Your 10 minute marketing plan

February 2, 2016

view from horseback of a dusty trail following other riders

Recently a friend mentioned that she relied only on word-of-mouth to promote her business, and maybe she needed to try something more. I offered to give her some ideas. After I finished writing, I thought this might be useful for other people, too.

This is kind of a paper napkin marketing plan—that cliche of business. It’s the basics, quick and dirty. There is lots of information available, and you can ask me, too.

I view marketing as common sense, but from the point of view of the people you are trying to attract. When we get outside our own assumptions, jargon, embarrassment about talking about what we love to do, or however we cut ourselves off from communicating with potential clients or people who might know potential clients, there is lots of room to experiment and explore appealing ways to reach out to and attract people to learn about what we do. Read the rest of this entry

7 reasons to survey your clients

September 22, 2014

from the horse's mouth

How recently have you asked your clients, “How are we doing?”

Every business needs clients or customers to survive, thrive, and continue into the years ahead. We usually know some of the reasons why people hire us, but we often don’t learn why they stop working with us, how we could provide better service, or become indispensable to them. And who wouldn’t love to know these things?

I’ve been in numerous meetings where people talk about why this client loves them or that client doesn’t love them. It always strikes me that we don’t really know unless we ask. Directly. And in the Seattle area where many of us tend towards ‘conflict averse,’ we often don’t hear about issues until things are already going downhill, or worse. Read the rest of this entry

When riding a dead horse . . .

August 26, 2014

antique toy - yellow horse & jockey

While clearing out some old files, I came across this little treasure, and couldn’t resist sharing the horse inspired humor — enjoy!

“The tribal wisdom of the Dakota, passed on from one generation to the next, says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

However, in modern business, because of the heavy investment factors to be taken into consideration, often other strategies have to be tried with dead horses, including the following: Read the rest of this entry

What are you willing to do to get more business?

April 24, 2014

horse pulling a wagon with straw blinders on and a yellow daisy

And what kind of business do you want to get?

I needed a new auto mechanic because my Subaru shop doesn’t work on Hondas. As a woman with limited knowledge of cars, I felt vulnerable having to leave my trusted shop and find a new one. I asked my friend with a Honda, and got an enthusiastic recommendation. I got an equally good referral from my Subaru guys — for the same place! Two strong referrals were enough for me.

While waiting for an oil change at my new mechanic’s, I witnessed another approach to getting business — or not. Read the rest of this entry

The metaphysics of marketing

April 22, 2014

Rope, blanket, flaxen mane against a sorrel horse's shoulder

This principle is how marketing works. I’ve observed it over and over again, but never more starkly than in the following story.

My client, a small engineering firm, wanted to do more work with architecture firms, and we had just developed and printed a new brochure designed to appeal to architects. (This was before the predominance of electronic media.)

After the brochures had been mailed, the principal and his two project managers decided to cold call a number of the architects they had mailed to. We wrote call scripts and role played making phone calls. They plugged away at their call lists, but the results were not exactly encouraging.

Then an interesting thing happened. Read the rest of this entry