In all my years of marketing and helping people market their businesses, I’ve found that to successfully and easily market, it helps to view marketing as an ongoing relationship. Finding and keeping clients is another way of saying forming and having a relationship with your prospects and clients.
Marketing is not trying to get someone to buy something from you. Your marketing efforts need to focus on building relationships with prospects and clients rather than trying to “sell” them something. Another way to look at marketing is that it’s not about “getting” at all, but instead it’s about “giving” – your experience, your expertise, your wisdom, your knowledge.
Marketing is about fostering, nurturing and maintaining a relationship with each and every client and prospective customer. By building a relationship, you allow the prospective client or current customer to get to know, like and trust you. Only then will they buy your product or sign up for one of your services.
Just look at yourself – do you spend lots of money with people you dislike, don’t trust or have no respect for? I highly doubt it – I don’t. So why would it be any different for people who are in need of your services and products? They will only become, and stay, customers if you build a relationship with them.
By looking at marketing as a relationship, with specific steps that need to be taken, you simplify the whole process of marketing. It doesn’t look as intimidating or overwhelming anymore. We all know (at least the rudiments!) of starting and forming relationships, and that means we are all capable of marketing easily and comfortably.
But what is the actual process for fostering this relationship?
What I’ve found to work every time is to break down marketing into 5 simple steps that mirror the steps you would take to create a non-business relationship with someone. You use these same steps to find and keep your most profitable clients.
Step 1 – figure out what you have to offer
Step 2 – start a conversation
Step 3 – build the relationship
Step 4 – get a commitment
Step 5 – maintain the relationship
Each step is important and logically follows the previous one. If your marketing misses a step or tries to do them out of order, your prospects will stumble and won’t make it in the door to your business. Chances are they won’t try to visit again, either.
You may already have a hot selling product and a well known reputation. Or maybe you want to grow your list and offer your services to lots of new people. Or you may be starting off with a great service or product but no one really knows anything about you.
Regardless of where you and your business are right now, your marketing has to accomplish the same thing – build a relationship and make a connection. Where it differs for someone who has been in business awhile versus a new company is in the specific marketing tactics you employ.