I was reading a blog post this morning at a colleagues’ site (wealthy freelancer) offering some tips for freelancers on how to keep their marketing flow going when there is a steady flow of client work coming in – a dangerous time for freelancers when we tend to get complacent and allow our busy schedules to squeeze out our marketing time.

It got me thinking that although this is a freelancing challenge, every business from the solo freelancer to the largest Fortune 500 company must deal with the task of generating continual, consistent, quality leads. This means creating marketing content on a regular basis in order to ensure that the flow of customers will continue. Even the most established brand has to stay in front of customers and constantly be building reputation, community and trust. As marketers, there is no resting on our laurels!

It’s human nature to want to sit back and enjoy the spoils when times are easy. I live in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and I’ve noticed that during the our “easy” season – summer – is when we are all the busiest. If the squirrels aren’t storing up nuts they’ll not make it through one of our winters. The bears spend the summer months eating everything they can get their paws on in preparation for months of hibernation. And us humans are cutting and stacking firewood, storing up hay for the animals and generally making sure the house is secure to keep us warm for another year. It’s so tempting to enjoy the high mountain summer days and just forget that winter is right around the corner.

It’s critical to remember that when we stop marketing, we fall out of sight (and mind) very quickly, especially considering the hyper flow of information we encounter in today’s world.  I’ve found that the easiest way to keep up and stay on task is by creating a marketing schedule, whether monthly, quarterly or even yearly. A plan to put on the calendar with due dates and an expectation that it must be completed. When things are busy and that new product launch is top of mind, a schedule will remind you that there are other projects that have to be completed that are just as critical, if not as visible.

This also keeps projects from falling through the cracks and staying there until they suddenly become an emergency. You don’t want to be the marketing director that the rest of company sees constantly scrambling to keep up. This kind of marketing is very common and it’s a viscous cycle as the latest emergency becomes the top of mind project while something else then starts to slip. Consistency is difficult to maintain without a plan. And consistency is key to marketing, keeping the sales pipeline full, nurturing quality leads and ensuring the sales team has a constant supply of those leads.

How do you keep your pipeline full and the leads coming in?