Do you find that you are switching between marketing strategies constantly trying to find something that works? Or do you do a month of intense marketing and then maybe nothing for weeks? If this is you, then we need to talk about consistency. Without consistency, you cannot grow your business and you will not be able to reach your goals.
Consistency is so critical to building a successful business. It is the second of the three main pillars in my 3C™ system that I teach in this podcast, my online courses, and in my coaching to help my clients develop and launch successful portable businesses. Yet, despite it being so important, it is often something that entrepreneurs struggle to achieve. This blog is part of a series examining each of the 3Cs™ – clarity, consistency, and conversion.
If you have not already read my blog on clarity, you can click here to find out why it comes first. Getting clear about your business idea will also help you achieve consistency!
In this blog on consistency, I am sharing why consistency is what makes the difference between success and failure, and how you can build effective strategies within your business to help you become consistent in your efforts and in your results.
This blog article is a summary of the related podcast episode.
Why is consistency so important?
In my opinion, the biggest difference between companies and businesses that succeed, and those that do not is consistency.
A company or a business owner who is consistent in the way they market their business, deliver their product or service, and their quality, is usually a successful one!
However, it is not easy to achieve this consistency, particularly if you are a solopreneur or a small business owner. Consistency is the hardest thing to achieve in any business, and that is one of the reasons why it sets those who achieve it apart, and why I am so passionate about helping you achieve it. Achieving consistency will make all the difference but it is not easy. It can be particularly challenging if you are trying to set up your business while trying to live on the move, manage a family, relocations, and all the surprises that a globally mobile life can bring!
In this blog, when I talk about consistency, I am primarily talking about marketing strategies, though the principles work for product/service delivery. I often use the metaphor of a restaurant to help explain why consistency matters for product and service delivery. You go to a restaurant and have a great experience, so you look forward to going back again. Perhaps you recommend it to your friends. Imagine how disappointed you are if you go back again with high expectations and it is awful! Your disappointment is even greater because you had enjoyed it before and had been so looking forward to another great meal. That is what your customers experience if you are not consistent in your product or service delivery! So, while I will be focusing on marketing strategies today, please be sure to continue to focus on consistency in delivering your solutions too.
So here are the four things that I would like you to focus on to be more consistent in your business and your marketing strategies. Focusing on these will get you started on building better consistency but to get into more detail, download my free 3C™ workbook for more advice and exercises.
I must go back to the first C – clarity – because it is so hard to be consistent if you are not clear about your business. I am not going to get into this too deeply here – you can check out my episode on clarity for more details.
However, in summary, here are some of the things you need to be very clear about in order for you to be consistent with your messaging and the way you address your audience and your potential clients. The first one is being truly clear about your niche and your target audience. The second is what your messaging should be. And to know your messaging, you need to be clear about what pain points you are addressing, and how your customers relate to those points. And finally, you need to be clear about the results you can promise to your clients.
Please use the exercises in my workbook to help you think through these elements in more detail. Getting clarity on these aspects will help you build a consistent marketing strategy.
My second tip is to focus on just a couple of marketing strategies. I have noticed many entrepreneurs try multiple things when they are starting a business – they bounce from one social media platform to another, then they try networking, or blogging, or perhaps videos and speaking engagements. These are all good marketing strategies that you can use to get exposure to your potential clients, but you need to pick a maximum of three strategies and stick with them for a while. If you try to do too much, you will not know what is working and you will also be distracted and exhausted!
Solopreneurs and small business owners do not have the resources or time to do it all. To be effective, pick one strategy and follow it.
You might now be thinking, how do I know what the right strategy is? This is why doing the work on clarity is so important as it will help you focus on what is appropriate for your business. However, here are four important questions you need to answer before you decide which marketing strategy to focus on.
- Who is your ideal customer?
- Where is your ideal customer?
- How do you convert your ideal customer into a client?
- How do you keep happy clients and encourage them to refer others to you?
