When I started my business many years ago, I soon realized I needed to market my services.
So I started to read books on small business marketing. And I read a LOT of them – perhaps 300 or more over several years.
Yes, I gained a number of useful ideas, but the problem with many of those books is that they consisted mostly of tips, not systems or strategies. I learned what to do, but not enough on how to do it.
My question to you is, are you mostly absorbing marketing tips here and there through articles and social media, or are you focusing on developing proven strategies designed to convert prospects into paying clients?
There’s a world of difference between tips and strategies. Here are a few of them:
A tip gives you a better or more skillful way to do something.
A strategy is a complete process for getting something done.
A tip might be a random idea that you may implement some day.
A strategy is a plan with a clear objective and timeline.
A tip tends to be incomplete or only a partial solution.
A strategy tends to be a complete step-by-step process.
Tips can trigger information overload by giving you too many ideas.
Strategies can build long-term skills and confidence.
Everyone is Looking for Instant Ideas
Admit it, wouldn’t you prefer to learn a cool tip that persuaded more people to opt-in on your website, a simple tip for the perfect words to say to get a prospect to buy your services, or an easy, fast tip to write a sales letter that generated a ton of response?
Of course you would, but for the most part these simple tips and easy, fast solutions rarely fulfill their promises.
Focus on Strategies Instead of Tips
Marketing is a game (or discipline) that consists of a wide variety of proven strategies that work to attract clients. The thing is, they take some time to learn, implement and master.
But with practice, they do get easier. For instance, my client, Ross Blake, is now mastering the strategy of speaking and is getting more talks, more people giving him cards, more requests for strategy sessions and more clients.
He discovered that speaking alone did not get him new clients. A great speech may inform and inspire, but it’s not enough. However, a detailed speaking strategy, executed consistently, gets results almost every time.
When my clients work to learn and implement step-by-step strategies, they are often surprised at the consistent results they get. And the payoff can be huge.
But what does it take to implement a marketing strategy?
First, it takes a number of steps carried out in a certain order. For example, let me outline all the steps in Blake’s speaking strategy:
1. Determine the talk you’re going to deliver. The title is all-important as it largely determines who will attend.
2. Write a “speaker’s page” on your website about the talks you give. What points will you address? What are all the benefits?
3. Research and compile a list of organizations that are potential hosts for your talk, such as various professional groups.
4. Contact the program directors of these organizations by phone and/or email.
5. When you reach them, see if they are interested in your topic. If they are, send information by email and point them to your talk write-up online.
6. Follow up in a week or so and see if they are interested. If they are, book the talk.
7. Prepare handouts and/or slides for your talk.
8. Practice your talk out loud a few times until it’s as good as you can make it.
9. Give the talk and do the best job you possibly can.
10. At the end of the talk, offer to give the audience copies of a report you’ve written in exchange for their business cards.
11. Add the names to your e-list and also follow up with those you think have the the most potential.
12. Try to get a short phone conversation to see if they are interested in your professional services.
13. If they are interested, set up a selling conversation or “Strategy Session” to explore working together.
Each one of those steps takes a certain amount of knowledge and practice before you are comfortable doing it.
You may be thinking, “That’s too much work!”
Well, not if it gains you a handful of new clients every time you give a talk or implement another marketing strategy. And certainly not if you master this strategy and do it repeatedly and successfully for years to come.
If you’re serious about growing your business, you need to go beyond tips and learn, practice and implement strategies. If you do this, I promise you’ll grow your business faster than you ever thought possible.
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