection, that is what actually goes the distance and what gets you remembered.

Erin Flynn: That leads perfectly into ramping up what is working. So let’s say that we find a platform or a method on a platform that seems to be working really well for us. How do we then either set aside the time or the energy or both and kind of like really focused in on making that the best that it can be? Is there a magical pill that we can take that makes the marketing part easy?

Kyla Roma: Wouldn’t that be great?

Erin Flynn: That would be.

Kyla Roma: I mean, I think aside from outsourcing it, I don’t think that that really exists. I would look at if you’re seeing that you’re getting more traction, then I would start to think about like, what are the things that you’re doing on that platform that you feel like are getting you results? You can start to play with them, be a scientist with your time. So is it that you’ve been doing engagement for X amount of time every day, and play with that and see, well, maybe if I add another 10 minutes to that, what happens? Is it that I start to notice this impact? You can start to play with things.

Kyla Roma: I think so much of this really, it sounds inane, but really you’ve got to, if you’re slowing down and looking at what’s happening, you’re so far ahead of the game. So if you notice that you get more comments on silly posts that you do, like where you’re just really being lighthearted and goofy, then that’s really important to notice. That’s something that your people are responding to. So how can you take maybe that spirit or that looseness and then apply that to something else? So I think looking at the feelings that are behind what you’re doing and the, either what you’re helping people with or the feeling that you’re creating in that, I think that that can be a really great way of looking at, oh, this is the thing that’s interesting to people. And then just looking for ways that you can do more of that.

Erin Flynn: I love that. And then one of the things that I’ve noticed with my audience personally is they love geeky things. So like when I talk about things like sunk cost fallacy or the emotional cycle of change, and I put these things into whatever, it doesn’t matter what platform, they just, whatever platform I’m on, they like it. And so I’m like, oh yes, I have people who really speak my language and love all of these really nerdy things and understanding how they work and that there’s a reason and the studies behind why we do what we do. And so for me, doubling down on that has been very recent, but I’ve noticed tons more saves and shares and people just commenting like crazy.

Erin Flynn: And so I think I finally found my little like in with everybody where I thought before, oh, nobody’s interested in this stuff except people like me and Kyla, nobody else cares about these things. And so I think experimenting, you kind of talked about it, is everything’s kind of an experiment and just seeing what you get the responses for and you gain traction on. I think that that allows you to try things that maybe you wouldn’t, like I would have a year ago never posted about things like the emotional cycle of change because I would have been like, nobody cares about this. But just having that freedom to experiment has now allowed me to open the door to, oh my gosh, this is really cool. People want to geek out with me about these different studies. So it’s been really fun.

Kyla Roma: I love that. Something that I have is literally just a note in my phone. And it’s like my ideal client, but it’s like theories on my ideal client. So I have more detailed ideas of who I know my people to be. But then what I also have is this kind of like working theories if you want to get really geeky, a working theory is a spot where I can see like, oh, I think, I’ll notice something like that and go, “Oh.” Well, for me, it’s been like, if I talk about, I always thought that talking about the mindset pieces and the psychology behind success and behind habits and behind why things work and why we do the things we do, that that was something that I was into and that would totally alienate the people that I was speaking to my audience and my subscribers.

Kyla Roma: But I noticed as I started talking about that, people’s ears really perked up. And I got really interesting comments back and people were replying to my emails and I was getting DMs. And so I would add that in like, oh, they’re really curious about the psychology of this. And they’re so curious about thinking and they think about thinking. And so I’ll make a note and a lot of it is like question mark. But it’s been a fun way for me to look at that and go, “Oh, okay, well, if I add a reference in something that I’m doing, if I add a reference to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or to Parks and Rec, or The Good Place, oftentimes the people that are in my audience, their ears perk up and they get really curious about it.

Kyla Roma: And so I can add a little note about that and say, “Oh, I think they grew up watching these kinds of shows, or that’s where their focus is, or things that they love and are nostalgic about.” So it can be a fun place for you to ask those things, again, trust your instincts as you see those things, but make a note of them so that you can circle back and test that out and see if that starts to bear out and then use it.

Erin Flynn: I love that. Now that also kind of like leads into you have some great swipe files or examples of like, what do you call them? Tear down, a tear down library of fantastic marketing, which taps into these connections with audiences. Can you tell us more about this?

Kyla Roma: Oh, for sure. You can go to It’s called the Free Uncomplicated Marketing Tear Down Library. So these are like tiny, tiny little snippets of interesting social media posts that I see or what somebody is doing on a website. And I basically, I grab these anyways. I’m so curious about them. I love when I see them, somebody doing an interesting use of Instagram or using their homepage in a really fascinating way. And what I started doing a while ago for my clients was I would just screen record me talking about why something was working, what I thought was interesting about it, and then how my clients could apply it to their own social media.

Kyla Roma: And it was something that got such great responses and people were so curious about that I decided to make it a free public place. So it’s basically my swipe file of like super interesting content. And what I try to do as well is breakdown not just why it works and why it’s interesting, but then how could you take this and apply it? So what are the steps that you would need to follow? Or what are the kind of phrases that you would say is kind of like, if it’s, yeah. I try to get really granular because I’m an inducer. I get very excited about this stuff and it’s hard for me to hold back.

Erin Flynn: These kinds of tear downs were one of my favorite things that you would put out because they were such a cool way of looking at things.

Kyla Roma: No way. Oh my gosh. That makes my whole day. Thank you so much. I love hearing that.

Erin Flynn: I love it. So we will definitely make sure that links to that free resource is available so everybody can go and start to figure out all of these tear downs and see how you do everything. Because I think it’s so helpful. It’s made a big difference in my marketing and I’m sure anybody listening will love it too. But where else can we find and follow you online?

Kyla Roma: Definitely. So you can find that free library at, or you can come to my site and subscribe to my newsletter. I’ve been really focused on email and writing really high quality content and really helpful content over there. You can also follow me on Instagram @KylaRoma or on Pinterest. I’m pretty much everywhere @KylaRoma

Erin Flynn: I will make sure we’ve got links to everything in the show notes. Thank you so much for joining us, Kyla. This has been fun.

Kyla Roma: Thanks so much for having me.

Erin Flynn: All right, everyone. I will see you in the next episode.