You’ve been marketing your service business like crazy, spending hours, weeks and months of concerted effort. Where is the new business? What’s wrong? Why isn’t it working? You’re getting disheartened, and you’re not sure what to do next. It seems like a waste of time, effort and expense to market so hard and not get any results. It’s time to sit back and assess your marketing efforts and see what you can learn. Here are some ideas about how to assess what you’ve been doing.
1. What non-revenue benefits have you derived from your marketing efforts?
Though you have not seen the hoped-for influx of new clients, what other benefits have you gotten from your marketing? This would be things like increasing brand awareness with your target market. Have you positioned your business so that you’re “top of mind” with your target market, so that when they are in need of your services, you’re the first business they think of? Have you improved your search engine rankings, or the risen in search results when someone searches your name on the Internet? Have you positioned yourself as an expert in your industry through publication of articles? What exactly have you gotten out of all your efforts when you are honest about it?
2. Are you unrealistically expecting short-term results from activities that produce long-term results?
Many marketing activities are long-term projects that are unlikely to produce immediate results. However, we’re like a child impatiently snatching the seed from the ground before it can even sprout. Because we have intense financial needs or waited to long to get serious about marketing, we think that if we don’t get instant increases in our business and revenue, we should quit that marketing effort and start another. You must set realistic expectations for your marketing efforts and think of it as required consistent activity.
3. Examine your target market and see if there are any ways that you need to change, re-target, or re-invent your target market.
Perhaps the problem is your choice of target market. Is your market specific enough? Does your market have a crying need for your services? Does your market have the budget for your services? Have you differentiated your business specifically enough so that your market can understand how you are better than your competitors? Is your target market big enough and clearly identifiable? What do you need to change about your target market so that they are a market ready, willing, and able to buy?
4. Do your marketing materials have the ability to convert interested prospects into ready-to-buy prospects?
Don’t go into lengthy and involved marketing campaigns when you don’t have effective marketing materials. “Lightweight” brochures don’t provide enough information so that your prospects can deeply understand your business. Meaningless platitudes about your great service and “say nothing” marketing phrases are not going to turn prospects into clients. Don’t invest heavily in marketing materials that will not convert prospects for you. Tell your target market what they need to know to buy. Demonstrate how you are the solution they have been looking for. Be sure when you engage in your marketing activities, that you have marketing materials that can close the deal for you.
5. Is there anything you’re not doing that you think you should be doing?
Often, in marketing, there are marketing activities that we avoid when we have the feeling we “should” be doing them. Take another look at these activities.What is it about them that makes you resist? Are they activities you hate to do? Do you prefer to spend your time and money elsewhere? Would you have to strengthen some skills – such as public speaking – to pursue them? What is it that gives you the feeling that you should be doing them? Do they feel like the right thing to do, or is it simply because others are doing them? See if you can get to a settled place about these activities. Go forward with them if you know that that’s the right course of action for you. If not, let them go.
It’s a natural and normal occurrence that an extended marketing effort produces uneasy feelings – especially when it seems that there are no results. It’s a time to step back and review what you’ve been doing. Assess your efforts and look for ways to fine tune your marketing. Make adjustments and get back in the marketing game.
Suzi Elton provides business writing that attracts targeted prospects to your service business and converts them into clients for you. She is a Robert Middleton Certified Action Plan Marketing Coach, as well as a professional writer. Her website offers a free series of 8 assessments you can use to analyze your own site.