More Is Not Necessarily Better

Article by C.J. HaydenHave you ever noticed what happens when an independent professional speaks up in a group or posts to a message board and says, “I’m not getting enough clients. What should I do?” Inevitably, everyone responds with a different marketing idea. “Have you tried joining a leads group?” one person asks. Someone else suggests, “What about writing a blog?” Another listener adds, “Running an AdWords campaign really worked for me.” The next person says, “You should consider starting a podcast.” Another insists, “You need a Facebook fan page.” Yet another responds, “Are you publishing any articles?”

And so the client-deficient professional walks away with a long list of new marketing ideas to try. You would think our professional would now feel empowered and hopeful about the likelihood of getting more clients. But in reality, a more common reaction to a deluge of supposedly helpful information like this is to feel confused and overwhelmed.

How do you know which of those ideas will pay off for you? Should you be doing all of these things? If not, which ones should you try first? Where do you find out how to do something you never heard of before, like joining a leads group or starting a podcast? Shouldn’t you be finishing your website first? And what about those follow-up calls you’ve been meaning to make? Yikes!

It’s human nature to offer as much advice as possible to someone with a problem. It’s also human nature to always look for a better mousetrap than the one you already have. But the combination of these two human proclivities can have a deadly result for professionals seeking clients.

Let’s say you are just starting out in business, and you have attended a few networking events, started a simple website, and mailed out a few letters to prospective clients, all with minimal results so far. You wonder, quite naturally, if you are doing the right things. So you ask for some advice.

Your peers, wanting to be helpful, make many different suggestions about what you should do. You, wanting to find the best possible mousetrap, decide to try them all at least once. In addition to what you are already doing, you are going to join a leads group, create a blog, launch an AdWords campaign, start a podcast, launch a Facebook fan page, and write some articles.

You attend the leads group twice, then find you are too busy on other marketing tasks to make the meetings. You post to the blog a few times, but never get around to doing anything to promote it. Your AdWords campaign is getting plenty of clicks and costing you a bundle, but no clients are resulting from it, probably because you never finished updating the copy on your website.

You take a class to learn how to start a podcast, but get bogged down in the technical details. You launch a fan page on Facebook, but your only fans are your family and personal friends. You write an article and get it published in a friend’s newsletter, but don’t have time to submit it anywhere else, nor to write more articles.

Meanwhile, you haven’t had a chance to follow up on the contacts you made at those networking events before you got all this new advice, nor have you ever called any of the people you sent those marketing letters to.

And with all this effort, you still aren’t getting enough clients. Not that you would have any time to serve more clients anyway, because you are too busy marketing!

This is the unhappy, but all too common result of piling idea after idea onto your marketing plate. Lacking the time and resources to execute any of the ideas well, you get poor results. Thinking your original ideas must be wrong, you add even more ideas to the mix. But more is not necessarily better.

When you’re in a restaurant and the dessert menu arrives, how often do you order five different kinds and try a sample of each one? Instead, it’s much more likely that you consider the menu carefully, weigh your choices, and pick just one dessert for today’s meal. You know you can’t (or shouldn’t) eat five of them, nor do you want to spend your money on ordering five and only taking a bite of each one.

No, you choose one dessert, and most likely, savor it to the last bite. You enjoy it, finish it, and feel satisfied with your meal.

If you applied this same sort of thinking to your marketing, it might work like this. Looking at the menu of possible marketing ideas, you first decide how many ideas you have room for – one, two, three? Then you choose one, two, or three from the menu that best fit your needs and desires. What do you like doing? What seems like it would be most effective with your target market? What do you already know how to do? What do you have the time and money to do well?

Once you have chosen your ideas, make a commitment to follow them through to completion before you try any others. Finish your dessert before starting the next meal.

Our overwhelmed professional above had already chosen three marketing ideas before getting all that new advice. He/she was attending networking events, working on a website, and mailing letters to prospective clients. It’s entirely possible that the only reason those ideas hadn’t produced any results yet was because they hadn’t been completed.

When you attend a networking event, make time to follow up afterward with the people you meet. Instead of always finding new events to attend, go back to the same ones over and over. When you launch a website, get it ready for prime time before you start working on attracting traffic to it. When you mail letters to prospective clients, plan to follow them up with phone calls, and to mail and call again if you don’t get a response.

More is not necessarily better. Three simple marketing ideas, executed well, and followed through to completion, may be all you need to build your business. Twenty fancy marketing ideas, executed poorly, and left incomplete due to lack of time and resources, might just drive you out of business instead.

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I agree with you, we won’t order five items from the menu. We’ll order only what we want to eat.