Passive marketing – or how to get clients knocking at your door

During the first week of January this year, we took on two new clients and had two existing clients ask us to do more work for them. I wasn’t at work during the first week of January, and, as one of my members of staff pointed out, I hadn’t been out networking or meeting clients for a few weeks. So where was the work coming from?

I could say it was the Law of Attraction at work, or that it was Zen Marketing, but I like to call it ‘Passive Marketing’. Or ‘sit back/go on holiday and wait for the phone to ring’ marketing.

So how does this great new marketing strategy work? Here’s what you do. You start writing a blog or an email newsletter, or both. You build up a list of contacts, by going to networking events and speaking at seminars. You give away lots of advice and ideas to help the people you meet. You have regular meetings with your clients and listen out for things they’re struggling with, with which you can help them. You build strong relationships with them so that they trust your advice. You might like to write a book and sell it to people you meet; you can even give it to some people, like past clients. You can spend time on sites like LinkedIn, connecting with people you’ve worked with in the past.

Once you’ve done all that, then you get to sit back and wait for the phone to ring! One of the new January clients came to a workshop we ran 3 months ago. We’ve kept in touch with her ever since and come the New Year, she decided she was ready to kick start her marketing. The client who decided to accept our quote for writing her blog is one with whom I meet every two months, to work on her marketing. Back in the autumn she told me she was thinking about setting up a blog and could we do it for her. After a few months of keeping in touch with her – and a few more regular meetings – she too decided it was time to take the next step.

Marketing is a long term process. It’s not a quick, over night fix. You can’t go to one networking event and expect clients to flock to you. One newsletter or a week of tweeting won’t build you a great reputation. So, if you want to practice Passive (sit back and take it easy) Marketing, then you need to put in the effort and the groundwork. Once you do, then the clients will come flocking to your door!

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Remember what you’re going to say?

How do you remember what you’re going to say? If you’re giving a talk or a presentation, how do you remember what to say? Can you memorise a couple of hours worth of material, or do you have a clever way of reminding yourself what you need to cover?

I usually start by writing out what I want to say, in long hand – or the typed version. Then I go through it and highlight the key words or phrases that will remind me what I’ll be talking about as I go through the session. They get marked with a highlighter pen or put in bold. After that I usually create a postcard for each section of the talk, with the keywords written on them. I take the cards with me and put them somewhere that I can see them, where they won’t distract my audience. I’ve been using this technique for many years, since I learnt it at Toastmasters (a great place to start to learn about public speaking, by the way.) Most of the time the postcards work quite well, but I have to make sure I don’t put so much onto each one, or the writing gets too small. Which means that I can’t always get enough onto the card to remind me of everything I want to cover.

And then I learnt a great new technique! It was at the monthly session of a peer to peer group I belong to, called MD2MD. Our speaker, David Hyner, taught us this great new way of remembering stuff. He read out a list of about 20 words and on their own, none of us could remember beyond the first three or four. Then he had us attach an emotion to each word – joy, fear or love. When he read out the list again, I started to see the words as pictures – things I knew or had seen somewhere else recently; things that made me laugh or smile at. Being a visual person anyway, this really brought the list of words to life and all of a sudden I could remember them, like a story. When we were asked if anyone would like to have a go at remembering the whole list, I volunteered. I scored 20 out of 20 and won a bar of chocolate for my efforts!

To prove that this wasn’t a fluke, I decided to try out the technique when I got home. I was due to give a 30 minute presentation the next morning at a networking event. I got out my coloured pens and a sheet of card. I looked through the presentation that I’d already typed out and turned the highlighted words into colourful images. Now, each section of my talk was represented by a picture!

The following morning I took my pictures to the networking event and had them on the table next to the flip chart. Each time I needed to know what came next, I just looked at the pictures and knew exactly what to say! Rather than seeing a list of words, I saw an image that represented paragraphs of a whole page of text. It was one of the most enjoyable presentations I’ve given for a while!

