From RISBJ: Basic Building Blocks of Marketing: A Summer Primer by Carolyn Lavin
Small firm and solo professionals in law, accounting, finance, and technology (and beyond) are often challenged by finding the time and talent to create and execute even the most fundamental marketing activities. In fact, for the busy professional, marketing and business development may be the most daunting aspect of your work-life. In today’s contemporary workplace, implementing the basic building blocks of marketing makes you and your company more reachable, builds trust and credibility, and helps potential clients and customers make informed decisions.
While you may not need a formal, ten-page marketing plan, it’s important to take the time to create a well-honed big-picture strategy to maximize your marketing dollars. It makes sense to identify what you like to do, what services are in demand, and what is most profitable. From there, you can define your key selling points, and identify your primary and secondary target audiences. Consider a business card with a logo, positioning line and other branding essentials. Where possible, use a professional to design your business card. A mini-marketing plan with a straightforward quantitative, business analysis will help you track measurable achievements and determine where to spend your own time and energy.
Service professionals in the B2B arena often need websites so potential clients and customers can “vet” you and your business. For simple websites, there are usually three skill-sets needed. The first is the design. It may be based on some of the elements you have identified in your strategy such as company name, color schemes, positioning line and other graphic features. The next part is the writing. You must spell out your compelling messages, avoiding common writing and grammar snafus that detract from your message. We are all tired of reading so it is important that your messaging be concise and easy to read. The last piece is the technology, which is the backbone of your website. Because many potential clients and customers research professionals via phones and tablets, it is critical that your technology plan includes mobile functionality. Your technology professionals will also address security concerns to safeguard your site against hackers.
Summer is the perfect time to reflect on your accomplishments and build or review your LinkedIn profile. Savvy professionals use LinkedIn for networking, business development, competitive intelligence and other strategic B2B purposes. While you don’t want it to use up all your billable hours, a minimum commitment of time and energy is needed to be effective on social media. Have a friendly but professional photo for your profile, be sure to make your summary lively, and be discerning about your connections. This is your online listing of professional accomplishments and, because LinkedIn is highly optimized, it might be the first thing clients and customers view when they do a Google search for you or your company.
Once you have the basics components of a marketing effort completed, consider subsequent, low-budget steps including:
• Communicate with clients/prospects via e-mail marketing to stay top-of-mind. E-mail “campaigns” are an integral and strategic element of a successful marketing approach. When combined with tactics to leverage basic social media and drive traffic to your website, e-mail campaigns become a vital component to generate ROI of marketing dollars for business professionals.
• Hone your 30-second “elevator speech” for your next networking opportunity. Whether you meet on the golf course or at a ball game, on the water or at the beach, or drinking and dining al fresco in a local eatery, summer can certainly be ripe for business development. Get out there.
• Roll out a simple public relations campaign to generate awareness, keep your company top-of-mind, increase name recognition, highlight achievements, and position professionals as experts. Keep your message simple and present your news so it is compelling.
Each element of your marketing program is more effective when used in conjunction with others. Summer is the perfect time to review the basic building blocks of your marketing program.
Carolyn Lavin is the president of Lavin Marketing Communications and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org