04 Apr What Counts as Marketing?: Building on Your Own Great Bones
One of the most interesting client meetings I’ve had recently was about what really counts as marketing.
My client wanted a marketing plan, including timeline, like we create for RAISING CLARITY. This post tells you a lot of what he received from us (though none of his details). Our first question was what are you already doing right? What you are already doing right is the most important first question a coach or consultant can ask. Why pay someone to tell you what you are already doing right?
Turns out that–among other things–our client (and long-time soul-colleague) was already
- crafting and emailing a great newsletter to his whole list.
- traveling to visit clients face-to-face to deliver to them.
Those two things alone gave us pages of ideas for him about marketing, along with guidance on how to timeline them into a marketing plan. Marketing activities + Timeline = Marketing Plan, Demystified! Below are some of our best ideas. You can see how they build on his “great bones”–the things he’s already doing. At the end of this post, we help you think about what you are already doing you can simply build on for a fleshier Marketing Plan.
- If you travel, keep record of where the people live who are on your email list. We are not telling you how to keep record. Ask us for ideas but IF you are tempted to over-technologize it, stop. Do all tech tasks in the simplest way that meets your need. We routinely trim our email list to ~400 and we simply remember where everyone is located. If we don’t, they probably don’t belong on the list so we remove them. (Technology is supposed to make your life easier–not the lives of tech companies.) Your email address book may have a spot on each person’s address “page” to record their town or zip. Then, when you travel,
- email people from that region telling them you’ll be in the area and could meet–whether or not they plan to buy something and even though you would not have time to visit 100% of them if they all said “yes.” It’s not cheating to offer a meeting to all of them and fill up however much time you have with the ones who said “yes” first. (Relationship is everything in RAISING CLARITY’s school of marketing. It’s the essence of marketing. Everything else is an approximation of actually meeting your people face-to-face.) OR
- hold an event in a café or teahouse where everyone buys their own and they get to sit down and talk with you. Email everyone in advance of the gathering to invite them. (This counts as marketing because everyone gets an invitation to something cool from you, not because they all come. People love sincere invitations. They will remember you did this. Some will also write you back and this will build your relationship.)
- Without traveling, hold a virtual meet-up or meet-ing (whichever you call it, depending on what generation you are!)
- online so you can see each other OR
- on the phone using a free conference calling line because frankly most of the time visuals are distracting and pointless anyway AND
- chat on a topic in which you shine. Do it once a quarter; do it once a month. This is such a good idea we are going to start doing it!
- Have a core list. Once in a while, email one thing to your core list instead of your newsletter containing many items which you send to your whole list. Email a love-letter, a true confession or a perk. It keeps your mail and your heart opened. (“Core” comes from the word for “heart. Ask: who on my list would cry if I closed down tomorrow? With actual tears, or “just” inside? That is your core list.)
Notice that none of this costs almost anything. And every bit of it is so basic to human nature and common sense you are probably already doing variations of it but you just didn’t count it as marketing.
What makes it count is when you do it with intention. What makes it a Marketing Plan is when you Timeline It. *You literally make an appointment with yourself to take the next step of your Plan. Each time you meet with yourself, you make an appointment with yourself to take the next step. I italicize “with yourself” because some folks only schedule meetings with other people. RAISING CLARITY Gives you permission to schedule meetings with “just” yourself.
If you know how far in advance you need to plan something like a special email or a newsletter or a trip on which you hope to meet many people, you make appointments (with yourself) for each stage of the planning. If you find you have over- or under-estimated the timing, be sure to use that as good information that will help you integrate changes into your timelining next time. This is our all-time best post where we have poured everything we know about chunking up a big task into timelinable steps.
Keep to your timeline. When you get to the end of your Marketing Timeline, repeat. Think up new stuff to offer. Then timeline those things–and do them.
First, though, think: what am I already doing to contact my people? Especially the things that work–the things that really reach people. I don’t care how many or how few. Those things you are doing that work are your “great bones.” Now think about how you can do more of what works. Spend time doing more of what works and develop it–into an art form. Set aside time in your timeline for writing/creating and disseminating. But most of all, set aside time for experimentation with intention and regularity. Become consistent. Timeline it!
*No need to over-technologize your your timeline. We use a pen and paper datebook with whiteout tape for changes. We track everything this way, backed up by email folders for each correspondent/activity. And we are very organized.