What’s the Hardest Part of Marketing Yourself?

In my Fast Track Marketing System I divide marketing into seven very specific modules:1. The Game of Marketing2. The Mindset of Marketing3. Marketing Messages (Your Value Proposition)4. Marketing and Selling Conversations5. Written Marketing Materials6. Marketing Strategies7. Marketing Action PlansAll of these have their particular challenges. But in my experience in working with thousands of Independent Professionals, it’s #7 that seems to be the hardest for most people.After all, most of the other 6 modules are all about preparation to market yourself.You learn the basics of the game of marketing, you work on your marketing mindset, you develop marketing messages, conversations, and written marketing materials, and ultimately choose the marketing strategies to get the word out.And then the rubber hits the road. You have to actually get out there and connect with potential clients through networking, speaking, an eZine, social media, emails, etc.For most, the bottom falls out of their marketing at this point. It simply goes nowhere, or more specifically it goes into the infamous “Random Zone” where things are done haphazardly and inconsistently.If people have worked to develop the whole foundation of their marketing first, know who their target market is, have put together a web site and have practiced their marketing and selling conversations, they are going to have more success.But even the well-prepared struggle with implementation.Why is putting action plans into action so hard? Here are three of the most common ones. Are they familiar to you?1. As soon as you start reaching out, you face possible rejection. What if your message, your talk, your emails fall on deaf ears? What if your potential clients could care less? What if they outright rejected your promotional efforts?We conjure painful mental images in our mind that stop us cold.For this one we need to work again on our mindset, on our thinking, realizing that if we reach out and people aren’t interested, that it’s not personal. They don’t hate us; either they are simply not good prospects right now or our message doesn’t have the impact it could.So reach out to new prospects and keep improving your messages.2. It takes way more time and effort than you ever thought it would. We think of marketing as a few promotional things we do here and there. This should be easy, we think. But it’s not.Time to do a reality check. Any marketing activity takes time, effort and commitment to make it work. Marketing is a bit of an art and nothing works perfectly on the first draft.You need to make detailed and realistic plans based on strategies that others have used successfully in the past. If you just make it up as you go along, your chances of success are very slim.3. It’s never good enough and although you might even know what you’re doing, you put off your marketing launches until everything is perfect… but it never is.What underlies this are beliefs about perfection, not being good enough and being judged by others. It’s not so much rejection you fear, but disapproval. What will others think of you?Well, if your marketing campaign isn’t relevant to those you are targeting, it’s not a big deal. They’ll just ignore it. They won’t think much about it at all. But for the ones that are looking for what you offer, they’ll not only be interested, they’ll respond.Your prospects are not looking for perfection from you; they’re looking for assistance and value. If you’ve got that, perfection is virtually irrelevant.I’ve done a whole lot of marketing action plans that were rejected by most people, took me a long time to implement, and were far from perfect. And most of them have made me hundreds of thousands of dollars!Marketing success is about know-how, value, commitment, and persistence. Everything else is just a distraction.The Fearless Marketer Bottom Line: There could be a lot of other things stopping you from following through with your marketing plan as well. The question is, where are you going to focus – on your fears and worries about rejection, time, and perfection – or are you going to focus on the value and difference you make and give your marketing plans a real chance?

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The Five Pillars of Marketing Success

