Back in episode 23 I talked about how marketing is a marathon, not a 100 yard dash. I’ve been thinking about that analogy recently, and I need to revise it slightly. Really marketing is more like training for a marathon than actually running one. If you want to run a marathon you would need to get serious about your training—starting months ahead of the event. You would need to make a plan and stick with it. Marketing, like exercise, demands discipline. It depends on building new habits, and keeping them up for months, and years at a time.
Getting into shape is not fun, especially if you’ve let your health take a back seat to other seemingly more urgent daily priorities for too long. But when we neglect our health sooner or later we end up paying the price. Same with maintaining a healthy marketing program. The tyranny of the urgent often keeps us from our best marketing intentions. But neglect your marketing long enough and you’ll soon face the dire consequences of an empty pipeline.
The process of getting back into physical shape simply can’t be rushed, neither is the process of filling an empty pipeline. The sad results of marketing neglect can’t be solved overnight—so I hope you don’t wait until this matter becomes a crisis. You need to establish consistent marketing habits, and maintain them over time, if you want to enjoy a healthy business.
And so you need to cultivate daily marketing routines. If you do, you’ll be amazed at just how much you can accomplish with just twenty minutes a day. In twenty minutes you can write around 300 words. In twenty minutes you can reach out to ten prospects on your list. That might not sound like a lot, but if you make a daily habit of these tasks, those twenty minutes can turn into almost 70,000 words in one year, more than an entire book’s worth. And if you reach out to ten prospects a day, that adds up to 2,300 over a year. Imagine what you could accomplish if you invested 40 minutes a day!
The benefits of a slow but steady approach to marketing are profound and irreplaceable. But establishing any kind of daily habit is difficult. We face lots of resistance when trying to set new patterns, and break old habits. So as you consider how you might invest your time more effectively keep the following habit forming tips in mind.
First of all, I highly recommend that you carve out time at the very beginning of your work day to check off whatever marketing tasks you decide to prioritize. Getting these less exciting tasks done first, will short circuit the inevitable sabotage of procrastination. Get these important matters done right away, even before you open your email to discover the urgent issues of the day.
Secondly, have a plan and a system. Don’t wait to the last minute before considering how to use your 20-30 minutes of marketing time. Know ahead of time that your goal is to write 300 words, on whatever topic you’ve pre-planned. Or to reach out ten or twelve prospects who are already waiting for you on your list.
And lastly, don’t get too ambitious! Stop when you’ve planned to stop. The discipline of stopping your work can be as important as starting in the first place. If you overdo it on your first day back at the gym, so that you end too sore, or too injured, to go back the next day—in the same way, if you binge market so that you don’t have enough time for all your other work—you’ll bail on your marketing tomorrow. Remember, the key is building up small but steady habits.
Of course devoting yourself to daily marketing activity is only going to pay off if your slow plodding is leading in the right direction. Don’t set off on a long journey traveling, taking just a few steps a day, without being sure that your destination is where you really want to end up!
That’s why starting off with a carefully crafted PinPoint Positioning strategy is so crucial. Getting your directions right is essential, before you head out down the path.
Until next week: don’t let the business of creativity overwhelm your creative business.