How did you approach marketing for your startup?
When you were just starting out, I believe there were ups and downs trying to get your name out there. What do you think was the most effective way that you were able to market yourself and your business?
At present and now that you are established, are you still doing the same?
Charlene, you are right, this was a big struggle for me personally (still is at times). You must be prepared to stand up and be heard. The old saying 'tell then sell' is true. You must be talking all the time. To your existing customers as well as new prospects.
My most effective way has been my mailing list and I highly recommend every business owner focus on how they can build this. I email my list one a fortnight with free 'biz tips'. This demonstrates my knowledge to them, builds relationship and helps them at the same time so its a win win. four
I have been mailing to them for four years now and still generate new customers from it.
I have positioned myself as the 'go to' person. With an extensive list of proven (that's important) contacts and referral partners I am able to help with almost any problem. From dog walking to legal advice. It encourages my list to pick up the phone and call me, which in turns allows me to build quality relationships with them. As 'luck' would have it, they normally end up a client at one time or another.
Thank you Lisa. I think most businesses struggle with building their mailing list especially to get their contacts to open and do something about it. What is your best approach when it comes to this.
When I was just starting out I was totally clueless and used internet searches to find work. Unfortunately, this meant that the freelancing websites I joined were mostly content mills (which took me a few months to really understand!) and the work being booked was not high quality in return.
The best thing I think I did then was to start researching, building my knowledge base and learning about the best ways to write, rather than spending all my time trying to secure more jobs - which really was just me trying to feel like I was succeeding. The less I focussed on trying to secure work, the more work came. Perhaps it was about trusting that the work would come?
Since that time, I have worked toward getting to know locals and really becoming the go-to person for my exisiting clients. I have one client who has spent over $30,000 in 12 months with me to achieve his goals. His tenacity is motivating and so I work harder to help him get to his destination and he seems to think it's fitting to keep hiring me to do more projects :D
So, best advice?
1. LEARN. Absorb as much information and advice as you can. Let it saturate you so that eventually the information comes to you when you really need it.
2. TRUST. Trust your gut and let the work come to you. The more you chase something that you need, the more elusive it seems to become. Develop your skills and let them speak for you.
3. BUILD. Focus on the clients you have. If it's just one, then they become your primary focus - make them feel like they are your most valuable client. If you have 3, then make each one feel valuable. Build your reputation with the clients you have NOW and let them become your ambassadors for new clients. Word of Mouth is still the most powerful business networking tool!
4. DEVELOP. It's great to build your client list and get enough work to make a sustainable business, but you have to keep growing, learning, developing and engaging with new ideas. Become an innovator and use your own skill set and business to practice the process of innovation. The more you stretch yourself, the quicker you'll be able to carry a larger client list, workload and match the reputation you are building.
Look, you can spend thousands of dollars on a marketing plan, can develop a great social media strategy and pay someone to build your Twitter list, but none of that really matters if the clients don't come back. In my honest opinion, build YOU first, the BRAND second.