Before You Invest in Marketing, Think About How Else To Leverage Your Business

I built a website for a client who owns and runs a beautiful farm in the Hudson Valley. She sells produce, boards horses, and breeds goats. I typically start off projects with clients with an overview of their business, with the goal of clarifying their goals so that I can map out their business strategy. With this client, I posed a key question — whether one of her barns was available for rent by would-be brides and companies seeking a more interesting venue for their annual events. These ideas had crossed her mind before, but now that she had to figure out what she wanted her website to promote, it became essential to think about the actual specific revenue streams of her business model.

I’m no McKinsey consultant, but I do know small business.

To me, a business doesn’t “do” marketing simply by jumping into social media advertising, blogging or sales events. The larger picture counts because with the wrong strategic focus, you can lose precious time and money and gain little traction in generating prospects for your business.

Back to my client with the farm … I recommended that she start with group tours on her farm, as the income would be immediate, the capital outlay almost nil, and with a new website and a fairly active social media presence, this seemed the most viable option to focus on. The problem? Insurance. But that too was easily fixed when I found and introduced her to a broker who specialized in farms. He was able to create an umbrella policy for her farm that would also include coverage for group tours, and later, event space rentals.

In short, she could proceed to market these offerings on her website, thereby opening up new sources of revenue.

In time, I also located a highly respected and well-connected family-owned caterer, who would also add value to her farm’s own brand when it came to offering an all-inclusive package for individuals and businesses looking for a seamless and quality experience in event space use. I am a strong believer in co-branding where the fit is good, and a real symbiosis has room to emerge.

My point is this: when you are paying someone to build your website, or take on parts of your marketing, consider first the other ways you might to maximize your assets.

Assets aren’t only physical assets, but can also extend to your own talents or unique strengths. For law firms, it may sometimes be a shift in focus. For example, an estate planning attorney may wish to focus his practice on the straightforward process of setting up Legal Guardianship for children, where clients who sign up will naturally segue into becoming candidates for more complex estate planning. If you’re an immigration attorney who deals primarily with Removal Proceedings (deportation) , it may make sense to partner with criminal law attorneys as removals are often complicated by criminal histories or charges. Even in creative fields, one can find ways to exploit and market one’s other abilities (e.g. a painter who also teaches music can use his website to showcase his art, but in his bio, highlight his experience in teaching music).

So if you do nothing else, do this: take the time to really think about your strengths and assets, and plan and market to them. You may be surprised by what you discover in untapped opportunities and strategic leverage.

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