Spring is here again in New England! The sun is shining a bit more warmly, the birds are singing in the morning, the bees are buzzing around the blossoms. Everything is greening up and feeling fresh. It makes me want to refresh my surroundings with productive spring cleaning. What does this have to do with marketing? Lots.
Marketing plans should undergo a spring refresh as well. We are approaching the half-way mark in the year and what have we done so far to further business? To find out, pull out your marketing plan and read it through. Here are a few things you should be looking at specifically:
- What are your goals? Are the goals you set this winter still appropriate? Do you need to tweak them or add something new?
- What are your priorities? You really can’t do everything at once, so selecting the most critical components of your plan and then attaching actionable items will help you to be successful.
- What have you made progress on? Compare your outlook calendar to the actionable items of your plan. Do they line up? Have you scheduled yourself to act upon your goals in small, attainable steps?
- What to do next? Look at what you set out to do in the start of the year and compare what you have actually accomplished. What is the next logical step for you to take?
- Is your plan missing something that you could be working on? If you notice any gaps, fill them in and add actionable items to your calendar and plan.
These are some very high level questions to ask yourself, but they will lead you in the right direction for reconnecting with your goals.
We all know that marketing plans only work if they are used. So, don’t allow your plan to sit on a shelf in the shadows. If your plan isn’t being used, it is time to edit it so that it becomes your road map. Remember, we are talking baby steps here. Don’t be afraid to act upon something. Sudden change should never derail you, but rather invigorate you to try something new within your plan. Just be sure that everything you undertake furthers your business goals.
Finally, calendar appointments to remind yourself to review and update your plan from time to time. Keeping it in the forefront of your to-do list keeps marketing top of mind. Continuously working at it will make you successful.
We have a simple rule in our house: ’Be nice to everyone no matter what.’ My kids look at me quizzically on this mantra from time to time. They know the truth. Reality is…not everyone is nice to them all the time. So, why should they be nice back? I just smile and tell them, “it doesn’t matter how they treat you, but you need to be nice to everyone anyway.” So, why do I have this mantra? Because being nice really matters. It matters in personal lives and in the business world. I have seen the benefits first hand. Here are a few reasons to live by this mantra:
- It feels good eventually, even when you don’t want to be nice at first. Anger is a temporary emotion that is usually replaced with more positive emotions, which are usually much longer lasting.
- You never know what the future brings. Over a lifetime, you meet a lot of people who will move into lots of different areas. You never know when your paths may cross again and you may need to help each other out with something.
- At the end of the day, your reputation is all you have. Tarnish your reputation and it may never shine again.
Being nice doesn’t mean gushing over someone or bending over backwards to help someone who you just can’t stand. It does mean being respective, helpful and kind.
Long term relationships help all of us live full and productive lives. The more positive those relationships are, the nicer experiences we will all have. So, the next time you are tempted to be nasty to someone, rethink that interaction. Walk away, take a deep breath or just change your mind to something more positive. It isn’t always easy, but remember what Mom always said… “if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.” It works.
I am thrilled to be presenting at the upcoming InPractice conference in Hartford, Connecticut on May 3rd. My session is entitled ‘DIY MARKETING: ESSENTIAL TOOLS AND GADGETS TO HELP YOU SUCCEED.’ There are so many things that solo practitioners and small law firms may do to market their practices. My colleague, Kirsten Lovett, and I want to cover it all, but are forced to make some tough choices and prioritize the topics. Sound familiar?
There are so many worthy marketing initiatives to choose from to build visibility, support brand awareness and bring in new business. Everyone has limited time and resources. So… how do you choose what to focus on? Here is one approach.
Identify your strengths. For example,
- Are you technologically savvy? If so, consider choosing websites, video, blogs and social media posts.
- Are you a strong writer? If so, consider writing a regular blog or publishing articles to set yourself apart as a thought leader on a given topic.
- Are you comfortable in networking or presentation settings? If so, attend local events or locate some presentation opportunities to gain some visibility.
After you have identified your strong skills, consider these types of things:
- What are the available resources, both financially and in terms of availability.
- Identify target audiences.
- Identify a specific message about your services for each audience.
- What are the available marketing tools that you can immediately use. If there aren’t any, what vendors or consultants can help you get those tools.
With both of these steps in place, select one activity to focus on first. Pick something specific and book the time you need to prepare and complete the activity. Finally, track your results. Both tangible and anecdotal– how did you feel about it before the activity, how did you feel following the activity, what positive results occurred, did anything negative occur, etc… If you deem the results from your initiative worthwhile, repeat the procedure again. Each time you repeat the action, perform the analysis to study the results.
Ultimately, it is important to build a marketing plan based on strategy. Reality is that sometimes you need to just get started by jumping in. Be careful… you do not want to perform ‘random acts of marketing’. Carefully select initiatives that fit into an overall program for building awareness, supporting your brand and confirming your skills within the marketplace.