Some business owners attract clients and customers like magic. They do not cold call or rely on advertising. Yet they're regularly featured in newspapers and magazines and get invited to speak at conferences. Everyone knows their name, and they get all the business they can handle. It's almost as though they were FAMOUS.
THE SLIGHTLY FAMOUS YOU
In fact, they are, but not in the way movie stars and athletes are famous -- they're just slightly famous. Just famous enough to make their names come to mind when people are looking for a particular product or service. They get MORE business -- not only more, but the right KIND of business -- and they don't have to work so hard to get it. Want to join them? You can, but it may require a new way of thinking and a new marketing strategy.
TARGETING THE BEST PROSPECTS
Slightly famous entrepreneurs FOCUS their marketing to target the best prospects. Alex Fisenko started his first espresso shop in the 1960s. Since then, he's focused his energies and now sells his EXPERTISE on launching a successful coffee business to aspiring entrepreneurs. Alex conducts coffee shop seminars and sells a training course called "Espresso Business Success." "By targeting the best prospects, I now make more money through book sales and consultations than when I ran coffee shops," says Fisenko.
DEVELOPING A UNIQUE MARKET NICHE
Small businesses with a "slightly famous" strategy establish themselves within a carefully selected market niche that they can realistically hope to DOMINATE. Dan Poynter, for example, is a successful self-publisher who started writing books about parachuting and hang-gliding over thirty years ago. He knew his MARKET and where to find them. Rather than try to fight for attention in general bookstores, he sold books to skydiving clubs, parachute dealers, and the United States Parachute Association. He developed a reputation in skydiving circles, and has enjoyed steady sales of his books for more than three decades.
POSITIONING YOUR BUSINESS AS THE BEST SOLUTION
Positioning is about identifying a key ATTRIBUTE of your company not offered by competitors and that is clearly valuable to your target market. When Harry Shepherd started his bookkeeping service a few years ago, he mastered a popular accounting program and marketed himself as a "QuickBooks Software Training Consultant." He charged higher fees, and he did not have to work as hard to get new clients. Word spread fast among accountants as they REFERRED him to their clients.
MAINTAINING YOUR VISIBILITY
To become "slightly" famous, you need to have your message out there, if not CONTINUOUSLY, then often enough to keep your name alive in customers' minds. When Bart Baggett decided to make handwriting analysis his career, he studied the media to find out what types of guests were in DEMAND, and then looked for ways to TIE his professional abilities to specific media. At the height of the Simpson trial, he sent out a news release about Simpson's handwriting that resulted in several timely media interviews. He later appeared on Court Television to discuss Timothy McVey's handwriting, and was recommended by the director of that program to Cable News Network.
ENHANCING YOUR CREDIBILITY
The surest way to earn credibility is by establishing yourself as a recognized EXPERT. Fred Tibbitts, Jr. founded his company to help food and beverage companies reach global markets. He strategically cultivated a REPUTATION in his industry as a well-connected and knowledgeable global beverage-marketing expert who is fluent in all the details of his business. Tibbitts monitors global beverage trends on a daily basis, stays in contact with account managers at hotels and restaurants, hosts a series of special events in key markets, and contributes a column to numerous industry publications.
ESTABLISHING YOUR BRAND AND REPUTATION
Slightly famous entrepreneurs use their smallness and SPECIALTY in ways that corporate giants can't touch. They make sure their brands strike an emotional chord by bringing their business "soul" to the forefront of their marketing. When you meet Dave Hirschkop at a trade show, don't expect to shake his hand. That's because he'll be wearing a straitjacket while standing before a simulated insane asylum to promote his popular line of "Insanity" hot sauces. Now, Dave's products step to the front of the crowded hot sauce category because he embraced a humorous BRANDING strategy that resulted in fiercely loyal customers and great media exposure.
INTO THE LIMELIGHT
Expertise lifts you from anonymity, positions you as the AUTHORITY in your field and helps you stand out from the crowd. Small business experts Paul and Sarah Edwards note that cultivating an expert reputation means cultivating "top of the mind" awareness for your business among your target market. Experts are sought after, get more business with less effort and command higher fees. They also possess credibility that makes it easier to sell themselves. Experts also leverage their reputations and spread outward in new DIRECTIONS, packaging their expertise into articles, books, speeches, seminars and workshops and information products.
Publishing articles, columns and books are powerful techniques to establish your expertise. Publishing PRE-SELLS others of your abilities and exposes you to thousands of prospects. Thousands of business, trade and internet publications covering every imaginable industry and audience are fairly easy to break into, even for beginners. Kimberly Stansell says publishing created tremendous name RECOGNITION for Research Done Write, her Los Angeles-based consulting and training firm. Her syndicated column "Bootstrapper's Success Secrets" appears in dozens of entrepreneurial publications, association newsletters and business web sites.
FIND A PODIUM
If you have a good TOPIC that is relevant to their membership, most organizations will be happy to hear from you. When Robert Middleton moved his marketing consulting practice to Palo Alto, California years ago, he had to develop strategies to generate new clients. He contacted local chambers of commerce, business groups, and organizations likely to be interested in his three-hour marketing WORKSHOP. Within months, Middleton not only had plenty of clients but also made a name for himself in Silicon Valley as a marketing expert for professional firms.
VIRTUALIZE YOUR EXPERTISE
Have you noticed that many high paid, respected professionals publish INFORMATION materials? You can establish expertise, generate additional income and develop a compelling brand identity by developing books, booklets, e-books, audiocassettes, special reports and other information products based on what you already know. Success breeds success. Your goal is to create a SYNERGY between your products, services, and reputation so that each compliments the others. Send information products to prospects. Use them for "back of the room" sales at speeches and workshops. Boost your profile by promoting products in articles, press releases, and at networking events and trade shows. Also, list your products in the catalogues and directories of trade associations, book clubs and business groups.
KEEP IT GOING
Investors know that the best returns go to those who are PATIENT. Not every article, speech or workshop or information product will make your phone ring off the hook. But, if you are consistent, you will develop an expert reputation that will help you land new clients and customers and make your business a recognized and reputable name in your marketplace.
Steven Van Yoder is the author of "Get Slightly Famous: Become a Celebrity in Your Field and Attract More Business with Less Effort". Visit his website at www.getslightlyfamous.com.
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