How important is it to be consistent in your marketing?

Feb 9, 2024 | Marketing

“Show Notes”

Sam and Marcus discuss consistency in your marketing. Sam says the basic idea is decide what you want to in your marketing, and do it consistently and well. If you look at businesses that are doing well through their marketing, they are being very consistent. That doesn’t mean that all businesses that consistently market, do well.

This episode is sponsored by Website for photographers. Website 4 photographers help photographers get more leads from their websites. You can get in touch here

info@website4photographers.co.uk

01482 765871

Planning

The first stage of marketing is planning. You need to have your ambitions first of where you want your business to be. You then need to think about what you need to do to get there, in terms of marketing. But, be realistic about what time you have for marketing or the budget you have for marketing. So be ambitious in your targets, but realistic in the time and/or budget you have for implementation. 

Marcus says things take way longer than you plan for. But, Sam said this can happen initially, but, if you are being consistent and doing things again and again, you get quicker and more efficient at it. 

Implementation

Once the planning is done you need to think about implementing it. Sam says a daily or weekly plan is essential for this. If you have a clear plan for your day or week then you can ensure you make time for your marketing, or whatever else it is essential to do in your business. Marcus thinks that with photography this is challenging as you have to do photo shoots. Sam says it’s the same for every business. Having a weekly timetable that is the same for every week, like a school, doesn’t work. It needs to be done on a week by week basis. This can be done by photographers the same as everyone else. It can be easy to spend all your time processing photos. It is important to set time aside for marketing, accounting and other essential business tasks. 

Use your weekly plan to help you implement your marketing plan consistently. 

Sam talks a little about the sort of thing your regular marketing might be, like building a community on social. As you do marketing you need to be monitoring your sales and leads and seeing if your marketing is working. Make sure you ask everyone who comes to you as a customer how they found you. They won’t remember every time they have come across you, but they will remember something. Use the data to help focus your marketing and trim away the stuff that isn’t working. But ensure you have been consistently doing your marketing for a good while before you judge it. It needs more than just a couple of weeks before you can judge it. Marcus and Sam discuss touch points and how many touch points clients have before they will contact you. Different books say you need a different number of touch points before a sale. But you certainly need a good few. And the closer together you can get those touch points the quicker you can move people to a sale. Remember when you are assessing your marketing, that some touch points will not  be mentioned by clients and if you remove it, it might be detrimental to your marketing. For example they may have forgotten about seeing yuoir posts on Linkedin. But, that doesn;t mean they didn’t help in the process of moving them towards becoming a customer.

Marcus mentioned the idea of accountability groups. Where you hold each other to account. These can work really well at helping you getting stuff done. If you write a goal down its better than being in your head. If you add a deadline that’s better. But it’s a lot more effective if you then share these goals to someone that means you will put much more pressure in yourself to meet those goals.

Marcus and Sam finish by discussing common marketing mistakes. One of them is of course, not being consistent in your marketing.

“Show Transcription”

Marcus: Hello there Sam, how you doing?

Sam: Very good, Marcus. And how are you?

Marcus:  I’m really well, thank you, Sam. I’m really well. And I believe today you’re going to be talking about consistency.

