What new year’s resolutions and marketing shouldn’t have in common.

The weekend after Thanksgiving I went for my normal morning run in the woods near my house. From my perspective, just another run on just another morning. But, unlike most mornings, the woods were full of runners that didn’t run there much. Or, like, ever.

First, good for them. Running is an awesome sport! Second, we all know why they were there: it was the annual post-Thanksgiving feast guilt run. This is not unlike the post-new-year’s-resolution hit-the-gym-fest in January. You know; people make a resolution to take better care of themselves so the gyms are all super full… for about a month.

As I was running that day, it hit me how similar this behavior is to how a lot of small businesses think about their marketing; instead of buckling down to year-round steady marketing discipline, they do a few spectacular bursts of marketing and hope it works for them. And when it doesn’t, they assume that marketing doesn’t work for their business. Which, forgive my French, is bull-poop.

The reality is that, just as running a half-marathon in the early part of the year won’t actually get you in shape, running one big splash of an ad once won’t do all that much for your business. Marketing, like exercising your muscles, needs consistency.

Most of us realize that getting in really good shape takes work. Whether your goal is simply being in better shape or losing weight, you need to set a rhythm of working out and stick with it to see results. You know that if you skip too many workouts you simply won’t see the results you want. Right?

Marketing—especially when budgets are small, as they are for many small to medium businesses—is no different.

Marketing results come when you set a cadence and keep putting your product or service out in front of your target market. Consistently, week after week, putting in the work. This means you shouldn’t try something once and immediately change it up (unless the results are spectacularly and very clearly bad) or put all your money into one marketing effort. Consistency is key.

Why? For a few reasons:

  1. People rarely respond to an add the first time they see it. They need to see it again and again before it filters through the noise into their consciousness. 
  2. If you one-and-done your marketing effort, you’re giving yourself no chance to test different offers and messaging. Are you that confident that you can nail it the first (and only) time? 
  3. Unless your one big splash hits all your possible customers (unlikely), you’ll need to run different campaigns on different channels to reach a broader audience. No one channel has everybody.

But here’s the good news. Studies have shown that you don’t need to do hard exercise to get in shape. Actually, just walking every day has powerful health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, weight loss, and, oh yeah, reducing your risk of death.

The same holds true with marketing. You don’t have to go big or go home. Just doing a little bit consistently over time, whether it’s a small promoted blog post every week, or devoting a bit of budget to Facebook ads, will give you big marketing benefits. It just takes a little hard work… and discipline.

Now I’m going to stop writing and do some crunches or something…

Just let us know if you need someone to motivate you come, say, February.

Happy holidays from your personal marketing trainers,

Katie & Theron

At Urban Sherpa Marketing Co. we offer marketing advisory, strategic planning, and services for small to mid-sized businesses and startups. Our goal is to make high-quality marketing possible for every business, no matter the size. Think of us as your outsourced marketing department, strategic marketing adviser, or even your phone-a-friend marketing lifeline.

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