Now that we have all realized that we’re going to be in this situation for a while, you may also be starting to realize that the way you used to get business is no longer going to be possible.
For example, there are not going to be any industry events to attend in person for quite some time, nor will there be networking breakfasts or happy hours, speaker series, speaking opportunities (in person, that is) or even business club meetings if you were members of in-person business groups. Alumni events, school socials, soccer field sidelines, hockey rink seats – all places where previously you might have talked about business – – – they’re all on pause for quite some time.
And as far as I can tell, that leaves business owners with three ways to get new business in the era of Covid-19.
Approach Number One – Referral Marketing
There is no better way to get new business. A referral-based marketing strategy is the most affordable and most likely to succeed of the strategies because prospects generally already come to you with a strong recommendation and a desire to buy. But while it may be affordable, it does take time and thoughtfulness.
So take the time to think about how you would develop this, how you would say ‘thank you’ to the connectors in your network, and how you can create a weekly process for connecting with those who might refer work to you.
(By the way, if you don’t know where to start, we have a framework for this! Check out our table of contents for all our frameworks and reach out if you’d like access!)
Approach Number Two – Respond to Proposals
This one is my least favorite of the three – because unless you know that you have a good chance of winning a proposal, responding to proposals immediately invites a lot of other competition and can push you to a lower price point. However it does mean that you’re not wasting your time – because there is work to be won! The best strategy for this approach is to respond to proposals in areas where you are already pre-qualified, such as certified women owned set-aside RFPs.
Approach Number Three – Digital Advertising
As I mentioned to someone this week, very soon everyone will realize that digital advertising is one of the only ways to advertise in this new Covid era. Most people are not going to be advertising in traditional places – bus stops, sponsoring events, magazines, even school directory advertising will be down. So that leaves digital advertising – on Google, social media, and other search engines. Make sure you do your homework, find someone who can help you track and analyze results, and shop around. There are many freelancers suddenly available and on the market, but not all talent is created equal!
In our Peer Groups we will be discussing marketing implementation strategies for 2021, so if you are a woman owned business and you want to join a peer group with whom to work through some of these choices, you may want to consider joining a group to help you work on that!