If you are reviewing your business, you may have got some kind of plan together for this year.
You may have set your intention to make this year your best year yet; smashing all previous goals out of the water.
Perhaps you are being a little more cautious, deciding to err on the side of caution.
Or perhaps the thought of business planning fills you with you dread so that you avoiding making a plan at all costs (you may want to skip straight to this article here if you feel planning ain’t your thing and you find you’ve got a severe allergic reaction to anything goal related!)
But wherever you are at with your business, there is one thing that’s certain.
As each year goes by, marketing gets more and more complicated.
New marketing tools come out promising to be the secret cure to your problems. Your inbox fills up by the hour quicker than your Friday night wine glass. And there are more productivity apps to test out and distract you from your focus.
And it’s not just the tech.
As you go from one marketing blog to the next and register for yet another webinar or seminar, you get told about the next latest, quickest, easiest, fastest way to get clients. You try out blogging and then get told that periscoping is where it’s at. And then you turn around to hear that Twitter ads are starting to work and, even though you haven’t got your head around Facebook ads yet, you then start to feel that slight panic about having to learn about something else … just to keep up.
Keeping up with what marketing is working is exhausting and because it is my quest to simplify the act of client attraction, I want to share with you today my 6 rules for keeping marketing really simple this year.
Rule Number One: Less gives you more
I’ve been reviewing business plans for the past couple of months, both for members of my GID School and Mastermind Academy, and one common problem I see is cramming in too much. Yes, if you run a large business, with dedicated sales and marketing teams, then you can afford to divesify and spread yourself over mutiple channels and opportunities.
But as a solopreneur – a consultant, coach, designer, trainer, therapist – you are your own marketing director. The time, energy and resources you have to dedicate to marketing you and your business are limited. So trying to blog, tweet, periscope, network, speak, write your book, run webinars, create courses, setting up events, running your own Facebook ads …. it ain’t gonna happen!
All those plates you start to spin … they are going to come crashing down sooner rather than later. And when they do, it’s demoralising and you often lose your confidence. Not recommended.
And as many entrepreneurs are creatives (you love an idea!), this is hard rule to stick to. But stick to it you must if you want to see yourself get traction and results.
Focusing on just 2 or 3 core marketing activities and communication platforms will keep you focused on getting better results. Plus you’ll be a lot less stressed as your to-do list evapourates as a result.
Rule Number Two: Sell in person first before selling online
It’s become too easy for you to hide behind your screens and sit in your offices in your pajamas each day. The dream of running an online business from your phone in your back pocket and your local coffee house is possible. But it’s not an easy reality if you’ve never sold in person.
Of course, there are always going to exceptions to any rule. So before I get blasted by examples of people who have done this successfully … let’s get real here. For the majority, a pure online business will never happen because by hiding behind your screens, you won’t know your market place well enough.
The quickest and simplest way to market a new product or service is to get on the phone with a handful of potentially interested people and make them the offer in person.
And yet, what most people do when they have an idea of new course or programme is to spend weeks creating websites, making sales pages look gorgeous and shiny, write long, lengthy email sequences, decide they want to do a webinar (so the quest of learning how to run a webinar gets chucked into the equation!), realise that they need an online payment system and they want it synched up perfectly with a shopping cart and automatic fulfillment process … oh my … I don’t know about you, but I’ve just come out in a cold sweat and adrenalin is pumping around my system!!!
All this before you even know if your new product is any good and anyone is going to spend money with you.
When I first launched my Get It Done Marketing Programme 3 years ago, all I had was a basic web page with about 500 words and a link to fill in an online questionnaire. There were no paypal buttons or webinar or sales video or long form sales page. I sent an email out to just 130 people, told them what I had planned and if they were interested, they had to click on this web page I’d knocked together and fill in the short online form so I could arrange a time for us to speak.
I sold all 8 places at £750 each within 10 days of that first email.
Even I impressed myself how simple my marketing campaign was back then.
So whether you like the idea of selling in person or not, get over it. I’m not suggesting you starting pitching or going into double glazing mode … I’ve referring to having conversations with people who are interested in what you may have to offer.
Conversations that you spend most of the time asking questions and listening; not spending 30 minutes blasting them with reasons why your latest offer is so brilliant.
Ask questions and LISTEN.
Once you’ve started doing this, you get to understand and connect with your market place. And if you decide that it’s right to make an offer during that call and the other person says yes, you know you’ve got a product or programme that you can then spend time to refine your marketing campaign.
Rule Number 3: Stay off Facebook
Seriously .. this one’s a doozy.
Facebook is the gateway to endless opportunities. It’s a powerful traffic generation tool, connector of people and can position you as an expert almost overnight (with the right content you share).
But this same gateway of opportunities also distracts you, taunts you, pulls you away from your daily focus … if you let it.
If you need a reality check of your online activity throughout your working day, use a web application such as https://www.rescuetime.com/. It’s similar to those awful weight loss TV programmes where they display the week’s worth of food consumed in front of the “contestants”.
Rule Number 4: Know your Best Client
All great and awesome marketing (AKA marketing that generates sales) starts from the “who”; the person you want to attract and you know would love to spend money with you in order to access what it is you offer.
I call these people your Best Client.
