A lot of businesses ask me, “Lorena, I already have clients, why do I need marketing?” You need marketing to:
1) Grow your business: read new clients
2) Maintain your business: read maintain existing clients
3) Grow your brand: read establish trust
I think the title of the post summarizes my thoughts on the importance of marketing. By the time you realize you need marketing it may be too late. You need to be prepared and have a client pipeline that is active and filled with qualified leads. Ask yourself, when was the last time I reached out to a former client? Do you have an active relationship with current clients? When was the last time I engaged my clients or potential clients in a conversation? Am I active in local networking groups to meet other professionals in my field? How am I effectively using social media to establish and maintain my brand?
Developing a strong marketing strategy BEFORE you need it is key. So, how do you get started? Start by creating a business plan. First, determine where you are as a company. Who are your best customers? What do they think about you? Lets talk about this for one second.
Most businesses have no idea what their customers think about them. Have you asked? There are many free survey tools out there to use. One example is Survey Monkey http://www.surveymonkey.com/ Figure out what appeals to your customers about your business. Why did they buy? Was it an outstanding product? Outstanding customer service? Find out what your “secret sauce” is as a small business and then emphasize that out of proportion. Get customers to talk about you and tell their friends. Even better get customers to give you a testimonial and create a story around your “secret sauce”. And then send out that story in your newsletter.
Oh. You don’t have a newsletter? One of the best ways to keep your products and services top of mind with current and potential customers is via email newsletters. A great one is Mail Chimp http://www.mailchimp.com Make it a habit to communicate with your customers on a regular consistent basis.
Wait, you don’t have a database. Oh. Its important that you capture emails for current and potential customers. This is the life blood of your business, why would you not want to communicate with them and engage them in conversations?
But thankfully its not too late to start off 2012 right! Here are your action items:
1) Determine where you are as a company
2) Ask your customers what they think about your company/product
3) Start a database (if you don’t have one)/If you do, set up your newsletter
Do one action item each day and by the end of the year you will have done 365 positive things for your business. This is how you get results! Execution. Determination. Action.
You can do it!