The Five Pillars of Marketing Success

Does the following give a pretty good picture of your current marketing activity?You have a website but you’re not really satisfied with it. You go to networking events once in awhile. If someone asks you to give a talk, you’re happy to do it. You post on Facebook and/or LinkedIn semi-regularly. When you find the time, you send an article to those on your relatively small email list. You occasionally set up meetings with colleagues to explore opportunities.Now there’s nothing wrong with any of those marketing activities. And usually, they will result in landing some new clients.But this is not the approach that works to get a steady, predictable stream of new clients.Please don’t tune me out here, thinking, “Well, I really can’t do more than this. I’m already stretched thin. If you give me too much to do I’ll get overwhelmed.”I agree. It’s not that you need to do more marketing, it’s that you need to shift your marketing paradigm from one of “Randomness” to one that is “Focused.”Random marketing is just that; it’s all over the place. You do a little bit here and a little bit there on an inconsistent basis. You are trying to keep your face, name, and message in front of your prospective clients but the results are unpredictable.The Random marketing paradigm is not very effective because it doesn’t gain a lot of momentum. You don’t do enough of one marketing activity to grab the attention of your prospective clients and move them to take action.The Focused Marketing Paradigm is very different. It’s based on repeatedly communicating very directly to your target market with a very definite end in mind. It gets the attention of your prospective clients and they ultimately take action.The Focused Marketing Paradigm has Five PillarsUnderstand and implement these five pillars and I promise you’ll see a shift in your marketing results.Pillar One: Focused GoalsA Random goal is saying something like, “I’d like to attract a few more clients to my business.” Not very compelling is it?A Focused goal is much more specific. “My goal is to land 3 new clients in the high-tech plastics business in the Houston area with an average project size of $30,000 each by the end of the year.”The more detail, depth, and specificity about the goal, the better. You’ve really thought through what you want to achieve and also have confidence that you could deliver if you did reach your goal. It’s so real to you that you can taste it.What is the Focused Goal for your marketing?Pillar Two: Focused Program or Service Random programs or services are generalized consulting, coaching or training programs. “I offer management consulting and training to corporations.” Kind of vague, right? But this is what I hear all the time.A Focused Program or Service is more tangible. “I offer the high-tech plastics industry Management Acceleration Programs for emerging leaders in the industry.”In my business, I’ve always offered programs: The Marketing Mastery Program, the Marketing Action Group, and the More Clients Club. And each program has very specific parameters, deliverables, and objectives. It sure makes intangible services easier to market and sell.What is the Focused Program or Service you’re offering?Pillar Three: Focused Target MarketIn the above example, the target was the “high-tech plastics industry.” But it’s more common to hear things like, “I work with large companies who want to increase productivity.” This is too general and it makes it hard for clients to know if you understand them and can help them.A Focused target market is where you are absolutely clear what kinds of people or companies can most benefit from your expertise. And then you articulate that clearly.I worked with a financial planning company last year that targeted middle class families in the Buffalo New York area. Guess who they attracted to their practice? When people read about who they worked with on their website, they said, “That’s Us!” and called them.Who exactly is your Focused Target Market?Pillar Four: Focused Message and Value PropositionA Random message or value proposition tends to be too general and can be hard to pin down. It avoids making a promise that is meaningful to the prospective client.Messages such as, “We offer the best service in the industry,” or “Smart insights into great management,” are meaningless to your prospective clients. The value is not immediately obvious.A Focused message or value proposition zeros in on exactly what your clients get and what it means to them. I admit that this can be the marketing pillar that is hardest to pin down. Ultimately you have to test a number of different things.For the re-launch of the More Clients Club, my current value proposition is: “Everything Self-Employed Professionals Need in One Place to Attract More Clients.” And now, of course, I’m bending over backward to deliver on that promise.And a marketing message or value proposition is much more than a sound bite. Your message must permeate every aspect of your marketing, from your website to the emails you send out. Your prospects need to be constantly reminded of the value you offer.What is your Focused Message or Value Proposition?Pillar Five: Focused Marketing StrategyA Random marketing strategy is much like the collection of marketing activities I outlined at the top of the article. You’re just all over the place, throwing something at the wall, hoping it will stick, with no organized system or plan.A Focused marketing strategy is more like a putting on a theatrical production. You have the script, the actors, rehearsals, and opening night, all executed on a strict timeline.Two examples:For my Marketing Mastery Program, I held a series of introductory teleconferences, invited those interested to apply for the program, interviewed each applicant, and then converted 50% into participants. Over a 6-week period, I filled my business for a full year – four years in a row.A career coach in one of my programs recently filled her practice in three months with a focused campaign of personalized emails designed to get appointments with her ideal clients. Then she converted a large percentage into paying clients.That’s the power of a focused marketing strategy.You need to identify the right marketing strategy for your business, but even more important is the way you organize and implement the strategy.Developing a focused strategy is the most complex and challenging of the Five Pillars. You can’t just put together something haphazardly and hope you get the equivalent of a professional Shakespearian production.What is your Focused Marketing Strategy?If you work to build a focused plan with these five solid pillars, your marketing will work better and faster, attracting more of your ideal clients, usually at a higher rate.I recommend you work on one pillar at a time. Write them out and fine-tune them until you feel confident and excited about them. Yes, you will need to do some research and study to make sure your plan is viable. But this is certainly better than spinning your wheels with a random strategy that is going nowhere.Cheers, Robert

Business Travel Tips For Home Based Business People

Business travel has actually increased considerably in the last decade. Even home based businesses may involve travel because small companies are now able to sell to markets all around the world as a direct result of the Internet.All this travel is putting an increasing strain on business travelers who often become stressed and fatigued at the constant need to be in another part of the world.Regular travelers tend to ensure that certain routines are carried out every time they travel as this reduces the possibility (and the cost) of wasted trips. Here are some handy business travel tips.LOST BAGGAGEWhen baggage goes missing it is irritating to say the least but for someone on a business trip it can be a whole lot more disastrous. So, wherever possible, pack as much as you can into your carry-on luggage. Having everything to hand means that your checked luggage get delayed you will still be able to meet with clients and get your work done while you wait for less essential stuff to get chased up by the airlines.HOW TO PACK FOR BUSINESS TRAVELWhen you do pack the main luggage, the clothes you won’t be carrying on as hand luggage, make sure to pack only what you need for this trip. In order to accomplish this, make do with a pair of casual shoes and a pair of business shoes only, and be sure to only bring enough work clothes to last you through the trip. All that is left once this is done is to include your toiletries and other business documentation.A way to save space and possibly take a smaller bag is to roll some of your clothing up — this takes less room and is a business travel tip well worth noting. Dark clothing is better if anything gets spilled on it, as it is harder to see stains on dark clothes. Of course if you are working to a tight schedule and the inevitable delay happens then you want to know you can attend a meeting at a moment’s notice and the way to freshen up is by using those hand and face wipes that come in travel packs.MOBILE PHONES AND OTHER ELECTRONICSAlthough most cell phones have very good standby and talk times now, you will need to make sure your phone and any other electronic equipment you take are fully re-charged before you leave home.These tips make sure that no matter what happens when you travel on business, you will be able to continue with your itinerary and those all-important business meetings. Business trips do not have to be boring and stressful if you apply the business travel tips in this article as they will allow you the opportunity to enjoy your free time even more.

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