Most business owners feel that they should spend time getting referrals from other professionals, while also marketing directly to potential customers. But that’s not right for small businesses. Marketing to other professionals for referrals or marketing to potential customers is a strategic decision that every small business needs to make. More efficient, profitable marketing means that you need to do one, not both. What’s right for your business?

  1. Define Your Ideal Customer

If you don’t know who is your ideal customer – who is absolutely best for your business – your business is either going under or it will limp along as you fight tooth and nail to keep it afloat. No matter what type of business you run. Before you decide whether to pursue more potential customers or seek more professional referrals, get together with your staff or your business advisors. Together, define who really needs your services and truly values your services and is willing to pay your price.

  1. Identify How Customers Make Decisions

You’ve got to understand how your ideal customers make decisions in order to determine the best way to reach them. The direct approach? Ask a few of your ideal customers how they made the decision to buy your services. Where did they go to gather more information? What – or who – had the most impact on their decision to buy from you instead of buying from your competitor?

  1. Choose Your Approach

We always hear, “but everyone is different!” Well, everyone is different. However, your ideal customers tend to seek information and make decisions in similar ways. If your customers tend to talk to their peers, or conduct their own research before making a decision to buy services like yours, market to more potential customers. If your customers ask a professional or a trusted advisor for a recommendation, focus on getting more professional referrals.

That’s the first step to determining what kind of marketing will work better for your business. To figure out where to go from there, look here – or just call us.

July 31, 2013