Skip The Marketing Resolutions. Lead With Results Instead.

Skip The Marketing Resolutions. Lead With Results Instead.

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It’s So So Tempting…

A brand new year. A brand new day. A chance to do better and be better. All we have to do is take stock of what we want to accomplish, commit and do it.

Every year the gurus explode with books and blog posts telling you how to REALLY lose weight/get smarter/stop smoking/start running/volunteer more/work less.

Marketers are not immune. I Googled “marketing resolutions” before writing this and discovered no shortage of advice for everything from “create a delightful mobile experience” to “be more consistent with marketing.” And while some of the advice is solid (you really do need a mobile website and coming up with a marketing schedule and plan wouldn’t kill you), most of it is all about the what and lacks a focus on the why.

So this year, do your business a favor and skip the resolutions. Try approaching your marketing from results first and see how the resolutions make – and keep – themselves.

Email Resolution Result

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

I will commit to sending marketing emails every month.

Or every week. Or on some other regular schedule that you decide.

If you’re like a lot of business people I know, any regular marketing emails would be a big step forward. Too many businesses do this on an ad hoc basis. They send out one this month, none the following, then whip up two or three to make up for it the month after that.

Worse, they decide Tuesday around 3PM that they need an email to go out on Wednesday with that super important announcement. And while they’re at it, they may as well include the six other things they never got around to mentioning…

So committing to regular emails isn’t a bad idea.

It’s just an incomplete idea. And it’s easy to forget to do when you get busy or just bored with your email template and can’t figure out what to stick in the sidebar.

Instead of focusing on the number and timing of emails, focus on the results of sending them.

How many people actually opened your email? How many of them clicked on your links or called about your offer?

Who replied and what did they say?

You can send out emails like clockwork and check that resolution off as a win, but if you’re not seeing a good open, click or response rate then you’re just marketing for the sake of marketing.

This year, pay attention to what’s happening as you send emails. What happens when you send emails out more often? Less often? When you try a different subject line? When you switch up the content?

If you’re getting a whole lot of not much out of your email list, change something! Work on segmenting your list better so you can send content that people really want to read.

Work on writing subject lines that catch people’s attention.

Work on making your calls-to-action clear and accessible.

Then, when you find something that moves the needle, do it again. And keep on going.

Social Media Resolution Result

Have you sworn to spend more time engaging with your audience?

Vowed to post regularly on your social networks? Maybe you even have a content schedule that specifies how many times each week you’ll post photos vs questions vs curated content?

Once again, consistency is important but what’s more important is understanding why you’re doing the whole social marketing thing in the first place.

What’s important is getting to the results of your social marketing.

You may be familiar with our opinion on content curation, but if not, let this be the year that you stop trying to “be a resource” for your audience and instead make it be the year that you focus on promoting your business and seeing results for your bottom line.

Instead of worrying about whether you’ve got a post for 9AM every weekday, focus on what your posts are gaining you. Are people engaging with you? Sharing their thoughts or comments, asking questions? (And not just responding with a quick click of the “like” button or a retweet – I mean meaningful engagement.)

Are you building effective relationships – the kind that translate from a Facebook comment to perhaps an email or a Skype call or a cup of coffee?

Are you actually generating leads?

Make this the year that you start to believe in a straight line between social marketing and lead generation. It doesn’t happen fast and it may not come easy but your social consistency is not nearly as important as whether or not you’re getting social results.

This year, go deeper with your social relationships. Get to know people. Talk to them. If you do that, you can make a killing with social marketing and never think about what or how often to post again.

Blogging Resolution Result

Blogging resolutions usually go something like this:

I will blog once a week.

Or twice a week. Or some other number of times per week. Or commit to writing 500 words or for half an hour every day. Or some other task-oriented resolution that focuses on you instead of focusing on what blogging is about in the first place – and that’s your customer.

Much like all marketing, blogging consistency is a good thing. It’s tough to build momentum if you’re blogging haphazardly, leaving huge gaps in your content schedule that makes it very easy for a competitor to slip in and start feeding from your prospect pool.

But the real focus of blogging shouldn’t be on your schedule but on what kind of business you’re generating from the blogs you do post.

When we first started this blog, we posted every single day for three months. Then we got exhausted and stopped blogging entirely for the next six. What kind of results do you think we saw? (Hint: exactly the same as the number of blogs we posted. None.)

