Whether you are marketing yourself or marketing your printing company, it can be challenging to get rolling again if you’ve gotten off track. Here are some easy ways to get your marketing program unstuck and on the road to success.
WHAT’S REALLY HOLDING YOU BACK?
When I work with clients who are not looking forward to the tasks that go with marketing, I ask them, “What are your issues with marketing?”
This might sound like an adversarial question. But think about it. If you were eating a daily donut with breakfast, your nutritionist would ask you if you had issues with food. It’s how experts get to the bottom of things and help you make long-lasting changes.
If I am your marketing coach, I need to know:
What are your issues? What is your baggage? What emotional issues have you tied to this task? What is pulling you down mentally?
The deeper answers I hear from clients revolve around confidence.
I’m a fraud.
I don’t know what I’m doing.
It doesn’t come easily.
Everyone else seems to get it but me.
I feel embarrassed and left out when people talk about the results their marketing gets.
And this is from professional marketers and sales professionals!
I was, too, the first time I asked a client about his frustration with his job. As his coach, I needed to get down to the root causes, rather than trying to fix problems that aren’t really problems.
IF THEY’RE NOT PROBLEMS, WHAT ARE THEY?
There are things we tell ourselves, our teammates, or our boss when we’re having trouble buckling down.
I don’t have time.
I don’t have the right equipment or tools.
I don’t have the right training.
Truth be told, when people want to do something, they learn how to do it. We get the right tools, and we make the time.
So indeed, to get restarted if we’re stuck, we need to address that feeling that we’re not good enough. Take a moment and immerse yourself in that feeling that we’re crappy at something.
Is it true? An excuse? Somewhere in between?
Face it. Feel it!
Let’s talk about it, this idea that it’s easier to do marketing for some people than others.
GETTING GOOD AT THINGS
Yes, I am good at marketing because I do it over and over again. Sure, I have a flair, and I have education and training. But it’s like my cooking. I can cook certain meals quickly and almost without thinking because I’ve done it so many times.
As they say: just do it.
Much of having a comfort level with an activity is to do it daily. That may not be realistic for the marketing person who has a wide range of tasks and responsibilities within the company. If you’re not doing something regularly, it’s sooo tempting to let it slide into Neverland.
I recommend lists.
I print my lists and keep them in a notebook. If you prefer a digital list, that’s fine, but you have to find it. Don’t put obstacles in your own way.
In my notebook, every client and every task is detailed.
To begin, break each task down into pieces. List every part. It may sound silly to have a line item that says, “Sign in.” But you know what? Logging in to your apps is a key step in just about every marketing process, and it can slow people down. Any place there is a locked door in our process, it can become a reason to stop or get distracted. So be proactive and anticipate those doorways so you can keep moving.
Get everything, every step, written down.
You want to be able to see the flow of each task. Many people call these action stacks. Some people call them SOPS, standard operating procedures.
A benefit of an action stack or SOP is that they are dynamic and evolving documents. You refine them as you go. Add more steps if you find yourself getting lost or distracted. Create a workaround if something consistently throws you off the rails. And add back in the insights and improvements you gain from following your own processes.
Each list is a success roadmap.
USING YOUR LISTS
Clients ask me: Should they make lists within bigger lists? Should they make separate lists within each marketing distribution channel, and create unique lists for each area of job responsibility?
The goal is to put the least amount of stress on getting started with a task. If having a specific list for a specific task is easiest, that usually works best.
A list that sets you up for success might be: “Logging into the LinkedIn company page and adding updates and images.”
A list that is too broad: “Social media.”
You should have at least one list for each one of these marketing tasks:
Social media posting
Social media monitoring and replies
Website promotions and updates
Webinars and podcasts
E-books, white papers, case studies
I know what you’re thinking: “If I had all these things in my marketing program, there’s no way I’d have trouble getting started or keeping the momentum going.”
No matter the size of your company, everyone faces those days, weeks, or months when it’s like pulling teeth to get the marketing done.
I have been brought in as a marketing coach in giant companies to help fully-staffed inside sales and marketing teams with every tool and unlimited financial support. It happens! So don’t feel bad or embarrassed.
We need those lists, and we might need the help of a coach to make it fun or kick it up a notch.
A few more tips:
Don’t make it up as you go along.
Have systems to fall back on.
Focus on quality, not quantity.
Get more people in your organization trained to help you.
Become better at the easy stuff.
Work with an accountability partner.
Working with an accountability partner or marketing coach is especially effective for busy marketers whose time can get derailed by their bosses or customers.
Working with a coach helps with the mental game, such as managing distractions, desire for perfection, simple procrastination, and accessing your creativity. I recommend scheduling a one-hour Zoom call every week. Start with a few minutes discussing what’s on tap, any external roadblocks, and I like to talk briefly about any gunk in our heads holding us back. Even if it’s exactly the same goals and gunk as last week, saying it loud helps. For the next 40 minutes, you set the timer, and each of you works on your own stuff. Keep to the timer even if you’re not finished. You will find after a few weeks that your brain accommodates and helps you compress your work into the slot. Debrief for 5 minutes – and voilà! – you’re super productive!
TAKING OWNERSHIP OF SUCCESS
Here is something I tell my clients in the printing industry.
It’s more fun if you make your marketing program your own. Pick three things and do them well. Build up areas that naturally stand out to your advantage. Test things in a low-risk way so you don’t get knocked back but can keep moving and flowing. Adjust and be flexible, but give your ideas a chance to work.
GETTING IN THE GROOVE
And now the big secret.
Work on your marketing more often than you think you need to.
I hope, once you are having fun and maybe are working with a coach, that you even look forward to it.
Keep your marketing muscles activated. Return to good ideas and flesh them out. Give yourself some creative thinking time regularly. Do the research and see what people are responding to out there in the world. Get inspired in places where you and your customers don’t typically go. The world is full of ideas. It all fits together.
As far as technology, pick easy tools.
Really, unless you’re a full-time marketer, there’s no need to go over the top. Most marketing tools integrate with each other. If they don’t, that’s what Google is for. Someone has figured it out – I guarantee it.
Once you’re back in the swing with your marketing, we can see if you need more training or better tools. But seriously, there’s rarely a reason to over-complicate things.
UNSTICKING YOURSELF FEELS GREAT
It’s old-fashioned advice, but it rings true with marketing.
If you fall off your horse, climb back as fast as possible. You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be present.
I hope this pep talk gives you helpful ideas on how to get your printing company on track with marketing. Getting your program rolling again is sweet relief and a gigantic weight off your shoulders, isn’t it?
Got questions? Jot them down in the comments below or connect with me on LinkedIn.
Read more from Sandy here.
Read last month’s post here: https://printmediacentr.com/quirky-or-classy-your-newsletter-is-a-gift-to-readers/
Sandy Hubbard is a Marketing Strategist who specializes in the printing industry. She consults with owners, sales managers, and hybrid teams to help them create campaigns that customers love — and results that lead to sales. Sandy is an industry expert who helps clients weave together their marketing channels. Examples of areas where Sandy helps client shine include targeted email and print newsletters, B2B publications, thought leadership articles, LinkedIn and Twitter for sales research, sales landing pages, and sales presentations. Connect with Sandy on LinkedIn or in the #PrintChat group, which she co-hosts with Deborah Corn.