Every day, my inbox is filled with emails promoting yet another new marketing strategy or promising results that will cure all of my marketing ills. Most of the strategies are flash-in-the-pan – here today and gone tomorrow because the next new strategy has been discovered. A few newer strategies have proven to have staying power over time, like social networking, which took a long time to grow on me. I’ve learned the hard way not to be an early adopter of new marketing strategies – I tend to sit back and watch the fallout to see if something is worth my time and energy.
As I reflect back on my early years in business, I often felt like a dog chasing my tail. I used to run and run quickly in one direction chasing one marketing idea, and then reverse course, chasing my tail in another direction when hearing about the next “greatest thing.” What resulted from my helter-skelter marketing? Not much. I was going in too many directions at once and trying to keep too many balls in the air to create a truly successful marketing plan that really helped promote my business.
Here’s the marketing secret I wished I’d learned early on: Adopt the marketing strategy that best fits with your gifts, talents, and interests, or in other words: Do what you’re good at. Yep, it’s that simple. I knew that this was good advice for pursuing a career or starting a business, but I never realized how well it applied to marketing my company.
Roughly 4 years into my business it suddenly dawned on me that I had always been a good writer. Supervisors, teachers, friends, and colleagues had often complimented me on my writing, but I dismissed the praise because I found writing to be a taxing chore that gave me a massive headache. It wasn’t until I learned how to write for myself in my own voice, rather than structuring my writing to meet the criteria of others, that I truly began to enjoy putting pen to paper (or, words on a screen, if you will).
This love for writing made me a natural for my now-favorite marketing strategy, article marketing. Why do I love it? Because it’s easy for me – sometimes scarily easy. However, I discovered that having a skill for a strategy isn’t enough to be successful. Even at this point my marketing continued to be hit-or-miss. There was still something missing from the mix.
After hearing a great talk by a coaching colleague about how he structured his time, I finally realized what was the key component missing from my marketing strategy – and the missing component was the same for the bulk of the other entrepreneurs sitting in the room with me. The #1 marketing mistake made by the majority of online business owners is: Lack of consistency. Once you determine where your talent lies and how you can integrate that into a workable marketing plan, then you need to commit to implementing that plan consistently over time.
Could it possibly be that simple? In a nutshell, yes. I committed to publishing my ezine every Thursday morning. I committed to writing one new article each week for the ezine. I committed to syndicating one new article each week through my article submission service. I committed to repurposing my ezine content to my blog. I committed to making 1-2 new posts on my blog each week. This is only the tip of the iceberg describing what I do for marketing, but consistency was the catalyst that propelled me to a successful online marketing strategy that I’ve been implementing now for 5 years.
My results? I no longer chase after clients – they find me online. 100% of my business comes from my web site, internet marketing, or word-of-mouth referrals – I do no in-person networking at all any longer. My web site screens out those clients who aren’t a good fit and invites those who are. I enjoy running a thriving business from my home office with only a 5-second commute. I create a work schedule that works best for me and my husband, which gives me the flexibility to leave my office early if I want and catch a matinee with him without having to submit a vacation request form to my supervisor. I am happy and healthy and no longer have recurring bouts of colitis and depression from working in a miserable situation. I make more money now than I ever made by working for someone else.
Take inventory of your skills and abilities, and see how you can easily integrate those into a marketing strategy that will be easy for you to implement. Once you decide on your strategy, commit to implementing it consistently over time, and enjoy your results!