As a service-based professional, you’re likely familiar with marketing basics, yet are you taking advantage of advanced maneuvers beyond those? If you’re not sure what the difference is between the basics and the advanced, keep reading to learn more about the distinction, and why you may want to consider moving beyond the familiar.
Marketing Basics are those things that apply to the foundation of your business, things that help ensure you know who to talk to, and what to offer, and how to keep your business organized. Some of these basics include:
The number one complaint my clients and students — self-employed professionals — bring me about their marketing is that they aren’t doing enough of it. You would think this would be easy to fix. I could just tell them to spend more time marketing and selling, and that would solve their problem. But like so many other challenges in life, knowing what needs to be done doesn’t necessarily make that thing occur.
Consider losing weight, for example. If it were as simple as being told to eat less or exercise more, we would all be as thin as we wished just by deciding to make it so. Since that doesn’t happen very often; it’s clear we humans need a bit more help.
Planning your marketing can be as easy as sitting down with a pen and paper (or your keyboard) for an hour. What’s that you say — sounds too good to be true? What if this were the truth: your marketing is easy and simple, and creating a plan for it is simple, too. What could be possible for your business from that viewpoint?
When you have a marketing plan, things become easier. Easier because you know what you’re going to do, you have a plan, and you just follow it. You don’t need to think about it. Thinking is often the thing that gets in your way the most. As much as your human brain is an asset, it can also be a hindrance when it comes to getting things done.
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.
Does it seem strange to use the word love when referring to a business relationship? Substitute another word if you prefer — “like,” for example, or “respect.” However you want to express it, the point is to consider how much you care about the people you sell to — their needs, goals, desires, concerns — all the elements of their lives that might be involved in their decision about whether to buy from you.
If you don’t love your prospects, they will know it. We’ve all been sold to by someone who didn’t care about us. The salesperson who pressures us to buy a car with options we don’t need.
What if marketing was a game? Something you can play at, play with. A game without winners or losers, just different outcomes.
Would that make marketing feel easier? More fun?
I see many business owners treat marketing as something serious, saying things to themselves such as, “There’s a right way and a wrong way to do it,” “It must be done correctly, or it won’t work,” “I’ll look foolish if I make a mistake, and I’d hate to have it look like I don’t know what I’m doing — it’ll be embarrassing in front of my peers and my clients.” The idea of doing marketing the correct way can be a hurdle that feels hard to overcome.