Friday, July 20, 2012

Three Easy Basic Marketing Strategies With Time Left Over to do Your Work

By Barbara Saunders

When it comes to marketing, creative Solo Pros tend to get way too complicated. It's easy to become overwhelmed with a lot of fancy ideas and clever strategies. How important are they to your business success?

Take a step back and consider whether you're actually using the marketing basics. Then, I'm going to give you four tips on how to find time to market consistently. Marketing doesn't have to be complicated!

Basic Marketing Strategy #1: Master the Basic Tools First
Invest in learning these three basic marketing strategies and get them consistently into play. Save the more complex campaigns for special offers. You'll find they're much easier to launch when the basics are on line and doing their job. Consistency is key.
*Conversations - Are you confident in talking with your potential clients about what you do? Out of every five conversations, do at least three turn into paying clients? If not, then it's time to master this crucial skill. The faster you get it under your belt now, the easier growing your business will be.
* Email - As your list grows, you need to connect regularly with your current and potential clients. Let them know what you're up to, share your expertise, and -- most importantly -- make offers. Make it a habit to consistently communicate with your list. Just sending a simple newsletter with a few tips, client success stories and more info on who you are and what you do will build trust and keep you on top of their minds. Be sure to include an offer in each of your newsletter broadcasts.
* Networking - Attending a niche-targeted networking event is a great way to meet potential clients, practice your "basic message," and connect with referral partners. Solo Pro business is a relationship-based experience. Developing your face-to-face marketing skills has benefits beyond bringing in new clients.

Basic Marketing Strategy #2: Consistency is Key
No marketing strategy is effective if it's not regular and consistent. Develop a habit of sending your newsletter on a schedule. Promote your programs and services regularly. Always offer clients the option to move to the next level as their projects with you near completion. You'll become more comfortable with marketing, and your clients and potential customers will have more opportunities to respond to your offers.

Basic Marketing Strategy #3: Take Small Steps Every Day
"Done is better than none." Continually tweaking and fiddling with your marketing pieces to make it perfect results in slow or no sales. Use one of the basic marketing tips every day to develop your skills and you'll have a solid marketing system in place quickly.

Don't let yourself be overwhelmed by the latest marketing techniques. You can build a successful business by focusing first on these basic marketing tools. You'll have more time to enjoy creating and working with clients. Those advanced techniques will still be there when you're ready!

Four Simple Tips for Consistent Marketing

Tip #1 Stop Second Guessing Yourself
Instead of constantly swirling around in self-doubt, develop the habit of 'Decisive Action.' Focus on the end result that you would like and create the plan to achieve it. Then confidently put it into action. So many Solo Pros 'vibrate' back and forth instead of picking a direction and going. The roadblock is in the indecision and vacillating -- not in the actual choice. Don't worry so much about what others are doing. Chart your course and set sail. It's the forward action that creates the desired results.
Tip #2 Use Your Calendar Like a Six and Seven Figure Entrepreneur
How much time you spend isn't as critical as how you INVEST that time. Millionaire entrepreneurs use a simple technique called Time Blocking to make sure they have regular, consistent time built into their day for marketing and business-building activities.

Schedule a "marketing appointment" in your daily planner. Even if it's 15 minutes, you'll be surprised at what you can get done, especially if you invest this time BEFORE answering email, tweeting or posting on Facebook. Stop focusing on everyone else for just 15 minutes, and start focusing on your marketing, and you'll see immediate results.
Tip #3 Set Small Goals For Success
Break marketing tasks down into small, specific activities and always assign a number to each activity.

For example: On Monday, your goal is to write five follow up thank you cards and mail them out. Tuesday's goal is to call three potential clients. On Wednesday, your goal may be to attend one networking meeting, then follow up with each prospective client you meet with a thank you card, mailed that same day. Be sure to celebrate every action you take so you feel energized to do more.
Tip #4 Calculate The Pay Off
Take a moment to calculate how much money is at stake. The result is instant clarity about what is -- and what isn't -- a priority. Here's a simple formula:
* Estimate how many clients you want over the next 12 months
* Then multiply the average amount of income each client brings to you

What's your total? More importantly, what would having that amount of money mean for you?
Final Thought: Think of Marketing As Connecting To And Serving

Solo Pros love to help, to serve and to make a difference for their clients. If you approach marketing as a way of doing that, you'll find that marketing isn't something you avoid.

Barbara Saunders is a publication designer and has run a successful solo pro business for more than a decade. She is the Solo Pro Success Coach and the Director of the International Association of Self-Employed Communication Professionals and the Solo Pro Academy. She also hosts the Solo Pro Radio Show every day at 10 AM Pacific and 1 PM Eastern. Her company's mission is to build community and help creative solo pros build and run successful businesses by providing support, innovation, tools and strategies. Their goal is to liberate their members from the feast and famine cycle.

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