Having a web-based business does not mean that you can hide out behind your computer and expect work to magically land in your lap. Getting work done takes energy – so does attracting it!
My web marketing business has been profitable every year for the 10+ years I have run it for ONE reason:
I make marketing an everyday activity.
Successful businesses are have a strong balance of three components:
- Marketing and sales
- Operations (delivering your products and/or services)
- Admin (the unsexy “behind-the-scenes” work like contracts, billing, paying bills, managing HR/etc.)
As a woman who wants to have a thriving business (for myself, employees and to stay around so we can keep caring for our clients), I know that I have to work ON my business to make it successful, not just IN it. I also know that it’s not easy for me to do this, I like to have my hand in everything. It’s really easy for me to get caught up working IN my business all day, I love my work!
While web marketing is dear to my heart, my marketing career started from working in customer service and advertising sales. From that experience, I know how important IRL (“In Real Life”) connections can be when it comes to the ongoing success of your business, the importance of always being out there and that clients do not sell themselves. You have to make business happen. You do that by making marketing an everyday practice.
A one-to-one email, a phone call and networking within your local community are all key to growing your web-based business. Attend professional meet-ups, join groups that interest you, take educational classes, and don’t be afraid to talk about what you do. It won’t be a problem if you are passionate about it. Once you’ve made a connection with someone who could be a potential client or customer, you may exchange numbers or business cards, but don’t wait for them to contact you! Take the next step by picking up the phone or setting up a meeting over coffee. Yes, this might sound old school, but it is a much quicker way to establish a valid connection rather than back and forth emails or spraying a bunch of social media posts and mass emails and praying someone will reach out.
I also make time to respond to PR queries through Cision/Profnet and Help a Reporter. It takes time to reply to journalist queries and while your expert advice always doesn’t make the cut, I believe that you always have to make an effort (and you can always reuse the time and turn that into a blog post).
Simple things like posting to social media a few days a week also keeps you and your business visible and credible.
But it’s not just one of these things…you need to have a diverse marketing portfolio to keep your company strong.
A worry that I hear from many businesswomen is that they are afraid of having the stigma of being pushy. One way to circumvent this mindset is to reframe the way you think about marketing. You are merely educating the person about your product and/or service, not selling them on it. When you adopt this mentality, the tone and direction of the conversation will not appear sale-y or pushy at all. Whether you are addressing someone in person or via email, listen to their needs and be ready to discuss with them how you can help them. Don’t lead with selling your product or service, talk about what you can do to help them, educate them on the value of what you do. Explaining, educating and offering solutions is an approach that will not be viewed as pushy.
To reiterate, you have to make your marketing happen by:
- Making time for marketing
- Making connections. You never know who will need your services or have a friend who they will refer to you
- Following up first! Don’t wait for the person to contact you, it may never happen
- Educating your potential client/customer on why your service/product adds value for them
- Making it clear that you are interested in helping them find a solution
Should you ever hear new business knocking at your door, by all means, answer it. But reset your mind to start being the one who knocks first.