When you start a marketing plan, clients don’t normally fall out of thin air. Nor will every meeting instantly turn into a golden relationship. When accountants or lawyers are marketing, it takes time to build your brand, form strong introducer relationships, and generate awareness within the internal and external marketplaces. The early days of marketing yourself are particularly hard because you need to convince clients and introducers to trust you without having a strong track record. As a result, you often have to plug away at a marketing plan without feeling any fruits from your labours for many months; potentially even longer if your ideal client has a long sales cycle. It is only natural to wonder if your marketing is working? In this article, I explore what are the signs that your marketing is working and what look out for to show that your marketing plan is paying off before the leads start to flow in.
Is my marketing working?
Marketing when you are trying to build up your own practice and win your own clients is very much a leap into the unknown and ‘betting’ on what will be the right thing to do. This is why it is very natural, when you are just a couple of months into your business development strategy, to wonder, ‘Is my marketing working? Why haven’t I seen any tangible outcomes?’ Unless you are doing it wrong, your marketing is almost certainly working. Here are the signs that your marketing is working:
1. Measure both activities and outcomes
The journey to win a new client involves many twists and turns. It is often difficult to say what actually caused a client to decide to work with you. As a result, it is often nigh on impossible to connect what you post on Twitter (for example) with winning a new client. It is just too big a jump. Therefore, track and monitor the impact of all your business development activities. This way you will be able to see the early signs of your business development strategy paying off.
2. Watch out for people starting to come to you rather than you having to go to them
When you are a ‘nobody’ you have to do all the running. It will be you requesting the meetings, you requesting opportunities to blog on the firm website, you having to travel to meet someone. However, when you become slightly ‘hotter’ property and the awareness of what you do builds, you will find that people start to come to you. You’ll find the marketing team approaching you to write a blog, introducers requesting to meet you, rather than the other way around.
3. Your ‘tribe’ or network starts to build
Probably the earliest sign that you will see that your business development strategy is working is an increase in connections made via social media. After all, if you are ‘getting out there’ and ‘have something to say’, it is only natural that people will start to follow and connect with you on social media.
4. Your partners or business development team may start to include you in more business development activities
This isn’t always a given! However, recognition that you are doing the right things with your business development can often come first from internal sources. This may be something as small as being asked to join in a discussion about account management for a client. Or something much bigger, such as being asked to join a pitch team or come along to a business development/marketing group’s regular meeting.
5. People start engaging with your content
One of the best signs you are on the right track with your business development is if others start engaging with your content, e.g. sharing it with others, liking it or commenting on it. In fact, this phase of engaging with your content is the precursor to leads coming your way. The more others spread your message for you, the easier it becomes to strengthen your brand and awareness.
Do keep the faith with your business development activities. Remember it takes more than just one meeting, one blog, and one tweet to make a sale or generate a referral.