Why Deadlines Matter in Marketing
Even when they’re self-imposed
I’ve always loved a deadline.
I was the kid in high school who would start working on her English papers in stages – looking ahead at the deadline and working backwards on the calendar to come up with my own personal due dates for formulating my thesis statement, writing the first draft, then giving myself some time away before editing, if possible.
Deadlines were even more of a guidepost in college, helping me chart out what assignments I could fit in, and when. Keeping me organized and with a clear sense of prioritization between my many dance rehearsals, part-time jobs, assignments and exams.
And you have to respect deadlines in journalism school! If you don’t make the deadline, there is a clear ripple effect in how your procrastination impacts other people’s schedules or the news itself. Your editor may have to stay late. Your work may not go to print. Or your story could become irrelevant by the time you turn it in.
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Marketing is not journalism. No one is grading you on your promotion of your own work. And frankly, not very many people care how your sales are or if business is booming or slow.
That means there are way fewer external deadlines to follow as you build and maintain your marketing plan.
Here’s why you should make deadlines anyway.
Deadlines can help you get over your perfection paralysis.
Perfection is a pipe dream, and progress pays the bills. Period. It can’t be perfect if it’s not done!
Someone on my team shared with me this quote by New Yorker cartoonist James Thurber: “Don’t get it right, just get it written.” I feel that so hard.
If you surrender to perfection paralysis, you’ll lose momentum – and sales. Giving yourself a deadline (or better yet, a time limit!) for a marketing activity in your to do list means you’ll have to move past your obsession with getting it just right.
Doing marketing tasks “on-time” allows you to build consistency.
Think about the last marketing task you put off to the next day. And the next. And the next… Maybe it was showing up for a Facebook live to answer some questions about your services. Maybe it was writing your next email to your subscribers.
If you keep pushing these tasks further into the future, you’re losing the opportunity to create a consistent rhythm of communication. If you can’t commit to internal deadlines in your business, you won’t connect with your next and best clients on a consistent basis. When you do commit to deadlines, you show up with greater regularity, and that builds awareness and trust in your brand, and encourages steady, incremental growth.
Deadlines promote trust.
Every time you make and meet a deadline, you are saying to the world (and yourself), “You can trust me. I’m on it.”
Building that trust in yourself might be even more valuable than proving it to your partners, colleagues and clients.
Staying in motion allows you to make smart and nimble decisions.
I hope that making and keeping deadlines in your marketing means you’re looking ahead and working towards goals.
If you’re doing the work, and doing it on time, you can better evaluate the impact your marketing efforts are having on your web traffic, sales, email list growth, etc. The more frequently you measure these things, the quicker you can adapt if something isn’t working. And believe me, not everything will work in your marketing.
It’s how you adapt that matters in these moments. You learn more when you fail more. Failing brings lessons that will help in your future decision-making.
If this doesn’t convince you to be a little stricter with your time, I don’t know what will. 😉
Try adding one recurring deadline into your marketing plan and tell me how it goes. Are you seeing results? Are you growing more confident in what you’re capable of?
I strategize, consult and manage digital marketing and communications for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. I’m based in Brooklyn, because I have a thing for exposed brick, cozy, local coffee shops and the can’t stop, won’t stop energy of New York.
Because I work with small companies, I get the chance to really know my clients – what makes them tick and how and why they should stand out in a crowded marketplace. A lot of my clients have a smaller staff, a limited budget and are already stretched thin for time. This leads us to tailor marketing strategies and solutions to each company’s unique needs and actual capacity.