I have a confession. In the last couple of weeks I’ve found I’ve fallen prey to exactly what I advise others against – focusing only on day-to-day tasks instead of your own marketing goals. Now that’s not to say that one is more important than the other. In fact, I will always put my client needs ahead of my own and would recommend that to anyone who wants to stay in business.
But internal planning and marketing is not something you can neglect – and lately I have.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed it but we haven’t run Six on Success in three weeks. It’s not because these posts aren’t important. They actually are a key component to one of our business goals, which is to support and connect like-minded entrepreneurs. And I actually really love writing them. I love the process of learning about a new person and their business. I enjoy hearing about what makes them successful and especially what they consider success. And I really enjoy hearing what a typical day is like (spoiler: no day is ever typical).
And, it’s not because we lack subject matter. It is amazing how many local businesses owners we know. But it’s because we’ve been focused on client needs, and new business, and the now three months past due press release announcing Evoke Strategy, and I’ll admit it – the end of the school year and all that entails.
So some of our own outreach efforts have lagged. But they don’t need to, and I’ve put together some ways to keep moving forward even when work and life gets ahead of you.
1. Don’t take on too much – We recommend plans that pinpoint a few strategic, effective, doable tactics. I think doable is the key word here. Business owners are already inundated with everything they must do – from their core business, to operations, to financials etc. and marketing is one more pressure to add to the list. It doesn’t help anyone to create a marketing plan that is overwhelming – in fact, it’s unlikely to be implemented. Instead, have strategic solutions that are manageable and scalable so you can build upon them as you move forward.
2. Work ahead when you have time – This is where I try but sometimes fail in my own internal marketing efforts. Ideally, when I’m working on a project like Six on Success I should bundle my efforts, i.e. I should reach out to a bunch of business owners, conduct interviews and write several posts in one fell swoop. Bundling efforts is an effective way to work because it eliminates some of the catch up time or learning curve that you undertake when starting a new project. And, it puts you ahead of the game in terms of ongoing content and outreach. Then, when you’re too busy serving customers to even think about marketing, you’ve already got efforts in the pipeline.
3. Have a plan – Working ahead is best achieved by planning ahead. I firmly believe that having a plan in place is the most effective and efficient way to work. The most important benefit to a plan is that you can make sure all your efforts meet your overall objectives, are timely, and are not redundant. There is nothing worse than realizing you should have done something that would have moved your goals forward, but the opportunity has passed. Having a plan in place also simplifies your task list. Once you know what you’re doing and when, it’s much easier to implement.
4. Don’t neglect your own needs – This sounds like something you read on parenting blogs (or have written, in my case) but it’s true for your business as well. Yes, your customers and core business come first but you won’t have that business if you neglect your own marketing efforts. Create that plan of regular outreach via social media, local media, email, advertising or ideally, a combination. Then set aside time every day or week to move those goals forward. Or, get someone to help with outreach to existing and potential customers – preferably someone who can give you strategic, easy to implement solutions.