Sam: We are like the consistent coloring. Me and Marcus are here recording both in green, but that’s not the sort of consistency we’re going to be talking about today. So, we’re going to be talking about consistency in your marketing. This episode of shoot to the Top is sponsored by website for photographers. I’m Sam Hollis from shoot to the top and website for photographers is my business. I help photographers get more leads and so more customers from their website. I do this through SEO and website services, both tailored specifically for photographers. In this business, I only work with photographers and as you know from the podcast, I spend loads of time talking to photographers and really getting to know the photography business. So, if you want more leads and more customers, get in touch with me. Rather shoot to the top website. Email me at info@ websiteforphotographers.co.UK that’s the number four. Or look for more contact details in the show note and now on with the show. So yeah, so it’s an important topic and I think one that’s really important and I think I can really summarize the whole podcast in one sentence, which is basically decide what you want to do and do it consistently and well. Lots and lots of people come up with great ideas in their marketing, but they don’t do it consistently and consistency is really, really important. I think if you look at businesses that are successful, they do things consistently over time, the same things, and they do them really well. No, not every business does well because they’re doing their marketing consistently over time, but businesses that do well through their marketing are doing things consistently on time. If the difference there makes sense, I think we need to first look at planning a little bit related to this. So, I think the first thing when he thinks about your marketing is your planning. So, I think there’s two sides to this in terms of being ambitious and being realistic. So, I think you want to be ambitious about where you want to be. Where do you want your business to be in a year, in six months, in two years? Be ambitious, but in the way you want, it might be that you’re ambitious in that I want to spend 60% of my time in my garden with a book that’s ambitious for you. Your own ambitions of what you want to do. It might be you want your business to be multimillion pounds, but have your ambitions of where you want your business to be. But then in terms of your marketing, think about what you do to get there, but be realistic in the time you have. So, if you’re going to be consistent, you’ve got to be realistic about the time you have available. There’s no point going well, on Mondays I’m going to do this marketing and on Tuesdays this. And you’ve got 5 hours of marketing a day when you only got an hour a day spare to do it. So, be really ambitious about where you want to go, but be realistic where you’re planning what you’re doing in terms of what have I got the time for or what can I afford? So, there’s the be realistic in the time you’ve got, or also be realistic in the money you’ve got. And it could be that all your marketing or some of your marketing or a little bit of your marketing is outsourced, which is great because that means you don’t need the time. But again, be realistic, what have you got the money for? And plan accordingly. And obviously, as that brings in more money, you could then possibly increase that. But I think it’s really key to balance those two things. That ambition, but that realism with, I think you know better being really honest with yourself about how much time you have. Because then you know you can be consistent because you’ve thought carefully about how much time can I dedicate to this? And then you know you can be consistent because you know you’ve got that time available to you.

Marcus: It’s surprising, isn’t it, Sam, how long things take, isn’t it?

Sam: It is. It’s not like double, it’s like quadruple longer than you think. Everything is just so complicated, isn’t it? Well, yes and no. And things always are. To start with, when you’re not being consistent, you write, things often take longer than you think, but if you’re doing them consistently, they do get quicker. Like when we started the podcast, the first time I edited a podcast, it must have taken a day while now I can edit them pretty fast. So, when you’re doing things again and again and consistently, the time it takes you to do them goes down while the quality of what you do goes up and the effectiveness of what you do goes up. So, there’s that too. Yeah, you’re right. You do have to think about it is going to take me longer now, but in a month, actually, if I’ve done this every day for a month, I’m going to be pretty nippy at it. After a month, I’m going to be on the ball with this.

Marcus:  I think that’s a really interesting point you say there, Sam, and it’s not often talked about the fact if you do something regularly, you do it quicker simply as that. You’re quite right.

Sam: yeah. I mean, in some ways, that’s kind of why we’re all in business doing different things. I could take websites, you could do websites, I could take photographs. My accountant could go and build a house. But we’d all do a really bad job and we’d all do it really slowly in some ways. That’s one of the things about the businesses we have. We’re doing the things we’re doing day in, day out. We’ve built the skills, we’ve built the knowledge and also, we’re able to do it quickly and efficiently, which is why my accountant doesn’t build my house and I don’t take your photographs. Marcus. Because it doesn’t make any logical sense. And then I think the last thing with the planning we went through is just know what you want to achieve, so think about what you’re going to practically do and what you want to achieve from that.

Marcus: Got you? Yeah.

Sam: Cool. And then it’s then down to moving on to implementation. So, then you’ve done all this planning, you’ve thought about it, so you now need to implement. So, you need to have, if you have this, like a weekly plan, I think for anybody, working is really important what you’re going to do when. Because if you don’t set that time aside or a daily plan, however you do it, you’re not going to do it, are you? Let’s be honest, I’ve had the OD day where I don’t plan what I’m doing and you kind of drift through the day answering emails and doing whatever other people shove under your nose, because that kind of takes priority. While if you’ve got a clear plan, you go, right. I don’t care what else is going unless the house is on fire from ten till eleven. I’m doing my marketing and I need to do this, this and this, and everything else goes to the side. And so having that plan, I think, is, well, I think it’s vital in business. So, you actually get done what you want to do rather than what other people want you to do or what you fancy. And it just helps you, if you’ve planned that consistency, and it helps you do that consistency to actually turn up and do the things that you want to do.

