This may sound strange coming from a marketing specialist, but spending time and effort on costly marketing interventions (or as I call it, “makeshift marketing”) may be a waste of resources if you haven’t focused on certain key business aspects first.
In fact, there are often much wiser ways to spend your time and money that will yield dividends:
Don’t bother marketing your products or services if your customer experience isn’t excellent. It actually does more harm than good to market your offering if your customer experience will fail to deliver on what you’re promising.
Start by plotting out the entire customer experience – every touch point – and find a way to take it to the next level and make it a “wow” experience. When you create an awesome customer experience, your customers become your brand advocates and start talking about you and marketing you.
Personal endorsements or referral marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing, so make sure that a referral strategy is built into your business at every level. Find out how satisfied your existing customers are and if they would refer you.
If they are not totally satisfied, find out why and what you can do about it. Often by focusing on turning your current clients around, you create a whole new marketing energy in your business.
When it comes to satisfied clients, educate them on how to refer your business. This could entail asking for referrals, explaining the type of clients you’re looking for, and providing them with useful tools like your marketing collateral.
Once you’ve asked for a referral and the client has someone in mind, request that he or she primes the prospect for you so that you can turn a cold call into a “warm” one. Then remember to follow up with both the client referring you and the prospect, and to thank your client for the referral.
Building strategic partnerships is an effective way to find new business. By partnering with businesses that serve the same target market that you do, but are not competitors, you are able to leverage each other’s networks, provide a wider offering to prospective clients, and each take your business to a new level.
For example, if your business sells electronic equipment, consider partnering with someone who offers installation services; or if you run a graphic design agency, partner with someone who runs a printing company. Effective partnerships result in more business for both companies.