Oh my goodness, what a morning!
Chloe, my 11 year old, went back to school a couple of weeks ago after 3 years of being home-educated. Her decision and she absolutely loves it. Rather than put her into the big town school near where we live, she chose to go to my old school, a little rural Academy in a village about 6 miles away.
It means she needs to get the local bus service which goes past our lane end and yesterday she finally got her bus pass, which was the cause of much excitement.
This morning was going to be her first morning going on THE BUS.
I was going with her as it was her first time and it’s not a school bus, so I wanted to make sure she knew the route and where to get off. We planned things meticulously. The bus is scheduled to arrive at 7.55 so I got up extra early, ran down to feed and muck out the horses, then ran home and got a shower and grabbed some porridge.
Chloe, in the meantime, got up, got a shower, got dressed, made a pancake and was waiting, hair brushed and ready to go at 7.30. All was going to plan.
We wandered happily up to the bus stop and waited.
7.55 no bus. 8.00 no bus. 8.05, 8.10, 8.12 no bus.
I started to panic as it’s a good 20 minutes in the car to her school. Finally, I bottled it and said, quick, let’s run home and get the car and I’ll drive you to school.
So, off we ran.
I’m not a big runner and I’d already run TO and FROM the stables that morning, so I arrived home slightly frazzled.
I looked for my car keys. Nowhere to be found. A couple of minutes of turning the house upside down and then I remembered I had worn another coat yesterday and they were in the pocket. Gah!
So now it was 20 past and I was stressed out. Chloe didn’t need to be there until 7.45 but it’s a busy road full of tractors and pickups and you can’t go fast, which is probably a good thing.
We finally got into the car, took a deep breath and set off, grumbling at the blummin’ bus and how annoying it was that it hadn’t come. Grr.
We got 2 miles down the road and found ourselves BEHIND THE BUS!
It must have come just after we ran home. When I was panicking about losing my car keys, it was already on the way to school, 15 minutes late but still ahead of frazzled me.
It detoured around one of the villages while we carried on. I got to school, dropped Chloe off and passed the bus coming into the village where the school is, just as I was leaving and only about 5 minutes behind me.
It would have got us there at 8.40 in plenty of time for Chloe to walk over the road and get to registration.
Why am I telling you this? Well, as I was driving home I had a realisation and it made me think of you.
This morning could have been so different.
Until 8.00 all was going so well.
Then I got impatient, thought the system was broken, started to panic and ended up stressed and wasting almost an hour of my morning in the car only to find myself a mere 5 minutes ahead of the bus.
If I had trusted the system (the bus always comes) and been patient, I would have had a calm 20-minute bus ride with Chloe to school. We wouldn’t have had to worry about traffic. We would have got to school in good time and it would have saved me lots of time, worry and energy.
And it made me think of you.
Because this situation is very similar to marketing.
We have an expectation that things will go a certain way, don’t we?
We set up a business, start marketing it and sales will come quickly, right? That’s how it’s supposed to work? We set up a website, write a blog or two, get active on social media and wait for buyers. Except they don’t come, at least not as soon as we would like.
So we panic, think the system is broken and get stressed. Then we waste loads of energy and money trying to rush things through, only to find ourselves where we would have been if we had just trusted the system and been patient.
The ‘system’ in this case is marketing.
It always takes longer than you think. Things rarely go as expected. But the surest way to get your marketing working is to figure out who you should be targeting (your Super Customers) and market to them, day by day, little by little, consistently.
Even if it feels like nothing is working. Even if it feels like you’re talking to nobody. Even if it feels like you’ve been doing this way longer than you’re supposed to and the buyers just aren’t coming.
Here’s the thing. If you’re targeting the right people and putting a consistent stream of marketing out there, talking to your Super Customers, showing your value and reminding them why they need you, it’s got to work.
Like my bus, it might not work when it’s supposed to. It might not be as quick as other ways but your marketing system will get you where you need to be if you’re patient, keep doing what you need to do and trust the system.
Now, I’m off for a big cup of tea and we’ll be trying the bus again tomorrow. Wish me luck!
Love, Claire xx
Claire Mitchell is a best-selling author of the Awesome Marketing Planner and founder of The Girls Mean Business, a mum and business owner. She has been featured in Marie-Claire, The Guardian, Closer Magazine, Essentials, The Huffington Post and on the BBC.