Last week I was invited to serve on a panel to discuss marketing. At first I thought… what do I know on this topic? But as I started to reflect on the growth of Company of Women over the past eight years, I thought maybe I do know a thing or two. Here’s a summary of the information I shared.
1. Know and understand your target audience
A common mistake I find with those in start-up mode is that they don’t drill down enough to determine who is their target audience and as a result, they miss the sale. So often there is an attitude of “if I build it, they will come” well not necessarily.
Even when you have mastered who your ideal client is and how to reach them, it is not a time to get complacent. Marketing is ongoing and you have to be constantly checking in, changing things up to make sure you stay current.
2. Create a buzz.
Every time we start in a new community, we work hard to create a buzz and rely heavily on word of mouth referrals which is still the way we attract new women to the group. Like attracts like and women are especially good at spreading the word on a service or program they’ve found and like. Plus the price is right.
3. Have a website and keep it current. It has to be easy to navigate and written in simple language.
4. Use social media
Get involved with social media – it doesn’t take as much time as you think. If you are reading this, you will know that I have a blog. Company of Women is also on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. If you want to reach younger people – this is the way to go.
5. Provide useful information – it’s not all about you
On our website we have over 300 articles on business and our magazine is a strong marketing tool. It gives credibility to our group and reflects the professional approach we take to working with women.
6. Stay in touch
Keep yourself front and centre with your customers. We send out a monthly e-zine which has useful information as well as a list of our events. Flyers are also sent out on a regular basis, but it is a fine line and bombarding people is one way to lose them fast. Using a program like Constant Contact helps.
7. Give back/volunteer
As the leader of your own company, you have an opportunity to lead by example. When you give back or volunteer in the community, you just never know what the ripple effect will be. For example, through one volunteer activity for example, I ended up receiving an award, which in turn led to paid speaking engagement in Turkey. It was not why I volunteered, but sure was a nice payback.
8. Be good at what you do – go the extra mile
When you act professionally, share your expertise and help someone else, again it can be paid forward. When one of our members was asked by a reporter who had helped her the most, she said Company of Women which led to a full-page coverage in the Toronto Star, coverage that we could never have afforded.
9. Build relationships
Keep in touch with key clients or influencers, not just to discuss business but to offer congratulations for example on a special award or the birth of a grandchild. Those personal touches keep you front and centre in their mind.
10. Ask for referrals
This may seem obvious, but our existing clients are our best sales force. Ask them to write a testimonial or referral you to a friend or colleague.
It is not recommended that you use one approach to market your business, your strategy has to be multi-faceted. Review and track the results so you can measure what is working best for you. Ask people how they found out about you, you might be surprised, and remember to thank the person who has referred you.