My son is a runner and this year he joined his high school cross country team. He had participated in summer conditioning so was in pretty good shape and way ahead of some of his fellow classmates when the real season started. My exercise routine is much less disciplined; I will hit it hard a few days, then get busy, then try to pick up where I left off. Result: sore muscles, yo-yo weight and a feeling like I’m not getting anywhere.
What does this have to do with marketing, you ask? It occurred to me that having a marketing strategy much like my exercise regimen is the heart of the problem for solopreneurs: you market like crazy for a little while to fill up the schedule, then find reasons to skip networking events, pile those ‘need to touch base’ reminders to the side, and tell yourself the clients come first.
Problem is, there always comes the day when you look at your calendar/checkbook/to do list and suddenly, there’s not much on the horizon, and you say, “Now what?”
My ‘aha’ moment came one day recently when I was chiding my son to get out of bed and get ready for practice. I told him that consistent effort is the only way to get consistent results. I dropped him off on my way to a networking event that I really didn’t want to go to. I had deadlines looming and really didn’t think I had the time. That’s when it occurred to me that my message to him was the same one I should be telling myself! “Consistent effort is the only way to get consistent results.”
So here it is: The Fitness Guide to Marketing.
1. Slow and steady effort leads to more success in the long run.I used to seek out speaking events, spend lots of time preparing my presentation, practicing, going to the event and then being disappointed that they didn’t all hire me. While speaking to big groups works well for some, I have found that smaller conversations with Linked in groups, and other listservs I belong to brings me in front of a much broader audience in much less time.
2. You need to do a little every day. I try to make a phone call, send an article of interest, or send a note to one person every day. Yes, there are days I miss, and some days I have a little more time than others. But I know I must stay top of mind with prospects who may not need me today, but who will think of me when they do need help.
3. Stay informed. Just as there is always something new that you should or should not be doing to stay healthy, there are always new developments your clients expect you to be informed about. Read the local/industry relevant business publications. Who is being featured that intrigues you? Who wrote an especially good article or blog post? Reaching out to them is a great way to meet people. “I saw you in the biz journal, I especially liked your point about….”
4. If you’re slipping, get a personal trainer (or a Marketing Mentor). While I don’t have a personal fitness trainer, I’ve enlisted my son and husband to keep me on track. (“Honey, can you fix dinner so I can work out,” is actually a great motivator to actually do it.) In marketing, I meet monthly with my group of small business owners, and we encourage each other to stay on task, and get those things done we said we were going to do.
So if you’re feeling a little out of shape in your marketing effort, just remember, it’s harder to hit the gym when you haven’t been there in a while!
Special thanks to Donna Gordon at Investment Resources.