What is Marketing?
Marketing is the art of communicating the value of your products or services to clients in order to sell said products or services. The best way to find individuals to market to is by expanding your reach through networking!
Success leads to opportunities for further and greater successes.
S.ell Your Services
U.tilize Your Contacts
C.ommunicate Your Ideas
E.ndeavor New Possibilities
E.xercise Your Resourcefulness
D.o It. Just Do It!
In the Bigger Scheme of Things?
Now that you have your education at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, you may find yourself embarking into the vast world of entrepreneurship. It can be a daunting endeavor even for the most confident. At the outset, your imagination might have you answering dozens of daily emails, constantly on your phone, running here and there and otherwise busy busy busy. In reality, you may discover you are sitting bleakly in front of your computer wondering why no one has called you, replied to your outreach emails, contacted you from picking up your cleverly placed business cards or commented on your colorful Facebook business posts. Do not despair. In the realm of self-employment, there are peaks and there are valleys. More often than not at the beginning of your journey you will likely find yourself looking for a rise to climb up from the low-lying landscape. It might sound a bit overly allegorical, but that is exactly what you should do. If your momentum grinds to a halt and you have found yourself in a bit of an energy rut, know that with everywhere you go and in everyone you meet there is a potential path up and back into your groove.
Smart Social Networking
There are 550 million Facebookers, 65 million Tweets each day and 2 billion (yes billion with a B) views on YouTube every day. Need I say more? If you don’t have a ‘Fan Page’ for your business on Facebook, make one. Blog. Tweet. Tube. Link in. Today’s consumers are connected and social media is an integral part of marketing for any size company, even individual practitioners and entrepreneurs. It is only getting bigger and more integrated and interconnected.
Get on board that train now because it’s not waiting for anyone. Be aware there is a balance between over posting and over eMarketing and finding just the right amount. Here’s the smart part; the smart posts on sites such as YouTube and blogs utilize key words in the content. You can do easy key word searches by typing in key words and phrases relating to your business into search engines. See what pops up and try to use that specific text, especially in titles and main posts.
Getting Your Actual Self Out There – the flip side to eMarketing
Knowing the potential exists that you could make that critical contact when you are out and about, the top tip is to always have your business cards in your pocket or otherwise near at hand. There are business mixers in every community. Chamber of commerce and other organizations hold them for the very reason of nurturing businesses. Normally you do not have to be a member, however your fee might be $10 instead of $5 to attend. Worth it. While orchestrated networking events are great and an obvious way to go to mix it up, there are daily opportunities for making business contacts. When you go to the grocery store, to the gym, to pick up your dry cleaning or any of the dozens of trips you make every week, carry those cards in your pocket or accessible purse compartment. Strike up conversations and direct them towards topics that could lead to a mention of your business. It could be as easy as this: You to barista: “Hi, how are you?” (big smile). Polite clerk: “I’m fine, how are you?” You: “Well I’m great, I just got my new business cards, may I give you one?” Barista shrugs and says, “Sure!” And there you go. Now give him two, because you always give one for them to keep and one for them to give away. From this moment on, always be ready to whip out that handy business card with a smile and some ready conversation if they choose to continue the exchange.
Friends and Family
Aside from the coffee shop worker and other peripheral people in your personal community, you have your own network of family and friends to bug about your business. Has everyone been to your web site? Does everyone have some business cards? Have they liked your fan page? Does each of these loving individuals know that they are entitled to a friends and family discount because you are just getting your business started and it would be great to practice your craft? There may be a special someone in your circle who even merits a freebee. Free stuff feels better and works better; it even looks and smells better. Think of the potential marketing partner your friend could make when they are gifted a sample of your services and then go forth into their own circle to tout their wonderful experience, and forward your business info. If they are a really good friend and a nice person, they may even pass a few or your business cards around.
As mentioned earlier, while social networking is fabulous and can be done in the comfort of your Snuggie, nothing replaces a good old pressing of the flesh (that is a handshake, for you Gen-Xer’s) and the passing of a real business card. Just a note to make the effort to attend networking events or planning your own (see below) can be the real-life edge you need to connect with the right clients at the right time.
