Over the past month I have been working on some marketing stuff for my business. I am no marketing expert, but I thought it could be helpful to share some of the lessons I have learned throughout my career about promoting your work. Hopefully these can help you spread the word about the amazing work you do.
In the beginning it was tricky to communicate to people about what Fruition Initiatives does. “Project management” is a pretty vague term and can apply to so many different things. It also doesn’t encompass all of the other skills I have. You may also have run into this when you do something all-encompassing like “communications,” or “business strategy.” Defining what you do is an iterative process that in some ways never ends because what you do evolves over time as you take on new projects, gain new skills, and change as a person. I created an “elevator pitch” when I first started Fruition and it has evolved quite a bit over time. I recommend creating your elevator pitch by brainstorming about the following questions:
Who are you?
What problems do you (or your organization) solve?
How do you solve them?
Who do you serve?
What makes you unique?
Why do you do what you do?
Use this initial list to come up with three sentences that describe what you do. From there you can build out some specific examples that will reinforce your points. This will naturally evolve over time as you practice it with different people and find what resonates.
I, like most consultants, reply primarily on referrals for the vast majority of my business. You can leverage the nice things clients say about you in your marketing efforts to reach a whole new group of potential clients who may be in a different industry, location, or sector. A great testimonial from a client can go a long way in not only singing your praises but also in reinforcing your elevator pitch with specific examples of how you have helped people. I like to ask clients to contribute testimonials and then I keep a running list of them that I can plug into different marketing materials depending upon what I think will resonate with my target audience.
Make connections, constantly
I personally hate networking, but I love reconnecting with people I have met over my career. I feel like I keep coming back to this over and over, but reaching out to your past colleagues, partners, and friends is a great way to promote your business. (Keep in touch with the current ones too, perhaps with a snazzy newsletter.) Even if it seems like they wouldn’t be a potential client, you would be surprised at how peripheral connections can turn into solid client relationships. Plus, it is just nice to have an excuse to reach out to someone you haven’t seen in a long time and reconnect. Cast a wide net – the worst things that can happen is that someone doesn’t email you back. And make sure to end each of these meetings by asking “Who else should I connect with?” If you have a simple marketing one-pager with your elevator pitch and possibly some testimonials on it, you can even hand this over to them to better explain what you do.