Best marketing advice I’ve ever received
Since starting my business, I’ve had the honor of mentoring with some of the top people in the business, including Amelia Kassel, Mary Ellen Bates, and Kim Dority. They all gave me the same advice: Speak to many, instead of just one.
As solopreneurs, they said, we don’t have time to meet each prospective client individually or schedule presentations with corporate executives in order to get business. Every hour out of the the office is time not spent on actual client work, so make sure you’re talking with a group. Sending out mailers or taking out ads won’t help you make connections, and our business is all about relationships. Instead, each of these mentors encouraged me to get involved in speaking and writing. That way I can share my expertise with a wider audience, and showing, not telling, is always the best approach.
It scared me at first, but I took their advice to heart, and – 22 years later – speaking and writing are the only ways I market. And, thanks to social media, it’s easier than ever. No chasing clients. No “filling the pipeline.” Just attracting clients and referrers with my knowledge and willingness to share.
Is it hard? Yes. Honestly, I’d rather spend my time at the beach on any given day instead of working on upcoming presentations and blog posts, but it works. It’s easier than spending a small fortune on direct mail, leads lists, ads, or any other broadcast medium. I’ve tried them all, with little to show for it.
Was there a learning curve? Yes. Degrees in mathematics and library/information science didn’t turn me into a writer. I learned by doing, and I made it my goal to become better at writing informatively and concisely every time I sat down to write and to discover what topics resonate most with my audience.
Did I get instant results? Definitely not. Building a profile, making connections, and getting people to the point of know, like, and trust takes time, so speaking and writing are long-term marketing tactics. After a while, the hard work starts paying off, though, and it starts to snowball.
Does it take a lot of time? Yes and no. At first, it took a lot of time to create consistent content and realize I had something to offer. I started small and built from there. Eventually, I developed systems and become more efficient at generating ideas and turning them into blogs posts, presentations, and social media updates.
Aren’t you giving away your trade secrets? I do share specific tips and techniques, but I don’t consider any of it a secret. I’m not doing anything that’s different from what any other qualified professional would do. I just talk about it more, and if it helps another investigator get to the truth, we all win.
Is it worth it? Definitely yes. Prospective clients already know that I’m the right person for the job, since they’ve seen my work or they’ve been referred by someone who has. Through my years of speaking and writing, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with so many kind and generous people who’ve shared their knowledge with me. I learn something new everyday, and I’ve made lasting friendships.
If you’d like to learn my system for generating and sharing content and create an action plan that you can implement right away, check out my upcoming workshop, How to Attract Clients and Build Credibility Through Social Media – Without Making it Your Full-Time Job.