While all these questions are important, to build consistency, you need to focus very much on the first two. Invest some time in market research so that you understand where your clients spend most of their time, and where they are most reachable. Understanding that is how you decide where to put your focus. Then you can select a couple of places that you think are crucial and strategic for you, and by showing up there consistently, sharing your value and helping, you can build true, authentic relationships, gain exposure and visibility. I use the word ‘relationship’ here very intentionally. This is so important. No matter what stage your business is in, but especially if you are just starting out, it is not your social media or your advertising that drives results.
What will get you results is putting a consistent effort into building real, authentic relationships and supporting your community and potential clients through valuable content.
So, make sure to really put a real, consistent focus on building relationships. For example, let’s say you find a Facebook group where you see a lot of potential clients as members. What often happens is that entrepreneurs then bombard the group with their advertising and eventually get kicked out of it because they are upsetting group members and administrators. Please do not do that! Instead, in a situation like this, invest time in the group by supporting its members not selling to them. Be consistent by showing up once a day, responding to comments, supporting people, even if it has nothing to do with your business. If someone has a problem you can solve, offer guidance, not a sales pitch! Once you have invested in building relationships, then perhaps you can reach out to the group’s administrator and say ‘Hey, I love your community, and I feel I can bring some real value. Would you like to hop on a call to see how we can collaborate?’. Make it an official and clean process to offer value to the group.
Always put building a relationship before trying to sell.
I always say that growing a business is like dating. You do not want to jump in bed right away. Make sure to have a first date and get to know each other. And then eventually you might want to propose and take the relationship to the next level! With that in mind and a focus on building relationships, choose no more than three places where you can build relationships with potential clients, and consistently invest time and energy in building those relationships.
One of the big challenges in choosing where to focus in that sometimes you don’t know if a strategy is going to work or not. This is the reason so many entrepreneurs are tempted to try so many different things. Here is what I want you to do to get past that worry and temptation. Pick up to three strategies, and then give yourself a timeline or deadline to decide when you are going to readjust. Give your chosen strategies time to work! Decide on what data you are going to use to make your decision about whether something is working or not. I can’t give you specifics on setting that measure or the timeline as it will vary from business to business but for example, if it’s a Facebook group, give it between one and three months of engagement to see if it’s working. It is not, then move on to something else.
If you would like more information and advice on how to choose your strategies, download my free 3C™ workbook and use the exercises to help you think through what is best for your business.
3. Manage your time
Consistency in marketing also means building your own content and creating and growing your own audience in a consistent way. You do not want to always rely on other people’s networks and audiences to grow your business. It will take time, but it is so important for your long-term success.
- Block regular and consistent focus time in your calendar
My first quick tip here is to find the time to do it. My tip is to block consistent time in your calendar. Treat your schedule like a school class timetable and set aside time for the same task at the same time every week. So instead of Maths every Monday at 10am, it will be your own social media creation and scheduling, or other marketing activities. Making these key tasks part of your weekly routine is an easy way to boost your consistency. And we all know that if it is not in your calendar or on your schedule, it will not happen!
- Create templates and systems in your business
This has been so helpful to me and is an important step towards systemizing some of the marketing tasks in my business. For example, if you must create content, you need to first block some time to think of the idea or what topic you are going to focus on. Then you write your blog or record your video, create visuals and posts on social media, and your website. You will need to block time for all these steps in your calendar. You also want to look at which of these tasks are repetitive and then create some templates. For example, for each episode of my podcast, I have show notes. In order for me not to have to start from scratch every week, I have a template, so every week looks the same – just have a look and check it out! The template has a structure which is always the same – I talk about the topic that the show focuses on, the guest if there is one and then the free resource to go with the episode, the key takeaways, and a call to action.
Think about how you could create a template for your repetitive content creation tasks, and where else you can create systems to save you time. For example, I have template folders for each week’s podcast that allows me to organize all the elements I need in the same way for each week. I do not have to create a new folder system every week, I just cut and paste my template. Every business is different, but I recommend that you sit down, observe some of the repetitive tasks that you have to do, and then figure out a template that you can use and copy-paste for every time you have to create the tasks or their piece of content. Doing this made a huge difference to me and I think you will be surprised how much more free and lighter you feel when these tasks become a little easier and quicker.
