Last week I discussed how I began to enter into the world of marketing. As promised, this week I will touch on a few specific marketing strategies that I have tried in the past. As a disclaimer, just because something worked for me doesn’t directly mean it will work for you. Every company is different and needs to develop their own marketing strategy. However, I’ve learned very fruitful marketing strategies from non-accounting companies, so I know that what I’m passing along here holds value regardless of context. It’s just comes down to how you use it.
Everyone who starts a new business almost always begins here. “Let’s make sure to get out as many letters/mailers as possible”. While this does have some benefits, I have found this to be a huge time and money waster in the long haul. People don’t really consume information that way anymore. They are going to find things on google and social media or someone is going to refer them. I tried everything under the sun when it comes to direct marketing and never really found it to pay out. I will say that if you want to have any success doing this, it is all about volume. You need to send thousands of letters and be as targeted as possible.
Wow, this one is brutal. Anyone that has ever made even just one cold call knows how tough this can be. Even when you are expecting to get denied, it still doesn’t make you feel any better. And then to pick up the phone and try again, denial after denial, is no an easy task. I also never really found much success doing this but to be fair, I never put forth a consistent effort. I really don’t believe this is a good marketing tool for my business but I do think this one can work for others (assuming you are good at speaking, of course).
I never really believed in blogging. I saw other people building entire businesses around a blog but I still wasn’t a believer. About a year and a half ago I started my own blog (you’re reading it in case you weren’t sure where to find it). Not only have I had a ton of success with the blog, I truly enjoy writing it each week. It gives me a chance to really reflect on my experiences and process them into words. It allows people to get to know more about Quantify but also learn more about Dave Ashworth on a personal level. People buy from people they trust so this is a huge value of a blog. If you are even on the fence about starting a blog, start today (seriously). It is an amazing tool and Quantify wouldn’t be where it is today without it.
This is another one that I wasn’t a believer in for a long time. I knew that social media was huge and that everyone and their mother was on it but I still didn’t think it could work for our business. People don’t go on Facebook or Instagram to look for an accountant. And while that statement may be true, not placing a high emphasis on social media from day 1 is probably my biggest regret as a business owner. The more time I spend studying the market, the more I realize that people are consuming most of their content from social media. If I want to let people know Quantify exists I need to get people’s attention. And their attention is on social media. Learn the platforms, learn how to tell your story, and be consistent. Don’t make that same mistake I did.
This is one that I knew was important but was a little confused with in the beginning. I knew I needed to develop relationships but I didn’t know how to begin. I picked about 10 different professions that I thought I could develop some sort of partnership with. From there I went on google and developed a list of all the people in that profession in my area. I then began a cold calling campaign to explain who I was and see if I could meet with them. While I still had some failure, most people were more than happy to meet. To this day I still have some of those relationships. Referrals for professional service companies, like accounting, are an absolute must. But this can be applied to any business. A hair salon can partner with a shampoo company. A roofer can partner with a general contractor. A restaurant can partner with just about anyone. And you get the picture — develop your referral partners, cultivate those relationships, and watch your business multiply.
I hope this was helpful for you guys. I really have tried just about everything you can think of when it comes to marketing. Some things worked and others didn’t. To be fair I didn’t put in the time and effort into certain things to see if they actually work (and I’ve tried to be honest about that here). However, at this point my main marketing channels are referral partners, the blog and social media. If you have specific questions about what might work for your business, let’s chat. I may be able to provide some insight into this process as you work to market the company you work for. My thoughts here are tailored to my context, but I would welcome the opportunity to sit with you and work through marketing in your context.
Next week I have a very special interview setup with a well-known entrepreneur. I am excited to bring this to you. Be on the lookout next week!