When was the last time you put the amount of effort into marketing that you intended? For most self-employed professionals, getting marketing tasks accomplished is an ongoing challenge. You don’t have a boss looking over your shoulder ordering you to make those follow-up calls or write those blog posts. It’s easy to get distracted by client emergencies, family responsibilities, and technology issues. Then another week goes by without enough — or any — attention on marketing.
You may have put a considerable amount of energy into figuring out how to market your business, and coming up with smart plans for what you’ll do. But if you fall short on execution, even the best plan won’t help you get clients.
Here are four approaches to making sure the marketing activities you’ve chosen for yourself actually get done.
1. Tracking – I’m a big fan of tracking as a productivity tool, as anyone who has read my book Get Clients Now! already knows. When you put in writing what you will do, by when, and how much of it, you’re taking an important first step toward producing the results you want. When you follow that up by checking later to see whether you took that action, you create an empowering feedback loop. Your consistency improves just by knowing what you are and aren’t doing.
2. Scheduling – My to-do list is pretty darned full, and I suspect yours is also. One of the best ways to make sure that marketing tasks get done is to block out time for them on your calendar. Choose a specific time of day or day of the week to focus solely on marketing. If you might forget, set an electronic reminder. When something comes up that seems more urgent, don’t cancel your marketing time. Reschedule it instead, just like you would a client.
3. Accountability – Being accountable to someone or something outside yourself encourages you to take steps you might otherwise delay or avoid. Declaring to a person, group, or the world what you plan to do can make your plans seem more real, and inspire you to go further. Tell a friend, colleague, networking group, or your Facebook friends about your marketing plans for the week. Then come back at week’s end and report how you did.
4. Group, Peer, or Coach Support – Telling others about your plans creates accountability, but formal support structures can provide much more. The benevolent peer pressure of a business buddy, mastermind group, or action group can motivate you to new levels of effort. Working with a buddy, group, or business coach provides a place to brainstorm, gain perspective, explore new options, and normalize challenges you might otherwise believe are yours alone.
Look over your marketing to-do list with these tips in mind. How can you implement tracking, scheduling, accountability, and/or support to ensure you’ll follow through on your great ideas?
We’d all like to believe we are proactive and self-motivated, and can act on a plan without any help. But for most of us, a quick look at our past experience with losing weight, getting more exercise, or keeping our New Year’s resolutions tells us otherwise. In reality, we can all benefit from help to take steps we find challenging.
If you want more clients than you have, I’d recommend you take all the help you can get.