I make some serious marketing mistakes. And a big one is not implementing what I already know. I read a lot, buy online programs, attend seminars and yet I implement a fraction of what I've learned.
That's the bad news.
The good news is that you don't have to implement a lot to be outrageously successful. You just have to implement a few things consistently. And I've seen many Independent Professionals focus on one area of marketing and grow their businesses brilliantly.
One good example is George Huang. George retired from being a very successful plastic surgeon to grow a business as a professional coach. He joined my Marketing Action Group last year which helped him through the transition.
George spent a lot of time making contact with his hot and warm circles of influence - sending information, following up and talking to them about his business. But after talking with over 80 people, he still had no clients.
So George decided to "burn the book on marketing" and within a few weeks had generated a relatively predictable six-figure annualized revenue stream and in just over a year after that he had doubled it. In his own words, this is what George did:
Here's what I did not have and some of the rules that I broke:
1. I did not have classy, "real" business cards; I printed a bunch on my inkjet printer. Yikes!
2. I did not have a web site as a central portal of information, education, and promotion (Hmmm). (I admit, I did at least have a one sheet executive summary).
3. I did not have a Core Issue Article (Ugh!)
4. I did not pay for any advertising (Good!)
5. I did not have case studies or success stories (Oooo!)
6. I did not have what I'd call an extensive circle of influence of small business owners and entrepreneurs (my target audience) (Uh oh!)
7. I did not have easy access to free media for publicity (Aww!)
8. I had no information products to offer. I had no "funnel" of products and services (Weeping violins, please)
After a couple months of striking out (and I went to bat every day. I mean EVERY day), I figured out that I needed to get past whatever limiting beliefs that I had that were keeping me from producing results.
So, I decided to abandon calling my circle of influence and I resolved to set up a 3-hour seminar to showcase what I had to offer.
Here's what I did and more rules that I broke:
1. I spent two weeks planning and making the necessary arrangement for the seminar and designing it. I set up a one page website that was a "flyer" for the seminar and gave people a way to register.
2. By the time I was done getting the "infrastructure" for the seminar in place, I only had two weeks to promote the event.
3. Conventional wisdom: Promote a paid event at least six weeks in advance. Promote a free event any time up to the event.
Rules I broke:
a) I charged $15 for my event, as a way of pre-qualifying the participants, even though I had limited time to promote.
b) And, I started promoting only 14 days before the event.
4. I promoted by calling my circle of influence and asking them who they knew who would be interested in my event.
5. I visited several networking groups, even the day before my event.
6. I presented my seminar with little rehearsal. Now, I think I'm a pretty good trainer and speaker, but one of my friends, who has trained with me extensively on training, presenting, and selling from the front of the room, thought I was absolutely, certifiably lousy.
7. I had and still have my own business coach, who helps me see my blind spots and do something about it.
1. 18 people pre-registered. 19 people showed up.
2. Three people became business coaching clients at $1,500 per month.
3. Within two weeks of that now historic seminar, I had seven coaching clients.
4. Within a year, 2 additional participants from that seminar became coaching clients. By this time, I had raised my rates to $1875/month with a 12-month commitment.
5. Last week, I started coaching a client at $2,250/month, again on a 12-month commitment.
6. This week, one of my clients added on a 6 week-long project worth $17,500!
George called this approach the "Fire, Ready, Aim" marketing approach.
That's one way of saying it. You see, George simply took the next logical step in implementing a marketing action plan. He had tried a lot of things that hadn't worked. So what did he have to lose?
His planning and preparation wasn't perfect but so what? He went on to say...
"...this marketing approach works only if there is a strategy behind it and, even more critically, there's a big belief in yourself behind it. And, you've got to have a ton of guts to go for it, even when things aren't looking so hot. And, you've got to have clarity and structure to what it is that you have to offer. You have to be clear and supremely confident about the ultimate value that you have to offer."
George, I couldn't have said it better!
The More Clients Bottom Line: Create a plan, any plan, and start implementing.
George wrapped up with: "Use both your intellect and your intuition to guide you. The success of this (or really any other marketing approach) comes from you being powerful, confident, energetic, and on purpose, and less so from what you are doing or not doing."
About the author: Robert Middleton of Action Plan Marketing has been helping Independent Professionals attract more clients since 1984. Robert is the author of the online bestsellers, the InfoGuru Marketing Manual and the WebSite ToolKit. Robert's site is a great resource for any self-employed professional. Get Robert's free report, "The 5 Key Strategies to Attracting More High-End Clients." http://actionplan.com