Any advice on prospecting for a startup internet marketing company?
I've just launched my company, Fluid Trends Marketing. I recently quit my job of 8.5+ yrs to develop my business. It's starting to be a bit of a shock becoming a full time freelance entrepreneur- any tips for making the adjustment?
So far we've launched our website (http://fluidtrendsmarketing.com/), filed to be an LLC, acquired an EIN, and opened a business bank account. We're still in the process of finishing all applicable business licenses and setting up payroll.
Currently it's my goal to acquire new clients. I've learned part of our target market is baby boomers who have successful companies, but don't have a web presence yet. Another idea we've had is to target hackerspaces/tech startup labs in order to partner with companies that can offer consistent client referrals. The ultimate goal is to acquire clients / partners that open the door for recurring future business coming our way.
Beyond that any advice for prospecting? I'd like to develop a solid strategy for prospecting online and in person via networking events.
Additionally, I'd like to take steps to further assert my own professionalism in the sense of being recognized a legitimate business.
I personally have skills with SEO, Marketing, Analytics, Design (Print/Web), and Image Editting. I'm also working with partners who have skills with content writing, photography, and filming videos. It's our goal to provide businesses with a full scale solution
Any tips that could be provided will be greatly appreciated! Please let me know if you'd like any more information.
Thank you in advance,
Sounds like you have a lot of the basics covered. The hardest part for me when I started my own company was consistantly getting clients. You already made some great points about pairing with people that are in the same industry but not in the same field. That is how I got off the ground too. What really lead to me breaking out was joining and speaking at Chamber of Commerce meetings and Associations and trade shows.
Anywhere there is a large group of people gather, i set up a table and get talking. Internet Marketing is so intimidating to most business owners so being able to speak to a large number of them at one time really helps them see that they are in the same boat as everyone else.
Hi Scott... you do see the irony of your question don't you? You've started a marketing business and your asking for advice on how to market your business.
I want to be a doctor - I have a website and a surgery room. Can someone give me advice on how to open up my patient without killing them?
Scott, I can hear you flipping your finger at me already ;-) and calling me a jerk-face or some other colourful four letter explicative.
You have two choices...
1 - go get your job back. Clearly you have no clue what you're doing. How the hell are you going to help me market my business if you can't market your own? Quit. Go get your job back!! (Okay Vince, you're crossing the line)
2 - Go for it. Battle it out and make it happen! Because buddy, I feel for you. I quit my job, just like you... I burnt the budge (no turning back) and went for it just like you. True story. That was almost two years ago and life is great now. So ya, I get what you're saying, I've walked in your shoes.
First question... and be real with yourself, no lying... how long can you tread water? In other words, how much money do you have in the bank or line of credit before you go broke and can't pay your rent/mortgage, car, cell and internet connection... oh, and buy food?
Be real with yourself Scott, how much runway do you have left... because the reality is, no customer, no profit, no business... go get a job and try again in a year.
If you know the answer... then next question.
2.. Why are you doing this? Why does your business exist? What human problems do you solve? Because people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. If you can't clearly articulate why your'e in business... you're in for a rough ride. You'll rely on discounts and promotions to "convince" a customer to buy. Not sustainable.
If you don't know what I mean, watch this TED Talk by Simon Sinek. Best marketing education there is: http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action
3. Do you have a marketing process for yourself? Clearly you don't because that's the very nature of your question. So no. You're going to suffer... Best advice, go buy these two books - 1) Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port, he'll give you six key strategies to create awareness - Speaking, Writing, Web, Direct Outreach, Referrals and Networking. Within each strategy is a number of sub-strategies.... pick three in total and go do those three. Ie: I don't cable in Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin... I DOMINATE on Linkedin only. 2) Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk - he gives you some very actionable actives to do, all low cost.
4. Sales Process and New Client Meeting agenda. Do you have These? A clear step by step process (I coach 7 steps) and a clear step by step meeting agenda (I coach 7) so that you have the highest probability of earning a client at the end of the consultation. No? You're going to starve... sorry pal. Marking is great but if you can't convert prospects into clients... quit. Get a job.
If you're still reading and not super P.O. at me... good. If you are PO'd, that's likely good too because you're at least passionate about what it is you want to do.
Some of you reading this may think I'm being harsh. I'm not. I'm being real. You must learn to attract and convert. Period. You can last a long time eating PP&J sandwiches, get a roommate to help with the rent... but you still have to come up with cash to pay for your ride, phone and internet connection...
