10 reasons why marketing your business is just like getting fit

Ever wonder why your marketing doesn’t work? Why your plans and efforts aren’t paying off? Find out 10 reasons why marketing is just like getting fit – and how you can whip your business into shape. 

Whatever size or sector your business, there’s one activity you need to be doing regularly – and that’s marketing. Without marketing your business (overtly or covertly) customers won’t be able to find you. They won’t know what you sell. And they won’t know whether you’re the right fit for them.

And yet, too many business owners treat marketing like getting fit. They try to ignore it most of the time, pushing it further and further don their to-do list. Then, maybe once or twice a year they’ll have a panic and invest time and money in a short burst of activity.

10 reasons why marketing your business is just like getting fit

But short bursts of activity in marketing, just like in fitness, rarely lead to sustained results. Instead you just become disheartened because you don’t see the instant results you’d hoped for. And you may even conclude that marketing ‘doesn’t work’.

But just like losing weight and toning up, if you want to genuinely see proper, long-lasting results you need to take a little-and-often approach, and flex your marketing muscles regularly.

To help you get a good sense of how to approach your marketing for long term results, Bryony Thomas, marketing expert and author of the bestselling marketing book Watertight Marketing (you can download your free digital copy here), explains 10 ways marketing your business is just like getting fit – and how you can put your own business through a new, more rewarding exercise regime.

1) It’s hard to change the habits of a lifetime

If you’ve got into a groove with how you find and win business – maybe through cold-calling, mass mailing, or personal selling- moving to a more consistent, marketing-led approach can be tough.

It’s moving from a quick-win mentality to a focus on long-term (and sustainable) results… much like ditching the booze, taking up running, and eating a healthy-balanced diet.

If these things are new to you, it’s hard to suddenly start doing them overnight. This is why we always recommend starting with something manageable, then building up gradually. So, for example, you might start with a weekly blog post, then build up to a weekly blog plus quarterly paper and event. Think of it like starting with four press-ups, then increasing to eight, then 12, etc.

2) If things have gone to seed you’ll have to put in some groundwork

If you’ve developed some sloth-like habits and piled on more than a few extra pounds, then running a marathon would be seriously hard work (if not impossible!). Similarly, if your website is ancient, your brand is a mish-mash, and your products are more than a little flabby, then doubling turnover in a month would be a tall order.

If you want long term success with your marketing then you need to start training. You need to review your current marketing operation, identify where changes need to be made, and accept that you’ll need to dig deep (in money and energy).

What this often means is that you may need to do some unpicking, and make a time investment before you see any results at all. Just like you need to revamp your diet, invest in some good running gear and plan a training schedule that builds up from one mile to a full marathon.

3) A regular, structured approach is best

Yo-yo diets don’t work. They mess with your metabolism, knock your confidence, and play havoc with your motivation. And boom and bust marketing is about as good for your business health.

Stopping and starting means that you never really get good at marketing. You don’t get to learn what works (and what doesn’t), you don’t give your marketing time to get traction and, if you have prolonged periods of inactivity, you risk people forgetting your business even exists!

A little and often approach, in which you show up frequently enough to stay on people’s radar is much, much, better.

But, simply showing up isn’t enough. This is like vanity fitness; you know, all muscle and no stamina. In marketing terms, this is all awareness activity, and no support for sales conversations or customer loyalty. Like, spending piles of cash getting people to your website, but providing nothing of interest when they get there.

Instead you need a structured mix of marketing tools and techniques mapped against every stage in your customers’ buying decision, so that the whole sales journey is supported. It’s the equivalent of a mixed routine at the gym.

4) It’s even better if you integrate a little into everything you do

Going to the gym on a set day each week is great, just like it’s great to have a structured marketing activity plan with key things happening at certain frequencies. In fact, I’d say laying down this baseline of activity is critical to maintaining your core marketing fitness.

But it’s so much better if marketing is a mindset rather than just a to-do list. In fitness terms, this is like ditching the car and cycling instead.

