Like wine, and eating out? Do it. "The more wine costs, the more people enjoy it - regardless of how it tastes, a study by researchers in the United States has found." Intriguing. If we could apply this to our business, does that mean by charging our clients more for the renovation, commercial refit, or GC project management, they'll be even happier with the value?
Here is a simple and effective suggestion: Make the activity you most enjoy in your work and life your primary marketing focus. In other words, take the truly most satisfying part of your work, and build out from that your primary time and energy commitment to develop and maintain your client relationships.
So, if your passion is golfing, you know where your marketing should be. If you love skiing, or hockey, or phoning strangers, or knocking on doors one after another, do that. I enjoy writing and journalism. Since I happen to be reasonably good at these interests, the blog and newsletter are obviously right for me.
This of course does not excuse us from responsibility for the essentials that we do not enjoy. If you are a neat-nick, you will naturally want to be in charge personally of cleaning your work area at the end of each day; if you are not; you will still need to ensure the work is done -- either directly, or by hiring or delegating someone to the task. And maybe for some reason you can't stand talking with your clients -- you just want to do the work well. When they call you, you need to return their calls, promptly. (I'm noticing now, however, that I don't get too many phone calls each day. People write me emails and I can -- good for me, since I am a writer, of course -- write back!)
Most people of course don't enjoy some of the so called "standards" of sales and marketing -- like cold calling and canvassing -- for good reason. And conventional 'networking' where you are supposed to mix and mingle around a business-social gathering is awkward for people like me, who prefer to sit in the corner and read, or eat peanuts. This is fine. In an emergency, we may need to do things we don't enjoy, but we don't need to make them our main-stay and we can still to some extent adapt our interests to the environment (want to talk about golf or hockey, anyone?) If you are in the minority who actually enjoy marketing activities that others dislike, you have a natural edge. I've enjoyed reading forum postings from people who actually enjoy canvassing and cold calling (at least they say they do) and brag about their results. Good for them.
Here are some reasons why you will achieve great results by taking your personal passions and making them your primary marketing focus:
- You will want to do the work, and you will want to do it consistently. For example, many people start blogs, only to give up after a few entries. That won't work. Since I enjoy writing and the personal journalism reflected in the blog, I don't mind -- in fact I enjoy -- taking the time each day for this work.
- Your passion will 'connect' with your prospects and clients. People like being around people who enjoy who they are; especially if they share common interests! And this business is all about relationships.
- If you are spending any money on marketing, you'll spend it on something you enjoy, and best of all, if you do it right, you'll turn a personal pleasure into a tax-deductable business expense.