Play the long game in marketing for authentic business growth
Over an iced coffee on the weekend (because even though it’s 12 degrees in Melbourne, I’m wishing for summer), I lamented to a friend and fellow marketer that I wasn’t investing enough time in my social media posts, and it was making me STRESSED.
“What’s the problem?” she asked.
“Everyone else is more successful than me”, I complained. “They post all the time about making lots of money, and everyone’s liking their posts.”
“But you just told me you’re fully booked with clients”, she replied. She’s French, funny and straight-to-the-point. “So, what’s the problem?”
“Well, I post irregularly, the look isn’t perfect and polished, and no one has booked me for a brand consult through Instagram.”
“But you’re fully booked!” she said again. “You need to appreciate what you’ve already built, and how different that is to where you were this time last year.”
She went on to tell me about her brother, who despite having thousands of likes on his LinkedIn posts only gets about two clients a month from it.
I knew she was right. I shouldn’t worry so much about my social media when I’m drowning (but, in a good way) in work for clients I love right now.
Two things happened this week that made me realise what I do today to market my business actually does matter (not so much that I should lose sleep over it if I don’t do it well; but enough that I should give it some love!).
Back in 2016/2017, I was working full-time as Head of Marketing at a Melbourne girls’ school. I was passionate about the job, and designed a unique approach to storytelling across all our platforms (socials and magazines). I presented at numerous conferences in Melbourne and on the Gold Coast, gave away templates and tips, and made lots of new connections on LinkedIn.
This week, I heard from one of them. Out of the blue.
Her opening line was that she remembered seeing me present at one of those conferences, and I’d come to mind when she needed someone to respond to a bid for a group of schools she works for.
That’s a FOUR YEAR GAP. In all that time, my name was buried somewhere in the back of her mind, encoded in her memory until she needed to retrieve it.
I’ve been invited to chair a panel at an event for new entrepreneurs around storytelling. I was recommended to the event organiser by someone I’d met about three years ago at a conversation dinner. He’s a really interesting guy, but the extent of our contact since then has been liking each other’s posts on LinkedIn.
The long game
I’ve realised that showing up consistently for your business – whether that’s on social media, at a networking event, or running an Instagram Live show – pays dividends in the long run.
Sure, marketing can bring you quick wins, but it’s also about the long game.
If you’re feeling a little deflated by the regular ads, posts, and webinars other people are running to promote their business, remember this: all good things take time. (Also note: sometimes, people make up shit on social media – they’re struggling on the inside just as much as you are).
Invest little and often in your business marketing. Mix it up with different activities. Meet people and shine when you talk about what you do. Eventually, you’ll build a solid, trustworthy, interesting reputation, create brand equity, enrich your skillset and be discovered by more of the clients you love.