Then we got regular again and went back to posting five – sometimes six – times per week. And we got exhausted!

So we bumped it down to three. Then bumped it up to four. But it wasn’t until we stopped thinking about the precise timing of blogs and started focusing on the people and the content we wanted to share with them that we began to see conversions.

Now we generally blog twice a week – plus two podcasts – and we’re not exhausted. And we’re generating leads. We’re growing our email list. We’re making connections with people. We’re meeting with prospects who ask us questions and we say things like, “Hey, we’ve got the perfect blog post for you…”

So this year, instead of making blogging all about your schedule and your motivation to write… make it about your prospects and customers and what they need to hear from you to convince them that they should be doing business with you.

Then measure your conversions. See what’s resonating with people, what gets the signups, what makes the phone (and cash register) ring.

Do more of that. And stop beating yourself up for skipping a day or a week. If you’re giving people what they want they’ll stick around, even if you break your 500-word-per-day resolution.

And that’s something you can take to the bank.

So this year, go ahead and get organized. Make lists of all the things you want to do. Work on your consistency and your marketing diversity.

But remember to stop and think about your bottom line. Ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. Ask yourself whether it’s working. And start counting the zeros on the checks your customers are writing.

If you want help getting your marketing up to speed or want to talk about how to make your cash register ring, reach out to me. Let’s get together for a phone call or Skype. The first 30 minutes are on me!

Carol Lynn Rivera

Carol Lynn Rivera

I'm a business owner, content creator, podcaster and marketer. In 1999 I founded Rahvalor Interactive, a web and creative services production studio, with my husband and business partner Ralph. In 2011 we created Web.Search.Social, a consulting and marketing service line for small businesses. We also cohost the Web.Search.Social Podcast where we challenge the status quo of marketing and the Carbon Based Business Units podcast where we talk about the human side of being an entrepreneur. On any given day I wear the hat of project manager, consultant, social media manager and content marketer. My true passion is writing and in my spare time I'm busy planning my early retirement to Barcelona as a famous and wealthy novelist.
Carol Lynn Rivera
Carol Lynn Rivera
  • Excellent advice, Carol Lynn! Clarity about what constitutes progress – what results are important – is crucial.

    • Thank, Stephen. It’s true, there are tons of how-to posts and we get this illusion that we’re doing something but…. WHAT? Doing for the sake of doing it not as good as doing and getting results!

      • Sounds like you’re keeping your eye on the prize, Stephen. And more importantly, “why” you want the prize. 🙂

  • “This year, go deeper with your social relationships.” Not exactly a revolutionary approach or a big fat secret, right? But people still believe there’s an easy button for generating leads.

    To me, it’s pretty simple. People are your leads. So if you’re going to lead them to your cash register, you have to do the work of getting to know them first. You’re spinning your wheels and stuck in a fog if you think total strangers are going to, instantaneously, fall in love with you … and, of course, hit your buy now button. Maybe when pigs can fly. Or if you’re Apple.

    • You know, Melanie, I don’t think anything I say is all that profound or ground breaking, but when you’re bombarded with all the magical, secret, six-figure promises and everything sounds fast and easy (and cheap of course) somehow people start to forget the fundamentals. Have a good product. Be a good person. And…. the rest comes from there!

  • Krithika Rangarajan

    Absolutely brilliant, and your advice is applicable to every goal in life! 😀 Don’t just make a commitment to hit the gym three times a week – commit to losing 1 pound a month. If you are not seeing the results, it doesn’t matter how many times you sweat on the treadmill – something’s gotta change!

    LOVE IT

    As always, you offer a fresh perspective, Carol – blessed to know you #HUGSS

    Kitto

    • Funny, I JUST said something similar on your LinkedIn post. It’s so true! There are some things in life we do “just because”, with no particular result in mind… sitting on a nice Island beach comes to mind 🙂

      But otherwise, WHY are we doing these things? Going to the gym is one of those things we probably wouldn’t do if there wasn’t some result, right? Heck, some of us (ahem) don’t go even if there are results. So yes, it’s important to see that your efforts are paying off in some way. And that’s especially true of business where we ALL have the goal of making money!

  • Great article. Thanks Carol Lynn.

