Every business, large or small, needs one, but first ask yourself the right questions.
As a career coach, the most commonly asked questions I get are: what is the effectiveness of marketing, should I do more and how do I measure the success of my campaigns? Marketing is an important aspect for any business. Dan Kennedy, one of the most recognized and established marketing gurus of our time, tells a simple story to get a basic point across.
One day Dan comes home only to find his wife and most of his belongings gone. If you were in the business of selling beds, furniture, pots, pans and electronics, this would have been your time to make a sale right away. Clearly, there was a need to be filled immediately. People only buy what they want (and desire) or what they essentially need. In Dan’s story, the unexpected lack of furniture made a buying decision imminent.
The same applies to almost every business. To be at what I call “the top of mind awareness” of your (potential) client at the precise time WHEN your product or service is needed is your goal. You need to design a marketing campaign in such a way that you are in front of the right people at the right time and create a lasting professional impression that you are the only logical choice at that time.
How do you do that? Start with the basics:
* Who are you and what are you best at? Clients want to work with an expert in a particular field and that is who you need to become. Here’s a great BusinessWeek article about how to become an expert.
* Only if you know your market and know that what you are offering fits a need, will you be able to identify the right buyer.
* Set aside a budget for marketing. It used to be 10% of gross sales, but any amount will do as long as you spend it on marketing. In my business, I invest quite a bit of time and money in coaching, marketing and research. Why? I know it will get me to my goal in half the time.
* Design a campaign that consists of at least seven steps. It’s called the rule of seven for a reason. To be at the top of mind awareness, you need to make a big enough impact. The campaign can consist of multimedia steps such as direct mail, emails, calls, hand-written notes, even faxes. As a note of caution, if you make phone calls, you need to create a legitimate reason for the call. Don’t ask if they got your recent promo email. Those calls are usually over in about thirty seconds. Research your potential client first and find a topic to talk about—then you call. You could, for example, ask them their opinion on something without directly asking for work. People love talking about themselves.
* And finally, does your online presence show consistent branding? If a client wants to hire you, will they know what they will get? Consistency is key, as you must instill the confidence that working with you guarantees a certain outcome.
Beate Chelette is a respected career coach, consummate entrepreneur and founder of The Women’s Code, a unique guide to personal and career success that offers a new code of conduct for today’s business, private and digital world. Determined to build a community of women helping each other after selling one of her companies, BeateWorks, to Bill Gates in 2006 for millions of dollars, Beate launched The Women’s Code online course in February 2012.