"What's changed?" I asked her. "We discussed that option before, and you thought it wasn't a good fit for you."
"I still don't think it's a great fit," she told me. "My best clients have always come to me from personal referrals. But I've been focused on building my referral network for a while now, and I feel like it's time to do something new."
Whoa! Did I hear correctly? My client says she doesn't think a Facebook page is a good idea for her business, but she's going to create one anyway, because... why?
I've seen this happen many times with professionals who do their own marketing. They'll be rolling along following a simple, effective marketing plan, and then -- pow! -- they blow it off the tracks and start doing something entirely different.
Here are some of the common reasons professionals change their marketing plan while it's still in progress, and what you can do to stop this from happening to you.
1. Bored with doing the same old thing.
Keep your interest alive by adding variety to marketing tasks. If you've been going to the same networking meetings all the time, choose a new one to attend occasionally. (But don't stop going altogether or switch to networking exclusively online.) If you've been faithfully posting to your blog weekly, change it up with a series of short daily posts. (But don't stop posting completely, or start posting to Twitter instead.)
Follow the "just enough" principle. Change just enough of what you're doing for it to become interesting again, but don't throw it out and start anew with something else.
2. Losing faith in what you're doing.
Take steps to create a good plan to begin with, then get a reality check from someone you trust. If your plan was created by essentially throwing darts at a list of possibilities, you won't have much faith in it. Spend the time up front to design a plan that makes sense for your business, current situation, and personality. Consider using Get Clients Now! or The One-Person Marketing Plan Workbook to help you.
When you're unsure whether your plan is on the right track, consult with a friend, colleague, or expert who truly knows your business and how to succeed at it. Remember that most marketing tactics take time to pay off. Getting some outside perspective from a trustworthy source can help you stick with a winning plan that hasn't shown many results yet.
3. Attracted by a Bright Shiny Object.
We entrepreneurs tend to be creative, energetic, and willing to take risks. These qualities often go hand-in-hand with Bright Shiny Object Syndrome -- the attraction to new ideas, a preference for starting as opposed to finishing, and a strong dose of wishful thinking.
Work with a buddy, group, or coach who knows your plan and will remind you why you chose it. Having regular check-ins with a person or group to whom you are accountable is one of the best antidotes to an affinity for shiny distractions.
4. Convinced by someone else you're on the wrong path.
When marketing isn't your specialty, it's easy to be swayed by the opinions of others about what you should and shouldn't be doing. I've seen professionals throw out a perfectly good marketing plan because a friend said it wouldn't work, they read some blog posts from an expert in a whole different industry, or they were sold an expensive program or campaign by a guru or vendor whose only interest was making a sale.
Follow the steps above to create a plan that makes sense, check it out with someone you can trust, keep your interest high, and gain the support of a person or group who will help you stick with it. Then you'll have the confidence to deflect opinions that might send your carefully-designed plan into a tailspin.
Finally, remember that you may think your marketing needs changing long before your prospective clients do. In fact, they may not even be AWARE of your marketing yet -- or of your business. Don't walk away too soon, and miss the payoff from all the hard work you've already done.
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