You might have heard me say, just a few times, that ad hoc marketing does not work. I mention it in most of the talks that I give about marketing. I’ve written it countless times in my newsletter and in many of the blogs that I’ve posted. But what is ad hoc marketing, why doesn’t it work and more importantly, what should you do instead?
So what is ad hoc marketing all about?
Ad hoc marketing is when you go to one networking meeting, collect a few cards, chat to a few people and then go back to your office and expect the phone to ring.
Ad hoc marketing is sending out one email newsletter, mail shot or piece of direct mail and then wondering why you don’t get lots of responses and enquiries.
Ad hoc marketing is tweeting for a week and then stopping because you’re too busy, but still expecting prospective clients to come knocking at your door.
When someone tells me that they’ve tried a marketing activity such as direct mail, telesales or networking and that it didn’t work, it is always because they only did one thing – one mail shot, one call or one meeting. It’s when they haven’t planned how they’re going to promote their business and thought about all the stages that are involved. It’s often used by people trying to do a quick fix and find some new clients without spending much time or money.
Why doesn’t ad hoc marketing work?
When you sell a service such as coaching, consultancy or training, your clients are buying you, your experience and your expertise. This is even truer when there is just you in your business. It means that your potential clients have to trust you, before they will spend their money with you. When you coach someone, they need to trust you before they will open up and share their concerns with you. If you’re an accountant, your clients want to trust you before they will share the financial situation of their business with you. If you’re an HR Consultant, or someone who ‘fixes’ business issues, a prospect has to trust you before they will want someone else to know what’s really going on in their business.
Trust is vital and it can’t be established in just one conversation at a networking event. Neither can the right level of trust be developed by someone receiving just one piece of marketing material from you, or reading your tweets for just one week. You need time to build up a trusting relationship with a potential client, before they will be comfortable enough to spend their money with you. You need to show them that you really know your stuff and have the knowledge and expertise to help them.
What is the alternative?
The alternative to ad hoc marketing is planned, sustained, integrated marketing that keeps going, no matter how busy you get. Let me give you an example. My email newsletter, Scribbles, has been written and published on the third Wednesday of the month for over 10 years – I think I’ve only missed two issues in all that time. At the end of 2016 I worked out all the topics that I would write about this year. Knowing the publication date means that I can write issues in advance, if I’m going to be on holiday when the newsletter is due out, rather than skipping an issue. Each newsletter article is then turned into a blog post – this blog is from the August issue of Scribbles. We write a number of tweets and LinkedIn updates about the newsletter and blogs and schedule them in advance. Then we can add other updates when we feel like it.
Successful marketing is about planning ahead. I’ve been booked to speak to Coaches groups around the country (urrent bookings range from September this year through to April 2018.) I’ve put those dates into my Marketing Schedule and will work back from them, to make sure that they all get promoted in plenty of time. Networking events also go into my diary well in advance, to make sure that I don’t miss them. For both networking events and talks, I also plan how I’m going to follow up each meeting, so that I don’t miss any opportunities.
So whatever marketing you’re thinking about doing to promote your business, look at how you can plan each activity and how you can follow it up, to get the best results. Don’t do something just once – plan what you can do on an ongoing basis and how you’re going to keep it going. And then you’ll see some real results from your marketing!
How Do You Avoid Ad Hoc Marketing?
The simplest way to avoid ad hoc marketing is by planning how you’re going to promote your business over the next six to twelve months. You need to work out the best marketing for your business and then put together an action plan to follow. Sounds simple, doesn’t it!?
If not, then my first book, Magnetic Marketing, is for you. It’s a very practical, easy to follow process for planning your marketing. Work through the book, complete the exercises and by the end of it, you’ll have a really solid action plan to follow, to help you do regular marketing and bring in a steady flow of clients.
You can order your copy of Magnetic Marketing now, for the special Scribbles price of just £9.99 + postage. Click here to order your copy now!