THE DREAM: Your marketing plan runs like clockwork day in and day out, attracting new customers all the time and reinforcing the clients you already have.
THE REALITY: Your marketing plan languishes in the bottom of a desk drawer awaiting your action.
Friend, if your situation is the former, you may want to just skip this issue of The Cornucopian. However, if the latter sounds a wee bit closer to your own reality, I’ve got a few suggestions to help dust off that marketing plan.
I’m sure you’re a savvy business person, so you’re probably more than a little miffed that you’ve procrastinated this long on an aspect of your business that’s so important. (After all, you never procrastinate important business projects!)
So why the delay?
All Work and No Play
For years my mother asked me, “When are you going to finish the dollhouse?” Sure, she enjoyed needling me, but also this mostly finished dollhouse was taking up space in her house – a house I no longer lived in.
My folks had bought me this cute dollhouse kit sometime in my childhood when I’d plunked it down on my holiday wish list with a bunch of stars all around it. My dad and I enjoyed doing shop projects together, so it seemed a natural fit.
This was no cookie-cutter dollhouse. This kit permitted custom painting, wallpaper, roof shingles and lots of other features not seen on standard dollhouses. It had been assembled for years awaiting further decoration.
At one point, I painstakingly followed my dad’s instructions for gluing on each and every wooden roof shingle from the bottom up. Check another task off the list towards completion.
I’d been asking for and collecting miniature furnishings for years. But now in my 20s my heart wasn’t in it anymore. I just had no connection with the benefits of completion and the originally-anticipated enjoyment of having a custom dollhouse. Bottom line: There was no fun in it – just a lot of work!
Where’s the Fun in That?
That’s the problem with your marketing plan: Putting it into action is no fun for you!
The fun part for you is your work specialty, your passion. It’s finding the perfect house for a client, or resolving a complex tax problem, or diagnosing and repairing an unusual engine problem for a client’s car. That kind of fun energizes you and leaves you excited.
How to Make Marketing Fun
If your eyes begin to sparkle when a prospect says, “I need something with an extended backyard,” that’s your fun getting engaged. Or maybe it’s hearing, “I don’t know why the engine is knocking when I accelerate,” that sends your gray cells fluttering into overdrive thinking about possible sources of the problem.
The bottom line: your fun-o-meter is clicking into gear in anticipation of solving a fun problem. You need to make getting your marketing plan in action fun, too.
Engage Your Fun-O-Meter
Since prospective clients’ problems engage your fun-o-meter, think about your most perfect, ideal client, and your fun-o-meter begins to engage:
- Ask yourself: “What would my ideal client say about me?” And write out the answer – as many variations as you can think of. If you already have client testimonials were the perfect endorsements, can you craft them into a brochure? A web page? Sprinkled throughout your Facebook fan page?
- Reverse the steps in your head (like in a movie) for getting that perfect comment: You studied the problem and resolved it; you discussed the problem with the client; and you received an email from the prospect describing what they thought they needed, having seen your website. Can you craft a Case Studies web page with examples of your work?
- If the client attended a speaking engagement and was intrigued, how can you fill your calendar with more speaking engagements to attract more clients like her?
Sometimes your marketing plan has been created using too much cookie-cutter formula, leaving you, the business owner, disengaged from it. You haven’t been able to take ownership of it yet. Sure, it might map out the shortest route from point A to point B. But what if you prefer the Road Less Traveled?
It’s like the dollhouse: There’s no personal engagement for you. It’s a sterile, disconnected thing that lives in your drawer with or without your attention. But here’s the thing: It’s worthless in the drawer.
A plan without action has no value and might as well not exist.
What Makes a Great Marketing Plan
A good marketing plan is one that excites you. It energizes you because you can feel how it will accelerate the growth of your business. That’s a plan you can’t wait to take action upon. That’s a plan that stimulates you to try even more strategies and tactics that you didn’t think of when you first began.
Great marketing plans continue to evolve because you’re constantly evaluating what is and isn’t working, and then you adjust accordingly. And you do it because you love the results AND the process of getting there.
All you need to do, Friend, is connect the dots between what you’ll get as a result of taking action and the grunt work to get you there! (Of course we all dislike some of the nitty-gritty tasks we must do for our businesses. But it sure goes a lot faster when we convince ourselves it’s fun.)
Mary Poppins had it right: “In ev’ry job that must be done, There is an element of fun, You find the fun and snap! The job’s a game.”
Get your game on! Let the fun begin!