Re-Starting Marketing — Kelford Labs Weekly

Getting back after a pause.

Re-Starting Marketing — Kelford Labs Weekly
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As I often say, marketing usually doesn’t fail. It just stops.

And, inevitably, the time comes when we have to restart our marketing after a stall.

So, has your marketing ever just… stopped? It’s okay! Mine sure has before, and this is my whole job. If marketing is only part of what you do, don’t be too hard on yourself for letting it slip.

But if it’s time to get it going again, here’s what I recommend:

No Judgement, Just Adjustment

“Stop shoulding yourself. Shift from an internal dialogue of ‘I shouldn't be in this situation’ to I wish ‘I wasn't in this situation’; from ‘I should be going about this differently’ to ‘I want to be going about this differently.’”

— Brad Stulberg, The Practice of Groundedness

First things first—we’ve got to figure out why it stopped.

Did we just get too busy? Maybe our previous marketing was so successful that we got too busy to keep at it—client work, customers, and operations took precedence and our marketing tasks took a back seat.

Or maybe our efforts weren’t paying off, and we got frustrated and figured we might as well just give up.

Or maybe we had a disruption in our business and a key resource was no longer available to help, and we felt overwhelmed and something had to give.

These are common—extremely common—scenarios, so don’t worry if one or more describes your current or past situation. But if we identify what caused the pause in the first place, we can make sure we adjust our approach for the next time.

If we got too busy and our marketing got deprioritized, we know that next time we should plan for that. We should assume our efforts must be doable even if we’re busy with customers or clients.

If we gave up because nothing was working, we should assume we’ll have another slow start. We should plan for a long haul and an uncertain future, so we stick with it until it works.

And if we lost a key resource that was helping with our marketing, we should identify ways our everyday work can form the basis of our marketing. So it takes less assistance and outside support to demonstrate our value every day.

Once we know what happened last time, we can make simple—judgement-free!—adjustments to our approach this time.

Habit-Forming Marketing

“If you're completing a task with a high degree of uncertainty and a low degree of control, creating a ritual can be a successful way to keep negative inner voices and emotions at bay.”

— Steve Magness, Do Hard Things

Next, we want to identify our minimum viable marketing: the smallest, lightest, easiest efforts we can make. Every single day.

Marketing is a habit, not a task.

So the first step is habitualize it, by making it easy and fun to stick with, and intrinsically motivating. The external rewards for marketing are always delayed, so the trick is to reward ourselves in the moment by doing marketing we like, and are good at.

We can optimize and improve once we’ve started.

Reserve a regular time for your marketing—don’t assume you can sneak it in at the end of the day—and treat it like any other habit you’re trying to accumulate.

Build a ritual around it, connect it to other habits in your daily routine, and make it easier to do than to avoid by curating its context to keep you motivated.

Focus First

“It's often the case that you can make the most progress by focusing disproportionately on one key goal, rather than spreading yourself thin across several.”

— Dorie Clark, The Long Game

We want to focus our efforts on what we like doing, what we do every day anyway, and what our best customers value most.

That means we don’t restart our marketing from a place of self-criticism and throw ourselves headlong into something we find difficult, tedious, or scary.

No, we start with what we’re likely to keep doing, even if it doesn’t work right away—so that we actually give ourselves time to get better.

Next, we focus on what we’re already doing. We don’t decide to launch some big ad campaign, media platform, or event the moment we restart our marketing. We don’t inundate ourselves with new responsibilities, tasks, and deadlines.

No, we start with what we’re already doing—highlighting how our daily work, whatever that might be, provides extraordinary value to our very best customers.

If you’re not a writer, dedicating yourself to writing a blog post or LinkedIn post every week is going to be tough—and demotivating. So consider sharing photos, videos, or testimonials in your content instead of putting some new burden on yourself.

Document and share—demonstrate—what you already do before you attempt something brand new.

Finally, we focus on what our best customers value most—the ones closest to us and most likely to buy next. Instead of deciding we need global reach right out of the gate, reach out to your last best customers for a testimonial. Get extra curious about how they experienced and speak about your value.

Take your current best customers and ask yourself—what would people exactly like them need to hear from me, and where and when would they need to hear it, to understand that I can help them, too?

Easy Does It

“If you can’t see the goal, set a pace.”

— Leah Sanford

Ultimately, we want to escape the “herky jerky hell” of starting, stopping, starting, and stopping our marketing.

Which means it’s always better to do something, a little bit every day, than to go many days, weeks, or months doing nothing.

So, take it easy. That’s the hard part—doing what we enjoy and doing what comes easily.

We’re entrepreneurs—we’re drawn to self-assigned challenges. We know that good things come from doing stuff that’s hard. But when we do stuff that’s hard, that we don’t like, that we don’t see immediate results from—well, we’re awfully likely to stop, aren’t we?

So do the thing you find most difficult: Doing the things you find most easy.

The challenge is doing it every day, for as long as it takes.

So that we never have to stop again—we just keep going, keep growing, and keep doing what we love.

Kelford Inc. helps hands-on entrepreneurs and founders with complex marketing challenges define and articulate their unique value to their very best customers.

We’ll show you the way to always knowing what to say.