For many small business owners, the desire to secure more customers translates to how best to market themselves. However, getting new clients is much harder than continuing to serve current clients. This report considers how to bring in more business from existing customers while simultaneously reaching new clients. The former is a matter of service delivery while the latter is a matter of marketing.
The Question of Service Delivery On Your Consulting Business
In continuing to serve existing clients, you want to ensure that you keep adding more value to existing services.
You can find new ways of serving existing clients by surveying them to learn what they enjoy and appreciate and what they currently find dissatisfying, annoying or bothersome. Based on your customers’ answers, you will know how best to tweak your offering so as to incorporate more of what they enjoy and appreciate and less of what they find dissatisfying, frustrating or annoying.
You may also tweak your offerings based on what you’ve found your customers to like, value and appreciate over the years. In some instances, it is a simple matter of changing some minor detail that’s inconsequential to yourself, but highly meaningful to your clients. In other instances, it’s an issue of providing additional and more comprehensive offerings that dovetail with existing services.
Finally, you may have the ability to attain your current customers more efficiently by offering your existing services across a range of platforms. Similarly, you may also consider extending your offerings into the printed word (such as subscription-based newsletters, special reports, downloadable e-books or printed books). If you are already providing training or public speaking, you could extend your offerings further by providing CDs and DVDs of your job.
The Issue of Marketing for Your Small Business
There are many ways to promote your consulting business. The method you choose may reflect your individual taste. It may also reflect your availability, in addition to the degree of comfort you’ve got with the assortment of marketing methods available to you. Whatever methods you use, you will want to make sure that they dovetail well with one another.
1. Websites: Your website should reside at the core of your marketing initiatives. Ideally, any other marketing initiatives you engage in should direct people to specific pages on your website. You will want your website to be simple to navigate, professional and consistent with your company brand.
2. Newsletters: Newsletters can be a revenue stream if you make them available via subscription or membership schemes. So much so, that there are many companies who specialise in the provision of newsletter proformas and/or content in return for a fee. However, newsletters are best when they are developed based on your expertise and use a special style that’s consistent with your company brand. As a marketing tool, you can make previous issues freely available on your website. You can even hand out previous issues to your prospective and current customers where applicable to their needs and interests.
3. Social media is most effective as a marketing tool when you pick the one or two platforms you most enjoy using and regularly post on them. You will want to use your social media platforms as mediums by which you tip followers to specific pages within your website.
4. Networking: Media is one of the simplest types of marketing. It’s also the most useful if you are able to join several networks where your potential clients might be found. Networking is most effective once you start by asking prospective clients about themselves. In so doing, they feel valued and will likely reciprocate by asking you about yourself. Be sure to bring plenty of your business cards so you will always be able to provide one of your cards on request. You will also find it invaluable to offer prospective clients with tips as well as introduce them to the right folks. If you can acquire your prospects’ contact details, you can put them on your mailing list for complimentary copies of your newsletters.
5. Articles: Articles are a good way of showcasing who you are and what you can do for potential clients. You will want to provide valuable information on a variety of topics your existing customers are most interested in. You’ll also want to set your articles in a selection of different platforms and do so on a regular basis. Some might show up on your social media channels. Others might appear on your website. Others still, may be submitted to other websites or magazines that your potential clients regular. For those articles that are placed out of your website, you’ll want to include links back to specific pages of your site.
6. Public Speaking and Authoring: Authoring and public speaking reflect two additional ways of showcasing your talents. In some instances, they may act as separate revenue streams. Once more, you will want to speak and write to subjects that reflect your area of expertise; areas in which you would like to draw new business. It is then a matter of offering to talk to these topics in media classes, professional meetings, conferences and workshops. If space allows, you can also host demonstrations in your premises. For those who have authored any books, be sure to highlight their existence as part of your presentation. Once again, you may also draw attention to the presence of your site. You may also wish to invite back-of-room earnings after the speaking event.
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