From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur Pam's Blog Moved.

Expanding our markets: Professional services

Get the RSS Feed

iStock_000005528121XSmall

This is the first post in a two-week series about using our collective wisdom to help expand the markets for our business. Per Annie Binn’s suggestion in my original post to not have one new post each day for six days (which could be kind of overwhelming), I will spread this out over a couple of weeks so that we have time to brainstorm in each segment.

Today’s category is Professional Services. Wikipedia has a broad definition, which I am narrowing a bit so that we have separate posts for things like web developers.

I roll the following lines of business into this category (feel free to add, and I will update this post):

  • Consultants
  • Coaches
  • Therapists
  • Lawyers
  • Accountants and Bookkeepers
  • Recruiters

Here is what to do if you ARE a professional services business owner:

  1. State the nature of your business, your ideal client description  and current marketing strategy. If you have an active site, share the link. Let us know where you need help.
  2. Reply to your peers’ comments with your ideas

If you ARE NOT a professional services business owner, we really need your help!

  1. Reply to specific comments with ideas
  2. Tell us where we are totally missing the boat and thinking too narrowly. Often those outside of our own fields have the most creative ideas!

This is the kind of information that will be useful to share:

  1. Specific marketing tactics (“Have you thought about contacting your local Chamber of Commerce? … etc.)
  2. Good articles about growing a professional service business
  3. Really smart people who have a definite opinion about this sector of the market (Alan Weiss comes to mind)
  4. Good blogs on this topic
  5. Anything else that would be useful

Daryl Gerke, a Phoenix business owner who has run a successful consulting company (EmiGuru) for the past 24 years, sent me a document with his specific ideas to grow consulting businesses. See attached PDF for details. Thanks for giving us a great start Daryl! Download his PDF.

As I have said in earlier posts, let’s see where this discussion takes us! I will update this post with links left in the comments so we have an organized list of resources.

Go crazy with ideas people!

P.S. Although a wonderful thing when it happens, “getting Seth to blog about you” should not be your #1 marketing strategy. Not to say you shouldn’t aim for it. :)

Update:

I asked my friend Ramit Sethi from Iwillteachyoutoberich.com for a couple of his best posts on marketing consulting and professional services. Here they are:

Recap of the 3-week course on earning money

Earn more money using your God-given skills

Filed Under: Uncategorized

87 Responses to “Expanding our markets: Professional services”

  1. Ellsworth Mutschelknaus says:

    That is an interesting idea!Who would have thought that you can make money writing Santa letters

  2. Miranda says:

    I know I’m jumping on the bandwagon a little late, but over the last few weeks I’ve really been struck by the opportunity for coaches and consultants to work and/or train in foreign markets.

    You might think that your area of expertise is already dealt with in other countries, but I’ve lived in Spain for almost 15 years and can tell you that really, so many of the concepts and innovations in coaching and small business consulting come from the US, that a) a lot of people may never have heard of things you take for granted and b) would be really happy to get the full-on original version of your particular magic.

    You may have to partner with a translator or collegue for non English-speaking groups, and you may have to adapt some of what you do, but that’s a learning opportunity for coaches and consultants as well.

    I really encourage service providers to think about getting out and about with their ideas!

  3. Ease Cash Crunch by Rewarding Clients Who Buy in Advance

    Here’s how day-spa owner Eva Sztupka-Kerschbaumer avoided taking out a loan to buy a microdermabrasion machine and two $1,000 facial steamers – and how you can do even better. Eva “presold her spa’s services at a discount” – thus getting cash quickly yet cutting her profits. She sent an email to her 8,000 clients. (Unlike most consumer-serving, brick and mortar small businesses she’s been smart in collecting email addresses from her clients). She offered them a free matching gift card on the purchase of any card worth at least $500. Matching! Fast cash, yes, yet done by slashing her profits.

    As Wall Street Journal writer Diana Ransom observes, “The advantage was clear. ‘This way I lock in my customer base, purchase equipment and get the cash flow, Sztupka-Kerschbaumer says.”

    Yet, adds Ransom, “Of course, a matching gift card promotion may have undesirable consequences like providing discounts to customers who otherwise would have paid the full price and having less cash on hand when customers collect on their freebies. Still, if you’re in a bind and neither credit nor loans are an option, boosting your company’s cash flow can help bail you out, says Hermann Simon, author of Manage for Profit, Not for Market Share.

    Here’s a more profitable variation if you want an influx of cash soon without sacrificing nearly as much of your profit margin.

    Offer Your Partner’s Product as a Gift to Your Clients Who Pay in Advance

    For clients who will buy, say a $500 card for your services, offer a gift card or cards from one or more partnering businesses that serve the same kind of client. Your partners will make a similar offer to their clients. For example, Eva’s day spa might have partnered with a nearby beauty salon, café and clothing boutique. Each partner might have offered clients who paid, up front, for $500 worth of service, a set of three gift cards, from partners, each worth $50 (retail) for a total, tempting value to clients of $150.

    A bonus benefit?

    Each partner would have gained a walk-in-the-door, warmed-up introduction to each other’s biggest spending clients. And it costs them all less than Eva’s approach. Eva does partner for some situational sales.

    How can you find the most valuable partners if you choose this cash-attracting approach for your business?

    Simple. Ask your customers to name three of their other favorite local businesses. A pattern will quickly emerge of what’s most popular to your customers – including those who spend the most with you.

    You may ask customers when they are in your business and/or by email (offer them a eBook as a gift – from a partner – to reward them for responding). When done right, with the best methods and reputable, complementary partners, such alliances are the most efficient way to attract more customers and per-customer spending – without spending much more to acquire them.

  4. I like this approach! Hopefully, my post starts some discussion.

    I’m Dallon Christensen (a member of Pam’s April $100 Business Forum group), and I am launching FirstStep Concepts (www.firststepconcepts.c0m). FirstStep Concepts is a business coaching and training firm to help business owners improve their business IQ and achieve peak performance in their businesses.

    I am having a lot of difficulty differentiating what I do from a traditional CPA firm that does bookkeeping and tax work. I work with business owners to help set performance targets, design systems to monitor those targets, and design plans to achieve goals in the future. My background is in finance and IT, but I want to serve more as a strategic and operations advisor to my clients. I am a partner and complement to CPA firms that do bookkeeping and taxes, because I focus much more on business planning and performance analysis.

    I’m looking for feedback on how to best brand myself and differentiate myself from the traditional CPA firms. What terms and benefits interest you? What would interest you in the types of services I’m providing? If someone says, “I already have a CPA”, how can I emphasize that I go well beyond what a traditional CPA provides?

    Thanks!
    Dallon

    • Barbara Saunders says:

      As I read your description, I thought, “Well, I get what he could do!” but I believe the people who need you most would not relate to the language you’ve used to describe it. “Set performance targets, design systems to monitor those targets” is corporate speak. The small business owner might relate better to more casual language like, “I can help you identify ways to measure how your business is doing, and make it easy for you to keep tabs on your progress”, something like that.

      • Thanks, Barbara. I like how that sounds. Since I’ve worked so long in a corporate environment, moving out of corporate-speak is a challenge and a process. I can definitely take what you said and work with that.

        • Barbara Saunders says:

          Dallon, Check out Robert Middleton’s InfoGuru marketing manual (www.actionplan.com). It has some great exercises for creating your marketing meme. I don’t know your audience exactly; you might even want to go with something like, “Are you afraid even to look at your books?! I can help.”

    • Barbara Saunders says:

      As I read your description, I thought, “Well, I get what he could do!” but I believe the people who need you most would not relate to the language you’ve used to describe it. “Set performance targets, design systems to monitor those targets” is corporate speak. The small business owner might relate better to more casual language like, “I can help you identify was to measure how your business is doing, and make it easy for you to keep tabs on your progress”, something like that.

