I’ve begun training for my first half-marathon — which is a big deal considering I’ve only completed a 5k thus far! I have my sights set on the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February 2012. That gives me a lot of time to ramp up slowly and safely! As I was running the other day, I thought about how much my training mirrors some of the best rules for marketing. You see, the other day I was really pushing it. I had mapped out a 5-mile route and I was really excited to reach that goal. (A 5k is only 3.1 miles for reference.) I was running and running and had reached 4.4 miles when I really felt wiped out. I knew I could push myself to reach the 5 mile mark, but at what cost? My friend, Dr. Peggy Malone always says to watch out for doing too much too soon, so I stopped. The same is true for marketing!
Here are some running rules that apply to marketing as well:
Map Out Clearly Defined Goals
If I relied on myself to up the ante each week, I would probably never run any farther! I am always tired at the end and wondering how much more I can take. By mapping out a goal for the week, however, I already know what the plan is and I can make it happen. If I know that I am going to go for an early morning run on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, then I plan ahead. I’ll go to bed earlier the nights before — or set out my running outfit so that I have no excuses in the morning!
The same is true for marketing. I find that I get a lot more done if I spend some time Sunday evening mapping out my goals for the week. If I know I want a blog post to go out on Monday and Thursday, a newsletter to go out Tuesday and Thursday and a press release to hit on Wednesday, then I can plan accordingly. If I started the week simply wanting to “get some marketing done this week” then I would most likely finish having accomplished nothing.
Listen To Your Body
Setting goals is great, but sometimes there is no way around a bad week. Every run isn’t perfect — far from it! Sometimes you head out and you just know that you are in the zone. Everything goes your way, the air is cool, your muscles feel strong and the music keeps you pumped up. Other times your calves cramp up too quickly and rather than enjoying the zone, you find your mind focusing on everything that aches. Sometimes it isn’t your body that gets in the way, sometimes it’s life — illness or a vacation can turn your schedule upside down. When that happens, don’t worry about it — and certainly don’t beat yourself up!
Marketing is the same way. Know your goals and stick to them as much as possible — but be aware that life happens. And that’s okay! Sometimes we set goals that are too aggressive and we need to readjust. Sometimes that newsletter or blog post simply doesn’t get done this week. In the end, a missed day here or there isn’t going to ruin your success.
Consistency is the Cornerstone to Success
Running a half-marathon is going to take consistent training. It will do me no good to be able to run 10-12 miles now only to stop training a few months later. With my targeted race in February, the best thing that I can do is log runs consistently each week that are 3, 5, and 10 miles long. That will keep my body in shape and leave me ready for the big day.
Marketing is the same way. Doing a BIG push with ads, press releases, articles, blog posts, etc… for a few months and then completely dropping off is actually worse than doing a little bit each week. Set realistic goals and then chip away at it each week. Committing yourself to a daily blog post, for example, is unrealistic for most people. Updating your blog twice a week, on the other hand, will result in more consistent content and followers who know that they’ll be hearing from you regularly.
What rules to you follow with your marketing? What are the principles that guide success in your personal life and your business?