Plan An Event
Who says you can’t create your own ‘Right Place at the Right Time’? If you can’t attend a scheduled event, be your own Chamber of Commerce and organize a coffee gathering, charity fundraiser, cocktail hour or other general or themed mixer. One crafty SWIHA grad pulls together local artisans and crafters for a one-day lovely boutique experience. Whatever your event, you could make the connection you’ve been dreaming of right in your own stomping grounds. And if you wind up facilitating a valuable meeting between two of your community members, you’ll be the hometown hero. Who doesn’t like that?
Keep Your Web Site Updated
If you are in business of any type, you pretty much have to have a web site. If you already have one, the start of the year is a good time to punch it up with some new, compelling content. If you don’t, purchasing a domain name is a minimal cost. If you have the capital, you can look into hiring a web master. Otherwise, Our Success Center’s fabulous web site building tool is your ticket. There are other free sites like www.weebly.com where you can use a template to create a web site in a pinch. Now that you have a site, know what to fill it with. Visuals, testimonials, video, easy to navigate content, accessible contact info and clear, concise information is the key.
Send Press Releases
Writing a press release is not rocket science. A good one includes a tidbit about why your accomplishment or event is newsworthy and few practical facts (Who, What, Where, When, and Why). Local TV, radio and newspaper media contacts are can be found online and news planning and assignment desks often will take a few moments to peruse an interesting media release sent via email. For local media, remember to keep it short. It should fit in one page and have the content of your press release copied into the body of the email, not as an attachment. There are also many online web sites where you can post a press release for free. A boilerplate is a very short paragraph at the bottom of the page describing what your business is and what it does. Include clear contact info in the press release of course with a phone number and email address. If a reporter or news program producer is interested they will contact you. If you get a spot being highlighted on local media, hooray! This is free advertising.
Elementary, my dear Watson, if you have a business lead, follow it. Unless they are spammers, people who take the time to click on your web site, write you an email, respond to your Facebook update, make a comment on your blog post or video, etc., all did so because they have an interest in you or your business. This goes for following up on word-of-mouth referrals. If you get lax about the leads, you may be letting the big one get away.
General Self Improvement
One thing you don’t want to do is become stagnant in your practice, craft, or niche-market. Classes, like the ones at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts can help you to stay in front of your competitors. If you can’t take a several weeklong course, consider seminars, webinars, workshops or online classes. If you work for a company, some will even pay for courses that will help you develop your professional or personal skills. This all helps keep your mind open to endeavoring new enterprises.
Client Feedback and Follow Up
Maintain a database of your clients and follow up with them. If you ask them for their feedback, you may end up with amazing testimonials that you can put on your web site or social networking site. If that person has a business, you can list the name of their company and give them a little positive exposure in return. You may also end up with a person who was not so pleased. Whether they are happy with how they have been served or they think there is some room for improvement in your customer relations or your product, your clients will hopefully be honest and let you know. They are doing you a big favor. Always thank them either way.
Get Mobile-Stay Connected
We talked about how the social networking train has already left the station. Now it is time to understand how mobile that train really is. Your always-on mobile device is your connection to the world and to your clients, other companies, as well as to the Web and all of its content. It’s not just for phone calls and texting. Online communication, transactions, information gathering, shopping, eLearning, creating and sending video, if not already, will soon all be done on your smartphone. As technology continues to expand you will be using it for things like starting your car and opening your front door, and even more. Stay tuned.
Build Your Community
For business or personal reasons, make now the time for building yourself a strong, supportive community. All of the suggestions above lead to this place. By stretching out your own unique network of friends, family, business partners, clients and connections you are plugging into all of the opportunities that are before you.
Lastly, Create a Flow of Abundance
So money in and money out is the old saying. Let’s consider it for a moment. Having a pot of savings to fall back on is wise and everyone should. Financial gurus say you should have enough for at least two months of living expenses in a liquid account. When you have saved that, don’t be shy about really examining what you need to up your marketing and investing in it. If there is a potential for bartering that could be an option as well. Remember that when you are investing in yourself and your own potential, you are creating a positive energy flow. It is part of the manifestation process, which will lead into making what you want real and solid!