  5. [...] communication flying back and forth on my first two “Expanding our markets” posts, Professional Services and [...]

  6. Brooke says:

    What a fantastic, supportive community that I’ve just stumbled upon. I can’t help but want to join….

    I am very new to the entrepreneurial world, and thus I don’t know how much help I can offer up to others, but I’ll do my best. I have recently started a portable Pilates business, where I teach individual sessions or small-group classes on the client’s site (home, business, etc).

    Aside from general issues with marketing and pricing (believing that I have something to offer!), I’m trying to expand the business with other projects, taking me outside of the Puget Sound area. I’ve recently started becoming more active in the blogosphere to gain notoriety (hopefully in a good way!) to develop a video- and text-based e-course to get people started on Pilates. I have some other thoughts, as well…

    Thanks for any thoughts or ideas! I’m going to re-read everyone else’s posts to see if I have anything to add.

    Thanks so much!

  7. [...] professional services crowd has been busy giving each other advice on the first post of this series. Thanks for all your input folks, and keep [...]

  8. Thanks, Pam, for providing this opportunity.

    My business, Savoring Your Sixties, is for women who are bothered about/dreading turning 60 and who want a future to look forward to, to feel good about. I offer inspiration, information, conversation, and coaching to help them go from struggling with 60 to delighting in their 60s. http://www.SavoringYourSixties.com

    My mktg so far. Blogging 3 x/wk since last fall. Offer my ebook, “3 Big Mistakes that Can Sour Your Sixties . . . And how to avoid making them,” as a gift for subscribing to ezine. A monthly ezine plus 2 emails each month telling them what’s new on the blog. Using Twitter some. Have a FB fan page & am beginning to “work” FB more. Blog posts 2/wk on Vibrant Nation, a site for 50+ women with lots of traffic.

    Where I need help. . . Over time, I’m getting more visits to my blog but still the sign up #s/%s are miniscule. And my bounce rate is over 60. I’ve got lots of general info from the experts re how to do these things. Too much info probably.

    What I’d like to know is — for my specific business/site how could I improve my sign up #s? Any ideas for reducing my bounce rate would be nice, too.

    Thanks for any suggestions anyone can offer.

  9. Hi Charleen
    As a life coach I’ve had similar questions come up for me in my business over the last 18 mos . I’m going to respond to each of the questions you posed and then suggest a few action steps you can do to make this more manageable.

    In response to question
    #1 What kind of organizations are these women leaders in? Are they accessible to you? Would you be able to learn from THEM about what they do, their pain points, their hopes, their dreams, their fears? Do they already congregate together in associations, conferences, etc, so that you can talk to large numbers of them at one time?

    #2 The more you learn about your market through conversations with them and research you will know if the term mojo fits.

    #3 As you learn your market and you become their go-to person, they will start to refer you to others who have similar businesses as their own. This will allow your brand to grow naturally as an extention of those you’re already serving.

    #4 Could you do organizational consulting for your target market? After they’ve worked with you as a life coach they want to learn the ‘How Tos’ that you can teach them thru consulting or vice versa.

    #5 Can you present the manifesto on your site in a more compelling way? Is manifesto a word that grabs your target market? What kind of no cost no barrier to entry offer would your target market love to have when they haven’t had a chance to get to know you, yet?

    #6 Again, learn your market and they will tell you.

    Your website has to speak the language of your ideal client. Otherwise, they don’t know if you ‘get’ them.

    You offer an incredible, life-transforming service to women. You know it. I know it. But will they know it? As life coaches we are interested in seeing people take their lives to the next level. We want them to live their fullest potential. We are in the business of cheering on clients and at the same time challenging them to live more intentionally. Therefore, in order to be effective in any market we need to learn the needs, compelling desires, challenges, triumphs of our potential target market. This will reduce the anxiety of knowing how to serve your market.

    Action step:
    1 Determine your specific target market.
    Is it women CEOs of non profit organizations? Is it women corporate executives? WHO is it? Be very specific. Are these women accessible to you? Do they invest in personal development?
    2 Learn from THEM what they want

    I am GoodLifeDiva on Twitter and would love to connect with you and talk more about this. There are 4 people on Twitter that I’ve learned so much from in the last 18 months in regards to coaching and I would love to share them with you, if you’re interested.

  10. Charleen says:

    Hi from Victoria, B.C. Canada!
    I have a blog/site called http://www.TheMojoProject.com which has been up for a couple of months but still in ‘pre launch’ stage. I’m passionate about being of service to aspiring women that want to play bigger in the world. I have a corporate site http://www.inspark.ca, but this is a special initiative focused on helping women live/work with greater “mojo”. I define mojo as greater vitality, focus, confidence, and joy. As a certified coach, my ideal clients work within organizations as leaders, or as entrepreneurs, solopreneurs or moms. I also have a tab that provides the opportunity to expand the brand into organizational work (i.e. organizational mojo, leadership mojo, and team mojo). It’s essentially a portal site for potentially, a lifestyle brand.

    My strategy is to provide full coaching services to women that are feeling disengaged, burned out, feeling uninspired and ready to transform their life. I help women relaunch themselves (at work, a new career, or life in general i.e. weight loss) so can get that promotion, become an inspirational leader, escape cubical nation and leave their organziation, lose weight/gain confidence and create new possibilities for themselves . I work with them along each stage, so you’ll see my blog has headers for various points along that transformation journey –health/fitness, career, style and will add business, relationships too at some point. Two key products (workshops/group coaching programs) in development are that I help them Create a Signature Presence, and Success Blueprint both based on the mojo princples (still in development and not branded themselves yet).

    Would love your feedback:

    1. Is my target audience too broad? How could I niche it further? If I were to focus on women in organizations would the mojo brand appeal to them?

    2. Is the term ‘mojo’ not a good fit? Would it stand out above the sea of other life coaches? Is this brand perhaps negatively impact my credentials and experience or helping it? Is it gimmicky?

    3 .How can I develop a lifestyle brand in stages? And is this the best branding for it? I struggle with niching it down if infact I want to expand it to a broader lifestyle brand with multiple audiences. How do you do that?

    4. Regarding organizational consulting services I provide. Is the mojo brand something orgs would even find appealing (ie. “organizational mojo”, “leadership mojo”) etc. I just talked a best selling author on the mojo topic today and he indicated that it might not be good to use it in business. Then I hear advice from marketing folks that say do the opposite of what people tell you to! Should the organizational consulting be its own site or stay here becuase this is the mojo portal? I do own the domain organizationalmojo.com so that’s possible.

    5. I have an opt in box but few are signing up so wondering how to leverage that better. The Mojo Manifesto is about 3/4 written. Any advice for how to create a powerful manifesto that people would want to share with others?

    6. What products would be best to launch first? What do people want?

    7. I created a new logo which you can see on my facebook page TheMojoProject and would appreciate any feedback on that.

    Finally, I plan a new site in the next few weeks so would really appreciate your review and advice prior to launch. Thanks so much!

  11. Barbara Saunders says:

    I’m rebuilding my brand from the ground up. Thank you, Pam, for this opportunity!

    Braindump: my desire is to do almost a mirror image of what Pam does helping corporate people break free. My ideal client is a person who is already doing want people dream of doing from inside the cube. They’re artists or personal trainers or photographers or dog trainers or writers or … .

    As desparate as some corporate people are to get out of the belly of the beast, these people are also desparate – to make more money. Their obstacle is very specific: they are working with the wrong paradigm. The writer commanding $20 works her damndest to start commanding $75 per hour. The real answer is not to make one’s labor more expensive (while often making it that much harder to sell); it is switching the whole business model to one constructed around profit not around billable hours.