In this blog is a picture of the images I drew for the presentation. It won’t mean much to you, but I thought you might like to see what you can do!

Have you tried the art of Zen Marketing?

Some people rush around doing masses of marketing – lots of networking, writing articles and blog posts, speaking in public – and hope that the phone rings. They go to loads of meetings and send out dozens of proposals, hoping that all the activities will bring in more clients.

Other people get up late, take the dog for a walk, wander into their office and answer the phone, to talk to a prospect client who is calling and ask if they can pay them for their help.

The latter group of people are practicing the art of Zen Marketing! It’s much cheaper, less time consuming and more effective than the marketing that the first group of people do.

So how does it work? First you need to get really clear on who your ideal clients are, so that other people can recommend you to them. This also means that you can stop wasting time running after not so ideal clients, who will take months to sign the deal and then don’t want to pay you for the great job you’ve done for them.

Secondly you need to build a great reputation. When people are talking about you without you being there – and saying nice things, or course – then your phone will ring without you having to do all the chasing.

So the next time you’re thinking about spending a lot of time and money on your marketing, stop, take the dog for a walk (or go to the gym, or take a nap) and think about getting the basics right. When you get the basics right, the rest of your marketing will be much more effective.

Why Christmas is Just a Marketing Tactic

Chantal Cornelius, Appletree MarketingAre you a big fan of Christmas? Do you have your tree up, your lights on and all your presents bought and wrapped? Or do you say “Bah humbug” to all the festive glitz and expense?

Whatever your attitude, Christmas is actually a great marketing tactic that should not be ignored and this issue of Scribbles will give you some ideas on how you can use it to promote your business.

Personally I’m not a huge fan of Christmas, because it has become too commercial. We’ve forgotten the real meaning of Christmas and it can be so stressful. (On 25 December I’ll be at home with my husband, cats and dogs, enjoying a quiet day and a roast duck!)

However, from a marketing point of view, I do think Christmas has its uses. Here are a few ideas for you:

Seasonal promotions – you can use the end of the year to run special promotions. “Last chance to buy this service at this price before the prices go up in the New Year.” Just make sure your promotion is different to what you offer throughout the rest of the year, or no one will take you seriously.

Christmas cards – I always take the time to write personalised Christmas cards to all my clients, suppliers, friends and supporters. It’s my way of saying thank you for being with us this year and here’s to more success next year. Each card is hand written, with a personal note in it, which shows the receiver that we’ve taken the time to think about them. The cards are only signed by people in the office who know the recipient; they are a great way of getting back in touch with people we’ve not spoken to for a while.

Party time – throwing a Christmas party for your clients is a great way to thank them for their custom and support over the year. It needn’t cost the earth – think of something original and people will talk about it for years to come. The mince pie extravaganza we held a couple of years ago was a real hit.

Networking mayhem – many networking groups hold special Christmas events. If you go to all of them, it could get expensive, so choose wisely. Some will be more relaxed than usual, so if you want to do something a bit differently, this is the time to turn up wearing your reindeer antlers!

So will you be using Christmas as a marketing tool, or will you just be eating and drinking as much as you can, while wearing a party hat and dancing around the Christmas tree?! Let a comment here to let me know.

Why you have to write that book!

Chantal Cornelius, Appletree MarketingLast week I launched my brand new (and first) book! It was so exciting to have dozens of copies on display at the workshop I was running, with people picking them up and looking at them. It hardly took any time at all before people were asking if they could buy a copy (silly question!) And then someone asked if I would sign their copy for them. I felt really honoured to be able to do that. All the hours of hard work and worry were paying off. People where wanting to read what I had to say – and wanting to pay me for it. I only ordered 50 copies from the printer and as I write this, less than a week later, I’ve already sold 20 copies.

Since the workshop I’ve sold copies to prospective clients I’ve met and taken the book to networking events. I have a number of copies that I will be giving to clients when I go to see them. And I’ll be getting back in touch with some past clients and people I’ve not spoken to for a while, to give them a copy. It’s a great marketing tool for me – as well as a really useful marketing resource for anyone who uses it.

