There are times when new business just drops in your lap. You’re routinely going about your work, not even focused on new business development, and the phone rings, or you’re approached at a meeting, or a friend or colleague refers a prospect who needs exactly what you offer — and is ready to buy now.
While seemingly random or lucky incidents, more likely you’ve attracted these new clients as a result of your strong reputation and well-honed skills. Moreover, if you’ve carved out a specialized niche and stay visible through networking and consistent outreach, you reap rewards.
But most business owners know too well that entrepreneurship can be a roller coaster. While the flow of clients and revenue isn’t always steady, internal resources must be maintained to support incoming business. So sustained disciplined business development to attract customers is Job One.
No blank pages in your marketing calendar
In prior posts, we’ve recommended use of an editorial calendar to maintain content marketing cadence. Such a calendar provides a structure to ease the process of content publication, offering an antidote to the writer’s block that can grip even the most prolific writer faced with an imminent deadline and a plethora of competing stimuli.
Serving as a repository for ideas and an appointment reminder, the editorial calendar also fulfills an important business development role: it provides a means to balance content topics and vary post styles to engage readers and attract new segments and prospects.
While the term “editorial calendar” brings to mind a written article, blog functionality can also be used in a variety of other formats, including many that are visually focused. Consider these 12 ideas as inspiration on ways to use blog functionality to provide instructive advice, offer useful resources or illustrate your services.
Whatever format you choose, blog posts offer ongoing fresh content, a key priority to attract the attention of search engines and increase leads.
Beyond blogging: mixing it up on your marketing calendar
Let’s say you’ve covered the blogging box on your business development checklist. What other tools and strategies can expand your visibility to prospective clients and attract incoming business?
Real human interaction: Yes, it’s easier to busy yourself behind the computer screen, utilizing technology to expand your reach. But large-scale live networking is a powerful way not only to grow your contacts, but also to deepen the connection in a way that cannot be achieved virtually. Get involved with membership organizations or industry groups, local events or educational workshops … find and schedule live networking opportunities monthly and add to your marketing calendar. (Remember to take the next steps to solidify new relationships — explore their websites for synergies and offer introductions to others in your network who could be strong leads, and follow and engage on social media and via email.)
Team up: Expand your reach and discover new target audiences through collaborations with other businesses. Local storefronts benefit from the cross-promotion of local retailer groups while also gaining inspiration and practical knowledge through other retailers. Or choose one other business and explore opportunities to co-author a study or white paper, partner on a workshop, event or presentation or trade guest blog opportunities or email newsletter features. Aim for at least one partnership per quarter.
Create accountability: Get an outside perspective to help work through roadblocks or tackle a lingering issue. Work with a business coach or choose a valued contact in your network and get inspired by new approaches while also creating accountability. Add a monthly meeting to your calendar and include a target issue or objective to address.
Be generous with your knowledge: Regularly create useful resources such as downloadable white papers, how-to guides, eBooks, FAQs and instructional content that demonstrates your expertise. Add a quarterly initiative to your marketing calendar and maximize outreach within your regular marketing channels. Consider sharing through an in-person presentation or online webinar.
Get creative with seasonal themes: It’s a marketing calendar, after all. Think beyond the tired holiday promotions and brainstorm innovative monthly marketing initiatives and events that are focused on your target clients’ needs. Develop digital assets that pop and repurpose into creative executions to promote in multiple channels.
Mix, measure and repeat
It’s easy to get in a marketing rut, repeating annual events and using the same channels year after year. Adding new initiatives to your marketing mix will provide opportunities to grow leads and attract new prospects. The optimal mix is dependent on myriad factors which shift over time, necessitating that you consistently assess, measure and iterate with new strategies and channels. Measure both qualitative and quantitative analytics of new and ongoing initiatives to assess whether they are bear repeating.
Need help getting your marketing structures in place to attract new business? Let’s talk.