Thursday, January 22, 2009

30-Day Marketing Challenge: Little and often

That title is taken from a recent blog post of the same name by Janine Adams at Peace of Mind Organizing. I loved it because it fits in so well with my approach to marketing my business.

Here's what she says:

A little phrase that’s been going through my head a lot lately is “little and often,” something Mark Forster writes about in his books and something that’s really come to the forefront of my mind as I work with his Autofocus task-management system. Little and often simply means working on a project a little bit at a time, frequently (or at least regularly).

I think some of us—including me, particularly in the past—feel like we have to have a large chunk of time available to work on a large project before we can get started. Trouble is, that large chunk of time rarely becomes available. But if we apply the principle of little and often, we can chip away at the project bit by bit and get it done.

It can also be applied to routine tasks. If you wash what few dirty dishes you have every single day, you’re applying the principle of little and often. And you never have a big pile of dirty dishes to contend with. If you let them pile up until you have a whole sink (or dishwasher) full, it feels likes more work. And it’s more stressful to look at all those dirty dishes.

She's talking about organizing, but it applies to marketing, too. In fact, it applies to all of time management. One of the primary obstacles I hear from self-employed folks is that they don't have the time to market. I often wonder how much time they think they need, or how much they've found they need in practical experience.

My approach to marketing is to take it in 10 minute or 30 minute chunks. In 10-30 minutes I can do one or two of the following:
  • Start to draft a query.
  • Seek the name or email of a potential client.
  • Research one or two markets.
  • Update my standard letter of introduction and send it out.
  • Contact a source to use as an anecdotal lede in the query.
  • Follow up on a query I send two weeks ago.
  • Ask fellow freelancers via email to suggest a good market for a potential story.
  • Polish up a query and send it.
  • Reslant and resend a previous query.
  • Ask an editor to lunch.
Most days, "query" is a task on my to-do list, but since I don't feel like I have to complete a query from inception to submission at one time, I can make a tiny bit of progress on each one. That's how I make time for marketing.

In a way, it's like writing a business plan in Tim Berry's model:
You don't have to stop time and suspend life and business while you do the whole thing from start to finish. On the contrary, start anywhere, get going. Pick a module to do first, whether it's target market conceptually or specific sales forecast or whatever, and do that, start using that, and go on with your business. Then do another, then another. A good business plan is never done. It's also useful from module one on day one.
Apply this to your marketing efforts, do a little often, and it will become not just a working part of your business, but an easy part of your business.

What time management techniques help you fit marketing into your day?

Photo courtesy of fdecomite.

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