  • Excellent as always. And my well-worn statement: “If you don’t know the ‘why’ the ‘how’ doesn’t matter. Cheers! Kaarina aka Fred, part of the #superFred army 😉

    • Quite true! It’s part of why we refocused from doing any how-to type of writing and now we talk mostly about the whys and wherefores. There seems to be a lot of that missing!

  • Hi Carol Lynn.

    You made some excellent points.

    I am determined to write more, and promote myself more.

    After all, people do follow us to read what WE have to say. While it is important that we do share other material that inspires our brands, I agree that it’s important to focus on the depth and quality of our own offerings.

    Great tips.

    Nathan.

    • Thanks, Nathan. You’re absolutely right – people want to connect with US. Maybe that’s something we can get a few more people to understand this year 🙂

  • Katherine Kotaw

    Hi Carol Lynn!

    Social media has made it easy for the resolution-mindset to run amok. It’s easy to open a Twitter account and tweet X amount of times a day. It’s easy to join Facebook and stick to regular posting schedule.

    And the revolution of blogging has made it easy for everyone to be a “writer” too.

    So why hire a writer, why hire a social media marketer? If all it takes are a couple social accounts and typing some words into WordPress?

    Of course, those with the resolution-mindset are likely to get bored — or burnt out — quickly. Not to mention they are probably also boring their audience, if all they care about is adhering to a posting schedule and hitting “publish” on their blog, meaning the actual “content” is irrelevant.

    I agree with you completely — it’s not about the WHAT (write X number of blogs, post X number of comments on Google Plus) it’s about the WHY.

    The WHY isn’t quite so easy. You might have to think about it. Refine it.

    Of course the basics of your WHY should come down to connecting with your audience, saying something of import, inspiring some kind of positive action.

    I have always said that no one should tweet a single tweet if they have nothing to say. That WHAT of the tweet means nothing, other than it could make you look bad if you’re tweeting junk without thinking.

    Yes, there is something to be said about consistency — as you said, it’s better to regularly write a couple times a month than to write every day for a month and then give up for the rest of the year.

    But if you want your brand to be memorable, your writing to be memorable — if that is the WHY to what you’re doing, then you have to focus on that — not on some meaningless posting ritual that gets ignored by others and is a bore even to you!

    I always love your writing and the way your mind works, Carol Lynn because (as you can see from this long comment!) you inspire me to think and write and connect 🙂

    Thank you, as always, for that!

    • Whenever someone says I make them think it MAKES MY DAY! Thank you for that 🙂 It’s the best compliment I could ask for and honestly, it’s the purpose of everything I write. There is a serious lack of thinking in the internet universe. That’s why people get hosed into posting like a ritual and doing things “because someone said so”. I also tell people not to listen to me either! Sure, you’ve got to start somewhere. You need someone to guide you, someone with experience, with credibility. But if I say something and it doesn’t work for you? Then don’t do it!

      It’s a really tough place for businesses to be because on the one hand we tell them they need professionals to help them with this stuff because it’s NOT so simple. But on the other hand we’re telling them don’t believe everything you hear. It’s enough to make someone crazy. So hopefully the more people think the more they will ask questions and take a more active role in what’s happening around them. You hit it on the head – ask WHY. If you do nothing else just do yourself that favor!

      • Katherine Kotaw

        I’m so happy to have made your day, @carollynnrivera:disqus! I consider thinking to be one of my greatest strengths, so I love anyone and anything that inspires my thinking! So again, thank YOU!

        So often I’ll be on the phone with a prospective client and they will tell me about their product, business, etc. and then ask what I can do for them and how I would go about it, and often my answer is, “I will think about it and then get back to you” I believe people are so used to hearing the scripted answer of “I will do X, Y and Z for you and then you will be raking in the bucks” that my “I’ll put on my thinking cap” answer throws them off. But I’m not about platitudes and false promises. “Thinking” is what produces my most brilliant and creative ideas and I agree with you — there is great a dearth of thinking in the internet universe. Which leads to a lot of whats and no whys!

        • Oh yes, “I’ll think about it” is always a big door-slam. People want immediate answers. That makes thinking a tough sell because if you spend time thinking and coming up with a personalized answer, that gives you a lot of time to lose out to the guy who packaged something up and sold it with a shiny bow and a quick answer. But it’s the only way to succeed! Think ask why and ask why again 🙂