    Practicing what I preach (!) I do not want to build a business around $3,000 premium coaching programs. I want to create things – services, products, that people can invest less than $500 in, that gives value, and that does not involve direct hourly interaction with me.

    I’m a great coach and have the testimonials and referrals to back that up. For credibility, I’ve also made some crazy career changes (one written up in a national magazine) and moved from being a low-paid nonprofit worker to being that mythical “six-figure writer.” I’ve published a book. FWIW I have a degree from Stanford.

    I know how to get from place to place and how to get others from place to place. I am searching for ideas about how to PACKAGE this!

    Thanks,
    Barbara

  12. Yael Grauer says:

    Diane, the Hahnemann Center for Heilkunst has done a ton of work on autism that you may want to look into. They have a big listserv on autism too. Not sure if it’ll help directly with your business but maybe good for networking.

    Matt, have you thought of doing a few for free to get testimonials, and then trying to secure your own grant money to pay for it? Most schools are really struggling financially right now…

  13. Abigail says:

    This is a great idea, Pam! My coaching services are geared toward people who want to relieve physical pain using mind-body techniques. I’m currently expanding into applying those techniques to other areas, such as business success, as most of my coaching graduates are finding that they have spectacular success in their lives as a result of doing the mind-body processes. I don’t have a specific marketing strategy for this new niche area yet. I have narrowed the focus to helping coaches specifically, but am not blogging specifically in that direction. Any and all ideas would be welcome! My website is http://www.thehealthylifecoach.com.

    • Barbara Saunders says:

      Please clarify: do you want to help coaches learn your methods to share with their clients, or do you want to help people in the coaching profession with their own business success, etc.?

      • Abigail says:

        Both, actually. I am already training coaches in mind-body methods, but I would also like to work with coaches who want to create business success. I have already done quite a bit of one:one coaching with this kind of client, but want to expand a bit to a bigger audience of coaches.

  14. Matt Langdon says:

    State the nature of your business, your ideal client description and current marketing strategy. If you have an active site, share the link. Let us know where you need help.

    I run the Hero Construction Company. We build heroes. Specifically we provide presentations in the classroom teaching how kids can be heroes in their lives. theheroconstructioncompany.com and heroworkshop.wordpress.com.

    My ideal client is a school leader (principal, counselor, teacher, parent) who truly wants to change their school. Simple as that.

    My marketing is at a standstill at this point after failing to make any significant inroads. I am simply relying on word of mouth, which is certainly the most dominant form of marketing in the school world. My website is designed as a resource for schools after I make my presentation. I’ve started trying to use video: http://vimeo.com/theherocc. I’m not sure how well it will work.

    I’d love any advice on how to get school eyes on what I do.

    • Laura Click says:

      What a worthy endeavor, Matt!

      Just curious – have you conducted any surveys from educators about this? I ask this because I’m wondering if you’ve faced cost as a major hurdle. My guess would be that many schools would love to have you, but wouldn’t be willing to pay for it. I could be wrong – that’s just my hunch. I know with budgets being slashed, I think some schools may have trouble justifying the cost.

      If I’m right, you might want to consider focusing on private schools as they likely have more funds for something like this.

      Another option would be to partner with local businesses to see if they would sponsor a school’s participation in your program. You could send a news release talking about a business who is helping the community by bringing your program to the local school. Make the business feel really good about doing it and give them a plaque or some commemorative item or have the school put together a big thank you card for the business. You could have a “Wall of Fame” or something on your Web site to thank all of the businesses that have sponsored schools. I think the possibilities are endless with this kind of partnership!

      • Matt Langdon says:

        Thanks Laura. I’ve actually been running it for three years and schools have many ways of paying for it, including already budgeted character education money, parent organizations, grants, and charging families for it as if it was a field trip.

        I have thought about partnering with businesses in a sponsorship manner. I’ve thought about car dealerships, but I wonder if big box stores and chain restaurants are allowed to donate on a local level like that…

        My main hope is to find a way to best spread the word amongst schools. Even when I had grant money to be able to provide the program for free, schools turned me down. They don’t like trying new things in general. I need to find the principals, teachers, and counselors that are eager to try new things. However, I haven’t found any local coffee houses where these people all hang out together :)

        • Laura Click says:

          It sounds like most educators are like people in other industries – resistant to change!

          Is there a principals association of some kind that you can tap into? That would be a good way to get the word out to your target market.

          Also, I think that the business sponsorship idea would certainly help get the word out. I think it would be hard for a school to turn down your program if a local business paid for it! If you were to pursue this, I’d avoid the big box stores and look at your locally-owned businesses. I think they will be more likely to invest in the community and there will be fewer hoops to jump through to get the company on board.

          Another way to encourage a school’s participation would be through parents. What about contacting PTAs or other parent groups at your target schools? Parents are great at advocating for their kids’ education. If you get enough parents asking for your program (or even providing the funding for it), surely principals would get on board.

          Does this help?

          • Matt Langdon says:

            It really does help, thanks. I do need to get on the principal circuit – whatever that is. I’m going to make a pitch to a car dealership this week and see what happens from there.

        • Sheryl Jones says:

          Hi Matt,
          I’ve been a teacher for 17 years. I work in a high school in a suburbs of Chicago and we’ve been pretty open to presenters like yourself coming in. I think it would be great if you could do a presentation or write an article for a professional teaching or school leadership organization. That’s where the majority of our speakers come from – at least until the state budget crisis hit. One such organization is ASCD and the link for presenters is http://www.ascd.org/conferences/annual_conference/ac11proposals.aspx
          Every year we have a presenter come in and talk to the kids about careers and he’s sponsored by one of the Monster.com and the Navy. Another suggestion is to contact your local NEA office. They might be able to point you in the right direction or at least give you the names of new principles. Hope this helps. If all else fails check out the web sites of local schools and send emails to certain teachers. Junior and Senior English teachers are normally looking for speakers.

          • Matt Langdon says:

            Sheryl, that’s very helpful – thanks.

            I actually went into a local car dealership this week to talk about sponsorship and they seemed very interested. Once I create some metrics, I imagine I’ll be able to take it to bigger businesses for a broader sponsorship.

            I’ll check out ASCD and the NEA. Thanks again.

  15. Shanny says:

    First of all, I LOVE this blog! I’ve been a secret fan since I discovered this blog last year. Pam, thanks for bringing entrepreneurs and hope-to-be’s like myself together!
    @Elena: Your posts hit home with me! I am an aspiring entrepreneur and I feel exactly like you mentioned in your post: crushed. I want to become an established coach for professionals on areas like time management, mangement skills, career growth.
    So, I thought I’d make a start and introduce myself to the market by organizing a workshop on career development. I even added an expert guest speaker as a cherry on top. I used the media and newspapers for promotions and made reservations for a “small” group of 30. Total registrations received: 4.

    This is really, really discouraging. So obviously what I need to (fail fast and-)learn from this, is that I need to be considered an established expert in order to succeed? But then, how/ where do I make a start??

    That is a question that I think many aspiring entrepreneurs struggle with PR-wise. Where to make a start, how to build a brand? In my quest as an entrepreneur-hopeful, I’ve never been able to get specific advise (this blog excluded) as to exact steps to make in order to:
    -Get your first few clients
    -Get references
    -Build on PR
    -Become known and have your services wanted

    I live in Curacao (Caribbean), so maybe PR methods here can be a little different. But I think that if you can coach small business with these questions, you can mean a lot to them!

    Thank you so much for your post! And now…I’m off to check your website!