Marcus:  If I may just step in there, Sam, just talking about that idea of using time block, because I started three years ago, I put together like a time block system, and it all looked wonderful on my wall, all nicely colored and all that. But I soon came to realize that with photography, you get a shoot in and it just throws all the whole time block out, and you sort of rather rely on other people fitting with other people’s programs, whereas maybe, let’s say with any business.

Sam:  So, I get request, I have an online calendar. I get requests all the time for a meeting, and it just comes through and bang, it suddenly appeared. All sorts of people get meetings put in, gets other people’s priorities put in. I mean, I plan, I don’t plan ahead. I don’t have a consistent weekly plan. On a Monday, I plan for the rest of the week. And so on a Monday, I look through all the meetings I’ve got booked in, I put those in, I put all the fixed things in and then around that, and I write, when am I to going do my marketing? When am I going to do project management? When am I going to do these other things and slot them all in? And obviously, as the week goes on, by Wednesday, I need to retweet Friday sometimes because I haven’t done everything I wanted to do on Monday. And four people have booked a meeting in, which has hampered Tuesday afternoon.

Marcus:  Got you.

Sam: But I’ve still got a plan. And I still know that nine times out of ten, on Tuesday morning for an hour, I’ll be doing my account. And then Wednesday afternoon, let’s look at the plan. Okay, I’m doing sales for 2 hours. And so, yeah, everybody has external stuff, clients, so just try and factor them in and, yeah, you need to tweak it sometimes. Yeah, you’re right. I don’t think like a school based weekly timetable, the same every week works as well because stuff changes, doesn’t it? Stuff comes in and messes with that.

Marcus: For sure. Especially, as I say, in the world of photography, where you can easily write out just from one simple shoot a day, two days out of your program.

Sam: Yeah, definitely. But usually you’d know a week ahead, wouldn’t you? Usually by Monday, you’d know what shoots you’ve got in. You could plan your week accordingly, because otherwise, I think especially, I think that photography, you could just spend your time on shoots and processing photos and then you wouldn’t be doing your marketing, you wouldn’t be doing your sales, because you’re just going, oh, well, I’ve got all these photos to process. Well, if you go right from ten till eleven today, I am doing my marketing. You’ve made that decision and you just need to stick with it and do it. And don’t just sit there and go, oh, I could just do this one more photo and one more. Which is so easy to do, isn’t it?

Marcus: Yes, that’s quite right.

Sam: And so, yeah, so I think once you got the plan, the key is implemented it consistently. So go along and consistently do what you said you will do. Whatever it was, be it connecting with people on LinkedIn, posting on Instagram, making a podcast, doing a YouTube video, whatever it is. However often you’ve decided to do that, making sure you’ve put the time aside to do it and then turn up and do it and then make sure why you’re helping people and you’re making time to talk to people, because those connections are so important, aren’t they? And we can be too rigid and yeah, that’s part of the process. And build your community. So, especially as most of us are on social, I think the key is there on social that we’re not selling, we’re building. I keep saying this, we’re building a community. We’re finding like-minded people who might at some stage be interested in using our services, but that’s not what we’re interested in on social interest in engaging with them, connecting with, building a community of people who are interested in whatever you’re talking about. And it might be that it’s photography, but we were speaking to a photographer the other day, oh, it’s Julian Devine. And she was saying, yeah, initially she was doing shoots for newborns, so she was often. I don’t think that was even on social back then. But she was often just talking about what you want to take to a hospital. It doesn’t actually have to be directly related to the photographs, does it? You might be a wildlife photographer and you’re actually just talking about rhino conservation 90% of the time, something like that. It doesn’t have to be whatever you’re doing, and it certainly doesn’t want to be sales based.

Marcus: Yes.

