The building of a business plan…Part 4

Standard

You’ve defined what it is you do or sell, you’ve described who it is you want to sell to and you have made an in-depth study of why that customer will and will not choose to do business with you. Now it is time to figure out how to best communicate and market to your target market.

You don’t want to waste marketing dollars or your time reaching out to people that are 1) not in the market for your services. 2) Not likely to purchase from you. 3) Not your ideal client. The blast shot marketing effort will reach a lot of people, but how to you know it is reaching the client you want? Why waste the money on the marketing effort? Plus, you may field a lot of inquiries from people who are not your ideal client and that takes time away from other more productive activities.

We do not use the following marketing:

Yellow Pages: I know an ancient artifact these days, but it illustrates my point well. We never used the yellow pages because the person who would use the yellow pages to select a CPA was never going to be an ideal client for my firm. You use the yellow pages to find a plumber or a locksmith, not a CPA, so if someone did use the yellow pages to find us, we knew they would not be sophisticated enough to have tax situations that would justify our fee structure.

The local newspaper: We never used the local papers because that advertising effort was a blast shot effort, reaching hundreds of thousands of potential clients, but not a direct enough approach for my services. While I may have reached a ton of people, my ideal client was not going to respond to an ad in the newspaper.

Yelp paid advertising: We were approached by Yelp some months ago to use their paid advertising and found that it was a waste of our time and money. It makes a lot of sense for other businesses, but not mine. The people who called, again were not my ideal client and I wasted a lot of time in telephone conversations with people I knew were never going to become a client.

What we do use.

I did advertise in my neighborhood newspaper because it was a much more intimate experience, it reached geographically desirable potential clients. It was likely that someone would choose to hire me simply because I was close to where they lived and/or worked. An article written about me in the neighborhood newspaper brought me a ton of clients I still have 20 some years later. It was more personal, my picture was included in the article and they got a sense of who I was from the interview. My phone started ringing as soon as that little piece ran.

The internet, managed with search terms that ensure potential clients who need the specific services we offer will find us and give us a chance to sell them on my firm.

We like working with Attorneys, so we do periodically advertise in Attorney specific publications because it is a direct connection with one of our target markets. Industry specific publications are a good way to reach a particular audience.

We encourage and reward referrals from our current clients. They are a great source of new business to us and we constantly remind them to consider referring us. We send out a gift card every time a current client refers a potential client to us as a way of ensuring they know how much we appreciate their efforts. A warm lead like that is almost a sure bet for us.

The point here, is you need to know how your potential client wants to be communicated with, what do they read, how do they search for services such as yours. Spend your dollars on the efforts that are targeted, most likely to reach your ideal client and then design an ad that is most likely to convince them to call you and move forward.

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