Marketing your business is a constant process of creating, nurturing, and servicing client relationships. As entrepreneurs, we constantly have to keep the ball rolling, which requires a lot of time and energy. When it comes to a marketing plan, the same principle applies. But often times, we find ourselves at a standstill or even dropping the ball when it comes to our marketing plans. Even if your marketing has gotten off to a good start, it won't keep revolving by itself.
You may find yourself off to a great start with your marketing plan. You had tons of meetings and brainstorming sessions, created a content calendar, and laid out a plan. Everything is set and looks great on paper. But 2-3 months later, you find yourself staring at your website and social media platforms with no new content. Your enthusiasm has fizzled and you are having trouble getting clients to contact you. So why do some entrepreneurs thrive when it comes to their marketing, and others run out of steam?
There are three common factors that stop many entrepreneurs in their tracks.
1. They fall at the first challenge. We are in an instant gratification world and many entrepreneurs expect immediate results from their marketing efforts. When the phone doesn't start ringing, they get discouraged.
2. They feel like they have no time. It's the most common excuse that entrepreneurs give, leading to lackluster efforts with marketing their businesses.
3. They feel like they have no new ideas. They may be feeling everything has been done before, leading to a lack of enthusiasm and engagement with their clients.
These are all too common obstacles that get in the way with executing an effective marketing plan. But this leads us back to the first point of marketing being a constant process. An effective process requires energy and effort that is not only achievable, but sustainable. It is the small successful days that lead to successful weeks, months, and years. There are a several things you can do as an entrepreneur to set your business up for success in regards to your marketing plans.
1. Take ownership:
It is essential that you take responsibility and ownership to push your marketing strategy forward. The phrase "If you build it, they will come" is not accurate when it comes to creating a profitable business. You must let people know about what services and products you have to offer! This does not happen by itself, you need to be dedicated to creating new content ideas, helping and sharing on social media, monitoring how your audience responds, and making an effort to share your knowledge and expertise with others.
2. Create a process:
Your marketing content will not publish itself and you will need a process that will ensure the content is published regularly at a high standard. This process should include a calendar, task list, and automated campaigns. You should build your process around your marketing goals, whether that is to educate, engage, or influence potential clients.
We utilize 17hats for our process to create automated email campaigns to potential clients. If we left this up to ourselves, without the automation or task reminders, we would forget and not provide consistent marketing and education to potential clients. Our goal is to provide all of our prospects and clients excellent customer service, and for us that meant having a system in place to create consistent communication.
3. Store your great ideas and keep them in the pipeline:
You will always be coming up with new ideas, that is just what we do as entrepreneurs. What matters is what you do with these great ideas and how you will stow them away for future use. This is where capturing your ideas for the future is so vital to your marketing strategy. Use a capture list so your idea pipeline is ready for future marketing plans.
4. Incorporate short term and long term strategies in your marketing plan:
Your marketing plan should include long term and short term strategies, so you create the most impact and influence for your audience. You will need long term strategies, which include editorial news, like your newsletters or information on important topics in your industry. But you also will need short term strategies where you will inform people about new products and upcoming events. A good balance of both will allow you to communicate with your audience in an informative, genuine way and your prospects will feel more connected to you, rather than being solicited.
5. Stay inspired:
The greatest challenge in marketing is keeping ideas fresh, relevant, and coming in. Follow other people in your industry and other industries to inspire you. Read and listen to new business ideas. Do brainstorming sessions and think about your audience's problems to help provide them with solutions. It's amazing to think about the impact you can have on your audience with your marketing efforts. Stay motivated, stay inspired, and keep working your marketing strategy to impact your audience at the highest level.
Links included in this post:
Need help with your marketing? Photographer Entrepreneurs Association offers marketing templates, like business cards, flyers, and postcards to save you time and money, so you can focus on giving your clients the best customer experience.
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About the Authors:
Paul & Melissa Pruitt are the founders of Photographer Entrepreneurs Association, an online community that provides education, business coaching, and personal development to photographer entrepreneurs. Together they provide support and mentoring and speak nationally on small business solutions. Paul is an expert business and marketing coach with national speaking experience and a published writer with Entrepreneur.com. Melissa is a two time published author (including the Amazon best selling book PROFITographers co-written with Paul), TEDx speaker, and contributor for the Huffington Post. They have a love for travel and helping others grow personally and professionally.