My clients often ask me to help figure out what’s wrong with their marketing. The first question I ask is how much marketing they’ve been doing, since many failures have more to do with quantity than quality. But assuming you’ve been sufficiently active at promoting yourself, here are some other ways in which your marketing might need fixing.
There are three areas you should examine — the package of services you are offering, your marketing strategies, and your sales methods. In order to market and sell effectively, your package of services should meet the following requirements:
The longer I do this work, the more I come to realize that we self-employed professionals can be our own worst enemies when it comes to getting clients. We know what we should be doing to market ourselves better, and then we don’t do it. Or we don’t know what’s the right thing to do, so we throw a dart and pick something randomly, or respond to the latest email we got, instead of considering our options and making a well-reasoned choice.
Or we make a valid choice, then second-guess ourselves, dropping one marketing strategy and picking up another, without putting enough effort into any one approach to produce results. Or we spend too much time talking to ourselves and not enough talking to prospective clients, worrying about why the last prospect never got back to us, whether the blog post we just wrote is good enough to publish, or if the latest version of our tag line finally gets across our message.
Is your marketing plan producing the results you need? When was the last time you evaluated your plan to see if it is leading you toward success? Are you even using a marketing plan at all? Here are four questions to help you determine whether it’s time to reset your plan.
1. Are you getting in touch every month with at least three times as many new clients as you need? Not every prospective client will say yes. You need to have a marketing pipeline filled with prospects, contacts, leads, and referrals that you can draw from.
Never underestimate the power of a thank you. Not long ago, I thanked someone for helping me solve a technical problem. She replied to my note of thanks by inviting me as a guest speaker for a group she chairs. I didn’t even know she chaired this group and I had never considered speaking there. This speaking opportunity would never have occurred if I hadn’t taken a moment to say thanks. It started me thinking about how often saying thank you turns into paying business.
Here in the U.S., it’s Thanksgiving week, when we often pause to reflect on our gratitude. So it’s an excellent time to consider seven ways of saying thank you that can bring you more clients.
Effective marketing of your business requires commitment. No matter what marketing approach you choose, you must be consistent and persistent with it, if you want to see results. You’ve probably heard that advice. But this sort of commitment doesn’t always happen in practice.
Do any of these phrases sound like something you may have said about marketing at some point?
“I tried that a couple of times, but I didn’t see results right away, so I stopped.”
“I was using X to market my business, but then a friend suggested Y, so I started doing that instead.”
“I don’t know if this is the best way to market myself, so I don’t want to risk doing it.”
“Relationship marketing.” “Get business by word of mouth.” “People like to do business with people they know, like, and trust.” You’ve heard these adages many times before. But what does it really mean to build relationships with people in order to sell them something?
Does it work to make personal connections with a hidden agenda? How do you go about creating relationships for marketing purposes without feeling sleazy? Here are seven tips for building marketing relationships you can feel good about.
1. Start with the best audience. When you choose the right target market for your business, relationship-building becomes an enjoyable process. Your ideal clients and referral sources are people you already enjoy spending time with.