Last week, a small business owner client told me that some of his participants in a service-based program reported frustration and disappointment in the end result. He was very careful to explain what this program can and cannot do for them - and he was sure they understood that his job was to position them to acquire a result, but that he cannot guarantee that they will achieve it by the conclusion of the program.
I can relate to his challenges. Just last week, a client told us they had to exit our working relationship because they did not get more customers. This client signed a year contract and verbally affirmed our process for lead generation. Yet, after only six weeks, they pulled the plug.
This is not uncommon. People are impatient.
We live in a magic pill society.
It's unfortunate, but it's true. When we want something, we want it yesterday and we are quick to bail when we don't see immediate results. Granted, there are exceptions. I have a handful of clients who have waited patiently for the results of their efforts and some have achieved it four-fold. But, countless prospects and some clients come to us with starry eyes expecting social media to work wonders. Often, these folks have no personal accountability for their efforts, and are unwilling to do their part as our partner. Others want a quick-fix or get-rich scheme.
When I first started blogging in 2010, I struggled to find my voice. I also struggled to develop relevant content because I was still gaining experience in my business. But, even if it took me four hours, I pumped out a blog once a week. For a year, I published two blogs a week. Some may think this comes natural or easy to me, given my field, but it was rather challenging. There are some who think social media professionals should know everything and because of this, I was often reluctant to churn out content for fear that I would say or do something wrong. I know better now, but I did spend a lot of time trying to be perfect.
After six months of blogging, I started to attract a following. At the one-year mark, I started to see leads. At the five-year mark, I receive dozens of online leads each month and I've acquired clients from all over the world. My tactic is my own - and not for everyone - but two things remain - patience and consistency. The key is to stay the course. Sweat. Listen. Pivot. Repeat.
My web partner and friend, John Webster, who recently ran his first marathon and is currently training for a half Ironman competition said, "One thing endurance sports has made me appreciate is that amazing accomplishments happen with little accomplishments done consistently, over a period of time."
It's this formula that I weave into the social media plan for my clients. I spend the first three to six months of our working relationship setting the stage for long-term success. It's not unusual that my clients see a desired outcome in that time, but it's certainly not something I expect or promise. I strive for small wins, build on that momentum, rinse and repeat. It's in this process that we find the real magic happens. But, it doesn't happen overnight - and it's certainly not something that happens with a pill.
Love this post Rachel. It's great how you took your own experience using social media to grow your business and reflected on the fact that it takes years (not months) to see success.
I recently came up with a new slogan that I use when talking to clients and prospective clients, which is 'respect this (Internet marketing) industry.' It's such a complex industy and there are so many businesses in our industry that are pretending to know what they're are doing, when in fact they do not, so it's important for businesses to understand that when investing in these services, they need to respect what investment involves.
Using your client that bailed as an example, they obviously do not respect this industry and they'll end up investing their social media with a company that tells them what they want to hear and a year from now they will be no further along than they are the minute they walked away from your awesome services.
It's unfortunate what happens with these poser internet marketing companies. So many of my prospective customers have been burned before they reach out to me. All we can do is continue to spread the good word -- it takes time!
Thanks for the continued support, Kris!
Enjoyed the blog, Rachel. Just another reminder that we live in a society where the 'quick fix' is all the rage. Faster, better, sooner. Yesterday. Even in the city, people complain that the express train needs to go faster. Oh my. Good things, good results, take time. Of course, the irony is that the company or companies that bail too quickly, will end up finding another company with the same expectations (that will not be filled) and move on again…and again..just wasting a whole lot of time in the process.
Exactly, Kristin! Great point. It's so true. That's funny about the trains!
Right on the button Rachel. I guess we have all had to learn patience with online marketing and like anything in business, it takes time to lay a good foundation if you want your business to be around for the long haul
I think a lot of damage is done by pop up marketing companies offering big rewards for very little effort, which as you now is not how it works. It gives people the impression that it's easy to throw a few blogs together and hey presto... your'll go viral. Slow and steady like the tortoise is the only way to go.
Indeed, Midge. These pop-up companies are people that acquire my prospects and it's upsetting. None of this is easy or fast unless you're extremely lucky!