I can't offer any more advice until I know that you know and have the answers to those first questions. Any advice beyond that would pointless. "Teach me where to hunt deer!" ... if you don't know how and/or can't load the rifle and pull the trigger, knowing where to hunt deer isn't going to help you. If you can't attract and convert, then it doesn't matter if you know who your target market is or not.
Scott - If I'm you, I want people to be honest with me, not give me niceties... I may not have sounded nice but I was real.
IF you're willing, you can reach out and connect with me through MosaicHUB, email me, we can go from there. I will give you 45 minutes of my time, for free - no fee and no pitch. I will give you my 7 step sales process and 7 step new client meeting agenda. From there, you're on your own.
Or, you can tell yourself I was mean and hurt your feelings... ;-) I've been where you're at, did what you've done.
PS: I'm sure there are a few spelling and grammar mistakes. Oops. You can be a spelling nazi or you can be a business owner who's profitable and living life on your terms... in the beginning, you can't be both ;-)
baby boomers is extremely large target so I have no clue how you can target that. The idea to offer services with tech startups is quite good.
Try to connect with HUBs and incubators/accelerators, if you have enough knowledge / time become a part of tutoring/mentoring network.
Offer packages for members (print/web/mobile/video/animation). Startup sites/landing pages are usually a bootstrap theme copy-paste with a lot of general marketing nonsense and nice graphics without any actual meaning; creation of animation / video presentation is clumsy if they do it by themselves.
Go for startups that are not based on a web/mobile solutions, but for startups that want to deliver some tangible product/offline service, as they have greater need for your support in the future (they are lacking your knowledge). Of course if you can jump in the web/mobile startup, why not :)
Luckily for you startups are taught by their mentors to seek professional help where they lack expertise/knowledge, and you can have nice reference list from them.
Bad thing is that many of startups fail to start, so there can be a lot of dead references :) But that's life :) (in other words, keep snapshots of your work, not just links to the sites, because they might become non-existent).
took a quick look at your website via Chrome, that attempt to "fix" the header is annoying. Did you have someone carefully look over this website in all the common browsers + mobile?
Another suggestion, to build up your portfolio would be to offer your services to local agencies as a supplemental resource. Just make sure you are able to claim some credit for your portfolio, as part of the agreement.
Well done and Congratulations. Just remember that sales and soft sales skills are very important as people buy people, not products. The baby boomer market is also a good market as these people don't necessarily have the skills that Gen X and Gen Y have around computer and web stuff. Prospecting - get focused on who you are and what your offer is and the value you bring to your clients. Then target the client in terms of gender, age, business, industry sector and be really specific about who you want to deal with in terms of $$$ and the the solutions you can provide. Make a list of people you want to deal with, research them, and then start calling. Be very clear on what you are going to say on the phone. People are time poor and only want to know one thing WIIFM whats in it for me. address that with the KISS principle Keep it simple and also understand and address the objections you may come across up front.
Good luck in your journey.
Determine your ideal customer and understand where they hang out (in person, online or other community). If you truly understand your business model, then the fundamental activities will include you messaging to your customer segment what pains you relieve, what gains you provide & what work you do for them with a focus on benefits. This means that you need to provide value in each interaction and then ask for a sale. You might find more information that specifically addresses the startup process at:
http://theleanstartup.com (I facilitate a Lean Startup Circle and we cover some amazing ground - including this topic all the time)
http://startupbusinesscatalyst.com - this is my own website that has relevant and practical tools to help you (all for free). Sorry for the shameless plug - you just happen to be asking the same question that most of my clients ask and I got tired of answering them all singularly.
The shock of running your own show is not easy to overcome. For starters, you left a position in an organization. Is there part of what you were doing there you can continue to do--but for a fee? Many start ups I've coached get through the first six months to a year by doing so. You and your colleagues should first look at that.
It seems, just from how you presented this information that neither you or your colleagues have ever been involved in business development. That is a recipe for disaster. Every successful consultancy, regardless of type must have a principal charged with the responsibility of finding business. One of you must step up to that job. Following that, you need to polish your networking skills, pick an industry or segment and become an expert. Go to the industry meetings. Talk to the people that can give you business and/or introduce you to the people who can. Build a contact database and begin approaching the folks that can connect you with both your defined ideal prospect and the individuals that influence large groups of your key targets.
