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:
As a self-employed professional, the last thing you want is for clients to perceive you as a commodity. Commodities are products or services that are considered to be basically the same no matter who provides them. When your target audience thinks of you as just another financial planner, graphic designer, life coach, personal trainer, or psychotherapist, you must work far too hard simply to get them to remember you until they need you.
Here are five ways you can position the solution that you offer as distinctive enough to attract and hold your prospective clients’ attention, AND convince them that your solution is the one they need.
Jan is a graphic designer who was always struggling to find good clients. “I could find plenty of people who needed my services,” she recalls, “but they thought my rates were too high. I either ended up agreeing to work for less, or they found someone else. And then when I did get the job, they took forever to pay me.”
Like many graphic designers, Jan’s marketing emphasized her business identity work — creating a company’s logo, business cards, and other collateral, with matching design elements. Her primary audience was new businesses who were just getting started. But then Jan had a brainstorm.
“I realized that the clients I was marketing to were people who didn’t have enough money to pay me,” says Jan. “They were startups with tight budgets. And since they hadn’t been in business long, they didn’t place much value on working with an experienced, high-quality designer. They were just looking for the lowest price.”
If you’re in business for yourself, you need paying clients; that’s what makes your business profitable. I know that’s stating the obvious, yet there are many in business, and I used to be one of them, who love what they’re offering, yet don’t love getting clients. If that’s you, there’s hope! You can find a way to get paying clients, without too much effort, in a way that works for you.
- Recognize what you’re offering is worth; charge a reasonable rate for your goods and services. Don’t overcharge or undercharge.
- Believe in the price you’re charging. If you don’t believe it, neither will your client.
- Know there are clients who will pay for your goods and services, who want to work with you rather than a competitor.