Marketing your small business can seem like a daunting or frustrating process. How do you start? More importantly, how do you stick with it? Sometimes you may be so determined to start and make it work that you dive in head first and try to take on too many marketing activities at once. This inevitably leads to burnout and you stop working on it altogether. Sound familiar? Maybe it sounds like the last time you tried to shed a few pounds, too.
Weight Watchers knows all about the challenges people face when taking on a big project that involves behavioral changes. Effectively addressing these challenges is what has made Weight Watchers so successful. In fact, you can easily take lessons from Weight Watchers’ approach to weight loss and apply it to developing good marketing habits as well. Here are a few lessons you can apply to transform yourself from flabby to a lean, mean, marketing machine.
Slow down there, tiger. I know you’re raring to go, but you can’t just jump in without a plan. Specifically, a marketing plan. Weight Watchers provides its members with a weight loss plan that is customized for them. The plans provide the structure needed to achieve their goals, while providing the flexibility to fit their unique needs and challenges.
Having a marketing plan does the same thing. It helps to keep you focused on a particular task at a particular time. It helps you prioritize your marketing activities so you aren’t spreading yourself too thin, which helps you stay productive and avoid burnout. It also takes into account your own strengths and challenges. A good marketing plan should reflect whether or not you have a lot of free time to be posting to social media or writing killer blog posts. It should also reflect whether or not you have a budget to buy advertising. Just like no one weight loss plan is right for everyone, every business has their own unique needs and challenges that need to be addressed.
A big piece of Weight Watchers’ success is that they offer in-person meetings. This gives you the opportunity to meet with a coach to review your progress and address and challenges you’re running into. This kind of support structure works hand-in-hand with the marketing plan to make sure you’re staying on task and continuously making progress.
Educating yourself on certain marketing activities is great. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the way these things work so that your ca use them effectively. But what happens when you have questions? What do you do when you need help interpreting the results and what they mean? As you start working your way through your marketing plan, it’s important to have someone you can turn to when you need some help or advice. Find someone you can turn to when you need help, and you’ll avoid the frustration that can keep you from success.
The latest craze with weight loss programs is tools. It seems every one of them has both an online suite of planning and tracking tools, and a mobile app to go with it. These tools take a lot of the tedium out of successful weight loss by helping you keep track of what you’ve eaten that day, and much more you can eat while still losing weight. They also track your change in weight over time, so you can see if what you’re doing is actually working, or if you need to make adjustments to get back on track.
Marketing tools should work exactly the same way. They should help make some of your marketing activities easier, while also helping you determine their effectiveness. Finding the right tools can help git rid of some of the monotony of your marketing, so you can focus on making it great.
Even the most effective weight loss programs are limited in how fast you can see results. Losing 20 lbs. overnight isn’t going to happen without surgery, so it’s important to set and keep realistic expectations as you work through the plan. If you work hard and stay focused on your goal, those 20 lbs. will come off in time.
Don’t expect a flood of new customers after publishing your first blog post. Just like you won’t wake up skinny tomorrow because you had a salad for lunch today, one blog post isn’t going to make you a millionaire. Take the long view in your marketing and focus on your goals. Look at your change in traffic and leads over a month or more. Are the numbers going up? You should be starting to see trends for which marketing activities are most effective for you, so you know where to focus your efforts and how to revise your marketing plan going forward.
Just like you won’t be losing 20 lbs. overnight, you also won’t lose it unless you’re consistent with your plan. Eating right every day and staying active over the long term is the key to real and sustainable weight loss. Being lean and healthy is a lifestyle, not something you can fix once and then go back to pizza for every meal.
This is the part where changing your behavior is going to be crucial. Creating the healthy habits of blogging, social media, email marketing, etc. that are going to grow your business over the long haul takes consistent effort, week after week. Sticking to your plan to help you prioritize the most important marketing activities can make this consistency from being painful, so that you’re always making progress without getting burned out. Consistency is key.
By now if I haven’t sold you on Weight Watchers, I hope at least I’ve given you some (healthy) food for thought on what successfully marketing your small business is really like. Get yourself a marketing plan, a person or team you can turn to for advice and support, the right tools to help you work efficiently, give yourself time to see the fruits of your labor, and most importantly stick with it!
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