The thoughts here aren’t new, but they are important enough to repeat. Here are the three most cost-effective business-building and marketing methods you can apply today.
Focus on enhanced, systematic and thoughtful word-of-mouth and referral marketing
This isn’t “relying” on word-of-mouth, it is capturing all of its potential, through active testimonial gathering, follow-up thank you initiatives, and systematic referral and repeat client marketing initiatives.
Your return on investment and responsiveness will be higher in these areas than any other marketing methodology, and so your repeat/referral client programs should always have top priority (and success be a key performance indicator.)
Maintain/manage and develop your website and social media capacities
Your website will be a cornerstone of your marketing, either through search or (if your word-of-mouth is working properly), as the first contact point once a potential client hears good things about your business. Properly structured websites and social media will generate profitable in-bound leads, at extremely low cost. While you can certainly subcontract or outsource this work (and there are reputable designers/consultants who specialize in the architectural, engineering and construction community), there are arguments for you to understand the basics yourself, so you can lead/guide and appreciate your consultants’ work. (To find good consultants, apply the word-of-mouth and referral decision processes mentioned above.)
Client-focused associations and community service provide ongoing, deep and lasting marketing and business development value (but you need to be patient.)
You won’t generally receive the “quick hit” in marketing success from associations — it takes time for the relationships to nurture — but these can be incredibly valuable longer-term, especially in the business-to-business marketplace. Note that the associations I’m referencing are the ones where your potential clients belong; your own trade/industry groups have value, of course, but from a marketing perspective, you’ll want to work upstream.
There are many other marketing methods and options, and virtually all have some value (and some have great value) in different circumstances, but these three to me have the highest probability of success and ROI recovery.
Please feel free to share your successes or frustrations with your marketing strategies. You can connect with me here.