Sam: And as you’re doing that, I think the key is then that you need to monitor your sales and your leads and kind of look at is your marketing working as you’re doing this, consistent marketing, but you don’t want to just keep doing it forever, if not working. So, you need to then be looking at what sales you’ve got. Where did they come from? Every time someone comes in, do you mind me asking, how did you get my name? How did you know? I mean, they’re not going to give you a long history of, well, I got your newsletter and then I saw your website, but they will remember at least one thing, that you’ve probably had a load of touch points times where you’ve spoken to them not solely in person, but newsletters, posts, whatever. But yeah, ask them, how did you find me? And you can note that down and you can sort of track. Right. Where are my leads coming from? Where are they not coming from? But a few things to think about with that, and one is don’t expect instant results. So don’t do it for two weeks, go, oh, I’ve got no leads, and then give up and do something else. That’s not being consistent. Yeah, be consistent over a good period of time. And I can’t give you a period of time because it depends what you’re doing, what your starting point is, what you’ve done before, but you can’t expect results in weeks certainly. it’s over the long term, building those relationships, building trust. Touch points people talk about, don’t they? How many times have they seen your post? Have you commented on their post? Have you engaged with them? They got a newsletter. Whatever it is.

Marcus: It does take an awful long time. And I think that’s a thing that I never see. What rarely see mentioned in social media posts or coaching comments or whatever, is how long it actually really does take. And it is not weak. It’s years, isn’t it, Sam?

Sam:  It really can. It’s often measured on touch points rather than time. And different books will tell you the different number of touch points. So, you know, every time there’s some sort of communication between you and a long time ago, people five on it, but often it seems to be increasing, especially because people are consuming so much content, social videos, whatever it is, that seems to be getting more and more touch points needed before they kind of finally are ready to speak to you and possibly buy in things. So, yeah, I think it is those touch points rather than time. So, if you can get those touch points closer, you can bring that time down, but it does still take time.

Marcus: Yeah, that’s very interesting. Touch points. That’s a good way of looking at it, actually.

Sam: And then remember as well, when you’re analyzing the data, that the clients don’t remember all the touch points they’ve had. So it might be that all your clients are saying, oh, yeah, I’ve come to you because you did that great post on video on Facebook about Dot, dot, dot. And that was really interesting. And I want to come and speak to you now. But they won’t say that. Actually, before then they’d seen six other posts. They’d done this, they’d done that. So, you’ve got to be a little bit careful when you say to the clients, how did you find me? That’s really good. But they won’t tell you lots of things that came before that, if that makes sense. So, you got to be a little bit careful because it might be that you cut something out of your marketing because you think it’s not working. But actually, in the background it’s been doing an amazing job. But it just wasn’t the last touch point somebody had. So, they don’t mention it. So, kind of when you’re looking at how your marketing is working, it’s a bit of an art and a science because you’re looking at the numbers because you can literally if people of, I categorize, how did people find you? I’ve got this list and which one did they pick? But also there’s lots going on behind there that they don’t remember and then that’s where the kind of art and a bit of guesswork in some ways come in. Which of these has touched them even if they didn’t mention it? I first contact them six months ago and they went to my newsletter list. Okay. They’ve had twelve newsletters since then. So, although they didn’t mention it, that’s just been reminding them I exist the whole time adding more touch points. I think when you’re assessing how your marketing is going, give it plenty of time because you got to get that consistency. And then yeah, you’ve got to use the data. And like we said, some almost feeling the art side of it. It isn’t just purely look at the data unless you’ve got every touch point is highly measured. For most people it’s not. So, you’ve got to kind of do a little bit of a thinking about it and a little bit of guesswork and hoping for the best. And then again, if stuff you think isn’t working, I think it’s better to kind of tweak and try and tweak and try than just chuck it all out. Now if you’ve been in a really long time, it’s not working, chuck it out, but don’t know, chuck it out straight away. Work, tweak and kind of work your way through and kind of work on it.

Marcus: What I see a lot of these days, Sam, which I think is a really useful thing, is these groups where you buddy up and basically what’s the accountability groups? I think that’s a really good idea, isn’t it?