For your business, this means not relying solely on your marketing department, agency or consultant (if you have one) to do your marketing for you. And if you’re doing your own marketing, it means not just setting aside specific time or activities for ‘Marketing’. It means building marketing into the fabric of your business.

This could be as simple as reviewing log-in screens, credit control letters, invoices, etc for tone and marketing opportunities. Or, it could be as extensive as getting every member of your team equipped and enthused to make marketing part of everyday activity. Imagine if everyone in your team did 20-minutes really effective marketing of your business, every single day? It wouldn’t take long for the compound effect of that small amount of activity to have a big impact on your sales.

5) Some people are fanatics, but most do fine with small changes

Do you know any fitness freaks? I certainly do. Out running at dawn in all weathers. Spending piles of cash on fancy gym kit. And, hell, they look amazing! But we don’t all need to be fitness fanatics to get into better shape.

And the same is true of marketing. There are some businesses whose leaders are just really into marketing. They really get it. These are the businesses that have amazing brands, industry-leading websites, and speaking gigs all over the shop.

Maybe that’s just not you. And, that’s okay – don’t let their brilliance distract you from what works. The vast majority of small businesses don’t want (or need) to win marketing awards, they simply need to win profitable customers.

You don’t need ground-breaking creative concepts, or a vast team of whizz kids to get results. If you’re clear and structured about tweaking the Thirteen Touchpoint Leaks in my book (download your free digital copy here), you will see a difference. Just a 2% improvement against each can turn into a massive 127% uplift in sales.

6) There are lots of people promising quick fixes (that don’t work)

Ah, that fabled marketing magic formula. It doesn’t exist, sorry. (Just like the six-figure business con.)

Again, this is no different to getting fit – there’s no instant, magic exercise or crazy diet, shake or pill that will take you to overweight and flabby to lean and toned overnight. Everybody knows, deep down, that long-term fitness takes a long-term commitment to diet and exercise.

That won’t stop people promising those miracle cures to your fitness or marketing pains. And sure, there may be some quick wins up for grabs. If you don’t eat for a week you’ll probably lose a dramatic amount of weight. But you’ll feel awful and won’t be able to sustain it (indeed, most people put more weight back on after a crash diet).

Likewise, if you spend £1,000 on Facebook ads for a week you may be able to increase traffic to your sales page. Or if you invest in a pushy sales rep, you may get a quick uplift in sales. But how many businesses can sustain that effort and cost? And will it genuinely translate into happy, loyal customers and a healthy return on investment?

The truth is that getting and staying marketing fit takes sustained effort. It takes careful planning and hard work. But it’s worth it.

7) It takes a little while to see results

Have you ever been determined to lose weight? Have you sensibly revamped your diet and started exercising regularly… only to jump on the scales every day only to see little change at first?

Starting any new health regime can feel demoralising at first. Much of the effort goes in changing our habits and getting used to a new way of approaching our fitness. And we’re naturally eager to see that effort repaid in visible results.

But sustainable, long term changes don’t happen overnight. They build up slowly over time. So, if you’ve started a new health regime you’ll feel better if you stop weighing yourself daily, and torturing yourself over your snail-like progress. And instead measure your results monthly. Over a month you’ll see more dramatic progress. Your new regime will have had time to start working and you’ll feel motivated by your success.

There’s a real parallel here with marketing, especially the kind of ‘little and often’ marketing that I’m a proponent of. You have to give it time to have an effect. How much time will depend on three things:

  1. Whether the work you’re doing now is foundation stuff, like rebranding or building a website. Think of this as core strength; it will never show up on the scales, but it will support you when you get going with the stuff that does.
  2. What shape you were in to begin with (whether there’s any familiarity to build on, or whether you were a complete unknown).
  3. How long the buying decision is for what you sell.

One of the fastest ways to kill your marketing motivation is to measure too soon and too often. You certainly need to have a robust measurement framework in place, but checking every five minutes will completely ruin your focus.

