As y’all know, I work for myself. I do okay, but certainly not great. Marketing has always been my downfall, and it’s disconcerting after so many years.
by McKay Savage
Of course, I understand the concepts of social media marketing well. I’ve followed my own advice when it comes to that, and it’s helped to a degree. My biggest problem is that my main business doesn’t do online stuff all that well. You may remember that along with a lot of other things I’m a health care finance consultant. Many more hospitals have a web presence now, but that’s about as far as it goes.
I rank number one for my search terms, but hospitals don’t go online to research vendors (that’s what they call us; I prefer the term ‘corporate partner’) for services. Instead, they go to events and ask people they’re not afraid to share information with who they might recommend or who they’ve heard of. Now, by ‘afraid’, I mean to say that hospitals really don’t like other hospitals that are located close to them to ever know they might have some type of problem. It’s kind of stupid because almost every hospital has the same types of issues but that’s the way the world goes.
Anyway, that makes marketing to hospitals difficult. Overall they’re not close to each other. They don’t like making recommendations that might help a competitor. If you’re an independent you just can’t rely on word of mouth when it comes to hospitals; physicians maybe.
What’s a guy to do? I’ve done the traditional route. I’ve sent letters. I’ve sent flyers. I’ve sent postcards. I’ve even picked up the phone and called, although not that often; I hate doing the cold call thing. That plus, unless you personally know the CFO, you’re not going to talk to them. I’ve had 3 different sales professionals who have tried and each one of them told me the same story, and I already knew it because that used to be my life. Well, except I didn’t have a secretary screening calls for me; if it was from out of town & I didn’t recognize the number, it went to voice mail.
Anyway, I’m always on the lookout for more marketing tips. A good source for me as been my friend Shirley George Frazier’s blog Solo Business Marketing, and right now she’s giving away a pdf called 42 Top Tips For Solo Marketers. That’s the link to her site, not to the download. Her site is replete with tons of information, and I have followed her for a couple of years. I do pick up some things here and there, and I really need to start applying more of what she has to offer. It’s a great resource, and I’m happy to mention her here.
Of course, all of this ties in to other topics I’ve brought up this year and in previous years. The best marketing strategy is to find ways to increase your influence. I’ve been trying to do it a lot through social media, interviews, and networking.
Networking, by the way, is how I’ve gotten most of my health care contracts as well. Through email, I do have a list of people I can network with when I really need to get something. The issue for me is that at my age now I’d love having more projects that are closer to home. Some people might think going across the country is always glamorous; trust me, it’s not. Even flying first class, making 2 or 3 stops to get to your final destination, and those long layovers, is irritating and uncomfortable. Now, if I were on a speaking tour, making $3,000 or more a day, I’d suck it up and be happy about it; who wouldn’t?
Anyway, check out Shirley’s blog, and if you have any ideas on how you market your business to the offline world that’s effective, please share.
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