Time and moneyI recently ran across a 2017 study by FreshBooks Cloud Accounting asking 1,700 self-employed professionals, independent professionals, and small business owners what they found to be the most effective marketing strategies. All the participants had fewer than 10 employees, and 77% of them were solopreneurs, making this group a close match to the readers of this blog.

I was pleased to see how closely their answers aligned with the list of Effective Marketing Strategies in Get Clients Now! and the advice Kris Carey and I give our clients, students, and readers. Here’s what these self-employed professionals named as “highly effective” marketing strategies:

  1. Solicit personal/client referrals
  2. Establish referral partners
  3. Teach, train or speak
  4. Use content marketing

This is the sort of real-world guidance that can be enormously helpful in choosing how to market your services. But these are only high-level strategies. What tactics or action steps do these strategies translate to when you try to plan and schedule them? Here’s what I’ve found are the most powerful approaches every self-employed professional should consider. You might call these the Marketing Magnificent Seven.

  1. Make contact with people you already know to see if they would like to do business with you or refer others.
  2. Follow up with your network of contacts, prospective clients, and potential referral sources on a regular basis; find ways to stay in touch.
  3. Identify who would be good referral partners for you and reach out to those people intentionally.
  4. Network in person and online to continue expanding your pool of contacts who might refer to you or do business with you.
  5. Speak, teach, or train for groups of prospective clients or potential referral sources, either in person or virtually.
  6. Write regular pieces of valuable content for your own blog, guest posts on other blogs, or articles published in print or online.
  7. Author a tip sheet, special report, white paper, ebook, or audio/video content to offer new subscribers to your email list.

Are you currently using at least three of the tactics on this list? If not, should you be? And just as importantly, what marketing tactics are you spending a lot of time and money on that aren’t on this list at all? Is there an approach you should stop using, or scale back?

According to the FreshBooks study, 85% of those surveyed agreed that “business development is a challenge.” One of the most powerful actions you can take to make it less challenging is to employ only the most effective marketing strategies and tactics. Consider how the Marketing Magnificent Seven might guide your choices about how to get clients with more simplicity and ease.

C.J. Hayden

C.J. Hayden, MCC, CPCC, is the author of the bestseller Get Clients Now!: A 28-Day Marketing Program for Professionals, Consultants, and Coaches, Since 1992, she's been helping self-employed professionals survive and thrive. C.J. is the author of five other business how-to-books, and has taught marketing at Mills College and John F. Kennedy University. Find out how you can work with C.J. as your business coach or attend one of her upcoming programs.

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