Is Your Marketing as Good as Your Service?

Article by Joan FriedlanderMarketing is the first thing to go when you get busy or distracted. Though you may have spent a lot of time developing the processes behind the service you offer, you may have neglected to put the same level of effort into developing your marketing processes. Most professionals treat marketing as if it’s quite different than the rest of their business. But really, it’s not; it’s the first experience your potential clients have of what it will be like to work with you.

There should be no difference in quality between the experience of receiving the services of your company, and the marketing interactions beforehand. Marketing — telling people what you do, and what they can expect from working with you and your company — is the first experience your potential client has of your promise. Are you as organized, focused, and methodical with your marketing as you are with delivering services? If not, this may explain why you experience marketing as difficult, and why you can’t predictably produce the results (bringing in new clients) that you would like.

In each phase of the marketing and sales process, different guidelines apply regarding how you can talk to prospective clients, and successfully move them forward to the next stage in the process. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could create a repeatable, reliable “system” of marketing that is easily — and happily — executed in such a way that it produced predictable, duplicatable results when followed?

The following lists suggest a few marketing tactics and tools that you can systematize and potentially automate with the right resources in place. Done well, they’ll also help you create congruence between your marketing and your services. You don’t have to do all of them. You just have to choose which ones are most effective for you, your team, and your business, and do them consistently. The lists below are not finite.

Filling the Pipeline — Getting the Word Out and Generating Leads

  • Scripts for making outgoing calls to warm prospects and responding to telephone inquiries.
  • Guidelines for how you or your representatives conduct yourselves at networking events: what do you say about your business (10-second introduction and description of services), and what do you say to invite follow-up conversations?
  • Website: what can you offer for free that will give prospects a taste of your expertise, and capture leads for further follow-up?
  • Speaking: what speaking topics can you develop that reflect your expertise and attract your ideal clients to the presentation?
  • Blog: what aspect of your company’s expertise and services can you repeatedly and easily highlight through weekly blog entries? Even if you’re not the writer, you can do this if it’s important.
  • Workshop and program announcements: emailed announcement series, and/or postcards and calls to notify your target market about your events.

Following Up — Building Relationships and Sharing Your Expertise

  • Newsletter: choose the theme, make a list of possible article titles and choose the frequency. Choose your automated distribution system, one that can grow as you grow.
  • Phone calls: write scripts or talking points for calls to warm prospects, those you met networking, at speaking engagements, or in your entry-level programs. The scripts may vary depending on the original source of the lead, and what you know about the prospect.
  • Mailings: develop a library of items you can send to prospects that add value while you’re at it. Gather clippings from your favorite magazines on topics of importance to your target clients and send them out regularly, or write your own articles and do the same.
  • Email communications/autoresponder series: when you receive an inquiry through your website, funnel your prospects through different reply systems. For example, when people contact you about your “platinum” service, they may or may not become clients right away. Ask if you may periodically send them something of interest, and then with their permission add them to an autoresponder series that goes out once per month.

As with just about everything in business, your marketing is only limited by your creativity, and your willingness to invest in the thinking and development that is required to successfully and consistently implement your ideas. Start with the big picture view — what you are offering and how you will tell people about it — and then develop the infrastructure to consistently and effortlessly communicate this message to your fans and potential clients.

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