I’ve written a lot about the parallels between marketing and fitness. The thing is, when I wrote those posts, I wasn’t actually doing any exercise!
I see the irony. Many of the business owners I so often encounter know they could do with stepping up their marketing efforts… but this doesn’t always translate into action.
This time last year I decided, once and for all, to sort it out. I got myself a personal trainer. I started at one session per week, built up slowly, to the point where you’ll find me out for a run at around 5.45am most mornings.
Yes, you read that right. I’m a Miracle Morning practitioner. In my morning reflections and thoughts whilst running, I am often drawn back to the absolute truth of the posts I wrote years before actually doing any exercise. If only I had put into action then what I already knew!
What I didn’t truly know was the phenomenal benefits. So, for those of you who know that marketing is something you could do better, but for whatever reason you’re not actually doing anything proactive and systematic about it at the moment, let me spell out what getting it right would mean for you…
Effective marketing gives you stability
If you put a balanced marketing routine in place that supports every step of a sale and commit to a consistent level of ongoing activity, you can jump off the cashflow rollercoaster.
Predictability of income, or at least confidence that there is business coming down the tracks, is such a relief to so many growing businesses. The stomach-wrenching process of seeing if the there’s enough in the bank to cover your bills each month, can be replaced with the tummy-fluttering excitement of planning ahead.
Effective marketing gives you sustainability
When you get to a position of stability, you will have the confidence to invest in people, process and systems that mean the business stops being wholly reliant on you. What’s more, the lower levels of stress mean that you are more resilient to the knocks that come your way.
Effective marketing gives you selectivity
This one is a bit chicken and egg. One of the Foundation Leaks in Watertight Marketing is ‘the wrong kind of work’. I equate this to your diet in a fitness analogy. Making 80%+ of your clients into the kind that truly energise you, both in terms of your passion and your profitability, will undoubtedly improve your business health.
People often think that they’ll do this once they’ve got enough customers to enable them to afford to do so. This is a bit like saying you’ll stop eating pies when you’ve lost some weight.
It is certainly true that when you are in high demand it is easier to say no to the type of work that weighs you down and eats at your motivation. The really smart business owner simply makes the choice not to take on that sort of baggage.
Saying no to work that would cover the bills, but you know isn’t a good fit, can look like a difficult choice. For me, it’s been the most liberating and ultimately profitable choice I’ve ever made.
Effective marketing allows you to scale
With a systematic approach to marketing, that is well-documented and understood consistently across your business, you can step things up, without the fear of over-stretching yourself.
What many of our clients have done is tighten everything up in one market or on one product, and then use this as the template to roll across the other areas of the business. Others have tightened up across the whole business, but done so in a three-step plan that has made it manageable. This is exactly what the Thirteen Touchpoint Leaks allows you to do. Coupled with ABC Budgeting, you can steadily scale your investment, and your return.
Effective marketing allows you to go for a sale
When you have these things in place, you are perfectly positioned for someone to invest in, or acquire, your business.
Demonstrating a foundation of stability, followed by steady upward trend is essential for any would-be investor. If that growth is reliant on what is in one person’s head, there isn’t really anything to buy. Putting in a recognisable and repeatable system, with a common language and accessible resources, is critical to getting a good deal for your business.
Effective marketing gives you sanity and self-fulfilment
All of what has been said above is true. But, what I missed with the exercise, and what I suspect many miss with marketing, is that it sets you free too.
This isn’t all about profit potential, it’s about personal potential.
As I’ve practised what I preach (both on marketing and on fitness), I have experienced the immense satisfaction of seeing the vision I sketched on paper become a reality. There is nothing quite like it. From those little ‘wow – these jeans fit’ moments of seeing the effort pay off, to something so much bigger.
It’s knowing that you’ll have the energy to play with your kids and the time pursue a few soul-nourishing interests. It’s knowing that your long-term business plans are truly in reach.
It sounds so easy!
Let me be really honest. There are some other things that systemising and stepping up your marketing will liberate you from… at least temporarily. They are comfort and cash!
When you first start exercise, it hurts. Seriously, the pleasure of simply sitting down without wincing was taken from me. If you’ve not really done any marketing, the experience will be similar. You’ll need to make initial investments that may not pay back for some time… years in some cases.
I am confident that my initial pain in getting to enjoy exercise, and my increased cardio-vascular fitness through my daily commitment will pay me back for decades (if I keep at it). Same with my marketing, the big investments – like my visual identity, templates and technology – will pay-back over three to five years. Whilst the baseline stuff I do every day is building a strong platform for many years of business success.
Then, of course, there’s money. To move your business forward significantly, you do usually need to find the money to invest. Though, funnily enough, doing so has a remarkably motivating effect in and of itself.
Now, I won’t lie. I have had times, with my energy and with my business, where all I want to do is hide under a duvet. What I’ve found is the more I can put behind my marketing, and the more exercise I do, the more I feel able to get out in the world.
The breakthrough for me on the fitness front was to invest in a personal trainer to hold me accountable (especially when pushing through he pain), and to commit to a year of doing what I always knew I should do.
© Bryony Thomas – The Watertight Marketer
Author & Founder, Watertight Marketing
Bryony Thomas is the creator of the multi-award winning Watertight Marketing methodology, captured in her best-selling book of the same name. She is one of the UK's foremost marketing thinkers, featured by the likes of Forbes, The Guardian, Business Insider and many more, and in-demand speaker for business conferences, in-house sales days and high-level Board strategy days.