    • Elena Verlee says:

      Hi Shanny

      I’m not familiar with how PR in the Caribbean works but living in Canada and Manila for example – I can attest that practices can be quite different! Also PR for products vs services can differ.

      If you offer services, a great way for you to establish expertise and soft-sell your services is to write contributed articles for your media or be a guest expert on your topic on radio, TV etc. Look around and you’ll see a ton of opportunities. Don’t just think of the obvious ‘local’ paper – are there any free papers, magazines or local newsletters you can write for? Don’t discount these.

      We had our product covered in a free paper once, that a reporter from a national magazine AND a producer for a national TV show read and then asked us to be in the mag and TV. The important thing is to create momentum. I wouldn’t be surprised if you get calls months from now from ‘potential’ clients that read about you.

      It’s also hard to do event PR unless you’re sure the story comes out in plenty of time for people to get the info and register for the event.

      Hope that helps

      • Shanny Sommer says:

        Thanks Elena!

        This is very helpful. I was thinking about the approach of writing contributing articles too. One mistake that I recognize now, is that I advertized the workshops only 1 week in advance. So that may have been the cause of the lack of reaction, aside from the fact that I’m unknown.

        Thanks again!

        Shanny

  16. Pam

    The best person to speak to would be Charles Green of the Trusted Advisor http://trustedadvisor.com/trustmatters. I am a lawyer in the UK and would be happy Skype to Skype to share my thoughts from a British perspective. I could fill many many pages! You may also want to check out David Maister. He has written some great books.

    Best wishes
    Julian

  17. I’m an optical engineer, which means that I design things that manipulate light. My business is designing and fabricating camera lenses, inspection systems and custom test equipment.

    My best marketing has been to get in contact with everyone I’ve ever done a favor for. So far, that’s been enough to keep me very busy. I’ve also gotten referrals from those people, so it’s working well.

    I’m thinking of adding a standard product line. It’s also going to be niche technology, so I joined a testing society (ASTM) to get to know my competitors and potential customers. The challenge I face is how to assemble a marketing and sales plan for this line.

  18. dcpatton says:

    One more suggestion for expanding markets.

    Use the advanced search form at http://search.twitter.com/advanced to look for people discussing terms that are related to your business. Then after you get the results subscribe to the “Feed for this query” so that you can monitor those terms. Then you can engage those people on twitter to genuinely help them and expand your market.

  19. Diane Hunter says:

    Well, I wrote May 20th for the radio interview…just reread my email, it’s NEXT Tuesday, April 20th!! That got my pulse racing.

    • Diane
      Please, see my response to Nona. It would apply to you as well. I am GoodLifeDiva on Twitter. I have a suggestion of how to find women that you can follow on Twitter that can mentor you from a distance. Hopefully, we can connect soon. I will be following you.

  20. Diane Hunter says:

    Mike Hostetler and Laura Click – thank you for your valuable feedback for Nona… all applicable to my business as well. I’m a newbie entrepreneur and started my coaching business a few months ago. Prior to that I was a full time mom for 7 years raising two boys. I vaguely remember what I did before kids, something with computers, computer science degree, jobs in high tech, blah, blah, blah. ;)

    My oldest son has autism and is non-verbal. He’s my greatest teacher. He’s the reason I started my life coach business.

    I have a two-part mission:
    1. To help parents raising a child with autism find their own place of peace and build a deeper connection with their child.
    2. To provide a voice for my son and share the lessons he has taught me by teaching others how to listen beyond words. Two of his clear messages:
    - Even though I don’t speak your verbal language I communicate all the time. Please listen to all the other non-verbal ways I’m “speaking” to you and you’ll hear me.
    - My physical experience (body) is heavily burdened with toxins. I’m extremely sensitive to the toxic elements in my daily environment and I’m not alone. Children like me are entering this world to bring awareness and attention to the results of what we put into our bodies and breath. Please work together to clean up our environment.

    My site – http://www.afterautism.com
    My passion and current project – http://www.listenbeyondwords.com

    How I’m sharing my message:
    1. Breathed life back into my blog two weeks ago and committed to posting every Friday. I have about two dozen of my closest friends and family on my list. :)
    2. Started guest blogging on two other sites with large audiences of my tribe.
    3. Getting more comfortable with posting on Twitter and Facebook though at times I feel like a toddler fumbling around developing my fine motor skills.
    4. Volunteering for a rally in Chicago in May – The American Rally For Personal Rights – Vaccination Choice. Parental Consent.
    5. Radio interview May 20th on http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com/Marquita-Thompson confirmed today. I’m very excited as this is my first radio interview.
    6. Attending many networking events with my tribe including an annual convention in May with AutismOne and building relationships one by one. I LOVE this part!

    Where I would love help
    1. Is my message clear?
    2. Feedback on my sites.
    3. How to market the radio interview.
    4. Other suggestions on how to share my message that hasn’t already been said.

    I mentioned feeling like a toddler which is truly how it feels starting my business. In the past year I’ve completely transformed who I am and it feels so damn good and I’m so eager to learn from all of you who have gone before me…just like a toddler. :)

    With gratitude,
    Diane Hunter

    • @Diane
      A lot of people think that a blog is like Field of Dreams: “Build it and they will come.” And it’s not that way at all. I think it used to be, but is no longer.
      But you have to be active on your blog — no one wants to read something that may only be updated once a month (yes, I’m guilty of that). You also have to talk about what people are interested in. Note that it may be different than what you are interested in! People also get really caught up in the look and feel of the site and, while that is important, your content is the most important. If you don’t have content people care about, they won’t come.

      I think one of my problems is that I speak too much geek on my blog and not enough biz. Instead of talking about how to get more people to your site, or how to monetize things better, I talk about PHP crashing and how to fix it. Both useful things, but entirely different audiences.

  21. dcpatton says:

    All,

    I have considered going back into full scale consulting. I work in software development (Java, Ruby on Rails, PHP, MySQL, Linux) and technical team management. My primary market is web applications and web sites.

    my site.

    Two things that concern me and I think apply to all:

    1. One has already been put forward by Mike Hostetler and that is the pipeline of leads. I believe it was Gerald Weinberg who said dedicate 25% effort to generating new leads. (Thus set your rates accordingly)
    2. Scaling the business. You are only one person and can only sustain a limited number of hours per week.

    I’d love pointers to any articles or books that address these concerns well.

    For consulting one resource I find useful is Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully</a by Weinberg.

  22. @Nona —

    I nosed around your website and even did a View Source to see what was under the hood (yes, I’m nerdy like that). Here are my quick thoughts:

    * How do you want people to find you? Have you tried doing a Google search for things you think you should pop up on? Is your sight there?
    * I see you use Google Analytics. Great tool! You can use that to see how people got to your site, what things they typed into the search engine to use, etc. That will let you know what people are looking for. Maybe what you think in the first item and the results of the second item are different.
    * Once you know what people want to know from you, you can start tailoring your content to those items.
    * I also see you use WordPress (see how nerdy I am?). There are plugins to help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization). A good one is All-In-One SEO. Find it and install it.
    * Do you participate on other social network sites? Maybe try to join a network on Ning (or start your own) and just participate in the discussions.

    • Nona says:

      @Mike — I just love that kind of nerdy feedback and information! Thank you so much for that. You’ve given me some great food for thought.

      @Laura Click — thanks so much for the great suggestions. I am on some social network sites, but I think a targeted search of moms doing business who identify themselves that way would be helpful.

      :D

  23. Diane Hunter says:

    Pam, this rocks.! You are such a force for good!

    @Elena, I’m one of your new peeps! I just found you. I hang out here because Pam is a beacon that brings together people passionate about changing the world.

