With a little effort, you can put a plan in place that will empower your firm to work with the types of clients you want on the types of projects you want to pursue.
2022 is right around the corner. It doesn’t seem possible, but it will be here before we know it. Have you sat down with your team to work on your strategic marketing plan for next year? What about for the next two to five years? There is no better time to do so than right now. You might ask why it’s so important to have a strategic marketing plan, especially when the market is ever changing. Wasn’t it ever changing before the pandemic? Yes – just not as quickly.
Putting together a strategic marketing plan guides your firm in the type of work you want to pursue and the types of clients with whom you want to partner. Knowing these things will allow you to focus your marketing efforts in the right places. It’s better to be a specialist versus a generalist. You wouldn’t go to a general practitioner if you were having heart issues. You’d go see a cardiologist.
If you identify the type of clients you want to partner with, you’ll know where you need to spend your marketing dollars. You can ask your current clients how they found out about you, and that will show you where to spend your time and money. Through this research, you’ll know you are reaching the types of clients you want to work with. The answers are often across the board which is why you must market your firm in several different ways (social media, digital advertising, trade shows, publications). Market research is an important component to your strategy. It needs to be done at least once a year, especially with your clients.
Once you determine where your clients look for your services, then you can build out your marketing plan with specific tactics. Typically, clients look at your website and social media. These mediums of your business must be updated and consistent with your brand and message. You should update your website at a minimum once a quarter, but ideally monthly. As a design or construction professional, you are completing successful projects at least once a month that should be highlighted on your website and social media.
Campaigns should be set up to reach your prospects, and digital is a great place to start. This is an inexpensive way to reach your target audience, because most in the design industry don’t use this medium to market their business. You can also track the results and see what’s really working.
Industry associations and conferences are also a great place to connect with clients and prospects. Submit to provide a presentation or create a panel to moderate. You want to be viewed as the industry expert, and educating your prospects in this way helps communicate that message.
Relationships. Relationships. Relationships. Our business is all about relationships, so continue to strengthen those throughout your marketing and business development plan. That may mean taking someone out to lunch, playing golf, or just checking in on them quarterly to see how they are doing both personally and professionally.
Marketing is all about consistency. Whatever you do, you must be consistent in your efforts. When you think you are tired of your marketing message, your prospects are just now realizing and paying attention. Marketing isn’t an overnight success. It takes hard work, dedication, and time. But it’s well worth the effort. Those design and construction firms that invest in marketing see higher profit margins than those that don’t. Having a plan in place allows you to share with your team what expectations you have of them in their roles as it pertains to marketing. It gives you guidance on where and how you spend your marketing dollars. It’s always good to continually evaluate where you are spending time and money on marketing, but you also must be consistent. Walking that fine line is always a challenge. You are up for the challenge though!
Take some time to sit down and put your marketing plan together for 2022. You’ll thank yourself early next year for doing so.
Lindsay Young is president and founder of nu marketing. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.