To give you another example – blogging. Let’s say, blogging is one of your three marketing strategies. Maybe you end up every week just staring at a blank sheet of paper! First, invest time in brainstorming and creating a list of possible topics to blog about that are relevant to your niche. Again, this is why getting clarity about your business is so important. If you haven’t already done so, you should list all the pain points that your business addresses and then convert them into potential blog titles so you don’t have to wonder what to write about next!
Then use a template for your blog itself. You could create, for example, a three-part structure for each blog. Part one should explain what problem your blog addresses, the second part could share insights that address the problem, and then finally, your third part could be a call to action for your readers. Just by using this three-part model, you have already saved time wondering and worrying about where to start!
I hope these tips and examples have helped you. You will need to tailor them to your business but the principles of creating a routine and templates should make your life easier and help you become much more consistent in your marketing efforts.
- Automate and delegate
Once you have started to look at systemizing whatever elements of your marketing that you can, then you can also use technology to automate and schedule, saving you time. You should also identify which tasks you can delegate to someone else.
For example, with creating content for social media, once you have blocked time on your calendar to complete key marketing tasks and you have your template structures, and you have created your content, you are going to need to block time in your calendar to schedule your posts. You can use scheduling tools to save time or you could perhaps delegate this to someone else.
Here are two resources where I go into much more depth on how to effectively manage your time and create effective systems:
4. Your mindset
Your mindset is what makes you either consistent or not. If you do not develop the right mindset, nothing else that I mentioned will work. This is the crucial part of building consistency for your business. What I am talking about is your commitment to making your marketing happen. Marketing is not always fun but if you are committed to doing it, day in and day out, whatever the circumstances, it will make all the difference between success and failure. Your ability to commit, plan and implement is absolutely critical – this is one of the reasons that I put so much emphasis on time management and building strong systems to make it as simple as possible and to help you avoid being overwhelmed.
Building consistency and having the right mindset really depend on the confidence you have in your work, particularly when you are starting out. My big challenge to you here is to work through your confidence in what you are doing. I know from working with so many clients that what stops them from being consistent is the doubts they have about whether they are good enough, whether people will like what they are doing, or wondering if they are a fraud, just by offering their advice and services. If you are asking yourself these questions right now, then stop. Stop right now.
Stop doubting the quality of your work and the quality of whatever you have to do to build your business because that is the limiting belief that is stopping you from being consistent.
When you find yourself doubting, questioning, or hesitating, here is the key rule:
GET IT DONE
Perfect really is the enemy of good when it comes to being consistent. You will not be able to write the perfect blog every single time or create the perfect podcast episode every time. Every time I take the microphone, I am conscious of this, but I also know that I am doing my absolute best. I know I cannot let the thought of it being imperfect stop me from showing up every single week.
So please understand that perfection is not what builds an audience or encourages people to follow you. Showing up on a regular, consistent basis in a relatable way is the key to building trust. And to be relatable, you need to accept that you will sometimes need to be vulnerable too. Just be yourself and trust that what you have is good enough, and stick to the one key rule – get it done! Do it first and perfect it later.
I have learned over the last five years of Tandem Nomads that if you wait until you have the right expertise and are really ‘good’ at this before you start showing up consistently, you will actually never get anywhere. For the simple reason, that expertise comes with real-life practice. For example, if you decide to write, you need to share what you have written with the world and see how people react to your words so that you know what you can tweak, change, and perfect.
So, if you are waiting to be ‘better’ at what you do, you need to know that you will not get any better by not doing it! Waiting to be perfect will just get in the way of you showing up consistently and building those relationships that will grow your business.
I hope that this practical advice will help you build consistency to grow your business. If you would like to explore this topic in more detail, click here to download my free 3C™ workbook for more resources and information.