Soon we’ll be on Amazon and going global!

The majority of the people who think about writing a book never actually get around to doing it. Yes it’s hard work, but is it worth it? Definitely. Can you write a book? Of course you can! Just give it a go and see what happens!

Click here if you’d like to order a copy of Magnetic Marketing and we’ll send it to you.

Why you need a strategy for your marketing – part two

Chantal Cornelius, Appletree MarketingRecently I wrote a blog about why you need a strategy for your marketing and I explained two out of four possible strategies you can use. Click here to read the first blog about the first two strategies.

Here are the other two strategies you can consider.

3.       Selling Existing Services to New Clients

The third strategy you can consider looks at selling your existing services – the ones that you know work and are loved by your existing clients – to new clients with whom you’ve not worked before.

Your existing services have a proven track record. Hopefully you’ve got some great testimonials from your clients and case studies that show why clients came to you and how you helped them. These recommendations are what new clients will want to hear, before they work with you. Your existing clients know that you’re really good at what you do; your potential clients need to see, hear and read the proof. This strategy is about getting some help from your current clients, to help you sell your services to some new clients.

How can you sell your existing services and products to new clients?

4.       Selling New Services to New Clients

The final strategy is usually hardest – and can be the most expensive to carry out successfully. While it usually involves the most risk, strategy four can also bring you the biggest returns.

Why is it so risky and expensive? Because it’s about selling brand new products and services that have no track record, to potential clients who don’t know you, let alone trust you. You have no proof that your new products and services can do what you say they’ll do, because no one has bought them yet, or used them long enough to be able to see the results. This means that you can rely on existing clients to tell people how great you are.

In addition, this strategy is about finding new clients, with whom you have no reputation. They’ve not worked with you before – they might not even have heard of you – so selling them your expertise is going to be harder and require some really targeted marketing. If you’re up for a challenge and have already done everything you can or want to do with the first three strategies, then this one is for you!

Do you want to be brave and develop new products and services to sell to brand new clients?

How many strategies are you going to use to promote your business? Have you worked out which ones to use? Whichever ones you’re going to use, start at the top of the list and work your way down. Strategy one is the easiest and most cost effective, while strategy four is usually the most expensive and risky – even though it can provide the biggest returns. Even if you’re going to use a combination of strategies, start at the top of the list and work your way down it for the best overall results.

Do you need a niche?

Chantal Cornelius, Appletree MarketingA while ago I wrote about how important it is to identify your ideal clients – the people you really want to work with and who really want to work with you. Click here to read that blog post. Once you know who your ideal clients are, you can take it a stage further, by identifying a niche.

What is a niche? It is a really narrow market in which you specialise. It is a way of positioning yourself as an expert in your field. It is a way of helping other people to network on your behalf and send you referrals to your ideal clients. For example, your ideal clients might be women in corporate jobs and your niche – your specialism – might be helping them to lose weight and get in shape after having children. Or your ideal clients could be companies that want to sell their products online. Your niche could be retail shops within a 15 mile radius of where you work. In my case, my ideal clients and my niche are very close – we work with coaches, consultants and trainers and provide them with marketing services to help them grow their businesses.

So why do you need a niche? Surely if your focus is too narrow, you’ll risk losing business from other potential clients? You might, but if they’re not your ideal clients and they’re not in your niche, chances are you won’t do a really great job for them. It’s a competitive market out there, so if you stick to your niche, you can position yourself as an expert in that field. This will help you stand out from the crowd of all the other people who say that they do what you do.

When you have a niche, you can use it to position yourself as an expert, and then you can do things like speak to audiences about your subject – click here to find out about a workshop I’m running for coaches, consultants and trainers who need help with their marketing. You can even write a book about your niche – click here to read about The Client Magnet – How to Market Your Services as a Coach, Consultant or Trainer.

So what’s your niche? Do you have a really narrow focus that will help you become an expert in your field? If you need some help working out your niche, tell me in a comment and I’ll send you some feedback.