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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Choices, choices, choices . . .

For fun, here are some ways you can market your business:

Seek referrals, canvass, give speeches, write articles, get others to write articles about you, advertise -- in newspapers, online, radio, television, with flyers, direct mail; participate in social networks (online and off), telemarket, blog, develop your website, send email newsletters, participate in forums, entering design and business competitions, participate in trade or community associations, give away free samples, give away free services, attend or co-ordinate trade/home shows, sell, hire sales reps, barter and contra-trade, find distributorships, sell through your clients or suppliers, bid public jobs, communicate with and subcontract with public job bidders, use leads services, set up job signs, set up show rooms and sales offices . . .

I'm sure I've left just a few things out.

Which approaches/methods should you use/avoid?

Obviously cash is a factor. If you don't have much money you can't effectively do the things that cost a lot -- unless you are extremely fortunate or creative.

Clearly the marketing approach should be compatible with your market, and the values of your current and potential clients. (It gets more complicated whether the marketing should be compatible with your own values -- at heart, it should be, but realistically, if the method works and is in alignment with your clients' focus, can you put your personal values aside for the larger good?)

I think the more the approach costs in time and money, the more important it is to measure its effectiveness. You need to count the cost per lead and the revenue per lead, and you need really detailed analysis if the expense is significant.

(As an example, yesterday I cited a contractor who is spending a significant amount of money on Google Adwords. Would the contractor get much better results by hiring a single employee with one job only -- writing content and designing materials to increase the company's "organic" search engine rankings?)

Ideally, all your marketing approaches will reach the desired market: The people or organizations who can actually use and pay for your services. (This creates a measuring challenge, of course, because you may need to drill down to the multiple elements that go into decisions.)

Finally, you need to give the various approaches time to work effectively. This can, in some cases, require you to spend months of time and thousands of dollars to prove the point. Obviously don't risk this type of money unless you can afford the loss.

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