Looking back at when I closed down my first consulting business I wondered why it hadn’t been more successful.
My business partner went back into ‘big corporate’ life because, although we’d delivered some great work for our clients, we couldn’t attract enough of them on a consistent basis
Our marketing just wasn’t good enough.
In fact, it was awful.
So that got me thinking. If your business isn’t firing on all cylinders. If it isn’t quite making the sales you need. What would be the best marketing present Santa could bring you this Christmas?
Back to my experience…..
The realisation about our marketing wasn’t one of those seminal moments. Thanks to my LinkedIn connections I found a new client and started a new consulting business straight away. It wasn’t until months later that I started to assess what hadn’t worked in the first business.
How bad was our marketing? We produced a newsletter with some great content – but the subject line was “Monthly newsletter”.
We exhibited at trade shows – but we didn’t tell anyone beforehand.
We never allowed enough time for follow up after the shows.
We had a website, but no strategy to drive traffic to it.
We’d have made more mistakes – if only we’d known the opportunities to make them.
So I needed to get better at marketing if my new business was to succeed.
But where to start?
With so many tools and systems to choose from – it’s was a bit like being a kid in Toys-R-Us for the first time.
The website was rubbish – should I get a new one?
I needed a better newsletter/e-mail system?
Should I try Google Adwords?
What about Facebook, Twitter etc.
I’m a project manager by trade so I decided to tackle this just like any other project. I tried to write a problem statement and hit my first blocker. Although I could articulate my end goal or strategic objective, I didn’t know enough about marketing to come up with a meaningful problem statement.
That changed the project, and I realised that first, I had to learn about marketing.
That’s Blinding Flash of the Obvious, or lightbulb moment.
So I started out on a journey or learning. I joined a entrepreneurs group that focuses on providing learning and support for small business owners and started to educate myself. In doing so I learned a number of lessons.
Key Lesson 1
Who you hang around with matters – a lot.
By joining that entrepreneurs group I met a lot of people like myself. All eager to learn and grow. But I also met a lot of people that the group had already helped become very successful. So I started learning from their successes.
I also signed up for a programme where an expert took a small group of business owners through the process of building their first marketing campaign.
Key Lesson 2
Start with your target customer – and be specific. Really niche it down. Because although you might be able to sell your stuff to anyone, the marketing message to any specific group will be different.
Key Lesson 3
Linked to lesson 2, the order of focus needs to be Market, Message, Media.
The tools you use are the last consideration, not the first. So many people pile into Facebook ads or Google Adwords without thinking if that is where their market will look or if that is the best way to get your message out there.
This was all new to me but made absolute sense. But with so much new stuff overwhelm started to set in. This led to lesson 4
Key Lesson 4
Baby steps to Get It Done. Implementation is key. All the learning in the world means for nothing if you don’t put it in to practice.
So having learned my 4 key lessons I started building my lists and my following and started to become known for what I can do for my clients.
Key Lesson 5
It was sometime later that I realised the answer to my marketing needs was staring me in the face.
It was where my target audience hangs out.
I was already using it to promote my marketing messages and build my credibility.
As a media it covered all the bases and drove traffic to where I could capture it.
And it had generated my first client for my new business.
So key lesson 5 was – use what is already freely available:
With 400 million professional profiles worldwide and over 19 million in the UK my target markets are definitely on there. With the data and group structures I can niche down easily to identify specific client groups. With updates and posts I can target my messages.
So I suggest your ideal marketing Christmas present is to educate yourself in how you can use LinkedIn to target your ideal clients and grow your business.
Connect with me and send me a message on LinkedIn to get some free resources to help you get started.