A Marketing Strategy Can Keep You From Missing Opportunities

Jenni here — and this week I want to address one of the most common things we hear from our clients: "I feel overwhelmed by marketing. I'm never in front of it. It's more like 'Shoot, I haven't posted something on Instagram in 4 days.'

Sound familiar? I thought so. If this is you, let me start by saying you are not alone. Sometimes marketing can feel like a wave coming at you, and if you're not prepared, it can feel like your legs are knocked out from under you. Or worse, that wave can pass you by and instead of grabbing a board and hopping on it, you're left standing there watching other businesses wave at you while they speed by. (Please pardon my horrible surfing analogy). It's hard not to play the comparison game, it's hard to feel like we're on top of our marketing, it's hard not to be mad that we're not better at catching waves, or that waves don't come more often. If you have ever felt any of these things when it comes to opportunities and marketing, believe me, you are not the only one. 

So, how does it happen? How do you make the most of those opportunities, or even better — make those opportunities come to you?

My answer is two-fold: 1) a great plan and 2) some hard work. 

Let's talk a Little Bit About Hard Work for a Second

I want to start with this second point because I think this is the part that takes the longest and gets so many founders down. 

There is no magic bullet. 

You can't pay for someone to re-tweet you and suddenly you'll have  truly loyal, engaged customers. There is no Instagram filter that is going to give you more followers. There isn't an email newsletter tactic that's going to make you more money in the next 3 weeks. 

Finding the right customers, helping them fall in love with you, and maintaining an engaged relationship with them is hard work. I don't say that to be discouraging, but perhaps to alleviate the fear we all feel  — that nagging feeling that everyone else has some strategy that you don't know about. 

When I was writing my book manuscript, my thesis advisor would tell me, "You don't have to do daily writing minimums, but you do have to touch the work. That can be re-reading it, light edits, or just sitting in the chair staring at the screen. Touch the work every day."

I love this and think the same applies to your marketing. How do you not miss opportunities? By touching the work daily, getting in tune with what you want and need from your marketing, and then keeping an eye out for those things.

Let's talk about how to make a great plan

Of course, there are ways to do really robust plans.  In fact, we even have a couple with The Brand Plan and our Content Plans

But for those of you who just want to know the block and tackle things you can do — I have some suggestions. But all of them start with the same first step:

1) You have to carve out the time (and budget). 

When I first started hearing this from other business owners, I was a bit surprised, but many of our clients feel guilty taking time or money out to spend on themselves. Of course, especially as women, I know this is a thing that we face — but it was surprising to watch it unfold in front of my eyes. "I was hesitant about making an investment in myself," and "I felt guilty about taking time away from my clients to work on my own business" are all things we've heard. 

If you've been thinking about it, or you've been craving a little bit of spaciousness and guidance around marketing — please go for it. Find a professional that you like and trust and have great chemistry with. Start a little side savings account to get the money if you have to. But don't feel guilt. Do the work. If you're DIYing, take  an afternoon to clear the calendar, get out of your normal working space and start planning out your marketing action steps for the next 30 days. Get your team involved, or if you're a solopreneur find fellow business owner to take part of the day with you. 

2) Connect your marketing goals to your sales goals

Back in my days working as a Director of Marketing in the Tech Industry, I'll never forget what one speaker said to us at a conference:

"Marketing....you work for Sales. Not the other way around."

Supporting what brings real hard dollars in the door (from the best clients, not the nightmare ones) is literally the point of marketing. So, what does this look like? It means:

  • Looking forward to any seasonal bumps or dips in your sales pipeline. See how you can use your emails or social media to run promotions to fill in any gaps
  • Looking at holidays, up coming events, or opportunities to collaborate and planning your marketing around those opportunities. 
  • Looking at which of your offerings is the most profitable (this one honestly blew my mind). If you have a product that is easy to make, takes little time, sells well, and your clients love it — guess what? That should get more "air time" than your other products. We're currently experiencing this with The Brand Plan. It's by far the best of our offerings, and yet for years we were trying to share the stage with websites and logos and social campaigns. It feels scary to pass on a job, but the more we've focused on marketing and selling the sweet spot, the easier everything else has become. 
  • Looking at promoting your work to attract more of your best customers (the ones that paid you on time, recommended you to friends, and Instagrammed something about you along the way). When we wrap up a project with a client that we'd like to have more of, we try to make sure it gets a case study, and Instagram shout out, Facebook shout out and email promotion. We also double check to make sure we tag them in all of our marketing because two social networks are better than one. 

3) Going back to where we started: do the work

Once you have an idea of the sales goals or opportunities coming you way over the next 30 days, and you've decided how to support them, it's time to get to work. 

Often times this means building images to put into Case Studies, trying to quantify successes, scheduling out social media posts, or writing blog posts. 

But I want to remind you of what we said at the top: just touch the work daily. 

Currently Prim'd has at least 4 completed Brand Plans in the pipeline waiting to become a Case Study. We occassionally miss our Thursday blog. It's ok to be a bit behind. It's ok to say to some waves, "Yea I see you — but today I'm focusing on client work so I can pay my rent." Just come back to your list and keep moving. 

What tatics have helped you to get ahead of your marketing? Anything you can share?

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