When should a self-employed professional stop marketing his or her business? Here are a few possible scenarios where you might be tempted to put marketing on hold:
o When your pipeline is full.
o When you don’t need or want any more clients.
o When your schedule is so full you don’t know where you’d fit in another client.
o When you have five proposals pending and you’re afraid they’ll all come through.
o When the holidays / vacation / summer are approaching.
o When you’re so busy fulfilling your current client obligations you don’t have the time or bandwidth for marketing.
Have you ever considered that prospective clients who are referred to you are much more likely to hire you than those who come to you in any other way? The endorsement of a referral carries so much weight that referred prospects ask fewer questions about your qualifications, are less likely to shop for the lowest price, and typically make their buying decisions much more quickly. In fact, they are often pre-sold when they contact you.
With the value of referred prospects being so high, it makes sense for generating more referrals to be an essential component of your marketing. But many professionals limit their ability to gain referrals by concentrating all their efforts on current and past clients.
I’ll bet you do great work with your clients. But if your clients are the only ones who know what you can do, you won’t stay in business. We all hope that satisfied clients will refer us to their friends and colleagues, but clients aren’t always your best source of referrals. So, we need to let more people know how terrific our work is.
There are many ways to let prospective clients know about your work, But for most self-employed professionals, there are only four categories that make sense: networking, speaking, writing, and media. These are the best avenues for people to become familiar with not only you, but with how your work creates tangible benefits.
The marketplace is crowded these days. It doesn’t matter how you’re trying to get clients. If you’re going to live networking events, you may find half a dozen professionals in your field at every event you attend. Online, there may be dozens of websites in your category that get a higher rank than yours. On social media, you probably see content from professionals like you all over the place. How will your potential clients find and choose you with all that competition?
Put on your clients’ hat for a moment. They are seeing the exact same thing. They want to work with a financial advisor, and they may have met three of them recently. Or they are looking for a psychotherapist, and when they Google “psychotherapist Denver,” they get pages of results. Or they want to hire a copywriter, and they see dozens of experts giving copywriting advice on Facebook and Twitter. How do they even begin to choose?