Marketing and growing your business is a journey. It’s not something that’s going to happen overnight and there are no short cuts or short term fixes. It takes time to build up a reputation, especially if you’re starting a new business. Just because you’ve opened your doors, that doesn’t mean that people will suddenly queue up to do business with you. Just because you do a bit of marketing – send out a newsletter or launch your website – that won’t necessarily make the phone start ringing right away. Even if you’ve been in business for a while, you can’t expect a new marketing initiative to kick in overnight; and the same applies if you’re promoting a brand new product or service.
Effective marketing is about doing the planning, to make sure that the right activities get done at the right time. It’s about being prepared so that you get your press release out in plenty of time to promote the event you’re running in three months time. It’s about making sure that the right amount of marketing gets done, on a regular basis, to keep filling your pipeline of prospects, to bring you a steady stream of new clients and business. Many coaches and consultants get stuck on a ‘feast and famine’ rollercoaster, where you do lots of marketing and bring in plenty of work, that keeps you so busy that you don’t have time to do any marketing. Suddenly the work dries up and so you start doing lots of marketing again. The work floods in and you’re back to the point where you don’t have time to do any marketing. Effective, planned marketing will help you get off that rollercoaster – and help you stay off it.
Ad Hoc Marketing Does Not Work
“I’ve tried direct marketing and it doesn’t work.”
“I went networking once but it didn’t bring me any new clients.”
These are phrases that I hear on a regular basis. It’s a bit like saying “I had one ice skating lesson and still didn’t win the first competition I entered.” Instead of falling over and hurting yourself, you need to invest in a number of lessons and do plenty of practice, to make sure that you reach the right standard. Sending one piece of direct mail without researching it first and doing any follow up afterwards is unlikely to get you any results. In the same way, going to one networking meeting isn’t enough time to allow new people to get to know you properly. When you provide a service such as coaching or consulting, your prospective clients need to trust you before they will share their problems with you and part with their money. You need to build up a relationship with them.
When I first started helping coaches and consultants with their marketing, it was commonly thought that it took up to six ‘touches’ with a prospect before they would buy from you. This meant that a prospective client might, for example, met you at a networking meeting (1), they might read about you in a press article (2), read an issue of your newsletter (3), hear you speak at a presentation (4), be recommended to you by one of your clients (5) and visit your website (6). With the development of social media, this number can be reported to be as high as 40 touches! Whatever the number, what it means is that you need to keep doing your marketing on a regular basis, using the right mix of activities, so that you ‘touch’ your prospects as many times as is needed, to build up the right level of trust, before they will buy from you.
When you’ve decided how many marketing activities you’re going to use to promote your business, you need to look at how many times you need to do each one and over what period of time. It’s about doing the right number of the right number of things. You can’t choose 10 activities and only do each one once.
Planning your marketing also means that when someone comes along with a great offer, for a one-off activity – such as an advert in a magazine or a stand at an exhibition – you’ll know whether or not it’s worth you doing it. If you know that advertising in certain publications works, go for it. If you know that you don’t have an exhibition stand and there isn’t enough time to tell people that you’ll be there, you’ll find it easy to turn it down.
At Appletree HQ we have a large chart on the wall, showing exactly what marketing we need to do and when. It’s taken from page 65 of my book, Magnetic Marketing (How to market your services as a Coach, Consultant or Trainer.) We look at the schedule on a weekly basis to see what marketing needs to be done next. If you’d like a copy of the book (all 76 pages of it!) you can order a copy for just £9.99 plus postage, instead of the usual price of £15.99. Click here to order your copy now.