This cookbook metaphor illustrates how to go about creating an effective marketing plan for a self-employed professional. “Success Ingredients” are an essential element of that plan. These are the missing ingredients your marketing and sales activities need in order to be successful.
Why is this important? Let’s say you decide you’re going to market your business by attending live networking events in your area. You’re not sure where to begin, but you’ve just received an email invitation for a Chamber of Commerce mixer, so you decide to go.
Arriving at the mixer, you discover that everyone you meet is either a salesperson for a local corporation, or a solo professional who is looking for business from those companies. But you are an acupuncturist for example. The type of people you typically serve are individuals looking for relief from a current health issue. While there might be people in the room who fit that description, it’s hard to even turn conversation in that direction with everyone focused on business topics.
As a result, you will more than likely leave the event feeling like it was a waste of time. You may also decide that in-person networking is probably not a good marketing tactic for you. But other people seem to find clients from it. Your main question will probably be “What do they know that I don’t?”
Before walking out the front door with business cards in her pocket, what our acupuncturist should have done was to make a shopping list of what she needed.
First of all, she needed to carefully select some networking venues that to her type of business and target audience. When she started to do so, she would likely find that she also needed a clear definition of her target market. With those two “Success Ingredients” lined up, she would be much more likely to find herself at a networking event that would suit her. This might be a speaker program on alternative health or stress relief, or a professional meeting of other like-minded practitioners.
Pick any marketing tactic that you feel may not be working as well as you would like. Then ask yourself: “What’s missing that might make it work?” and keep asking until you identify one or more specific missing elements that you could create or acquire.
Here’s a sample dialogue our acupuncturist might have with herself:
Q: “What’s missing that might make networking events work better for me?”
A: “Better events to attend.”
Q: “What’s missing that might help me find events that would work better?”
A: “A list of events and networking venues to choose from.”
Q: “What’s missing that might work better to help me choose events?”
A: “A clear picture of the type of clients I want; a target market definition.”
With two Success Ingredients defined, our acupuncturist might stop there to work on them, or she might ask the first question again, just to see if there’s anything more:
Q: “What else is missing that might make networking events work better for me?”
A: “More confidence when introducing myself to strangers.”
Q: “What’s missing that might help me be more confident when introducing myself?”
A: “A comfortable way to introduce myself; a ten-second introduction.”
Our acupuncturist has now identified three “Success Ingredients” to boost her networking success. When she acquires these ingredients and uses them in her marketing recipe, she’s going to produce much improved results.
Try this for yourself. Take any marketing approach that’s not working for you as well as you’d like, and ask: “What’s missing that might make it work?” See if you can define some “Success Ingredients” of your own. Once you do, it’s my bet that your marketing recipes will start turning out better.