Don’t get me wrong – social media can be an integral part of your marketing strategy. But, if you’re taking cues from nearly every coach, course, or conversation out there, you might think building your followers, posting daily, and creating Reels is where you must spend a majority of your time to ensure success.
Rather than rehash all the reasons I find this absurd (click here if you want to read about a few), I’d prefer to arm you with three ‘offline’ self-promotion strategies that can (and WILL) make a difference. They don’t work overnight, but they form a solid foundation for your marketing strategy and should be exercised day in and day out for best results!
First off, let’s make sure we understand one crucial point regarding marketing. It doesn’t necessarily get you clients. Yes, you read that right. Marketing doesn’t get you clients; it gets you awareness.
It’s what you show and do after you gain a potential client’s awareness that makes the difference. Once you understand this, you’ll better understand the need for the following strategies. Sure, there are ways to quickly convert leads and games you can play on social media to increase the likelihood of someone seeing an ad and saying yes. But, in a service profession (that’s what you’re in), these short-term sales typically don’t translate to long-term results for you or your clients.
Instead, here are three strategies you must employ daily to build a sustainable and scalable business:
Networking is crucial. It’s about connecting and sharing with others in a way that builds and then deepens mutually beneficial relationships. Curate a list of potential clients and partners (folks who might have influence or access to potential clients). Include only people you already know, those that would answer and email if you sent one. You will reach out to deepen the relationship, not start one with this particular strategy.
Each day, you should aim to connect with at least five people on your list.
Your connections could be via email, direct message on a social platform, text message, phone calls, video calls, or similar. When you reach out, it should be with an intent to provide value through sharing who you know, what you know, or how you feel. You could introduce two people in your network that might benefit from knowing one another, share articles or book recommendations, or even notes of congratulations or thanks. The outreach should be timely, specific, and authentic.
The goal would be to get into a natural conversation flow and be in touch with potential clients and partners, at minimum, monthly. Over time, there will be natural segues to opportunities to move them into your sales cycle or otherwise partner with you.
Direct outreach is similar to networking but aimed at starting relationships with people you know might benefit from your business or be able to help you build your business.
Direct outreach is not cold calling, spamming, or email marketing.
These are genuine attempts to reach out, get in front of a new person, and get to know them (think crock potting versus microwaving a relationship). The goal would be eventually to move the people on this list to the networking list described above.
You should constantly be on the lookout for people to add to this list. Then, learn more about the people on your list. When you reach out, you should draw from what motivates them, your common interests and goals, or ways you can become an asset to this person. Craft messages using this information in a genuine way to get the ball rolling.
Finally, you must create and activate a referral strategy. No need to overthink your ‘offer’; provide something of value for spreading the word about your work.
Consider referrals you’ve seen others use or what you may have used in the past. Get the process down on paper and keep it simple. The most critical part of referral building is consistently asking people for referrals!
With clients, there are three natural times for referral requests:
- when a client tells you how happy they are with your work
- when a client renews or purchases another session
- when a client tells you about someone in their circle that would benefit from what you have to offer
You will also want to create a strategy for colleagues. Whether you formalize referrals by creating an affiliate network or create something less structured is up to you. As with your client referral strategy, please keep it simple for you and the partner. The best way to get others to refer you is to do the same for them. Be sure to ask how you can support the businesses of folks you think might be able to help you!
The three strategies detailed here may seem very simple – they are! But you’d be surprised how often they are overlooked. As mentioned at the outset, they are not magical. They do not work overnight, but your consistent efforts will be rewarded over time if you can commit to these small activities each and every day.
Dig Deeper with Shannon
Self-Promotion will get you what you want …. NOTICED! But, if you’re just aimlessly shouting your name from the rooftops without a clear strategy, the awareness might not lead people to your door.
This self-guided course is designed to help you build a sustainable marketing strategy that does rely solely on social media. Learn the six strategies that every service professional needs, whether you work for yourself or someone else.