If you’ve been in business for more than a day and a half, you’ve probably been reminded no fewer than a thousand times that in addition to whatever business you think you’re in, that you’re in the marketing business.
Marketing yourself and your business has been, and will continue to be, the most-important element for your success. The time to ply this trade is right now. I fear that many of you just don’t know what to do.
So, how do you actually “go to market?” Many people approach this question by purchasing a copy of “Marketing for Dummies.” They then follow up with a copy of “The Idiot’s Guide to Marketing.”
Having personally read both guides for dummies and idiots, along with over 2,357 other marketing books, I’ve successfully boiled it down to a 10-step approach designed for us mere mortals.
Hone your database. This is Job number 1. Having a database is nice, but using one is key to your success. Once you identify whom you would like to do business, your marketing chore is half done. Insert your target audience into your database. Then work it.
Identify ideal clients. Working with people you have no business working with is not very intelligent. There are people you can help, and there are people you can’t help. Focus on the correct group.
Develop your message. Once you do schedule face-time with a prospect, it’s not time to wing your way through the relationship. Stop to think: What do I want to say to my new clients? Draft, craft, sculpt and edit a message worth sharing.
Select your tools. There are many ways to go to market. Regardless of the tool you select, it’s important to remember that consistency is the name of the marketing game. Pick your tool, and use it.
Pick your team. Teamwork has become an essential ingredient in today’s competitive environment. Collaboration is becoming the most direct route to personal success. If you’re not already collaborating with somebody now, begin collaborating with somebody soon.
Use technology. You have a tremendous advantage if you understand and use today’s technology. Websites have handed the baton to blogs; social networking is fast becoming the new Pac-Man. Twitter is taking on a life of its own. Pick one. Learn it. Use it.
Blow your horn. When you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you can make an impact on your audience. It’s your job to spread the good word about your ability. This is not conceit—it’s business at its best.
Get free ink. It’s entirely up to you to garner some positive publicity. Just keep in mind that the ball is in your court, and you need to get the right information to the right people at the right time in the right medium. If you want press, go out and get some.
Plan your marketing. General Eisenhower once reminded us that although most plans are ignored, planning is everything. In my 27 years in the marketing business, I have met very few people or companies who actually followed their marketing plan.
Follow through. Think about building your database, and decide what your most attractive client looks like. Decide what it is you’re going to say to sales prospects, and then select a marketing tool that complements your time, budget and your personality constraints. Choose your playing partners, spread the good word and organize a consistent method to get your message to the media.
Once the “thinking” is done, you have to get up, get out and actually do something. This is when marketing becomes fun and begins to pay dividends. This is when you make more people glad they know you.
Mike Marchev has plenty of stories, strategies and tactics to keep you on top of your game.
Mike will be conducting his 5th annual Travel Sales & Marketing Business Development Cruise, sailing the Freedom of The Seas from Ft. Lauderdale. Email him at email@example.com for complete details. Five cabins are still available.
Mike’s daily column is made possible by AmaWaterways.