Time and again I talk to people who try one or two promotional strategies, don't get the desired results and give up. They are confused about what marketing is and convinced that it will never work for their business. Does this sound like you?
You see, marketing is more than just one technique. It's about becoming proficient at many "little" things. Here is my list of a few of those "little things". I call them '15 Irrefutable Marketing Proficiencies'. Check to see how many of them you've already mastered.
I'm passionate about why I'm in business. What I do impacts who and what I care about. Performing my regular work activities gives me joy, re-energizes me and is my way of contributing to the world.
I can see where my business will be in the future. I'm excited to undertake the tasks necessary to get there. When I talk about my business people around me become enthusiastic and willingly lend their support.
My business is strategically-driven by a long term plan. I don't get distracted by "busy work". All activities are results driven. I evaluate all opportunities based on my strategic plan.
I'm clear about who my ideal clients are, what problems I solve for them and how I do it. This clarity allows me to save time, money and energy; I only contact and follow-up with people who want and appreciate my services.
What I do and how I do it differentiates me from others and creates "top-of-mind" awareness in my chosen niche. My business is unique so I don't have competition. Others, who offer similar services, simply provide an opportunity for me to sharpen my skills, outsource overflow work and create strategic alliances.
My introduction easily and powerfully communicates who I am and what I do. My message is clear and memorable even to people who don't need my services. My introduction is benefit-based, jargon-free, describes my ideal clients, their biggest problem and the solution I provide.
My business identity is an extension of who I am. All aspects of my business—from my business cards, to stationary, to web site, to my personal appearance - present a consistent, attractive image that's appropriate for my industry.
My marketing strategies and activities are in line with my strengths and talents. It's easy for me to promote my business because I love what I do, know the value I create and use only promotional activities I enjoy. I promote my business consistently and continuously and never allow the work I do for clients to break my marketing momentum.
I don't guess how well my business is doing. I have identified and regularly track specific, easy to measure performance indicators. At any point I can assess my progress against my written 90-day, six-month and one-year benchmarks.
All routine functions of my business are systematic; they are always done the same way and create predictable results every time. Lead generation, follow-up, keeping up clients' files, tracking important dates, submitting proposals, sales process—I have a system for each one of those activities that allows me to complete them effectively and efficiently.
I recognize that my clients buy not what I do but the value my work creates. I regularly attend training events and schedule activities that support me in learning fresh, valuable information (in- and outside of my area of expertise) so I become more indispensable to my clients. I'm clear about the value I deliver so I never hesitate to state my fees, recommend my business and ask for the job.
My promotional resources are limited so I make them count; they illustrate my expertise and pre-sell my services. All my marketing materials describe my ideal clients, list the problems I solve and communicate the benefits of working with me. I use tools like articles, public presentations, teleclasses, workshops, regularly updated content on my web site, and regularly published newsletter to attract new business and maintain connection with clients and strategic partners.
I love my clients. I respect who they are and cherish the opportunity to be on their team. I recognize that they are people first and clients next. I strive to learn about their personal lives. I take note of and acknowledge their important dates—like birthdays and anniversaries. I'm there when they need support and celebrate their victories.
I recognize my weaknesses and that I'm not an expert at everything. To bridge my shortcomings, I surround myself with other experts on whom I can readily call for support or refer clients to. They become my partners and board of advisors and help me grow my business.
I recognize that how I think about marketing and selling my services may limit my ability to grow my business. I make a conscious effort to continuously expand my marketing mindset. I look for and learn strategies that allow me to better leverage my unique talents and expertise as my best promotional tools.
That's the list. Did you keep track of your "score"?
If most of those statements are true for your business - congratulations. But if you realized you've got some work to do—don't despair. There are many ways you can quickly elevate your level of mastery of these proficiencies. Here are the three that come to mind right away:
=> Regularly buy and read marketing books. Start by focusing on topics you need most help with. (If you don't know what books to get visit my marketing bookstore for ideas where to get started.)
=> Attend a marketing seminar. An intense, day-long session with a few experts can give you a jump start you need.
=> Work with a marketing consultant. When your problem is too many ideas and not enough action—perhaps a more "hands-on" help is best for you. A marketing mentor can help you focus on a long term strategy and identify action steps you will feel comfortable taking on a daily basis.
Finally, keep this one thing in mind—mastering these proficiencies is not a matter of one day—it's a matter of doing it daily.
(c) 2004 Adam M. Urbanski
Adam M. Urbanski, The Marketing Mentor, helps independent service professionals and small business owners attract more clients with creative, low-budget marketing strategies. Get Adam's weekly marketing tips and his FREE report, "7 Key Marketing Strategies to Attract More Clients Fast," at www.TheMarketingMentors.com.
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