8) To get the best all-over results, you need to vary your techniques

If you want to get fit and look good, you need a variety of exercise techniques and a healthy diet of the right kind of work. Training for a marathon by doing press-ups won’t work. And you’ll never lift weights by spending time on a running machine. And none of this is much good if your heart and lungs aren’t in good shape.

For all-over fitness you need a range to techniques to tone and strengthen the different parts of your body. And in marketing terms, this means mapping a tool or technique to every stage of your cutsomers’ buying decision.

Some tools are best for generating awareness, others are better for closing a sale, and there are different techniques again for encouraging loyalty from existing customers. Your marketing set-up needs to be clearly tied to the tasks at hand. It needs to support every step of the sales process if you want long-term (and sustainable) sales results.

9) You can go it alone or get help from an expert

Getting and staying fit isn’t complicated to understand. You can grab some tins of beans from your cupboard to use as weights. You can run round the local park. You can cycle instead of using the car. You don’t need a fitness guru to do these things.

The same is true of marketing your business. You can grab a book, read some blogs and simply do this stuff yourself. It’s not brain surgery. With a bit of thought and plenty of elbow grease you can definitely see great sales results from marketing you do yourself.

With Watertight Marketing, I’ve made a complete set of workbooks available for free to help you DIY your marketing. If you read my book and complete the right worksheet each time you see a spanner symbol, you will finish the book with a comprehensive marketing strategy and action plan.

However, as easy as getting fit is on paper, actually doing it and maintaining it is just so much harder. This why people hire personal trainers, get a programme designed for them at the gym, or join an exercise class. A personal trainer will be up on nutrition. They will understand anatomy. They will know all sorts of exercises you may never have heard of. And, they will have seen and supported countless numbers of other people through the same process.

The marketing equivalent is a marketing consultant or marketing professional. Specialist experience and knowledge will almost always get you results faster. But, more importantly, it will help you keep the effort going.

And, yes, you can get exactly this support from Watertight Marketing – our Marketing Masterplan programme is like joining a gym, checking in regularly with your trainer. And going directly to one of our Accredited Consultants is more like getting fit with a dedicated personal trainer.

10) Your business will look and feel great – and it’s fun!

I know there are three things there, but in essence, the last thing on my list of comparisons between marketing and fitness is that it’s truly worth it.

If you eat well and exercise regularly, you will definitely look and feel better. Your whole body will work more efficiently, you’ll be able to think better, and that healthy glow suits everyone.

With marketing, a great brand, where everything is considered and consistent is like a toned body and even skin tone. And a regular marketing activity plan is like that regular exercise regime that gives you the stamina to out-pace the competition.

With fitness, this is like waking up each morning feeling fresh and full of energy. With marketing, this often manifests as re-discovering the passion you had when you set the business up. And replacing that gut-wrenching worry about where the next big deal is coming from, with that fizzy- tummy excitement you feel when there’s something brilliant to look forward to.

Effective marketing delivers sustainable results

If you take just one thing from this article, I hope it’s that it’s much better to step off that business roller coaster and getting your marketing to deliver long-term, sustainable, sales results.

If your company is marketing fit, your business immune system will be in great shape, and you’ll be much better equipped to survive a downturn, or change in market circumstances. And you’ll find it much easier to outrun your competition. When times are tough, and the purchase decision really matters, customers will choose the company that can go the distance.

I’m even told that when you get into exercise, it becomes pretty addictive. And the same is definitely true of marketing. When it comes to building marketing into the daily life of your business, the most important change is often the sense of calm and control that the business owner starts to feel.

If you’re able to see cause and effect between marketing effort and sales results, you’ll be able to plan and predict your business growth. Marketing that delivers long-term sales results is marketing you want to keep doing.

Download your free digital copy of Bryony’s best selling book Watertight Marketing here now. 

Photo by Callie Morgan