Your Best Clients aren’t just people who buy stuff. Your Best Clients are people who pay the prices you deserve to charge; they don’t quibble or huff or puff or haggle. They pay their invoices on time; they don’t leave your invoices to the last to pay or stop taking your calls when you start asking for your money. They are the people you love to hang out with (perhaps even socially!). They are the people who take action on what it is you do with them; they keep to project timeframes, submit coursework on time, take action on the advice you deliver. They are people who love what you do, who you are and what you represent. They are people who recommend you to others and willingly give you testimonials or share your posts on social media and within their own communities.
They aren’t the people who you think you have the best chance of making money out of. Nor are they the people who you feel more comfortable in approaching. And it’s really easy to end up feeling desperate & willing to take on anyone when you start to lose control and your marketing goes scatter gun.
The reason why most of your marketing doesn’t work (AKA doesn’t generate sales), is because you’ve usually started with the platform and the message. You’ve decided that you want to use Facebook … or Linkedin … or that you want to run a webinar. And this then sends you off on a merry dance of learning from course after course after course.
When you’ve identified and emotionally connected with your Best Client, you will know where and how to find them. You will know whether they are active on Facebook … or on LinkedIn … or whether a webinar is a right place to start.
Starting with your “who” is marketing 101 … and yet hardly anyone does it because you get distracted with tech and start learning about platforms and tools and websites and stuff.
(If you want to fast track your marketing and spend just a few hours working out your Best Client, click here to find out more. Use the promotion code BLOG on the order form to get 50% off today.)
Rule Number 5: If it works, do it again.
Your marketing can be made so much simpler if you spend a little while each and every month reviewing what’s working for you.
I know I’ve had a real problem over the years of getting bored very easily. As soon as something started to work for me, it felt too easy and I switched lanes to start something new. Back when I first started in 2004, I began to run a workshop every half term. After a while, I narrowed down the topics to just 2 that sold out each time and I would get 15 people along in a room for a morning’s workshop. In each of those workshops, I would usually get 3 or 4 people who wanted to speak with me after and take up 1-2-1 coaching with me.
After 12 months I had my marketing system working so well that I could fill each workshop with just 3 or 4 emails and I’d get enough clients to keep me busy.
But I got bored. I decided it was too easy and switched lanes to do more stuff online and, although it worked in my favour over the long term, I went backwards before going forwards again.
I’ve learnt now that boring (AKA doing something that works over and over again) is good is for my business. Every time I get a little twitchy, I remind myself of my priorities and why I do what I do, which reminds me of the pain of going backwards when forwards is so much easier and fun.
Of course, you need to keep reviewing. What works one year, may not work as well the next. We live in a fast-paced society where is it difficult to predict where our businesses may be more than a year ahead. So keep checking in with how your marketing systems and activities are working for you; keep track of some simple sales metrics – whether that’s number of calls booked into your diary each week or number of proposals sent out or number of new sign-ups on your email list – and keep track of trends up and down.
You can afford to be flexible enough to change direction very quickly if you need to … but only do so when what you are doing, stops working and NOT because you get bored!
Rule Number 6: Trust that ideas and opportunities are endless
When you work from a place of scarcity, you’ll know how scarce business becomes. Without getting too whoo whoo on you, the Universe has a knack of knowing when you are desperate and when you are holding back.
It’s the same with ideas and opportunities.
As you start to get known and your business attracts more clients, you also start attracting opportunities; other business owners suggesting you get together to create a joint programme, someone wanting you to co-host a new podcast, someone else suggesting that you really should write a book, a conversation inspires a new product idea.
Ideas are not a problem for most of you. Ideas & Opportunities keep piling through to you, day in and day out – especially when you are busy and feel on a roll.
You start saying yes to stuff because you feel it’s better to say yes, then miss the boat. You start creating huge long to-do lists of all the things you feel you “ought” and “should” be doing to the point that you wonder whether the Andrex puppy is going to bound into your office any minute.
But here’s the thing. Ideas and opportunities are always there. And saying no to some now may actually help better ones come your way.
If you find yourself in one of these mind-fog periods, where your head is buzzing and you are starting to feel overwhelmed, get yourself a piece of paper and write down everything that’s going through your head. Keep on writing until you can’t write anymore.
Take a picture of that paper on your phone so you’ve got a digital record of it and then throw the paper away.
Now that’s your head clear, ask yourself what’s your ONE thing that you want to focus on.
You’ve not lost all those ideas and opportunities. You’ve got a picture of them on your phone if you need to ever look again. But here’s the thing … I bet you never go back and look again at that photo because once you’ve got your ONE thing, you know what to focus on.
And even though you’ve cleared your head, you’ll find new ideas and opportunities still keep on coming.
They are endless and you’ll never be at a loss for ideas or new ways of moving your business forward.
Once you realise this, it takes all the pressure off you trying to do it all; all the things you feel you “ought” and “should” be doing because you now know that it’s impossible to do them all. Your job is to do just ONE thing at a time because that’s what makes your marketing simple and that’s what gets you better results.
(If you want to read more about doing ONE thing, then I highly recommend Gary Keller’s book The ONE Thing.)
So there you have it.
My 6 rules to keeping your marketing really simple this year.
I know have more rules to share with you – I’m sure those will come to me as soon as I hit the publish button – but I want to keep things simple here. And I know you’ve got stuff to do. So go do it 🙂