Find out what their problems are and develop solutions. Be sure to build in the analytics that allow you to prove what you do works. Get hard headed about it. If he goal is more sales, prove you did it. If the need is to shorten a clients sales cycle, confirm that you have. Every customer wants it faster, cheaper and better. Be prepared to prove you can do it.
Take a look at the video on the Workshops page of my speaking site: www.NetworkingNinja.com for a point that could prove invaluable to you. jAnd feel free to contact me if I can be of further help.
I may not be as experienced as much as others in this blog, however I know from my own experience that building strong relationships with team is a key for any start up to kick off. You need to define what roles and responsibilities you and your partners have within the company, legitimate your business relationships (shareholder's agreement, employment). It would be much easier later on when company starts gaining market share and receiving a positive cash flow. Otherwise things might get a little bit hectic when it comes to new partnerships with external bodies or any unexpected turns.
Narrowly define your target, only one for now until you get some work, some references and cash flow.
Then define your ideal client using a good demographic profile (age, locations, male or female, etc.). Sounds like you have started that already, but you probably need to go a bit deeper.
Then determine the biggest problem that you can solve for them, how your solution solves it and the benefit your prospect will get from working with you. That becomes your marketing outline. Use the Marketing Equation to further break it down into the four components.
Hi Scott. . .
Well, sounds like some terrific 'old-school' thoughts need to come your way.
Plain and simple: TELEMARKETING! And I do not mean the 'Customer Service'
level of phone work. . I am talking about a sophisticated, easily conveyed message via the PHONE to establish rapport and gather enough information to follow up via any electronic means that enhances (and demonstrates!) what your Firm has to offer. An excellent, professionally designed Phone Script, a person
(preferably a woman) with a superior phone presence, and superb factfinding
skills-----the rest will fall into place. Just be sure you pick 3 of your strongest
Business attributes to consider offering a potential Client. Plus, Scott, focus on
your strongest potential target market at the onset. " Who best needs what we do?" Glad to share more specifics, if you wish to engage. Good luck!
We all tend to hard sell our product/ service to our prospects- in a competitive enironment, it becomes imperative to build relationships with the prospect. The prospects buys t a large extent because he trusts you , not the product or the service- focus on relationship building- be patient
For every small and large business,...,you need business plan so following my suggested plan please fill it and start the business.
Business Plan by Sageer Ahmed
(0) Market re-search………………………….why?
(1) Market re-search……………………………what?
(2) Market re-search…………………………..How?
(3) Title or name …with respect to name, with respect to business, with respect to location, with respect to era.
(4) Motto…with respect to business.
(7) Mission Statement.
(8) Vision Statement.
(9) Location……with respect to positive and negative aspects.
(11)Finance……..Fix and Running.
(12)Finance Management……with feasibility report in the form of chart.
(14)Business Flow…with the help of flow chart.
(15)Mathematical Model of Production…with cost estimation method.
(16)Promotion Strategy ……..with Probability or regression model.
(17)Risk factor…with your weak points (S (strengths) W (weaknesses) O (opportunities) T (threats) Analysis).
(18)Role of Technology.
Hello Scott , You have done the major part of your business , You have to target your market segment to get new clients by exploring your services , by advertising to attract new clients ,It sounds that you only need to know your competitors So that you know how to introduce your internet services , study the cost of your operation ,make strong offers to attract new clients automatically the No of your clients will increase gradually .
the best advice I can give you is:
1) benchmark similar companies so you can compare their prices so you can figure out watch to charge customers.
2) if you're opening an office, make sure you are in a good location with no parking issues.
3) with webpage, make sure it catches the consumers' eyes.
4) always have good customer service and customer satisfaction.
5) advertise your company in unique ways so it draws in customers.
Starting internet marketing company is extremely easy .
Market your business on the internet and get clients !
I wish it was that easy , i also made the same mistake when i started my online marketing business , but then i had alot of funding to keep me running , i remember getting my first client after 7 months , TIll that time i had paid over 50000$ and was not going to give up .
Now i am on track and i know the in and outs of the business .
would recommend you to keep updated with the industry , ask your current clients if an for recommendations and testimonials . and run PPC campaigns .
This is the simplest , most straight forward answer anyone can give you .
Contact me if you want any help ,