When I was a child, my grandmother grew the finest raspberries in the world. There’s nothing like them in any supermarket today. Their sweetness and flavor cannot be replicated in any industrial greenhouse. You might find something comparable at a local farmer’s market, and I encourage you to look, but I have my doubts. (Not that any family bias factors into my opinion.)
Grandma’s been gone for many years now, but her berries live on. My mother carefully transplanted as many plants as she could before my grandparents’ house was sold, and she has a thriving berry patch today. Shortly after Toni and I married, mom gave us cuttings to start a patch of our own.
This is where the story becomes considerably less idyllic.
As a third-generation caretaker, I take these berries pretty seriously, but I don’t mind telling you they’re the most frustrating @#$%! plants I’ve ever tried to grow. I’ve struggled to build bird-resistant trellises for them, attempted to wage organically-responsible warfare against hoards of Japanese beetles, cursed Cincinnati’s dense clay-like soil, and watered them religiously for six years–all with pretty miserable yields. Last summer we didn’t get any berries at all, and Toni and I nearly gave up on them.
This year, however, I got a surprise. The berries are now so established that I haven’t had to do much more than set a timer to make sure they get watered regularly. Just before writing this I picked about half a pint in five minutes, and I know from experience that more will be ripe by tomorrow. I had to hunt a bit to find some that were hiding under leaves, but all of the berries were bursting with flavor and practically fell into my hand.
Running a marketing machine for your business isn’t much different from my berry-growing experience. There’s a lot of hard work that doesn’t seem worth it, especially early on, but eventually you reach a point where everything becomes a lot easier.
Publish an email newsletter every month for a while and eventually you’ll get a call from a dream client who says something like “I’ve been meaning to call you for six months.” Do even one networking event a week and you’ll make valuable contacts, even if you only have one good conversation per meeting.
Try something a little different once in a while too. The best berries often hide in unexpected places, but when you find them they’re sweet, juicy, and easy to pick.
Sometimes you’ll get multiple hits after a long dry spell with no results. In the last few months I’ve had content marketing pieces turn into webinars, magazine article assignments, and ghostwriting gigs. The day before I wrote this article I received a call from a prospect I’ve never heard of. He wasn’t sure where he saw me, but he called me because I was easy to find.
The moral’s pretty obvious here. Don’t worry if your message isn’t 100% perfect today, just make sure you send one. You can always tweak things later if you don’t get results, but it’s more important to promote yourself regularly than to do it perfectly.
Ever wonder why so many people quote the cliché that 80% of your success is just showing up? Because it works. Schedule self-promotion like an appointment if you have to, automate what you can, but do it. You can’t harvest if you don’t dig, water, and weed.
(BTW, if you need a tool to schedule that self promotion, try the Marketing Mentor Marketing Plan Bundle: it’s a marketing plan in a calendar, that tells you exactly what to do and when. And you can start it anytime, not just at the beginning of the year.)
Tom N. Tumbusch writes copy that creates action for creative agencies and Green businesses. He’s a regular contributor to the CFC blog and publishes a free writing tips newsletter each month. His tiny solar-powered corner of the Internet can be found at www.wordstreamcopy.com, and he’s proud not to have used the phrase “low-hanging fruit” anywhere in this article.