Why Market When You are “Too Busy”
Photo Credit-Stark Photography
Many designers tend to think that marketing is what you do when you “have time”. So often when we are busy we focus on being busy and getting the projects completed and then when we are not busy we focus on searching for business and trying to madly market for instant results. Does this sound like you?
Well it’s time to change your approach, as marketing is not something that you do just when you “have time” and are looking for more projects. It is something for which you create a plan (with a budget!) that includes marketing activities all year long – during slow times and crazy times. A marketing plan is something you put in writing and calendar – as what gets written down and added to the calendar is much more likely to get done.
Marketing is a wonderful opportunity to use your creative talents and have fun with it. When you are creating your marketing plan, understand that it is about relationship marketing not a “one-size-fits-all” process. Design unique ways you can reach out to past, present and prospective clients. Don’t forget to include possible referral sources in your marketing plan – vendors, builders, real estate agents, financial planners, etc. Remember that relationship marketing is not about a one-time project, or one-time referral – it’s about developing long term relationships which means repeated contact throughout the year.
When you identify how and how often you will connect with each person on your list, you can then calendar those activities to be sure they happen. It may be something as simple as a short note to past clients to let them know what your firm has been doing and what they might be interested in for their own homes – such as sharing a summer update you are creating for a current client’s vacation home. Or when you receive an invitation from one of the kitchen showrooms for a cooking demonstration, you might be sure to reach out to a few clients who have been thinking about a kitchen remodel to be your guests. Obviously keeping track of birthdays and anniversaries gives you a perfect reason to reach out and it’s easy to add to the calendar.
Your calendar of marketing activities should also include local activities where you have the opportunity to connect with ideal clients as well as those who might be referral sources for your ideal clients. Remember to keep your eyes and ears open to be able to make notes about foods, wines, flowers, etc. that people are particularly fond of. Then surprise them with a “just because” or “was thinking of you when I saw this” gift. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive but people will remember. And when these things are on your calendar as part of your marketing plan, it will be much easier to keep your marketing up during busy times as well as slower times.