Why Marketing Your Small Business Is Like Rowing

by Charlie Cook

Over the past two years my spouse has become an avid rower. She rows in those skinny boats with incredibly long oars with three to seven other people. She’s found that while being in shape helps, winning is dependent on putting the proper motions in the correct sequence. When she and her team mates get it right, they accelerate forward at speed, passing competitors.

How to Get More Clients Using Push Then Pull Marketing

Marketing is like rowing. You pull hard on the oars to go forward, then lift them out of the water and push them back to finish the stroke and get ready for the next pull. Once you’ve got the sequence of the stroke right, you and your boat slip forward through the water and build speed and momentum.

If you push when you should be pulling, the boat goes backwards, or, even worse, you lose your balance and fall into the bottom of the boat. The same is true with your marketing.

One of the biggest mistakes people make in marketing their services is to simply PUSH information about their services and themselves out to prospects and hope that this will result in attracting prospects. Unless you are already a household name and in such demand that your phone is ringing off the hook, this approach rarely attracts the numbers of new clients you want.

The result is that most small business marketing falls into the bottom of the boat instead of propelling your business forward. You know how it works. You send out a mailing to tens of thousands, make hundreds of calls and get only a very limited response. It’s not for lack of effort. It’s that this approach doesn’t work.

An alternative to the typical push and hope approach to marketing is to PULL prospects in and then in the context of a growing relationship, PUSH useful information out to them. If you want prospects to remember your firm when they have a need for your services, start by attracting their interest.

Generate interest by focusing on what your potential clients want and the problems they need solved. Use this client centered marketing strategy to pull prospects in so you can push your expertise out to them. Give them ideas they can apply instead of information about credentials, or past clients. Like rowing your boat, you won’t move very far unless you repeat the sequence again and again.

Are you pulling prospects in or just pushing your information out? Review your business marketing materials to see if you have the sequence right. Take a look at your web site, brochures, newsletters, correspondence and proposals.

PULL TACTICS – ‘Client’ Centered
Do your marketing materials:

1. Begin with a clear identification of the niche market(s) you work with?

2. Lead with client problems and concerns?

3. Use the two elements above to create a picture that your target market can identify with?

4. Provide useful ideas that your target market can use and that demonstrates your expertise?

PUSH TACTICS – ‘You’ centered
Do your marketing materials:

1. Focus on you, your services and staff?

2. Focus on glowing testimonials and your client list?

Which works best? Both. The challenge is getting the emphasis and order right. The pull then push marketing sequence that works to move your business forward involves the following:

1. Create resources that pull prospects to you and your firm.

2. Get prospects to give you their contact information (Most firms let over 99% of the people who see their information go away and n.ever follow up. 80% of business is lost due to lack of follow-up.)

3. Push useful information out to self-selected prospects on a regular basis. (Remember the majority of buyers won’t make a purchase until they’ve had a minimum of 5-6 contacts with your firm.)

When your prospects have a compelling need, they will turn to the firm that they’ve had regular communication with, know and trust. At some point prospects will want more details about your services, credentials and testimonials But this is often the last information you need to provide.

Use the pull then push strategy to get your marketing moving. You’ll be amazed as you watch both your prospect and client lists grow and your business gains momentum.

(VALUE: $200)
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