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How Much Marketing Do You Need to Do?

Earlier this summer, I was talking to a client about his marketing efforts versus results. The conversation quickly became about how much marketing he actually needs to do. I finally said to him, “You know, you might not need to do any marketing.”


(Yes, I’m honest like that. I can’t work any other way.)


Like me, this client has a deep network that is a referral-machine. He’s not lacking for clients, but he would like more new clients rather than relying on revenue from clients who have been with him for years. I get that. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, etc. 


After talking about it, we decided that a more scaled-back marketing strategy would be just fine. He’s visible to his network, sharing his ideas and expertise, and being part of the conversation. It’s just a more subtle approach than what we had been doing.


Over the years, I’ve met a handful of people who are so successful they don’t do any marketing. At all. 


In fact, I remember talking to one woman – I think her name was Jerri – who is so well-known and in-demand that she doesn’t bother to check or return emails immediately. The people who want to hire her (C-suite level) know they will hear from her eventually, so they wait. 


Can you imagine?! I can’t. I’m really good at what I do, but I don’t think anyone would sit around and patiently wait for a response from me. 


Before we get into how much marketing you need to do, let’s make sure we’re on the same page and define what marketing is, anyway.


Marketing defined


Nearly 9 billion definitions for marketing exist out there (thank you Google), and most of them are overly complex. 


I define marketing as the process of building relationships with others so they become interested in what you have to sell.


Once people trust you, they will buy from you when the time is right. They will tell other people about you. They will come back to you again and again. 


With that strong network in place, you don’t really have to do much marketing.


I blog twice a month. I send a monthly newsletter. I am active on LinkedIn. And I record marketing advice videos with my friend Nicole.


That’s a pretty pared down marketing strategy when you consider all the activities I could be doing:


  • Podcasting
  • Being interviewed on podcasts
  • Guest blogging
  • Speaking
  • Hosting webinars
  • Teaching via classes or a course
  • Actively using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc.
  • Writing a book (or books)


I’m sure I could keep adding to this list, but that’s everything that popped in my head.


I figured out how much marketing I need to do, so, like my client, I remain visible to those in my network. If I reach new people – and I do – great! But that’s not the goal of my marketing efforts.


If you’d like to unlock the answer for yourself, here’s how I’d approach it.


How much marketing do I need to do?


Let’s start with your business goals


How much money do you need/want to earn each month? (This can be gross or net – I’ll let you figure that out.) It can be helpful to look at this number based on lifestyle. Can you afford the life you want? How much do you need to make to live that life? 


Let’s say you want to make $15,000 per month (nice!), and right now you’re making $10,000.


To meet that income goal, how much do you need to grow? Do you need to add one new client/project each month? More than that? Less than that?


If you make $5,000, on average, per client over three months, you need to add three new clients per month.


(Can I interrupt and just say how impressed I am that I, a copywriter who used to abhor all things finance and operations, can walk you through this? Thank you. I’ll wait ‘til the applause dies down.)


Now let’s look at marketing ROI


Where are you getting clients and projects from now? First, look at the list of clients you’ve acquired over the past year. Jot down where they came from –a referral, a lead magnet, a networking event, a speaking gig.


You may find that you are getting most of your new clients from only one or two. This is where you should be concentrating your marketing spend.


(I just did this, and nearly all of my current clients found me through network referrals. One client – who is also one of my best and oldest clients – came from a random outreach from a complete stranger. It’s a story.)


Now look at the list of projects from existing clients. How many, on average, did you get every month?


You might find that you get one per month. This means that to reach your $15,000 per month income goal, you need one additional new project from an existing client and two new clients.


Let’s back up to your top sources of new clients. Maybe those sources are your newsletter and podcast. You are also active on LinkedIn (twice a week) and Instagram (every day), and you attend one networking event each week, but they do not directly generate new clients.


Ta-da – now you know how much marketing you should be doing!


Scale back on the social media marketing and networking. Keep up with the newsletter and podcast. 


What if you’re top source of clients is referrals?


Welcome to the club! 


Invest your marketing time and dollars in the relationships you already have. Make helpful introductions. Send business their way. Forward them an article they might like. Reward referrals. And ALWAYS deliver on what you say you will. 


Still not sure how much you need to do?


It can be so helpful to get an outsider’s perspective, especially when you can’t see the trees in the marketing forest anymore. If you’d like an honest answer about where you should be focusing your marketing dollars, let’s talk. Schedule a one-hour consultation, and we’ll dig through your current marketing efforts.

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