How to Give Your Stalled Marketing Plan a Jump

This used to be the story of my life… I’d consult with a client for months, learning the industry nuances, understanding the competitive set, researching the trends in the particular industry; gaining in-depth understanding of the ideal client and then developing a custom-tailored marketing plan to achieve their business goals.

Together, we’d begin the implementation process and successfully execute one, maybe two tactics… and then, “business” gets in the way and “marketing” gets pushed to the side.

“Just temporarily, of course.” But then weeks turn into months, and months into years and then that client can’t figure out why they paid so much money for a plan that didn’t work!

Of course, it wasn’t that the marketing plan didn’t work, it’s that it had stalled out. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are four simple but effective tips that will give you a better chance of ensuring your marketing plan doesn’t sit in neutral while you continue to wonder why you lost momentum.

Make Appointments (With Yourself!)

A major missing element from many marketing plans is how much time they will require. When you don’t allot the time needed for marketing activities, two things happen: you’ll end up not having enough time to get tasks done, or you can spend too much time on just one task, trying to make it perfect — so perfect that it never gets out the door.

You must begin by making appointments with yourself. Block out marketing time in your calendar every week, and treat it even more seriously than you would a client meeting. When a conflicting priority arises, instead of cancelling your marketing time, reschedule the client. Seriously. If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to serve your clients properly in the long run, because you won’t have a business.

Shift Your Mindset

Sometimes the issue isn’t about time management, it’s about discomfort. Most people I work with didn’t grow up thinking they wanted to become a sales person, so they have most likely never learned many of the basics of marketing and selling. They DO know they want to have people hire them, but they hate the idea of seeming “salesy”.

What they don’t realize is that they are right! The worst way to sell is to be salesy. But what they also don’t know is how to sell WITHOUT resorting to something they consider inauthentic. But it can be done. When I work with my clients, we develop a brand plan that combines the most strategic selling tools with their gifts and passions. If they love to write, we use writing as the primary tool. If they are naturally good in front of a camera, then video. If they’re great in person, speaking and networking. Once you realize you aren’t actually selling, but just helping people get to know you better, it’s amazing how quickly your sales bounce!

Continue to Execute (Even When Things are Good!)

Sometimes, when you’ve actually got a bunch of clients and other priorities are pressing, you may not be able to stick to the implementation of your plan. After all, you’re busy; you’ve got clients. Things are good so it must be working! So you stop. This is the worst possible thing you can do. The only way all the work you’ve done thus far will continue to build your pipeline of customers is if you continue to push ahead on your plan, even when you don’t feel the need! Did Nike stop advertising the minute they got their first big order? Of course not; but entrepreneurs and small business owners often do. When you’re busy with your clients, this is when you want to pay attention to your marketing the most.

Get Some Help

Often, you just need help in getting your marketing plan moving again. A part-time assistant can free up more of your time, a graphic designer can assist in producing marketing materials, working with a brand coach (like me!) can provide guidance about what to do next and how to do it; as well as keep you accountable to your plan. By determining the right things to do, and then staying accountable to getting them done, you eliminate inertia from the equation.

Following any of these four tips can keep your marketing plan from stalling. All of them together can keep you rolling at top speed.

When I was a consultant, I often felt like I was standing by the side of the highway watching my clients stall out but I had no way of helping them (because they were calling the shots). Once I switched my business model to coaching entrepreneurs to develop and implement their own plans, we keep the momentum going together – and I’ve got the jumper cables at the ready if they are needed.

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