I had a prospect ask me if I would be willing and able to post on social media for his company. They wanted three posts per week on Facebook.
This isn’t something I typically do, but I asked a few questions, hoping I could refer him to someone who could help him develop and execute a social media strategy. And maybe I could help him develop original content.
I started with a question that sounds simple but is difficult to answer.
Why do you want to post on Facebook? Why do you want to post three times per week?
That leads to deeper questions that most small to midsize business owners or marketing directors are unable to answer.
Who is your target audience? Do they go to Facebook expecting to find the kind of information you plan to share? What kind of information are they looking for?
What do you hope to achieve by posting on Facebook three times per week? What does success look like? Is that vision of success realistic? How will you measure success?
Weight Loss Gimmicks for Marketers
It’s not uncommon for someone to come to me and say, “I want to start blogging once a week. How much do you charge?”
That’s not a bad thing, but back up a second, sparky.
Do you want to blog once a week because it’s part of your strategic marketing plan, or did you read an article that says you should blog once a week?
This approach wreaks of some kind of weight loss gimmick that people latch onto at this time of year. They start the year all gung ho with a shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch and a sensible dinner. Or they follow silly point systems or eat nothing but freeze-dried meals that they paid way too much for.
After a few weeks of depriving themselves and possibly losing too much weight too quickly, they realize they can’t sustain this particular weight loss gimmick.
Kind of like being unable to sustain a blogging frequency of once a week. Because marketing, especially the blog, is the first thing to go to the backburner when things get busy. Not only is all momentum lost, but you can’t meet the expectation you created during your gung ho phase.
Sure enough, the weight comes back. And then some. And you’re no better off than you were on December 31. In fact, you might be in worse shape. What started as a weight problem could turn into depression and chronic illness.
Healthy Weight Loss for Marketers
I’m no doctor, I don’t play one on TV, and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn last night. But I’ve written a lot of content for doctors who have taught me quite a bit.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that any health care provider worth their salt will tell you healthy, permanent weight loss doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t come from “as seen on TV” gimmicks. It doesn’t come from New Year’s resolutions.
It comes from lifestyle change. It comes from understanding how the body functions, how the body processes food and stress, how certain foods make you chronically ill and overweight, etc. If you create a plan that combines good nutrition, the right exercise program and stress reduction, your body can function at an optimal level.
And, not coincidentally, you’ll lose weight. As long as you continue to make smart choices, the weight won’t come back.
That’s the difference between a resolution and a plan. The same principle applies to marketing.
Just like a crash diet can help you lose weight temporarily, a marketing blitz can get your business in front of more people for a brief period of time.
But outside of a short-term spike in website traffic and “likes”, what have you really achieved? Is your business better off? Or is it forever chronically ill?
If you use the new calendar year as motivation to improve your marketing, more power to you. I’m on board with commitment, regardless of what kicks it into high gear.
But if you want your marketing to work, and you want long-term, sustained success, a resolution won’t cut it. You need a strategic plan.
You need to set realistic goals. You need to understand your target audience. You need to do some research. You need to work on your message. You need to know what to measure and how to measure it. You might need to do some testing.
Hate to be a wet blanket, but marketing is hard. That’s a big reason why most businesses fail. It’s not because of poor products and services. It’s because of poor planning, especially with marketing.
But if you’re willing to put the effort and investment into your marketing, you’ll have a big leg up on most of your competitors before you even get started.
And instead of constantly looking for the next gimmick to jumpstart your business, you’ll have the solid foundation of a strategic marketing plan that positions you for long-term growth.