Above is a picture of Judy Clark and the staff of HR Answers in Portland Oregon.
Judy is one of the most creative (and effective marketers) of her professional services that I have ever met. Not only that, she’s really enthusiastic about her marketing.
When I asked my subscribers if they’d like to be interviewed for the More Clients Club about how they attracted clients, Judy responded with a long list of all the things that have worked for her over the years.
When she began 34 years ago, she started by contacting six not-for-profit organizations she knew and offered them a free HR project. That’s visibility and value in a nutshell.
All she asked was that they give her a letter of recommendation if they were happy with her work. She also asked for the opportunity to present to their Board of Directors to gauge their level of satisfaction and to get a sense of the value of her work.
These initial projects gave a solid foundation for her work, generated references, and also led to more work with some of the board members’ organizations.
Did it work? Amazingly well. The next year she doubled her business and doubled it again the year after.
Judy went on to grow her business very successfully over the next three decades and continues to market it in creative ways. And all of her marketing revolves around getting known and offering value.
Here are the eight things she continues to do to market HR Answers:
1. For 18 years she’s sponsored a monthly Power Breakfast put on by the Portland Business Journal. She gets exposure through a blurb in the business journal every week and also to the 200 to 400 monthly breakfast attendees.
2. She puts out a monthly email newsletter that covers a broad variety of HR topics. Anytime she connects with someone she asks if she can add them to her newsletter list.
3. Her company conducts several workshops a month at their facility as well as events sponsored by other businesses.
4. She approaches associations and offers them “sweetheart deals” to provide services to their members.
5. She’s built a strong network of employment law attorneys who refer business to her for compliance training and expert witness assistance for employment law cases. How’d she do it? With letters to 100 attorneys followed up by personal phone calls to introduce herself.
6. Her company does about six to eight tradeshows a year, always providing some unique and memorable giveaway. For instance, a packet of seeds with their info printed on the packet with the theme of “Seeding Learning in Your Organization.”
7. Some of her company’s consultants teach at the community college or university level. That builds long-term credibility.
8. They also maintain relationships with a wide variety of other service providers. And they host an annual “Partner Night” for clients and partners they refer people to.
And as a result of all this visibility and value, her company not only gains new clients but lots of referral business.
Notice that none of these approaches to marketing her business have anything to do with some hyped-up “killer strategy” to gain a boatload of new clients overnight.
Few of those kinds of strategies work for legitimate professional service businesses who are dedicated to providing long-term service and value to their clients.
No, these are the kind of strategies you can emulate yourself with a lot of success.
I’ve taken a few excerpts from my interview with Judy that you can watch on my website.
I love Judy because she’s smart, down-to-earth, and willing to do the things that work to get her in front of new prospective clients. I hope you’ll be inspired by her as well.