by: Sydni Craig-Hart
If your marketing system is scattered, sporadic or non-existing, it’s time to make some changes. (You have to take different action if you want different results). How do you develop a marketing system to take your business to achieve your desired goals while avoiding common pitfalls?
For some it may be your email newsletter and your subscriber list, your blog, your social media profiles, where you network and how often, where you speak and how often, how you follow-up. The possibilities are endless!
Whatever strategies and systems you have in place, do you find that your efforts are supporting your goals and creating results? Or do you feel “stuck”, confused or overwhelmed?
It could be that your difficulties lie within some of the intangibles of your marketing system. Take a look at two of the most common mistakes service professionals make with their marketing systems.
Underestimating Your Time
Most folks who start up a service business work at growing their business on their own. This often creates a terrific challenge – you are the chief cook and bottle washer with no one else to step in take up the slack. So, one of the biggest mistakes you can make with your marketing system is underestimating your time.
You have to allocate your time and energy to three critical tasks:
- Working with ideal clients
- Marketing your solutions
- Running your company
While it seems to make sense to market your business aggressively, with every spare moment of time and every ounce of energy, you need to remember that you are one person – and your creativity, time and energy are limited.. If you start to schedule your work week with 40+ hours of project development work, you need to prepare yourself for at least a 60+ hour work week. By the time you create the projects, prospect for clients, invoice the jobs, develop the marketing content and implement your plan, those 40 hours have multiplied into at least 60 hours — and if you have other personal responsibilities to take care of, you could burn out before you even get started.
One way to begin to ease the time crunch is to outsource and automate tasks. You could hire a virtual assistant to help you stay organized and manage your day to day operations. You can hire a marketing assistant to manage all of the moving parts of your marketing system, including getting your email newsletter out, posting content on your blog and following with leads from networking or speaking events.
However you decide to outsource, remember to document ALL of your processes and procedure. (An assistant can help with this too!) This way you’ll ensure that the quality of your material stays consistently high and that time isn’t wasted managing repetitive tasks.
Also, look for ways to automate your marketing! Setup autoresponders to follow-up with leads who visit your website. Use a scheduling tool to allow prospects to secure a spot on your calendar. Setup your blog posts and email newsletter to automatically post to your social media profiles. Let technology do your work for you! This will free you up to focus on your primary goals.
Overestimating Your Budget
When you are creating your marketing plan you are looking at the future and where your business is headed. While it’s great to be excited about what you can and will accomplish, it is easy to get carried away and forget that your marketing plan has to include the budget you have today — not the one you will have after six months of implementing your marketing plan successfully.
You don’t want to set yourself up for unnecessary frustration by developing and unrealistic plan that you cannot afford to put into practice. Your marketing plan should include short term goals and action steps you can take NOW. While it’s great to have long term goals, necessary, even, you need to set short term ideals as stepping stones to get you where you want to go. Develop a three month plan designed to boost your cash flow from where it is right NOW. Develop a six-month plan designed to double the number of clients you can effectively serve by outsourcing certain tasks. Develop a one-year plan intended to create multiple streams of income that give you more flexibility in your work schedule. Putting each aspect of your plan into action keeps you moving forward and making consistent progress.
Your marketing system is made up of several components. Some are tools, like your autoresponder, some are creative, like your content and some are intangible like your time. While each piece is critical, your entire system needs to be manageable and affordable. In other words, you need the time to get things accomplished without burning yourself out and you need to plan that fits your budget. Without both of these components, you will struggle to achieve your goals. When you create an effective marketing system that incorporates all of these components, your business will thrive and succeed beyond your wildest imagination!
Sydni Craig-Hart, expert marketing consultant for service professionals, supports her clients in creating a successful, profitable business. Known as “The Smart Simple Marketing Coach,” the tech-savvy Sydni uses a results-focused, “how to” approach in implementing simple, customized strategies so service professionals create profitable businesses in which they enjoy the lifestyle they choose. To tap into Sydni’s expertise in developing a workable marketing system, get your free Smart Simple Marketing Starter Kit at Smart Simple Marketing