All the experts say that as a self-employed professional, you need a marketing plan, so you’ve designed one. Good for you! The very fact that you’ve taken the time to think about how you want to market your business and written it down will increase your odds of success at getting clients.

What's next?

Now, here’s the next important step. Don’t just leave your plan in a drawer. Yes, you have the best of intentions when you make a plan, but let’s face it. You know what tends to happen to your plans to get more exercise, lose weight, or save money. Creating a plan is good, but doing what it takes to implement your plan is much better.

Before you put that plan away, here’s what you need to do next.

1. Break your plan down into actionable steps.

Marketing plans are often made up of intentions that aren’t well-defined enough to take action on. For example, “identify my niche,” “build a network of referral sources,” or “launch a blog.” These are all excellent approaches for a self-employed professional to take. But when you don’t define specifically what you will actually do, you may find yourself coming up empty when you look to your plan for guidance.

Take each marketing approach listed in your plan, and turn it into either a project to be completed or an action step to be executed repeatedly. (When you adopt the Get Clients Now! marketing plan, your projects become Success Ingredients and your action steps turn into Daily Actions.)

For example, transforming the approach “build a network of referral sources” into an actionable strategy might include defining the project “list everyone I already know who might be a good referral source” and the recurring action “contact three potential referral sources each week.”

2. Establish regular check-ins on progress and results.

Once you have actionable steps to take, it becomes possible to measure both your progress on implementing your plan and the results you see. Daily check-ins are not too often for such a crucial activity as marketing. If that’s not possible, make sure you check in with your plan at least weekly.

Check on your projects first. Did you make progress on them since your last check-in? How much? What’s the next set of tasks you should work on to move your projects forward?

Then examine your recurring actions. Did you complete the actions you intended since your last check-in? What actions should you take next?

Finally, look at your results. Your marketing plan does have one or more goals, right? How have you progressed on these since your last check-in? You may have a sales goal to add clients or increase revenue as well as a goal to achieve a certain marketing target, like “acquire twenty new referral sources.” Keep track of these goals to know how well your plan is working.

Success tip: You can use the Get Clients Now! Tracking Worksheet to check in on these elements of your plan.

3. Create accountability for yourself.

I know, I know, accountability is not always favored by self-employed folks. But it works.

To create self-accountability, put marketing tasks on your calendar and set up automatic reminders for them, or block out time in advance to work on marketing.

But, accountability to others almost always works better. Make a date with another person, or group, to work on tasks together. Tell someone else — a friend, colleague, or coach — you will get tasks done by a certain date, then check in with that person on the date you set.

You can also join a group of people who serve as accountability partners for each other, sign up for a program that includes accountability to the group and the leader, or enroll in a self-study program that leads you through a process step by step over a specific time period.

 

If you take these three important measures to put your plan to work, you won’t just have a marketing plan, you’ll have clients!

C.J. Hayden, MCC, CPCC, is the author of the bestseller Get Clients Now!: A 28-Day Marketing Program for Professionals, Consultants, and Coaches, Since 1992, she's been helping self-employed professionals survive and thrive. C.J. is the author of five other business how-to-books, and has taught marketing at Mills College and John F. Kennedy University. Find out more about C.J.'s books and courses or attend one of her upcoming programs.

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