07 September 2009

4 Tips for Managing Marketing Overwhelm

One of the most frequent things I hear from counselors, coaches and naturopathic doctors is how overwhelmed they feel with the sheer volume of marketing tasks they perceive it takes to build a successful practice.

And it's true -- there's a lot to do in the beginning and most of us were never trained for exactly how to do it. We quickly end up feeling like we're operating in the dark.

Here's the advice I give my clients:

1. Start with only the strategies that fit your personality.
That is, if you're an extrovert, capitalize on your outgoing networking skills.
If you're an introvert, develop a dynamic web-presence.

2. Get your basics in place as soon as possible so they can run on autopilot.
That is, do first all the things that need to be done just once (get your website up, list on locator directories, get give-aways loaded into an autoresponder feature or email link to you, design and order business cards, develop a brochure or promotional flier, etc).

3. Set aside dedicated time every day to keep yourself moving forward until all the basics are in place.
Optimal is 3-4 hours every day. Realistic for those with families, or another job, may be 3-4 hours a week.
Schedule it as an appointment with your business, as if your business were a client.
Perhaps put this on your schedule as an appointment with someone named Business Self.
Enlist others to help you keep this time commitment, because it's vital.

4. During your Business Self appointments tame overwhelm by:
  • having a plan to guide your efforts each week
  • being clear about your daily task goals
  • getting instruction or examples to calm the uncertainty
  • doing the easiest tasks first
  • recognizing your signs of creeping overwhelm
  • taking short breaks -- get away from your desk
  • avoiding second guessing yourself
  • letting go of perfectionism
  • asking a knowledgeable friend or colleague to give you feedback
  • working with a coach to avoid reinventing the wheel
  • postponing the marketing tasks that require repetition* until the basics are done
  • taking a week off once your basics are in place
*Examples of tasks that require repetition:
  • blogging
  • social media
  • attending networking groups
  • approaching referral sources and following up
Becoming systematic is the key building a successful private practice, and that includes having a method or system for your marketing as well.

You can do this.

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