    I love that you have a deep understanding of PR because I need it demystified. I’m a complete newbie when it comes to marketing, I concur that PR is last on my list. I think because of lack of awareness and understanding of how it can help me. Right now I focus on building relationships one-by-one. That feels very important to me and also takes time so in parallel I would like some basic understanding of how what you offer would help my business grow.

    Reading that you have experience with multi million and billion dollar clients is a bit intimidating for a solo-entrepreneur just starting out. Gives you amazing credibility and I am totally willing to spend $$ where I see the benefit. So, I loved that you offer bite-sized nuggets that I can easily digest… that are accessible. I promptly went to your site and signed up for your 15 clues and subscribed to your list. Thank you!

    Diane Hunter

    • Elena Verlee says:

      Diane – I never thought that my experience would be intimidating. Hmm, what should I do about that?

      As for helping you de-mystify PR, did you want a copy of my book for free? Just email me!

  24. I have 15 years of experience in IT. While a lot of IT people have experience in one area (networking, programming, etc. ) my experience has been more broad. About two years ago I noticed that a lot of small businesses were getting ripped off by shoddy work by other IT consultants. I started my consulting business, SquarePeg Systems, to combat that and to help small businesses actually see technology as an asset, not just something they have to do.

    I’m building web applications for my two current clients, but I’ve done more than that. I’ve fought with wireless networking on Windows Vista, resurrected some old Unix machines, setup dumb terminals, etc. It’s been varied and challenging work. I love it!

    I actually have done very little marketing. I did post something on a user group page once and, years later, someone contacted me and I still do business with them today. I’ve gotten some jobs via word of mouth. Most of my jobs, though, have come from responding to Craigslist ads. All of which have become repeat customers for me. I currently have a blog, and am on Twitter.

    I do need to work on my marketing and sales. I currently have two customers . One of them is going real well but the project will probably end in a couple of months. The other one is a sub-contract job and they promised me 20 hrs/month but last month I got 3 billable hrs. So I need to build a pipeline. Craigslist, my usual stand-by, has been silent. I’ve done a couple of cold contacts and got a good response, but it was “we’ll let you know when we need you.”

    • Mark R says:

      Pam thanks for the opportunity to read from other experts and for the opportunity to contribute.

      Mike,
      If you are looking to expand outside your current clients and user group, offer up your services to local business. You can look for business associations that has a membership base you can assist. Another thing to consider would be to offer tips and tricks to readers f you blog on a regular basis. I noticed that your blog is not updated on a regular basis. Make it a priority to add a post at a minimum of once a week.
      Another way to expand your exposure is to offer assistance through local workshops such as a continuing education course.
      One last thing, I have posted on low cost marketing suggestions on my website at http://www.atomicpenny.com. Check out my post on being a sweeper versus a spreader.

      Hope this helps.

      • @Mark — I know that I need to do better with my blog post. My big struggle is that I’m a very technical person and so the things I want to talk about are very technical, yet I know that the customer base I’m trying to attract do not want to read the deep, technical things that I know. So, instead of trying to find something for my audience, I do nothing. Which is probably the worse thing I can do! Actually, after reading your comment above and thinking about it for a little bit, I have something that I can blog about.

        I was also seeing all of these people with ebooks, white papers, etc. I was thinking about putting a white paper together. But (again, being extremely technical) I tend to scoff at white papers. So my question to my non-techie audience — do you actually read these things?

        • Laura Click says:

          Mike – Trust your gut here. It sounds like you know what you’re doing wrong – being overly technical with a non-techie audience. Essentially, it sounds like you want to help us non-techie folks with all of our complicated technical issues. If so, then make it easy for people who visit your site to understand how you can help.

          I’m not a techie, but am web savvy and know how to translate tech speak pretty well. That said, I go to your site and it’s like reading Chinese! Find a way to talk to people in a language they understand. Talk about the problems you solve instead of HOW you do it. For someone like me, I just want to know you can make my e-mail/blog/Web site/server do what I want it to. Non-techie folks (especially busy small business owners) have a “just fix it” kind of attitude. So, make it easy. I would suggest adding a page to your site that says “Need help with….” and list the things that you do in a way a small business owner would understand. Promote things in a way that says, “Have a tech problem? Give us a call and we’ll take care of the rest.”

          I’m assuming you are wanting to work with people only in Omaha, so find ways to get involved in your community to get the word out. Join the Chamber, talk to small business groups, write an article for your local paper or a small business newsletter, etc. Being active in your community will help you drum up some prospects. Hope this helps!

          • @Laura — Oh, I know that it’s in Chinese to most people. And I know that’s a big problem. Thanks for your suggestions! They are helpful!

            I have a day job, so networking events make it hard but not impossible. I’m not set for Omaha-only clients (my two current clients are not in Omaha) but I’ve found that a lot of small business owners like to meet the people face-to-face. And there is a definite market here for work. Joining the Chamber is something I’ve toyed around with — maybe I’ll do more than toy with it.

            Here is what I’m thinking, even before Laura’s kick in the pants:

            * Take Mark’s suggestion and write at least 2 posts a week on things the majority of the people (i.e. non-nerds) care about. I got a post in the hopper now about Norton’s new “Download Insurance”. In short, it’s a rip-off. If anyone here has suggestions of what you want to hear about from a small-business owner perspective, please let me know.

            * I’m writing a white paper about tracking your web traffic and using Google Analytics. I think it’s important in everyone’s web strategy to know who’s coming to you and what they are looking at, yet business sites don’t even had it install nor use it properly.

            * After the white paper is done, I’m not only going to post it on my site, but also am going to send it out. Not only to a few existing clients but to a few prospects as well. (the local grocery store chain by my house doesn’t even have it installed. I just can’t believe it!).

            Thanks for the honest thoughts and ideas. I appreciate it. keep ‘em coming!

  25. Nona says:

    Just me again…

    With a 12-year background as a CPA and a yoga and meditation teacher, I work with moms and other female solo entrepreneurs to create lives and businesses that they love by helping them~

    * Get clear and focused on what they want in order to create authentic success, on their terms
    * Implement the systems, structures, and practices that support them in a very accessible, personalized way (business plans, time management, systems, etc)
    * Master their mind in order to step forward into their brilliance with grace and ease

    I’m blogging, I’m on twitter, and I’m on Facebook, as well as Savor the Success (an online group for female entrepreneurs) — but I get almost zero response via the online channels. We move a lot for my husband’s job, so I really want to build a location independent business, but right now, the people who tend to come to me are 1. word of mouth or 2. have met me and know me personally.

    So I want to build an online presence and it doesn’t seem to be working. I’m not sure if my message isn’t clear enough or, if I’m talking to the wrong “peeps”.

    Anyway, thanks Pam! Any advice is welcome.

    • Laura Click says:

      Nona – Working with moms is a great niche and I think there are a lot of opportunities online to find business in this area.

      First, think about online communities/Web sites for moms. Chances are there are a lot of women in that space who could use your services. Offer to write an article for those Web sites or contribute to these online forums. This will help create recognition for the people you want to attract.

      There are also tons of mom blogs. Find a few that you like and offer to write a guest post. Perhaps you could even trade blog posts and allow them to write one for your site as well. Commenting on other ‘mompreneur’ blogs will also help you gain some recognition.

      As for social media, spend some time with the Twitter search tool. Since you’re targeting moms, set up some searches for phrases that your target would likely say. Then, follow those folks, join the conversation and communicate with them. Chances are, there will be a natural opportunity for you to mention your services. Here are a couple of examples for using Twitter search:
      http://www.chrisbrogan.com/using-twitter-search-for-business/
      http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog/2010/03/22/7-insanely-useful-ways-to-search-twitter-for-marketing/

      Here’s another great one about how to get more from Twitter: http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog/2009/08/17/5-tips-for-getting-more-from-twitter/

      Also, do you send an e-letter? That would be a great way to communicate with your current clients and drive your referrals a bit. Include a “refer me” or “forward to a friend” in the e-mail to make it easy for people to share the content with others that might be interested.

