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Tiny Marketing Habits Add Up


Tiny Marketing Habits Add Up

18 November, 2021

As is the way, I was listening to a podcast the other week, which led me to the summary of a book on Blinkist, which led me to buy one of those old fashioned paperback books.

When you get to my age you tend to need a Kindle, with the ability to make the text bigger and have a backlight, so a proper book is something I’ve not done for a while.

I wasn’t disappointed. Along with the title of my new book – Tiny Habits – the text was also very tiny and I’ve needed full daylight to get through it.

Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg

Marketing Ideas from Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg

That said, I’m really enjoying it. Written by BJ Fogg, founder and director of the Behaviour Design Lab at Stanford, its approach to creating sustainable change is something I wanted to read about for my own personal journey. But, I have to say, it has insights that make me think about marketing habits too, which I wanted to summarise.


The first point of relevance is your aspiration. So many times, when we talk about goals or aspirations, we don’t tend to put them in the right place to aim for, whether it’s in our personal life or work. We don’t focus enough on specifics. We keep them vague, too large, and open to interpretation. So we fail.

In marketing, because people very rarely put their fingers on what they REALLY want upfront, our behaviours and actions have nothing concrete to build on when we’re trying to aim for things. Sound familiar?

Yes, you may want to increase sales, or boost web traffic, or some other measurable; but how and why? What does it look like and who is it aimed at?

Until you know the product or service you want to build around or understand who you want to target and why, you are, quite probably, spitting in the wind. Along the way, you are going to hit roadblocks, so the more you identify, the more you can adapt and stay (or get back) on track.

Setting specific aspirations is an absolute must if you want to know where to direct your efforts.

In the early days of running a new design agency in the ’90s, my partner and I stumbled across working for a housing association. It was a great market. The work was not overly exciting, but it was consistent and great for cash flow.It gave us the impetus to target more of the same. We knew what we wanted, why we wanted it and were able to narrow down who we needed to speak to with a relevant pitch.

Behaviours and Habits

Of course, when you know the what, you can create the behaviours and tactics to drive you towards your aspirations. This is where it gets interesting.

The key to making behaviours work using Tiny Habits is to add three more ingredients into the mix to make the context more compelling.

Firstly, if you want to develop behaviours (tactics) into a habit, you should make them small and easy to do – make them something you can do without a whole amount of effort. In marketing, far too often, the biggest stumbling block for me is getting stuff started by clients because they are busy. Part of the reason for this is because they create big tasks. If you break actions down, make them very small, and make them very, very easy to do; there’s a much bigger chance you’ll get stuff done regularly.

After all, you’ll need to want to do it – you will need the motivation. Not on the first day when things are new and fresh, but on a busy day when things feel like a chore. Your levels of motivation can, and will, be helped by keeping things small and simple. Without constant motivation, the chain is broken.

Then, you need to create prompts to kick start you, something that will spring you into action each time. I’m not talking about an item in your to-do list that can be brushed aside; I’m talking about something that will catapult you into action with a bang. When a habit is small and the prompt is strong, you’ll be more likely to actually do it and stay motivated.

In the book, the author gives an example of wanting to get fitter. Rather than commit to doing 20 press-ups a day, he decided to do two (small and simple) after every time he had been to the toilet (regular prompt). Even on the bad days, it’s easy enough to do, after all, it’s only two press-ups. The motivation is there, it’s simple and it’s small. And, of course, when you’ve done two, you’ll probably find you do more.

(click on the image below to find out more)

fogg behaviour model

Little and Occasionally Adds Up

I often have conversations with new clients, eager to create one article or case study a week, or the like, and failing. Why not commit to once a month? Or a paragraph a week? Or a sentence a day? Chances are, you’ll make them much better over time and, after a year, you’ll have 12 quality articles and you’ll find the whole process much easier and more enjoyable.

Remember, apply this to an appropriate aspiration – 12 new, relevant articles aimed at a specific market.

The same principle could apply to sales calls, emails, or any other sales and marketing tactic you want to focus on. For example…

  • One sales call a week, broken down into five days – four sessions of 5-minutes of research with your mid-morning/mid-afternoon coffee, followed by four sessions of pitch note development, followed by a call on the last day.
  • Start mid-month on your monthly email newsletter – write one or two paragraphs a day for a week, then spend the following week honing it (yes, this is what I do).

Your Client’s Habits, Behaviours and Aspirations

When you think about it, this idea of making an easy marketing/sales process works for you too – simple, time-relevant messaging that offers the right motivation for other people when they come into contact.

Next time you are looking for a response to your marketing or sales pitch. Does it:

  • Carry enough motivation for THEM to take action?
  • Deliver the right prompt at the right time for THEM to take action NOW?
  • Is it easy and simple to do there and then?

Apply these principles to the way you try to get people to connect to you; making sure you know who they are, and why you want them in the first place.

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