Do you ever feel like you’re doing all the right things when it comes to marketing, but it’s still not producing the results you were expecting? Maybe you keep changing your message with the hope that something different might stick with your audience…this time? Or maybe you have clients coming in, but just not enough of them?
Even though I’m a marketer myself… I can relate. When I made the decision to initially become a marketing consultant I was a generalist. I knew that being a generalist would not be the fast track to building my business, but at that time I hadn’t quite figured out my exact focus or my target niche market. So, all of my marketing activities were very general. I dabbled in a bunch of different marketing tactics, none of which worked terribly well to bring in business.
Furthermore, my message wasn’t targeted for a specific audience because I was ‘being everything to everyone’, my services weren’t customized for a particular problem or challenge that my audience faced because I hadn’t yet landed on my sweet spot, and I had a chip on my shoulder about sales. I hated sales, I didn’t like salespeople, and I thought that simply by being good at the service I provided that would be enough to bring in clients. Well, I was wrong. Even though that first year as a consultant I was fully booked, I now believe that had more to do with being at the right place at the right time, and having some luck on my side. At the beginning of my second year, I was struck with some serious personal and family challenges that resulted in taking some time off to deal with my difficult circumstances. I was losing business momentum and I didn’t know how to get back out into the market and gain traction again. During that downtime I discovered that if I wanted a steady stream of income, predictable revenue growth, and a more effective and successful marketing roadmap to reach my revenue goals in year two, I would need to re-invent my business to become more of a specialist. So, I changed my business model, re-branded, and re-defined my offerings, and because of that my business grew exponentially from that moment on.
What I learned is that if you target markets that have means and need for your solution and you can educate them on the fact that you have a solution for what they are looking for – you will be successful. If you cannot do those things, then you will not. That’s the plain truth.
These are the 5 steps I used for gaining traction with my marketing and business development activities to strategically grow my business.
- Know your market. Focus on working with a niche market (or 3) that knows that they want what you offer and one that is motivated to engage with you and your product or service. A mistake I see a lot of business owners make is to sell their market what they think they need, not necessarily what the market believes they need at that moment. The more your offer targets people who are motivated to have their problem or challenge solved, the more successful you will be at getting clients.
- Understand why what you do matters to them. The biggest mistake I see entrepreneurs make is speaking about their products and services from a product feature or service process point of view, not from a customer outcome point of view. Your messaging should reflect why what you do, matters to the people you do it for. If you try to be everything to all people, you will resonate with nobody and this will result in slow or no growth.
- Be strategic about your marketing activities. Spend the time researching where your niche markets hang out and market yourself in those places. Be proactive, not passive in your tactical approach. You always want to be ‘fishing’ in the right watering holes, not laying ‘traps’. Laying a trap results in passive leads and unpredictable income. Fishing puts you in control of getting the clients you want, when you want, how you want.
- Know that how you show up directly affects your credibility. What is the perception of ‘brand-you’ in the marketplace? Knowing how to build trust and foster credibility with your target market is one of the most important stepping-stones to profitability. Do you speak and act like an authority figure? Are you discrediting yourself by your words? Consider what message your actions are sending to the world. If you want to attract magnificence into your life, you have to project magnificence in all that you say and do.
- Always be selling. Sales is not about trying to sell somebody something. It’s about educating them. You don’t have to convince them, you just have to provide them with all the information, give them some compelling reasons and connect with them. Most people don’t know how to assess the value of your offering, and if the buyer doesn’t understand the value you provide, your discussion will inevitably centre on price. Your product or service will not sell itself (it doesn’t matter how brilliant you are!). You have to get good at facilitating the buying process.
As soon as you change from being a generalist to a specialist, then your niche markets take notice that you are different from everyone else in the market. The people you were targeting before, who didn’t notice you when you were a generalist, will now be able to ‘see’ you when you re-position yourself and speak directly to them in a language that resonates.
You don’t have to tolerate slow or no business growth. You know that, right? It doesn’t have to be that way. It was Einstein who said that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results”. If you truly want different results, it’s time to make foundational changes. It’s not easy and it’s not simple, especially if you’re trying to do it on your own – BUT – it can be done and I can show you how, so you can avoid the common mistakes and minimize the classic pitfalls along the way.
If you know you need to optimize your business for better results, but you’re not sure what that particular roadmap looks like for you, then I’d like to invite you to connect with me for a complimentary 45-minute business strategy session. I will laser in on the root cause of your business challenge and lay out a plan to give you the clarity and focus you need to take the right steps to catapult your business forward.