In a recent post I talked about the secret sauce to getting clients for your business. However, we did not focus on marketing tactics and activities. But instead we discussed bigger picture factors that could effect your marketing results. This week we will delve a little bit more into the type of activities you should be focused on.
As part of a robust marketing system, that will result in a steady flow of new leads and sales for you and your business, you need to choose a simple set of effective marketing activities. These marketing activities need to be engaging for your particular ideal target audience and they need to be carried out with consistantly.
The big question as a marketer or business owner you may be asking is, “What exactly is the right right marketing activity?”
To help you answer that I have put together a number of questions. These questions are designed to help you determine what activites will work best for your business and the target audience that you service.
The best marketing methods for a small business — the ones that really belong on your list of things to do every day or every week — are the ones that put you into direct contact with your target market.
Speak with prospective clients in person, talking to them on the phone, writing personal, not mass produced, letters or emails. Networking; this is a super effective way for a small business to build referral relationships.
All of these approaches are excellent ways to reach out to customers directly when you are looking to grow your business. When you are in the growth stage of your business they are so much more effective than relying on other types of marketing. Such as website copy and email blasts to generate business, or sending out your ezine to people who never requested it, or creating a Facebook page where you post as your business instead of as yourself, and all the posts you make are promotional. Yet these are things that many solo entrepreneurs and smaller business do.
That is not to say these marketing methods are ineffective, they are not and they can be very effective! It is just a case of choosing the right tool for the job at hand. Or in this case the right marketing activities for the stage your business is currently at.
If you are in the process of building up a reliable and consistant marketing funnel then interacting with people directly will tend to get you better results. Rather than just throwing sales copy at them, which no matter how good it is, will never be as effective as you speaking one on one with a a prospective client. So therefore you’re going to be much more successful at filling your marketing pipeline and getting clients.
If your business already has a good level of lead generation then it is worthwhile for you to focus on some of these better leveraged offline and online marketing activities. Activities such as social media maketing, e-mail marketing and print ads to name just a few could be slotted into an already effective marketing strategy.
To determine which activities to choose, you need to pare down marketing to its most basic elements. Marketing looks complicated because there are so many choices. But if you put in place some guidelines for making decisions, it can get quite simple. One of those questions that will help guide you is to ask yourself what stage is my business at right now.
If you are a start-up, solo preneur, or small business in the initial growth stage then keep it simple and market your business by finding ways to get yourself directly in front of your target audience.
If you already have a steady flow of leads then it is time to look at the more leveraged forms of marketing that will help supplement what is already working for you.
Take a look at these tools to help build your own custom marketing plan.
Another crucial question to ask about your marketing is “Where are you stuck?” Another way to think about this questions is — where does your marketing need more work?
Should you be focusing on filling your marketing pipeline with new prospects? Or should your efforts be mostly around following up with the prospects you already have? Or are you following up consistently, but you’re not getting to have sales conversations with your prospects? Or are you having those conversations, but not closing sales?
If you can determine which of those four stages you might be stuck in — filling the pipeline, following up, having sales conversations, or closing sales — you can figure out what’s missing. Simply by asking this question will lead you to focusing in on what your biggest marketing challenges currently is.
Let’s say you’re stuck on filling the pipeline. Okay, why can’t you fill the pipeline? Maybe you don’t know where to find potential clients. Why don’t you know where to find potential clients? Well, it seems like your clients could be anywhere so you need a more clearly defined market niche.
Just like that, you’ve identified a missing ingredient for your marketing that needs to be created or obtained. It’s an essential tool that you’re missing. Start building your marketing plan with the commitment to develop this tool: define your market niche.
Now, if you knew who was in your market niche, what would be two or three simple actions you could take repeatedly to land new clients? Could you perhaps attend local networking events that are a match for your niche? And afterwards, call up the people you met there, and talk to them about what they need and what you do? And ask them if they’d like to become your client, or ask if they’d be willing to refer you people who might be a good fit?
The above set of marketing activities — define your market niche, find networking events that fit that niche, and follow up with the people you meet there to see if they could become clients or referral sources — is just one example of where the questions I’ve suggested might lead.
If you’re stuck on follow-up, and ask yourself what might be missing. The answer could be that you don’t have a good contact management system. If you did, what might be two or three actions you could take?
If it’s having sales conversations where you’re stuck, you could discover that you haven’t been asking any qualifying questions to narrow your focus to more likely clients. If you created questions like that and started asking them, you might be able to put more effort into developing relationships with only the very best prospects.
Maybe your problem area is closing sales. You could find that you’re missing a concrete way to show clients what you can do. If you were to write a white paper or case study that made your work tangible, you could work on getting that paper into the hands of all your existing contacts and referral sources, plus reach out to new ones to share this valuable resource.
Putting It All Together
Here are the questions to ask yourself again:
The answers to these questions will tell you exactly what marketing activities you need to be engaging in to get clients.