      These are just a few ideas to get you started. Hope this helps!

      • My experience of creating an online market is that it takes time and consistency. I also do quite a bit of free stuff for folks to get a taste of who I am and what I do. Also, getting on radio shows and community calls for more established communities has been a wonderful source of business for me.

        Finally, Linkedin has been extremely valuable to me and I think that you will find some groups there that are pretty awesome!

        Iyabo

    • Nona,
      I could write a book on what you’ve just described. Been there done that. My UBS used to be that I empower mothers to rediscover what makes them come alive through seminars, workshops and online media. My ideal client was a mother who was in a transition phase of her working life and didn’t know where to begin. As a life coach, if I would guide her through the process of finding a career or business idea that was a fit for her based on skills and abilities she already possesses. This approach didn’t really draw a crowd.
      Why?
      Is it because mothers don’t care about personal development? Absolutely NOT!
      The short version is “Coaching doesn’t sell.” Coaching just isn’t one of the services on the top of a moms list. She may not realize that she needs a coach. She will get that need met in so many other ways before coaching ever comes to mind. When she does finally get around to thinking of coaching, she will view it as a luxury and not a necessity.

      Why?
      I will tell you MY “what I know for sures” about coaching/consulting in the last 18 mos:
      Choose a target market that is already looking for the outcome we offer. (What benefits and results of what you offer?)
      Position your services as essential and not a luxury. (How is my life better with your service than it could ever be without it?)
      Speak their language. (What are the pain points – urgent needs or compelling desires – of your target market?)

      There are many more, but these are the ones that I think have the most significant impact in the least amount of time.

      In terms of clients, I attract emerging or new entrepreneurs who don’t understand the power of marketing their business effectively. Therefore, I’ve chosen a new more specific target market that happens to have many of these types of entrepreneurs. I won’t try to sell them life coaching, although coaching will be the tool that I use to help them get results.
      I would love to connect with you on Twitter (I’m GoodLifeDiva) and share some of the successful coaches I’m learning from. I will be re-branding my coaching business in the next 3 months. Maybe we could stay connected and encourage each other with our progress.

  26. Mark Notess says:

    I’m a user experience consultant focusing on learning technologies. My ideal client is a distance learning program that wants ideas on how to improve their technical platform and instructional design based on the experiences of current students and faculty. Apart from educational institutions, I also enjoy working with educational publishers or companies that build learning technologies. My current marketing “strategy” is mostly word of mouth. I haven’t promoted my consulting practice very actively to date. Ideas welcome!

    • dcpatton says:

      Hi Mark,

      I recommend setting up a blog on Blogger or WordPress for free and crafting an About page which describes your service and credentials. Then periodically write a post about your experiences and ideas. This will get you some traffic to the site and hopefully some leads.

      Are there any user’s groups in your area that you could take part in? Perhaps give a talk at one.

  27. Nona says:

    Hi Pam — thanks so much for doing this. What a great idea!

    @ Susan, what a challenge. My Mom is a therapist and she is mystified and put off by my online coaching practice. I would think that speaking at therapy trainings and schools would likely be a good way to reach your market.

    @Laura — I would think customers that are “raving fans” that recommend you will be your best strategy for staying under the radar. I’m sure you are building that base, already!

    @Janet — I love the specificity of your advice to Elena. Applies well to anyone offering services, I would think.

    @Elena — I agree that conveying how difficult PR is is paramount. As someone who is likely an ideal client, I don’t think I really understand how difficult it is.

  28. Susan says:

    I’m a psychotherapist who utilized content marketing, blog, twitter, ezine’s, etc to build a private practice from 0 clients to full practice with a wait list of 8 weeks.

    The key strategies were: establishing a clear niche, building a practice with solid business strategies, putting customer service front and center, being present online where most people search for health care information, but few therapists are visible.

    Now I am shifting to a coaching/consulting practice where I am teaching other therapists how to start and grow innovative, successful practices: http://bizsavvytherapist.com.

    I need, help getting the word out to a target client that is wary of online and not yet present there in large numbers. People that do find me often become “raving fans” but I currently don’t have enough of them to make a viable living from coaching this group. I’ve worked with a few SEO people I trust who confirm that not many therapists are searching for ideas on marketing and business building, however there are thousands of potential clients searching for mental health care information online. I want to be the one who helps my profession bridge that gap, but first I have to get the word out.

    Open to any and all ideas!

    • Laura Click says:

      Susan – Are there any professional groups in this industry that you could connect with? If so, publishing an article on their Web site or in their newsletter would be a good way to go.

      Also, building a referral program would be helpful for you. Ask your “raving fans” to refer you and offer them some sort of discount or reward for doing so.

      If this group is reluctant to engage online, maybe a printed newsletter would be an option if you could find a list of prospects.

      Hope this helps!

  29. Laura Click says:

    Thanks for doing this, Pam! I know we’ve talked about some of this on our calls, but I thought I’d share to see if others can weigh-in and help me out.

    I’m a marketing consultant who helps businesses develop a marketing strategies to help grow their businesses. More specifically, I help businesses with branding, Web sites, internal communications, community relations, public relations, social media, etc.

    I have a heart for helping non-profits and very small businesses, but that is a difficult market to work with and they rarely have the money to spend. I’ve spent time in this arena, and spent a lot of time spinning my wheels without generating much income.

    That said, I’d really want to work with passionate people, and businesses/organizations that:
    - Want to make a difference and are interested in positive social change
    - Have an innovative service or product
    - Are willing push the envelope and try new things
    - Is focused on quality and positive customer experiences
    - Have a goal/target they are trying to reach
    - Know they need help and are willing to pay to get the help (i.e. they have a budget for this)

    Everything I’ve read says to define your niche, but I’m having trouble to narrowing it down to an industry since I have a wide array of interests and experience (i.e. education, healthcare, technology, non-profit, government).

    My current marketing strategy is VERY limited. I have a blog (http://www.lauraclick.com) and I know I need to spend some time to add a portfolio and more information about my services. I’m also active in social media efforts – Twitter/Facebook.

    I’m a marketing person, so I have no trouble coming up with ideas to market myself. However, I have trouble figuring out how to best market myself and attract new clients without jeopardizing my day job. I need to keep my day job until I’ve built up my business a bit. Given the nature of my day job, I’m limited in my ability to leave to take part in industry organizations/networking events.

    Any ideas? I would love your suggestions on what I can do to define my niche and market myself better in a way that keeps my day job in tact (for now). Thanks!

    • Mark Silver says:

      Hi Laura- The niche thing is such a struggle for so many people- I can empathize! Remember that niche doesn’t have to mean an industry.

      One exercise I would try is to write profiles of typical clients in each of the different industries- actual people, not organizations- the people who will write the checks or make the purchasing decisions.

      And then see what they might have in common- both beliefs/values (psychographics) and demographics.

      Doing an exercise like that can sometimes reveal hidden similarities and threads between seemingly very different people, and then you can find a common language to speak to them.

      And sometimes you discover that, yup, they are different, and you do have to choose to let go of some of your interests in the short term.

      So that’s the other option- to pick one and go for it this year. And then next year add a new niche, once you have some traction in the first one. And then the third year add a third niche. And after five years you’ll be able to connect with a number of different groups.

      And you’ll also have done it slowly, organically, so the solution for reaching different groups will reveal itself over time through experience, instead of you going crazy trying to reach everyone all at once.