Sam: I mean it’s effectively what we do here because if Marcus wasn’t here, I probably wouldn’t turn up on podcast each week. Marcus would be the same. And yeah, I know friends who have accountability walks and once a month they go together for a dog walk and they just chat about their business. But, yeah, having somebody where you’ve promised to them, you’ll do something, it’s much harder to break that promise to them than to you. It’s easy to say, oh, yeah, I’ll just do it next week. Well, yeah, if you’ve got. And some people, in some ways, that’s what some people are paying for a business coach for, isn’t it? Right, this is what we’re going to do. You’ve done it. But, yeah, an accountability person can be really good and it could be a friend, it could be somebody else, another business part, another business owner who you know well, who you can just chat to. It doesn’t have to be another photographer, it could be anyone, really. It’s just having somebody where I think there’s various things with goals, aren’t there? If you just talk about them, they’re very in the air. If you write them down, that makes a big difference. If you put deadlines on them, that makes a big difference. But if you’ve got them written down in a deadline and you show them to someone, that’s an even bigger difference because you’ve then promised to somebody, yeah, I’m going to do that. And you feel like a bit of a wally if you turn up next time. Well, I’ve done. I was a bit busy and the kids were a bit sick. While if you turn and go, yeah, I’ve managed four out of five of those and then that one’s some of the way there and I’m working on it. But there was a bit of a hitch. If you’ve got to explain yourself to somebody, that’s quite different, isn’t it?

Marcus: Exactly. And of course, it works both ways, isn’t it? If you’re doing what you said and the other person’s going to start feeling, oh, I’ve got to do that as well, I think that’s a good one. I like those. Accountability.

Sam: Yeah. No, I think they can work really well. And then I just had, for kind of the end of it, a few points in terms of keeping consistency. Yes. So, if you’re keeping some sort of mistakes, lots of people do with kind of marketing in relationship to this is. Yeah, lots of people aren’t consistent. So, they’re turning up. They’ll post crazily on Facebook for a week and then do nothing for three weeks and then post crazily for four days and then disappear for a month and that. You’d be much better being realistic. I can manage two posts a week, one of them a video and you know that. Make it so you know you can do it consistently. Many people have too many channels as know, just over promising or Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, x, whatever it is now, you know YouTube, and I’m doing a podcast. Whoa. Are you going to honestly manage all of those well or are you better choosing two or one and doing them really consistently? I think sales, not relationships, is another one where people make mistake. People are straight away trying to sell, trying to sell, trying to sell. Yeah. And it just drives you bad, doesn’t it? Otherwise, someone I was speaking to recently met them at a networking event, had a question that was in their field of expertise, although, oh, I just asked them instantly, oh, well, let’s jump on a call. Jumped on a call instantly. It’s just like sales, it’s just, I had a question. You don’t need the sales rammed down your throat, do you? But if you ask people for advice and they give it to you, then you’re much likely to go to them for the services later on. So, I think getting that, making sure you’re building that relationship and not worrying about the sale that will come or may not come. But if you’re building that relationship, it’s much more likely to come and much more likely to come Well. Yeah, and people making time for others, like we said, make time for one to one, making time to help people, like you saying other photographers, making sure there’s a photographer in the local area, they’re starting out, they’re struggling, make some time, going to have a cup of coffee with them and help them. And all sorts of things happen without you. We’ve talked about that a lot. Another one we’ve talked about previous podcasts is what are you talking about? Aiming your stuff at your ideal client, what they’re interested in, not just about you. Common thing people do. So, yeah, the key is be consistent, be realistic in your plan, get a really realistic plan of what you can do and then be really consistent in implementing that and monitoring that.

Marcus: Brilliant. Brilliant. Absolutely. Very wise words, if I may say, wise words from the wizard of marketing. Brilliant. Nice one. That’s it. Sam, thank you very much.  Thank you. That’s been a very enlightening show for me and certainly something I’m always trying to work on. So. Yeah, good one. Cool, Sam, thank you. And we’ll see you next week.

Sam: See you next week. Bye bye.