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Freelancing and consulting: The all-time most difficult marketing decision

The most difficult marketing decision is when to cease marketing efforts that have not worked to date.

How much crickets until we pull the plug?

We’ve been blogging or emailing or Twittering or whatever for a few months and results are minimal to nil. Is it time to stop?

The experts say that it takes multiple shoulder taps to get attention. Prospects need to build a relationship before they buy. They need to perceive you as a habit. In other words, keep on keeping on.

Yes, but . . .

When can we conclude that what we are doing is not working?

There is no easy answer, but here are some questions to consider:

Does it need more numbers to succeed?

Should we phone more people? Send more emails? Deliver more speeches? Most every marketing technique requires large numbers to succeed. The ratio of successes to efforts is smaller than we would like to believe. We have to make many, many tries.

Does it need more time?

Depending on how we are marketing, more time may equate with more numbers. Still, social media, for instance, requires plenty of time to kick in. I’ve even heard experts who recommend sticking with a social media program for two years before expecting desired results!

Does it need better implementation?

One of my beefs about marketing courses is that the emphasis on case studies ignores the details of implementation. Classroom case studies unfold in such a way that the outcomes seem inevitable. A poor decision was made at the beginning and disaster automatically ensued.

They never get into the details of the how. I believe how a project is implemented is important. Were the article titles strong? Were the right prospects approached? Was follow-up undertaken promptly? Did the website have a professional appearance?

These things matter.

What do the numbers say?

Ideally you have numbers to study, such as number of clicks, percentage of emails that are open, and of course sales totals, that can be considered against industry norms. If not, you may want to postpone making a decision until you have collected data for awhile.

How do we feel about what has been happening? What do our guts say?

Not the most reliable sign of how to proceed but undeniably a factor in our decision making. I suspect my gut becomes discouraged too easily.

Originally posted 1-23-15

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