    • Charlie Fields says:

      Laura, I like your blog a lot. I think you can do without the category menu at the top. Instead model it after Pam’s with all the pertinent links at the top.

      If I were you, I would take out any mention of your day job. You can let your prospect know about that at the first meeting. Better to make yourself look like marketing consulting is your life. Or if you want to be more transparent, really show how your job experience makes you a great consultant.

      Next, I would look at working with very small businesses/non-profits as BUILDING YOUR PORTFOLIO. And fill your website with that. If I want a marketing consultant, I want to see that they’ve gotten other businesses like mine results. The great thing about you is that you HAVE that full-time job and income, so you can give now as you build your reputation and portfolio. I mean, I’m sure you already have an excellent reputation and portfolio, so in that case all you have to is showcase it.

      You can barter your services for small businesses that can’t pay you in cash, but maybe you want spa treatments or gardening or whatever. Then you can help them get so much business that they eventually WILL be able to pay you. Craigslist has barter listings, and a lot of people want marketing help.

      It seems like you want to be the Out-of-the-Box marketing consultant. You want to work with innovators, people who want to stand out. I’d say get some really crazy business cards (popfotocards?), show lots of awesome “how did she come up with THAT” ideas on your website and other promotional materials.

      My blog rec for you: http://www.hellomynameisscott.com/

      • Laura Click says:

        Charlie,

        Thanks for your kind and generous feedback. I really appreciate it! You’re right – the blog needs some work. My current blog is a template that I purchased and definitely don’t love it. I agree that the categories don’t really help the navigation.

        Since this post, I have come up with a name for my marketing company (Blue Kite Marketing – helping business take flight), so I’m working on making that my home base on the web. I’m going to invest in making it a great site since that will be a cornerstone of what I offer to clients. Most certainly, it will showcase my portfolio and will also integrate my blog. I will still keep lauraclick.com, but I think I will make that be more of a business card page that points to where you can find me online (much like http://chrisguillebeau.com/).

        I have done a barter arrangement with one client and that has worked pretty well. What I want to be careful of is that I don’t spend so much time bartering that I’m not building an income. However, you do make a good point that barter arrangements can help build a portfolio.

        You’re right – I do want to work with innovators. I’ve spent too much time working in environments that do not celebrate creativity and change, so I want to surround myself with those people moving forward. I think given my company name there are some fun creativity possibilities.

        Thanks again for the feedback. I appreciate it! Where can I find on you the web? I’d love to stay in touch!

  30. Yael Grauer says:

    I saw a really cool ad for a therapist once in some feminist magazine. It said something like, “having the same problem over and over again? learn to break the pattern.” They worded it better than that, but I thought it was really great–many readers wouldn’t think of themselves as “needing a therapist” but can certainly relate to recurring issues and want an alternative.

    For lawyers (of a certain stripe), the National Lawyers Guild is great for activist/advocacy type work. Or perhaps volunteering for Legal Aid once in a while. ACLU lawyers have done advocacy-type volunteer workshops at local libraries, so that’s a possibility. Especially if it’s widely publicized (press releases, flyers, the whole deal.)

  31. Hello Pam, this is awesome and I have been following your posts closely.

    I love this form of masterminding!

    OK, My name is Iyabo, after practicing law for 20 years, I am a life strategies coach and I love helping smart, creative people align their creativity with their “life work” and create profitable outcomes.

    My site is at http://www.CoachIyabo.com and where I need help is finding my markets.

    I find that professionals are so secretive about the fact that they are exploring other options for work that the nature of my coaching with them becomes ultra secretive and they do not feel comfortable making referrals. So I question about how to really spread my wings and allow people to know more about my services.

    Would love insight and suggestions!

    Iyabo Asani

    • Laura Click says:

      Iyabo – I have a few thoughts for you. Since you’re background is with the legal field, that appears to be a natural niche for you. There are a lot of studies out there that show attorneys (especially those at big firms) are increasingly unhappy with their jobs. The six-figure income is not worth the 80+ hour work week for many attorneys.

      I happen to work with attorneys every day (and am married to one!). I think it would be natural to attract attorneys by networking with bar associations and other legal groups. I also know that many states have lawyer assistance programs that help lawyers cope with stress, work-life balance, etc. Perhaps you could connect with those groups to see if you could speak at a seminar or offer your service at a discount for bar members. I think creating partnerships with legal groups would be a natural way to market yourself.

      Attorneys can be a difficult group to work with, but since you have that background, I think folks in the legal field will really identify with you.

      My other thought is your Web URL. You have a beautiful name, but it is difficult to spell. Have you given any thought to offering another URL that is a bit easier to remember and spell?

      • Laura Click says:

        Iyabo – I took a closer look at your site and have a few more thoughts, if that’s okay…
        Are you specifically targeting women? Based on the look of your site, I think that women will be most likely gravitate to you. If you want to work with both men and women, you might want to consider changing up the look and feel of your site a bit. I’m not sure many men would identify with the flowers and color scheme.

        I also think it would help to streamline your site a bit. For busy (and perhaps overworked) professionals, they don’t have time to dig through a site to figure out where to buy what you’re offering. Make it easier for people visiting your site to hire you. For instance, one of the tabs on the front page could be “hire me” or “work with Iyabo”. That way, people know where to go immediately to work with you.

        Hope this helps!

        • Thank you so much Laura! I really appreciate the time that you put into this.

          First off, I actually do not “click” very well with lawyers believe it or not. They just do not get coaching and, my precious lawyers, many think it is an opportunity to argue and prove a point. You may be aware of this that lawyers are very unaware of themselves.

          I work best with people that feel they have a “calling” on their lives – to do their “live work.” I experience spectacular success working with such folks. Most of my clients are extremely creative individuals who were trained in very classical professions like medicine and engineering and are getting to midlife and all of a sudden discover that they are not on path for their lives.

          With regards to the name of my site, I have had several reinventions of the name of my site and I finally decided just to go with my name once and for all and sooner rather than later. This is the fourth name of my site as my focused changed. I figure, my focus can change but my name will not. People do get used to my name and overcome the pronunciation. In addition, most of my clients are international, global folks and the name is actually a draw to them. So that was a surprise find to me.

          As far as the colors on my site, I think you are right that it is “girly” and that does not phase me at all considering I discovered my “girly” part when I became a coach as the law had squished it out of me! LOL! I always assumed that most of my readers were women and then I started paying attention to the fact that it was an assumption. I actually have many male readers and clients! Surprise!

          I think the idea to write “work with Iyabo” is genius! I will implement that asap.

          • Hey Iyabo
            I am enrolled in a 6 week workshop for coaches with Rhonda Hess entitled How to Choose and Champion Your Ideal Market. The concerns you mentioned above are covered in this workshop. You could start by reading her blog, as I did. It’s http://www.prosperouscoachblog.com.

            I’ve truly been stretched during this process and I’m building a thriving coaching business. I am GoodLifeDiva on Twitter, if you want to share more ideas or talk through concerns. God’s best to you as you move forward!

