As my friend Kelvin likes to say, sometimes we’re more suited to offer someone else advice than remember how to use it for ourselves. Occasionally this happens to me, but at least I’m always ready to try something rather than just sit around wishing I had. However, this all starts with a story from some years ago.
In a Facebook group, a lady was asking for advice on how to better offer her services, as she was self employed and was struggling to keep her business afloat. She owned, and still owns, a dance studio. She’d done a few things such as advertising in the newspaper and putting flyers up around town, and she also has a website.
I decided to take up the challenge because I’m such a helpful sort. I asked what kind of ads she had run in the newspaper, then asked if she’d ever run any specials for visitors to get a taste of what she does or offered discounts for signing up if they mentioned the ad.
I asked her if she’d thought about doing the same type of thing from her website. She writes a newsletter, so I asked if she’d ever thought about putting something in her newsletter, or offering something to her present customers if any of them brought in a new client who signed up for lessons.
I asked more about her flyers, wondering if she’d ever contacted any of her local production theaters to see if she could put flyers up, or could pass out flyers during events such as recitals. I offered a suggestion of putting on an exhibition at some of the local malls, since I know we have a lot of those in my own area. Those folks are always looking for free entertainment on the weekends, and if kids are involved she’s got a winner.
At those exhibitions, she could set up a table to sign up people for either dance lessons, her newsletter, or just get names and numbers to contact later on. I also suggested the possibility of a dance contest that she could sponsor, maybe giving away a free year of lessons to the winner (my consulting group gives away one year of free membership at the yearly business show) or whatever she felt might be appropriate.
Last, I made the suggestion that she could offer clinics, more speaking than exhibition, in places such as her local library or chamber of commerce, on topics related to dancing or even physical education or exercise, which would help get her name and face out there. She’s very attractive, and I believe people would flock to see her and would at least check out her services.
That’s a lot of stuff isn’t it? I know she did some of it, and these days her business seems to be working much better for her. I’m not sure if I helped all that much, but I’m glad I came up with what I did as pretty good suggestions, if I say so myself. 🙂
When I look at all the different things I do, I can say I’ve done similar things over the years that I recommended. I’ve offered discounts from time to time on products I’ve created. I’ve offered free stuff to people who can get others to sign up for one of my newsletters (which I no longer have). I’ve put on presentations and performed a good number of speaking engagements, both around town and in other states. I’ve also taken out an ads in the past on both an online newspaper and a business journal, advertising local seminars I was conducting.
I’ve sent out letters, flyers, and postcards. I email people from time to time, though I identify and research who I’m going to send email to so that I won’t be accused of spamming anyone. I’ll pick up the phone every once in a while, which is a big deal since I hate talking on the phone. I do live networking events, though I’m not always crazy about those either. I’ve also written tons of articles and been interviewed a number of times (this is a pdf; I’m 5-9), most of them online but a lot of them in offline publications.
I believe that I’ve done as much as one could possibly do when it comes to marketing, other than making tons of phone calls; that probably isn’t going to happen, though. Oh yeah; I’m not launching a thousand ships with my picture either. 🙂 I’ll often tell people that it’s hard to market one’s business for the masses without being on social media. I don’t tell the other side as often that relying totally on social media to market your business is limiting.
Marketing is something one has to get used to doing if they hope to be successful in business, especially if you want to be self employed. Strangely enough, my offline marketing has been much better than my online marketing, even though I don’t like it as much. I share lots of material online, comment on blogs, and I’m very active on social media.
I’ve learned a heck of a lot, enough so that I can talk the talk with almost anyone. Offline… turns out I’m not so bad there either; I’m just in a tough business to market well.
Are you making sure your marketing efforts aren’t totally one sided? Are you shooting for some kind balance, or are you satisfied enough in what you’re doing?