Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Many of the marketing struggles I see self-employed professionals experience have one thing in common. The professional is trying to copy a marketing recipe they've seen others use, but they are missing a key ingredient. The result is like trying to make a sandwich without bread.

Let's look at three different examples of marketing recipes gone wrong. In each case, an essential ingredient for success was missing or inadequate.

Recipe #1: Attract Clients Online

Sonia wanted to build her accounting business by bringing small business clients to her website. She created an attractive site with some useful content, started a blog, and used Facebook ads and Google AdWords to attract more traffic.

The number of people visiting Sonia's website increased, and she did land some new clients, but none of them had found her online. She was still getting clients the same way she always had -- by referral. Meanwhile, she was spending more than she could afford on ads, and still didn't have enough business.

Missing Ingredient? 

In Sonia's case, what was missing was a mailing list. She had no mechanism to capture the people who visited her site and follow up with them over time. What Sonia needed was to give her blog readers and site visitors a way to become subscribers. Then she could mail them periodically, and build their awareness of her services and their trust in her expertise.

Recipe #2: Cold Calling

Brian was trying to find clients who needing his technical writing skills by cold calling. He had identified a number of companies that were likely to need the type of instructional materials he specialized in. He was calling each one to introduce himself and tell them about his capabilities. But no one wanted to have a conversation with him.

Missing Ingredient? 

Brian was lacking an effective telemarketing script. He was selling himself as a solution without finding out anything about what his prospects actually needed. Instead, Brian needed to develop a series of questions he could ask his prospects to determine what their needs were so that he could propose specific solutions. He also needed to research his prospects more, so that he could customize his script for each call.

Recipe #3: Networking at Events

Maureen was attending local networking events to get clients for her web design business. She had tried all sorts of events, from Chamber of Commerce mixers to women's professional groups to industry association meetings. She was meeting lots of people, but producing almost nothing in the way of business.

Missing Ingredient? 

Maureen had neglected to define a market niche for herself. She was visiting dozens of different groups because she didn't know where her clients were likely to be. When she introduced herself, nothing made her stand out from any other web designer. Without a defined target market or clear specialty, Maureen didn't know where she fit, and neither did the people she met. When they needed a web designer, they had no reason to remember Maureen.

Do you suspect your marketing might be missing a crucial ingredient? Start by asking yourself the question "why aren't I..." or "why can't I..." and fill in the blank with whatever you're trying to accomplish with your marketing.

Sonia asked herself "why aren't my website visitors turning into clients?" Brian asked "why aren't the people I'm calling interested in speaking to me?" Maureen asked "why can't I find clients at the events I'm attending?" Their answers led each one of them to discover what their marketing was missing.

For your marketing recipes to be successful, the right ingredients are essential. Don't keep trying to make a sandwich without bread.

Copyright © 2014, C.J. Hayden

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