Most entrepreneurs and owners of professional service firms risk so much for their business; yet never realize how much they risk by not mastering marketing. They spend years learning about and perfecting their chosen field (engineering, consulting, legal, creative services, medical, architecture, financial services, etc…); and more often than not they are accidentally successful in their business ventures.
If you ask these owners how they get new clients on a consistent basis, they typically shrug their shoulders and say, “We’re a word of mouth business” or “I’ve built this firm entirely on referrals.” But then re-ask the question with a focus on getting new clients on a consistent basis and that’s when they realize that word of mouth and referrals are strategies based on hope.
Now, let me be clear, both referrals and word of mouth are critical to your success, but you cannot control new business generation from either. It’s going to happen (or not) based on the quality of your work and the service you provide. If you run a successful business based solely on referrals, chances are you have been accidentally successful. And I say accidentally because you don’t know what to do to generate new clients other than working hard and doing a good job. It’s not a repeatable system.
Marketing doesn’t have to mystery. In fact, marketing is not rocket science; it’s just that most business owners have never been trained to be effective marketers. The top three proven marketing strategies for growing a professional firm are:
And here’s the best part; the future of the web is built to allow anyone to take advantage of these marketing strategies. Web technology like webinars and online video sites allow you to easily share your knowledge and expertise via speaking. Today, the barriers to publishing are virtually non-existent with blog platforms like Wordpress, Moveable Type and Typepad—not to mention online article distribution services like ezinearticles.com and isnare.com or self publishers like lulu.com if you want to pen a book. And it’s easy to expand your sphere of influence through social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
In today’s competitive marketplace, it’s not enough to be great at what you do. To take your firm to the next level you must be recognized as an expert in your field. And to be recognized as an expert, you cannot be an accidental marketer.
NOTE: originally published as a chapter in Age of Conversation 2 – Why Don’t They Get It?