Today, I listened to a marketing consultant provide some solid advice (with the intent, of course of building her own business). The issue: How do you make effective decisions about where to focus your efforts and strategy? And she said, rightfully, you need to plan — and you need to determine your differentiation (where it matters to the actual clients) and then frame your marketing on what makes you different, special and valuable.
These can be easier thoughts to say than do, and most importantly, you may need someone with an independent mind and outside of your own organizational blinders to see what needs to be done.
Once you have the basics under control, you can begin your implementation and the center piece of the strategy generally should be your website. Virtually all of your marketing efforts, whether they be web advertising, AdWords, printed flyers, or even networking face-to-face will result in traffic to your site, where the viewers will form impressions about your business and decide whether or not to do business with you.
So, yeah, the website IS important.
But the really, truly, important thing behind your marketing is your “brand” and that is your reputation and trust. You earn a good brand by doing great work. You achieve a great brand by doing work that is unique and really stands out for its differentiation. But you are not likely to succeed unless you can connect the dots, think strategically, and provide enough resources for the process for the marketing to connect to your sales cycle.