Does the following give a pretty good picture of your current marketing activity?You have a website but you’re not really satisfied with it. You go to networking events once in awhile. If someone asks you to give a talk, you’re happy to do it. You post on Facebook and/or LinkedIn semi-regularly. When you find the time, you send an article to those on your relatively small email list. You occasionally set up meetings with colleagues to explore opportunities.Now there’s nothing wrong with any of those marketing activities. And usually, they will result in landing some new clients.But this is not the approach that works to get a steady, predictable stream of new clients.Please don’t tune me out here, thinking, “Well, I really can’t do more than this. I’m already stretched thin. If you give me too much to do I’ll get overwhelmed.”I agree. It’s not that you need to do more marketing, it’s that you need to shift your marketing paradigm from one of “Randomness” to one that is “Focused.”Random marketing is just that; it’s all over the place. You do a little bit here and a little bit there on an inconsistent basis. You are trying to keep your face, name, and message in front of your prospective clients but the results are unpredictable.The Random marketing paradigm is not very effective because it doesn’t gain a lot of momentum. You don’t do enough of one marketing activity to grab the attention of your prospective clients and move them to take action.The Focused Marketing Paradigm is very different. It’s based on repeatedly communicating very directly to your target market with a very definite end in mind. It gets the attention of your prospective clients and they ultimately take action.The Focused Marketing Paradigm has Five PillarsUnderstand and implement these five pillars and I promise you’ll see a shift in your marketing results.Pillar One: Focused GoalsA Random goal is saying something like, “I’d like to attract a few more clients to my business.” Not very compelling is it?A Focused goal is much more specific. “My goal is to land 3 new clients in the high-tech plastics business in the Houston area with an average project size of $30,000 each by the end of the year.”The more detail, depth, and specificity about the goal, the better. You’ve really thought through what you want to achieve and also have confidence that you could deliver if you did reach your goal. It’s so real to you that you can taste it.What is the Focused Goal for your marketing?Pillar Two: Focused Program or Service Random programs or services are generalized consulting, coaching or training programs. “I offer management consulting and training to corporations.” Kind of vague, right? But this is what I hear all the time.A Focused Program or Service is more tangible. “I offer the high-tech plastics industry Management Acceleration Programs for emerging leaders in the industry.”In my business, I’ve always offered programs: The Marketing Mastery Program, the Marketing Action Group, and the More Clients Club. And each program has very specific parameters, deliverables, and objectives. It sure makes intangible services easier to market and sell.What is the Focused Program or Service you’re offering?Pillar Three: Focused Target MarketIn the above example, the target was the “high-tech plastics industry.” But it’s more common to hear things like, “I work with large companies who want to increase productivity.” This is too general and it makes it hard for clients to know if you understand them and can help them.A Focused target market is where you are absolutely clear what kinds of people or companies can most benefit from your expertise. And then you articulate that clearly.I worked with a financial planning company last year that targeted middle class families in the Buffalo New York area. Guess who they attracted to their practice? When people read about who they worked with on their website, they said, “That’s Us!” and called them.Who exactly is your Focused Target Market?Pillar Four: Focused Message and Value PropositionA Random message or value proposition tends to be too general and can be hard to pin down. It avoids making a promise that is meaningful to the prospective client.Messages such as, “We offer the best service in the industry,” or “Smart insights into great management,” are meaningless to your prospective clients. The value is not immediately obvious.A Focused message or value proposition zeros in on exactly what your clients get and what it means to them. I admit that this can be the marketing pillar that is hardest to pin down. Ultimately you have to test a number of different things.For the re-launch of the More Clients Club, my current value proposition is: “Everything Self-Employed Professionals Need in One Place to Attract More Clients.” And now, of course, I’m bending over backward to deliver on that promise.And a marketing message or value proposition is much more than a sound bite. Your message must permeate every aspect of your marketing, from your website to the emails you send out. Your prospects need to be constantly reminded of the value you offer.What is your Focused Message or Value Proposition?Pillar Five: Focused Marketing StrategyA Random marketing strategy is much like the collection of marketing activities I outlined at the top of the article. You’re just all over the place, throwing something at the wall, hoping it will stick, with no organized system or plan.A Focused marketing strategy is more like a putting on a theatrical production. You have the script, the actors, rehearsals, and opening night, all executed on a strict timeline.Two examples:For my Marketing Mastery Program, I held a series of introductory teleconferences, invited those interested to apply for the program, interviewed each applicant, and then converted 50% into participants. Over a 6-week period, I filled my business for a full year – four years in a row.A career coach in one of my programs recently filled her practice in three months with a focused campaign of personalized emails designed to get appointments with her ideal clients. Then she converted a large percentage into paying clients.That’s the power of a focused marketing strategy.You need to identify the right marketing strategy for your business, but even more important is the way you organize and implement the strategy.Developing a focused strategy is the most complex and challenging of the Five Pillars. You can’t just put together something haphazardly and hope you get the equivalent of a professional Shakespearian production.What is your Focused Marketing Strategy?If you work to build a focused plan with these five solid pillars, your marketing will work better and faster, attracting more of your ideal clients, usually at a higher rate.I recommend you work on one pillar at a time. Write them out and fine-tune them until you feel confident and excited about them. Yes, you will need to do some research and study to make sure your plan is viable. But this is certainly better than spinning your wheels with a random strategy that is going nowhere.Cheers, Robert