Your 10 minute marketing plan

February 2, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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 more

What are you willing to do to get more business?

April 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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 more

The gentle art of persuasion

October 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

 

horse and pig meet in a pasture

Do you consider yourself to be a persuasive person? Do those you persuade remain interested in what you are promoting, or do they avoid you when they think you’re going to ask them for something?

Persuasion is not just a part of marketing, it’s a big part of day to day communication.

“Honey, would you do me a favor?”

“Dad, can I borrow the car?”

“I’m so forgetful!”

“I’d like your thoughts about how our team can meet this deadline.”

Each of these statements represents an attempt to gain the cooperation of another person or people, and to get them to take an action that we want them to take (like believing the story we’re telling them about ourselves). That is what marketing is about, and why I believe that everyone is involved in marketing whether they are aware of it or not. Read more

Sales is not a dirty word

December 5, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

A day-old buckskin foal sniffs the water trough for the first time.

‘Sales’ is not usually the first word chosen by professionals to describe how they acquire new clients. They prefer ‘marketing’ or ‘business development.’

For example, a professional colleague said to me recently, “Everyone else is out there marketing so hard, it is essential to be out there too.” Her firm recently hired a new associate who has energized their team because he “feels responsible to actually market,” as my friend put it.

This anecdote speaks to one of the dilemmas of operating a professional services business: to do what you are good at and love to do, you need work; work comes from clients; clients come from a regular, ongoing system of practices called marketing, sales, and business development, often interchangeably.

Dear reader, are you thinking, “Duh!” to yourself? I know it is obvious, but many professionals resist doing the sales and marketing needed to have thriving businesses. Read more

Social media for the reluctant

October 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

white horse viewed from behind as if it was looking over its shoulder

I was at a networking lunch recently. When asked for a show of hands about half the room was not using social media, or even sure what it was exactly. That inspired me to create this basic overview.

The constantly changing world of social media can quickly become overwhelming. There are expressions, abbreviations, and ways of communicating unique to the milieu, Facebook has Likes and Twitter has hashtags (#), for example.

If you want to dip your toe into social media, I encourage you to explore. I had to experience it before it made sense. Choose just one thing, be clear about what you want to get out of it, and start exploring.

That one thing could be reading a blog. (Hey, you’re doing that right now!) The next level of experience might be leaving a comment on the blog. (Just keep scrolling and you’ll be there. Go ahead, leave a comment. I’ll answer.) You might find links to other blogs on similar topics of interest. (There are two links in this post you could visit.) Over time, you get familiar with blogs, commenting on blogs, you might even feel you know the bloggers you have been reading. This applies to any of the social media platforms. Now rinse, and repeat. You’ve started. Read more