Don’t fall for this.
In the midst of the abundance of fantastic, actionable marketing guidance on the web, I’ve noticed the rise of something that’s progressively becoming a pet peeve of mine. I call it “non-advice”, and it goes something like this:
Them: “Want to know the secret to getting more clients or customers?”
Us: “Of course! What’ve you got for me?”
Them: “Be good at what you do.”
Don’t me wrong — I agree with this notion wholeheartedly. It’s not wrong, but it’s not actually helpful either.
And, knowing the emotional space that most entrepreneurs are coming from when they’re not seeing the business coming in, I also find it a bit cruel.
Because being good at what you do and getting your name out there are not one and the same.
Experts that say otherwise are sharing their perspective from the top of their own mountainous climb to audience love and awareness, and they’re understating the dirty work it took to get there.
It can sound like they sat still, doing their beautiful work while people came knocking on their door. My guess: that’s not what happened.
In some shape or form, they marketed their business.
… a fortunate (and intentional) connection with a customer that gave them high visibility.
… the consistent building of entertaining and helpful blog content.
… a few well-placed guest posts on just the right topics.
It’s all marketing. And it’s necessary. Nobody builds a business without getting their name out there.
So if nobody’s knocking, sure, take a moment and ensure that you’re doing your best work for the right people, then stop beating yourself up and proceed to get your name out there.
There are unlimited ways to become known. They’re all just opportunities to get exposure — you don’t need to do them all. Test them out and stick with the ones that work for you!
5 Ways to Get Known:
- Catch captivated online searchers: If you’re creating blog content anyways, why not write a few posts that address, verbatim, an issue that your customer has? Use a tool like the Google keyword tool to see what people are searching for.
- Arrange to cross-promote with a few business owners that serve a similar audience and that you believe would provide value to your customers (that’s key!). Feature them on your blog or offer to guest write for theirs. The wedding industry is the perfect example of this: florists, photographers, caterers, etc. are matches made in heaven!
- Hand pick some star clients and reach out to them directly. Many times it’s worth giving away a sample of your product or service for free if it means building up a credible and impressive customer list.
- Get involved in related events (in person or online). This might mean providing a service or a gift to the participants, giving a talk, or simply attending and networking. Use social media in advance to see who’s going to be there, and intentionally seek out the people you want to know.
- Send an email to your inner circle of colleagues, clients, and friends and ask them to share something specific — like an upcoming event or opt-in. Tell them precisely who it’s for and why it will be of huge value to those people.
Stay Focused & Clear.
Your success with the above will ride heavily on your ability to be clear and relevant in your offers of value. Here are some additional tips to keep you on track:
- Select a very narrow target market for the next three months. The extra specificity will help you think of relevant and creative ways to connect with this particular type of customer.
- Smaller things are easier to market – that goes for both offerings and ideas. Create a small offer that ties directly to a client pain or desire. Market that specifically for the next month or so. (Once they’re in the door and happy with what they’ve bought, they’ll be more willing to consider your larger offerings.)
- Always have a clear “next step” when marketing your business. Whether it’s a blog post, a cocktail conversation, or a referral, make it clear what you want the customer to do next and you’re a lot less likely to lose them.
I see marketing as throwing balls out into the world in an experimental but intentional way. Not all will come back to you, and those that do will be at varying speeds, with varying impact on your business. It takes time to get enough of them out into the world to ensure a steady stream coming back at you.
So get throwing!
And share your experiences in the comments below: Where do you find the best, most actionable marketing advice? What marketing experiments and efforts have been most instrumental so far in your climb to customer awareness?