It is not good enough to be good at what you do. You also need to let others know what you do. Many practitioners spend years learning their profession, but schools offer no education regarding marketing. Whether you are new to your area, newly graduated and certified, or simply wish to grow your practice, here are four ideas to help your business thrive.
Enhance Your Internet Presence
Gain exposure and clients by enhancing your internet presence. You need a great website, and it needs to be easy to find. The first thing most potential clients do when they need information is to conduct an internet search. However, they tend to follow only the links found on the first page. Find a service that will develop your website and help you drive traffic to the site. For example, law firms often use a company called FindLaw. If you have a legal practice, check out some Findlaw Reviews to see if it is the right fit for you. If you run a different type of business, you can surely find something similar; there are options available for any type of practice.
Boost Your Community Visibility
If you are marketing yourself effectively, potential clients in your community should recognize your name and face. Moreover, they should view you as an integral, positive part of society. Volunteer at churches, civic organizations and community outreach programs. Sponsor local sports teams, theater companies and music groups—in return, you get banners displayed at games and ads printed in programs. Do not just offer money; get creative, too. Offer workshops to club participants, their friends and families.
Do not neglect fellow professionals. Network with other practitioners and small-business owners who offer complementary services or serve the same clientele. Co-host events, contests and holiday dinners. Create packages that pair similar services. If you are a physical therapist, team up with a massage therapist. If you are a tax professional, an investment advisor may be a good fit.
How do you get your best clients to refer others to you? Ask! Follow up projects with brief texts asking if your customers are satisfied. If they are not happy, make things right immediately. If they are pleased, send a link that makes it easy for them to write a testimonial.
End each communication with your contact information and an invitation to refer others. A simple tagline saying, “If you like us, tell a friend!” is all it takes to plant the idea. This includes invoices, order forms, emails and text messages. Electronic communication should include a link to your website. Depending on your profession, you may want to offer a discount or other referral incentive. When a client does recommend you, always send a quick and sincere thank you.
Develop Your Reputation
Position yourself as the local expert in your field. Offer advice in an online blog that imparts useful information and knowledge. Include a link to your website for more information. When current events are relevant to your practice, contact news media to give background or fill holes in their knowledge. Grant radio, television and newspaper interviews on the subject. Soon, your community will not only recognize your name and face, but they will also look to you as an authority.
You do not need to wait for current events related to your industry: you can build your reputation any time. Be a guest speaker on career days at high schools and colleges. Hold workshops and seminars at the local chapter of the Small Business Administration. Offer classes to civic and church groups. Write a white paper about new research or trends relevant to your industry.
Cultivate your online reputation as well. Claim your business on review and rating sites, and be sure to address all reviews, both positive and negative. Potential clients will see that you care.