With two recent elections, a new state government here in Queensland, and a federal government in its final throes; a global economy back in the doldrums and consumer behavior that doesn’t know whether it is up or down, business owners could be forgiven for wanting to throw the towel in.
It is tough out there at the moment. In fact, many professional services, construction and financial firms have never had it tougher.
I am constantly asked, “What sort of marketing will work in these times? What should I bother with, and what can I cut out of the budget of my professional service business?”
Here are a few tips to keep you moving forward:
1. Be active in your networks. Get out there in the most important networks for your business’ survival (and growth). Sit with your target clients, get to know them, listen to them and build their trust. They may not want to buy your services right now, but if they know, see and interact with you regularly they are much more likely to buy from you than if they don’t.
2. Give. Give your ideas and knowledge freely to demonstrate your capability. Use email campaigns and blogging to keep relationships warm, show your knowledge, and allow people to pick up ideas from you. If you are giving useful ideas and content, people will consider how you can work with them, their clients and in their communities and help you spread the word.
3. Get social. Social media might make you uncomfortable, it might be outside your comfort zone, but if you get it right, it allows you to connect with your community using a different, and very low cost medium. It allows people to get to know you, and hopefully build a healthy respect for you. Pick one or two social media tools to focus on and use them proactively. Linkedin is always a winner in professional markets as the top priority. You might be amazed how powerful it can be.
4. Create content. Consider your PR and content placement strategy. Can you write and place articles that your industry will value in industry publications, portals and communities (both online and offline)? If your goal is to broaden your network of ideal targets, putting yourself out there in front of them with ideas is a good place to start.
5. Speak to groups of people. Put yourself out there in front of people who can say yes to you. Not everyone is cut out to present or public speak in front of groups, but it sure is a good way to get in front of a market and allow them to see what they would get if they engaged your services.