Marketing is both a noun and a verb. Much like the word “lightening,” the one word denotes both the act and the action. Recently an agent explained to me how difficult it was to fund her marketing efforts. Without the funds to market, she could not bring in customers and without customers she would never have the funds.
Marketing is, however, not just something you buy. It’s something you do. Certainly you can spend vast amounts of money on marketing, but for most service businesses, you can also bootstrap your way into the minds of your local community.
I have always been most fond of the type of marketing that is all about sweat equity rather than dollars.
Strategies that emphasize public relations and word of mouth marketing cost relatively little compared to advertising campaigns and large, orchestrated events. Putting you own personality on the table in your local community, leveraging the efforts of charities, schools and other organizations which require your participation and involvement is a legitimate and time honored method for integrating your business into a community.
We have all heard that “it takes money to make money.” No doubt about it, you will have to have a marketing budget and you will have to invest in your company. However, don’t let a well-intentioned aphorism be an impediment to your success. Your time has a value, it is a money equivalent. Your involvement in local charities, community events and organizations represents an investment.
The people with whom you participate in your local community have the opportunity to work with you in a setting that is not directly connected to self-interest. They will get to know you in an environment that demonstrates your skill set at its best, in the course of a group effort. It is a very small step from that point to asking you what you do and presenting an opportunity to subtlety promote your business.
Remember – as a travel consultant – you are selling yourself – your skill set, your due diligence, your confidence. Give some consideration to promoting your business by distributing a few free samples of your personality.
There’s a very good chance the people who get to know you in that context will come back for more.