I often ask people about their marketing programs…what marketing are you doing and how is it going for you? People usually can identify marketing activities fairly easily. It is the second part of my question that becomes more troublesome. Many people reply that they just can’t seem to stick to it.
A lot of marketing success is achieved by being persistent at creating a marketing habit. Habits, good or bad, are something that takes time to develop. Lots of people have great intentions that never quite get off the ground.
I recently came across Charles Duhigg’s newest book: ‘The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business’, which addresses the concept of achieving success by altering people’s habits. In this book, the author talks about ‘the habit loop’. The habit loop is a three-part process:
- First, “there’s a cue, which is kind of a trigger for an automatic behavior to start unfolding,”
- Second, “there’s a routine, which is the behavior itself,”
- Third, ”there’s a reward, which tells our brain whether we should store this habit for future use or not.”
This sounds so simple. But is it really? Yes and No. However, if you can commit to creating one habit (for example, building a new relationship) over a determined period time (say 2 months), you will see that it really isn’t as difficult as you may anticipate.
People have the ability to empower themselves through creating habits. Each step outlined above is independently important. The first step could be considered the starting point to try something new, or adopt a desirable behavior. In our example the trigger is the desire to build a relationship with someone new. The second step, the routine, is the meaty action that will serve to build a credible basis for a relationship. In this case, routine personal interactions between you and your identified individual. The routine may be scheduling follow-up touch points in your calendar such as inviting that person to lunch, or sending them a link to an interesting blog post. Finally, the third (and most fun!) step, the reward. After a period of time, you will experience the individual reaching back out to you. Perhaps this person initiates the next touchpoint, or even better, sends you business. Dwell on that reward and value the power of your new habit. Worth it, right? Yes!
There is strength in creating habits for business. Solid, positive behaviors over an extended period of time will always prove fruitful for business as well as personally. Enjoy the habits you have created and then identify the next good habit you want to develop through this process.
I write a lot of content for all types of people and venues. Regardless of the topic, most of my product appears on websites and blogs. Given the transient nature of website and blog visitors, it is crucial to follow some basic best practices in order to connect with the reader. Here is a brief list of criteria to consider the next time you write copy.
- Keep it relevant– Visitors to your website want information they need. Select topics that mean something to people who can purchase your services.
- Get to the point– Quickly communicate the main theme of your article in the first paragraph, then add detail as you develop the themes you want to communicate.
- Keep it simple– Make sure you stay on topic without muddying your point with extraneous information. Research has proven that people scan more than they read, particularly on websites. Keep your sentences brief and your paragraphs focused on single topics.
- Be clear–Use terms that your readers already know. If you must get into specialty terms, explain them clearly. I am not suggesting that your readers aren’t capable of understanding it. But if you lose them in terminology, they will simply move onto an other resource that they can follow quickly.
- Employ bullet points– Since most readers are actually scanning, using lists of bullet points helps them determine your message quickly.
- Restate your conclusion– Finish your article or blog post with a concluding paragraph that defines what you are talking about.
Regardless of the industry you are writing for, it is crucial to talk to your audience specifically. Think about why they are reading your material and how you can most effectively tell your story. Increase the impact your writing has on your readers by using these simple tips.
We all share this simple truth… life is a balancing act. We all feel the familiar pull of several commitments simultaneously… family, work, friends, acquaintances…. they can all be wonderful experiences. Then why do we feel stressed so much? More often than not, people tell me they feel like they can’t possibly add (or remove) a single ‘to do.’ Despite these feelings, we continue to try to do it all, sometimes to the detriment of our own happiness and success. We all want to feel some sense of control, but we can’t without a thoughtful attempt to balance our lives.
I came across this interesting definition…
“Balance: a condition in which different elements are equal
or in the correct proportions.”
I really like this definition, particularly the words: ”in the correct proportions.” This, to me, is a critical distinction from other definitions of balance. If you take other definitions literally, it is akin to labeling family and friends and work and chores as ‘equal.’ In reality, life is always in flux and at times your family and friends require your full attention. Other times, work occupies the majority of your resources. Neither is permanent, but they also are not equal.
So, where am I going with this? My recommendation for this cold Monday morning in February…Let’s consider the components that make up our world. Let’s assign the ‘correct proportion’ of our available time and resources to each component for just this week. Let’s try a new approach to balance that is based in real time and considers our real limitations– 60 minutes in an hour, not a second more. I hope to take it one step further and make appointments in my outlook so that I can visibly see what I want to accomplish this week. I believe that if we try this approach, we may have a better sense of what balance is truly about. Then we can make any decisions about priorities in a wiser, more thoughtful way.