If you live in a home with exposed plumbing, you probably know that when the temperature drops below zero, it’s a good idea to open up your faucet taps. A thin flow of water prevents your outside pipes from freezing. Without that flow, the still water inside your plumbing will freeze, expand, and put pressure on the pipes. And when that happens, you can experience all sorts of problems and damages.
In your freelance business, did your marketing pipeline come to a standstill over the holidays? Did you let it freeze? If so, that’s understandable. Marketing your business is difficult during the holiday season, especially during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Networking events are non-existent. Even if you’re not taking time off yourself, it can seem pointless to reach out to your prospects and clients via phone or e-mail. Many of them are on vacation, and some organizations shut down completely. Clients rarely gear up new projects at the very end of the year anyway.
During this business-world slowdown, hopefully you still kept up your marketing efforts. Perhaps that just entailed finally getting to some back-burner projects. Maybe you worked on putting your priorities in order so you could hit the ground running in January.
But for freelancers, a frozen pipeline is actually more of a danger throughout the other times of the year, even during the blazing-hot summer months. When your calendar is overloaded with project work (and here’s hoping that it will be in 2011), every freelancer’s tendency is to push aside marketing. After all, servicing clients is what pays the bills.
But what happens when you let your marketing come to a complete standstill? What happens if you let your pipeline freeze? Well, one likely result is you will eventually fall into the famine side of a feast-or-famine cycle. Your current projects will come to an end, but you’ve done nothing to replenish your calendar with new ones.
Yet another problem is that you will find it difficult to thaw things out. Marketing is no longer part of your daily routine. You’re out of practice. You’ve lost momentum (to use another metaphor), and everything must begin anew from a standstill.
So for 2011, resolve never to let your pipeline freeze. Even during your busiest times, block out at least a small portion of every day for your outreach calls and follow-up e-mails, for your networking, and for the other elements of your marketing efforts, whatever those might be. Even a light flow of activity through your marketing pipeline can prevent the damage that will occur should you let it freeze up entirely.
BTW: The Marketing Plan + Calendar (with bonus eCalendar to sync with iCal or Google calendar) can help.
Based in New Orleans, Henry Alpert writes marketing copy, research reports, and white papers for design studios, ad agencies, in-house marketing departments, and market research firms. More information about Henry can be found on the website for his company, Action Copy Also, check out his blog, The Awkward Adverb.