by Lori Prosio
After months (or years) of pounding the pavement to finally get your business noticed, it can be easy to neglect those marketing techniques once you earn recognition and a steady client base.
Regardless of how successful or “safe” you feel your business is, don’t get too comfortable. Work harder to ensure it lasts. Keep these things in mind.
Keep telling your story
You know what you do, and you take for granted that your clients know — after all, they hired you. But do they know your whole story?
When clients hire you for a job, they are most likely approaching the hire myopically and seeing only what you’re currently doing for them. Whether it’s a coffee date, a phone call or quick email, use casual opportunities to tout the other services you provide.
You also can easily highlight your capabilities in a quarterly newsletter, e-blast, or across your social media platforms. Did you bring on a new staff member with a set of skills that makes you a stronger team? Flaunt it. Did you win a new project that will diversify your portfolio? Share it.
Making every effort to ensure your clients and partners know the breadth of services you offer increases the chances that you’ll be their first call when something new comes up.
Know your limits
Take it one step further and be a resource for services that you don’t provide. I can’t tell you how often I’ve told my clients and potential clients that while what they needed wasn’t quite in our wheelhouse, I could refer them to someone amazing.
This builds trust with your client, who will respect you for being open about your limitations. It also helps you maintain a solid bond with partners that you refer who are likely to return the favor down the road.
Pitch more business
Even if it feels like you’re at capacity and you can’t possibly take on another project or client, you should still be promoting your company and soliciting more business opportunities.
As small-business owners, we don’t have the luxury of riding the wave of success without doing our fair share of paddling to make sure we stay afloat. Remaining relevant and constantly pursuing new business can ensure long-term profitability and can help the flows support the ebbs.
Taking on new work allows you to grow your business proportionately — in terms of both staff and talent — thus making you more appealing. And while an audible sigh can often be heard when we take on more work, everyone agrees that it’s a good problem to have.
Stay ahead of competition
There are very few industries in which new businesses aren’t popping up all the time with new ad campaigns, marketing materials and appearances at networking events. It’s important to constantly monitor news, business journals and trade publications to know your competition and understand their capabilities, so you can better highlight yours.
Also, keep in mind that the marketing landscape is always changing, so maintain awareness of marketing trends so you don’t seem dated in comparison to others in your industry.
While we don’t have a crystal ball to help us predict what will happen, proactive planning combined with consistent marketing now can provide a solid foundation for ongoing success.
This article originally appeared in the September 18, 2015 edition of the Sacramento Business Journal.