It’s easy to start a new year thinking, “This year will be different! I’m going to stay on track with my marketing, and really get the word out about my business.” Yet once again, the months fly by and by the time you reach mid-year, you find yourself wondering if what you’ve been doing is working. Are people more aware of your business? Are the places where you’re putting your efforts making a difference? How can you tell if the marketing you’re doing is on track?
If you’re like most self-employed professionals, you started the year with goals, plans, and maybe even dreams, for your business. This was going to be the year you reached ambitious marketing goals, implemented a realistic marketing plan, or expanded your business with a new market or service. And now, you find yourself not on target. The goal’s not met, the plan isn’t in place, or the expansion hasn’t taken off. That’s a pretty normal state of affairs for us self-employed folks. Stuff just gets in the way.
There’s really only one solution to this problem, although it comes in a number of different flavors. Take action. Now.
As a service-based professional, you’re likely familiar with marketing basics, yet are you taking advantage of advanced maneuvers beyond those? If you’re not sure what the difference is between the basics and the advanced, keep reading to learn more about the distinction, and why you may want to consider moving beyond the familiar.
Marketing Basics are those things that apply to the foundation of your business, things that help ensure you know who to talk to, and what to offer, and how to keep your business organized. Some of these basics include:
The number one complaint my clients and students — self-employed professionals — bring me about their marketing is that they aren’t doing enough of it. You would think this would be easy to fix. I could just tell them to spend more time marketing and selling, and that would solve their problem. But like so many other challenges in life, knowing what needs to be done doesn’t necessarily make that thing occur.
Consider losing weight, for example. If it were as simple as being told to eat less or exercise more, we would all be as thin as we wished just by deciding to make it so. Since that doesn’t happen very often; it’s clear we humans need a bit more help.
Planning your marketing can be as easy as sitting down with a pen and paper (or your keyboard) for an hour. What’s that you say — sounds too good to be true? What if this were the truth: your marketing is easy and simple, and creating a plan for it is simple, too. What could be possible for your business from that viewpoint?
When you have a marketing plan, things become easier. Easier because you know what you’re going to do, you have a plan, and you just follow it. You don’t need to think about it. Thinking is often the thing that gets in your way the most. As much as your human brain is an asset, it can also be a hindrance when it comes to getting things done.
When should a self-employed professional stop marketing his or her business? Here are a few possible scenarios where you might be tempted to put marketing on hold:
o When your pipeline is full.
o When you don’t need or want any more clients.
o When your schedule is so full you don’t know where you’d fit in another client.
o When you have five proposals pending and you’re afraid they’ll all come through.
o When the holidays / vacation / summer are approaching.
o When you’re so busy fulfilling your current client obligations you don’t have the time or bandwidth for marketing.