        • Nicole says:

          Hi Iyabo, a quick follow-up to Laura’s initial comments. There’s a Legal Marketing Association which could be a good avenue to explore. Not all members are necessarily lawyers, so contacts within that community could help you cross over to other markets. Here’s the URL:
          http://www.legalmarketing.org/

    • Elena Verlee says:

      Iyabo – are you familiar with Alexis Neely? She is also a former lawyer serving lawyers. She does a beautiful job of marketing her services and herself with authenticity and empowerment. Check out her site at http://www.alexisneely.com

  32. Hi Pam – Loved coming here from your Twitter post. Great idea, and love seeing lovely Elena’s first comment. A few thoughts:
    *Many experts, and authors in particular, invest large amounts of money for very meager results. I’ve seen it many times.
    *Position yourself with counter message that the RIGHT pr approach, is not a drain but an affordable pipeline to opportunities (if your approach is affordable?). You take $million- and $billion-level expertise and bring it to small, but high-growth entrepreneurs.
    *Specific idea: Perhaps for online biz people, pitch use of PR as part of online launch campaigns–I think merging closed world of online business with more traditional world of services and products is going to become a more and more important issue. I used some traditional industry pr with my first product and it was definitely helpful, but not at all typical.
    *Emphasize how HARD it is to do your own pitching/pr beyond your tribe and how that expert voice on your behalf can be the right catalyst at the right time.
    *Get some very current wins with handpicked dream clients in fields/markets where you have best relationships, confidence and passion (for initial free 1-2 month period) as a gift/experiment, and use that leverage to tell story of your new focus. (A friend of mine is doing that really well in the area of speaking development.)
    *Love your free offer. I’m heading over to your site.

    j

    • Elena Verlee says:

      Hi Janet – great seeing you here and thanks for your amazing wisdom! You hit the nail on the head about PR being thought of as a drain, rather than a pipeline!

      I conducted a class for authors and you’re right, they told me that there were people charging something like $6000 just for a media list which is really ridiculous. We conduct 2 – 3 month launch campaigns for that price – not just researching media lists, but writing media pitches, press releases and contacting the media for interviews. Yes, it’s still fairly expensive for entrepreneurs, which I suppose is why big companies are typically the ones taking advantage of PR .

      I guess I really believe that the start-ups, new authors and so on are the ones that can benefit the most from being established as an expert or leader in their field. It levels the playing field with the big boys. For many, it may not lead to direct sales right away, although I have seen small companies (including our own) get bought out because of publicity.

      That’s my challenge I suppose – turning a “nice to have” into a “must have” service that my market embraces.

      I’m working with some of my dream clients right now, and hope to share case studies in the future. Thanks again for your great tips!

      • Mark Silver says:

        Hi Elena

        I’m so glad you are taking this on. I think it’s definitely a point of education/case histories, and understanding what the benefits will actually look like.

        Case in point, when I was in a previous career incarnation, as a magazine editor, I ended up on Oprah. Yes, that Oprah. For the full hour. This was back in the 90s. The results our magazine got for that exposure? Zilch. Zero. Nothing. Really.

        And I’ve been interviewed for media in other careers before HoB and seen similarly dismal results.

        So, to sum up, I think it’s the indirect nature of PR that makes it seem a little elusive. I know when I publish a blog post, or send out an email newsletter, or go to a networking event, or what have you, I’m directly connecting with someone who may be interested, and they have an immediate way to respond back to me.

        Media exposure seems so diffuse and indirect… how does it really work to make a measurable difference?

        If you can show me how PR can make a difference with case histories, and help me understand why media mentions fizzle and do nothing, while other media mentions make an impact, then I think a lot more of us small biz owners will listen.

        And believe me, I’m very curious.

        • Elena Verlee says:

          Hi Mark – I’m feeling like Pam’s blog has become a reunion ;-)

          Regarding Oprah, I actually have a chapter in my ebook that says appearing on her show is NOT the lottery ticket most small businesses hope for. I don’t know your exact details, so the generalization I’ll share is that what needs to happen is to tie publicity efforts back into the business goals so it’s not publicity for publicity’s sake.

          For example, if you are a small company, getting covered in your local press will probably generate more SALES than if you get coverage in the next state’s papers. People want to buy from companies that seem nearby or accessible. It’s not as sexy to be in the Topeka Star rather than the Los Angeles Times, but that may actually be better for some businesses.

          Now, if the business is trying to attract venture capitalists or top-notch employees in a very competitive market, or wanting to reach massive exposure or somehow establish CREDIBILITY then getting in the LA Times is a better bet.

          I also find that people tend to take more “action” from print or online media mentions rather than TV or radio. Perhaps because a paper has a longer shelf life (once we see a TV spot it’s over and we usually don’t take notes) and also when we read something online we can click through. So that’s where I usually start clients.

          I’ll work on those case studies for sure! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. I appreciate it!

          Elena

          • A former employer of mine spent a lot of time and energy landing a spot on a national morning program based in NY. Not only did most of the people in their target market not see it, the angle of the program (“oh, those wacky Californians” was actually counterproductive given the marketing message they wanted to communicate.

  33. Elena Verlee says:

    Hi Pam

    It was great to finally connect in person last month at the Wealthy Thought Leader event. As you know, I am passionate about publicity as a way to expand into other markets. I’m going to ask for help, and I’ll also offer help in this comment.

    What I need help on:
    Right now my site’s information http://www.PRinYourPajamas.com is geared towards “entrepreneurs” but I’m getting a glimmer that I’m meant to serve a smaller sector – those entrepreneurs with a BIG message to share. The ones who are bursting with passion, the ones who are meant to change the world with their gifts but for some reason they are not being heard by their market. I want to help them get known, get heard, get talked about through publicity because their impact seriously changes lives.

    In the past I’ve served multi, multi million dollar and billion dollar clients. So, this turnaround is kinda huge for me! (I’ve turned woo-woo!!! Woo hoo!)

    Since I’m in the middle of this shift, I’d love to hear ideas about how I can more easily find my tribe of passionate, gifted entrepreneurs who would be crushed if they didn’t get their message out!

    Publicity also seems like last on the list for entrepreneurs in their marketing, I’m curious why that is so?

    How I can help you:
    If you’re interested in getting publicity, stop by my blog, leave a comment on any post and I’ll send you my $27 ebook, “PR for Newbies” step by step guide for free – check it out at http://www.prinyourpajamas.com/prbook.

    You WILL NOT have to opt-in to my mailing list at all (unless you want to!). I’d just love to hear your thoughts and get to know some of you.

    Looking forward to learning a ton from you all the next couple of weeks!

    Elena

    • Hi Elena,
      I’ve listened to your interviews w/ Lara, the mombizcoach and I’ve also purchased your PR in your pajamas ebook ( I think I purchased it, maybe it was a freebie). Publicity may seem on the surface to be last on my list of marketing, but it’s actually not. I’ve tried with little success for publicity in the past. I believe I have a compelling story, but I haven’t been able to communicate that effectively, yet.

      I tend to be a play-by-the-rules kind of person. If you tell me how to play the game and I still don’t see results, it’s discouraging. I’ve been guilty of getting caught in the “I’m not ready yet” mindset, because of not seeing results with gaining publicity for my business. However, with the help of my own mentor coach I’ve made a shift in my target market and because I’ve taken the time to really learn them and their passions and pain points I believe I will have greater success this time around.

      • Elena Verlee says:

        Hi Kendra

        I can totally relate to that shift. I think getting clear on your market, their pain points and how you can help them is also going to help you in your publicity efforts.

        Why?
        1. Because you will know what magazines to target – those your market is reading.
        2. It will help you create a compelling media pitch – one that will convince the editor that what you are offering is something his readers are looking for. This is crucial. Most people pitch an editor with a resume of what they have accomplished rather than why the readers of his magazine will care about you.
        3. Once you are clear on your vision, you will be more persistent in getting heard. Like any marketing effort, a little persistence pays off to gain some momentum. A lot of us will give up after hearing “no” once. However, when editors say “no” it is just not this time around. Your story can be perfect for the month after.

        Keep it up!

    • Elena Verlee says:

      I forgot to say, if you comment on my blog please let me know you found me through Pam so I know to send you my PR for Newbies ebook! Thanks

Leave a Reply


− 4 = four