How to get out of your marketing rut

1st, Dec 2022

Does this sound familiar? You haven’t significantly updated your website or social media profiles in years. You keep sponsoring the same events even though you don’t get any new leads from them. At networking events, you spend the bulk of your time with people you already know. You supposedly commit to writing more articles or doing more presentations but a year later nothing has changed. Your firm’s income is relatively stable but much of your new business is coming from existing referral sources, not fresh ones.

How to get out of your marketing rutYour problem isn’t lack of time, it’s that you are stuck in a marketing rut. It’s what happens when you are sort of satisfied with your business, but not quite and yet you keep doing the same things to promote your business because you’re used to it and you’re not really sure what else to do. I’ve been there personally and coached clients out of it. The issue is that you’re doing just well enough to feel like you don’t have to make a change immediately so you keep putting it off.

Unfortunately, at some point, it will become a necessity and by that time, you’ll feel pressured to turn things around quickly and that’s difficult. Marketing is a long-term pursuit. Your activities build on themselves to keep you in front of your audience so that when opportunities arise, people remember you and can find you easily. When you feel like you have to make changes because it’s ‘do or die,’ you feel frustrated when results don’t happen right away and you’ll give up on solid tactics prematurely – leaving you in your rut.

How do you get out of this cycle?

1. Write down and assess your short (3 months), medium (6-12 months) and long-term goals (over 1 year). You may be meeting your short-term goals, but are you on track to meet longer ones? Is your sales pipeline where you need it to be to replace clients that naturally fall off or to grow your business beyond where you are now? Look at past and present trends in your business to make projections. Once you have truly evaluated where you are likely to end up if things continue as they are, you may be more motivated to make a change.

2. Identify your concerns about marketing. If you really think that marketing is important, you’ll make time. So, what’s the real problem? Are you worried that your marketing won’t be good enough? Do you think that marketing is a waste of money or not worth hiring someone to help you? Do you feel you should be able to market yourself without assistance from anyone else? Unfortunately, I’ve had clients and prospects with all of these views. These are people who endlessly work on their website or an article for a publication but can’t sign off on the finished product because it isn’t “perfect.” Or they waste time on tasks that should have been delegated to others or believe that random acts of marketing are going to work. But if marketing is really useless, why does it work for other people?

3. Change your mindset. Whatever your worries, you have to realize that paralysis is not the answer. Do you know the expression “perfect is the enemy of the good”? Trying to make something perfect can intimidate people so they don’t even try or they start and don’t finish the job. You don’t have to get it all right. Marketing is about trial and error; that’s how you figure out what works best for you. Also, the alternative – keeping the status quo – is more damaging to your business than most changes you could make.

You should also be realistic about doing it yourself, rather than hiring help. Even if you are willing and able to consistently take on some marketing yourself, remember time is money. You should make the highest and best use of your time – spend your time on the things that cannot be delegated, otherwise you’re just wasting money. Many marketing tasks can be done more successfully and cost-effectively by people with the appropriate skill set and experience – that’s marketers.

4. Commit to trying one new thing. No one said you had to remake everything you’re doing. Start with one thing. Maybe spend 15 minutes a day interacting with people on social media by commenting on posts and sharing your own content. Launch a monthly email newsletter. Join a new networking group or a committee of an existing group. Then make a specific commitment of time and/or money to get it done. Put it on your calendar, set goals and hold yourself accountable. If you don’t meet your goals, then get someone to do it for you.

5. Look at your competitors. Even if someone gets your name from a referral source, they will no doubt get other names from other people. They will research and compare you to your competitors. How do you look in comparison? It doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do if you cannot communicate it effectively on your website and social media and through google searches. If your competitors are doing a better job of marketing, they are more likely to be the ones that get called first and prospects may never get to you. So get motivated to up your marketing game by looking at what competitors are doing. Don’t copy them but educate yourself about the possibilities and look for how you can improve.

6. Get professional help. You’re an expert in your field but are you really a marketer? Those skills are not taught in most schools that offer professional degrees. Ideally, contact a professional for advice but at a minimum, educate yourself about marketing trends in your industry. Know the kinds of things you should be doing even if you aren’t ready to do them all yet.

Your marketing won’t get better by itself; you have to be willing to make a change. If you need help, contact us for a free consultation.