I've decided to lose a bit of weight over the next few months. And like many people, I'm using a little App for my iPhone to track my progress, what I'm eating, and how much I'm exercising.
It's amazing the effect it's having already on my behaviour. Just the very fact of making my activities and my progress visible is causing me to make different choices about what I eat and drink.
I think the key is that it sticks the important numbers right in front of my face at the time I'm about to make a decision on what to eat. And it lets me instantly see what the impact of any decisions I'm about to make will be.
Normally, although I know what's healthy food and what's not. And I know what's an over-large portion and what's not – I don't act on it. I kid myself that I'll cut back later or eat more healthily tomorrow.
That's the thing with losing weight. It's not like it's a mystery how to do it. The problem is we struggle to stick to the plan.
The beauty of the app is that by showing you the critical information at the point of decision making it gives you no place to hide. You can't play mental games with yourself. It's like having a coach keeping you honest. And so you stick to your plan.
So can we do something similar for our marketing?
Most of us face a very similar problem with our marketing (along with many other things in business).
We often know what we should be doing. Yet it never seems to get done. We just don't make enough calls, follow-up with enough contacts, write enough blog posts, send out enough emails.
At the point at which we choose what activity to do next, there's always something else we could be doing that seems more urgent or frankly, more pleasant, than doing the marketing we need to do.
And because we don't immediately see the impact of our (in)action, we kid ourselves into thinking we can get away with it. Those opportunities we have in the pipeline will come off. We'll find time to write that article tomorrow. John probably doesn't want us to call him on a Wednesday afternoon.
So how can we reproduce the effect of an app that will keep us honest?
The first thing the app does is it knows your goals (target weight), and it tracks your progress.
In marketing, that's your target revenue, bookings or profits and your progress towards them. It's surprising how few professionals can tell you week in, week out where they currently stand vs their goals.
So your “app” needs to keep your targets and progress visible at all times.
Next, the weightloss app lets you feed in your activities and preview the impact they'll have. Fancy a donut? You quickly type it in and it tells you the impact it'll have on your daily calorie target.
It brings the fact that you're going to blow your limit (or that you're doing well) right to the forefront of your attention to help you make the right decision.
So for our marketing “app”, we need to be able to see the impact of our activity choices on our goals too.
That's not quite as simple as it is for weightloss – the link between a whole raft of activities and your sales is nowhere near as clear as the calorific content of food and it's impact on your weight.
But nonetheless, there is a link.
You probably have a decent idea of how many potential client meetings it takes you to get a client.
And you probably have a decent idea of how many initial networking contacts it takes to get a meeting. Or direct mail letters. or phone calls. Or follow up activities. Or how many leads you get from doing a presentation.
Online you probably know your conversion rate from website visitor to email subscriber. And from email subscriber to webinar attendee to product buyer.
Or if you don't know them now, you can figure them out or take some reasonable estimates.
The numbers aren't as certain. but they're good rules of thumb. So depending on the marketing strategies you're focusing on, you can set yourself activity targets for the number of meetings you need per week. The number of calls, presentations or events you need to go to.
You can set targets for the number of website visitors you need to generate, or email subscribers, or the number of webinars you need to run, emails you need to send out, etc.
And then day in, day out, keep track of those activities. When you're planning your day, schedule in the tasks you need to do to hit the targets that are going to deliver you clients. Whenever you have to make a choice on what to do next you can see whether you're on track or whether you need to ramp up specific actions.
Do you need a fancy app to manage all this?
Actually, I've found a big post-it note with your weekly and daily targets and a little gap where you can tick them off works wonders. No high tech needed.
Give it a go yourself. I've found clients often get two breakthroughs when they do this.
The first breakthrough is running the numbers and realising that the amount of activity they need to do is often an order of magnitude more than they thought.
The second breakthrough is following the system day-in, day-out and realising that if you stay focused on what's important you can actually hit those activity targets that are going to bring you the clients you need.
Give it a go!
PS for step-by-step guides on the most effective marketing strategies to get you clients – check out the $1 trial of Momentum Club