What is Marketing: Marketing engages lots of people lightly: For example:
Getting a billboard
Having a commercial on a TV show
Putting an ad on LinkedIn
Does marketing align with what you need: Right now you DON’T need to engage a lot of people a little, you need to engage a few people deeply
You likely identified 10-20 people in your customer and partner contacts analysis
You need to build deep, trust based relationships with them that lead to a purchase or teaming
Is marketing a good time investment: If you are busy and hoping to win your first contract ASAP marketing is probably a bad use of time.
Who should marketing NOW
If you wont start your business for a couple years: If you are waiting a couple years to start your business (e.g. you are waiting till you retire from the military) but want to start planning and preparing now:
Well done, very few people do this but the ones that do tend to be very successful.
Creating and executing a marketing plan is a great way to build your business while you are waiting to start
You want to provide a product or service but your credibility/experience is thin: We recommend offering products and services where you already have a lot of experience. But if your experience is thin and you want to enhance your credibility then considering creating and publishing content.
You want a “Trojan Horse” to engage customers and partners: Potential customers and partners are good at telling new vendors “no.” But if you ask to interview them for an article you are writing they are more likely to say “yes.”
If you’re going to market we recommend “Content Marketing”
What is content marketing: Content marketing is a style of marketing where you create and publish content on your topic
Kinds of content: The short answer is that it can be any content that your target audience will read. But commonly it is:
Short articles on a topic of interest
Research and analysis
Why we like content marketing:
It validates and builds your credibility
It can be as long or short as you want
It gives you an excuse to interview potential customers and partners
It keeps you current on your industry
Where to post your content: Anywhere your target audience will see it, but typically:
Mailing lists of people you know
Groups and associations you are a part of
Making time to create
Add to your pipeline: If you are using FedScout we recommend adding content ideas to your pipeline
Manage creation: FedScout will:
Break content creation into steps
Add those steps to your task manager
Prompt you to stay on track
Rants and Reflections
My unscripted thoughts after coaching hundreds of small government contractors over the last 10 years
For most of you marketing is probably a bad use of time, but for a few of you it's critical, so in this exercise we're going to see if you should market your business, and if so add marketing tasks to the work plan.
So first, when we say marketing we're referring to any wide reaching market engagement, such as buying a billboard, or ads on LinkedIn, or posting an article you wrote on social media. And the basic problem with marketing is that you don’t really care about reaching a large audience, instead you're trying to build relationships with maybe twenty people, so buying an ad in the hopes that one of those twenty people sees it's probably a bad idea.
But if you do decide to market, we recommend that you do inbound or content marketing, which pretty much means that you write about your services and industry and then post those articles and blogs on social media. We talk more about why we believe in content marketing below but we like it because:
It's basically free
It helps you practice writing about your topic, which is great prep for writing proposals
And even though you'll post the articles and blogs in a public forum you can direct them towards the people you're trying to meet.
And as we said, we think that marketing is a poor use of time for most new government contractors but that it’s critical if:
You're interested in providing a product or service that you're passionate about but that you don’t have a lot of experience with, then content marketing is a great way to grow your credibility.
Or You're a year or two away from starting a business, for example you're waiting till you retire from the military, and you want to do something that will really help you when you do start your company then writing, podcasting, or otherwise building a library of content and an audience is a great way to invest in your success now.
Or you love to write, then start writing about your Initial Primary Offering
If you decide that marketing is important for you then see the class on content creation below and click the Content button to add those tasks to your work plan.
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