Updated: Nov 18
One of my frustrations when it comes to marketing is that so many people claim they have the one answer to marketing, for all people, for all types of businesses, the answer is .....
Of course, in reality, marketing is about you, your business, your ideal clients and the best way for you to connect with those people. As mediators you have a further problem that people only need you at a very specific point in time. Perhaps a family lawyer can resell other products at them like Wills or conveyancing but you only have this one thing, mediations, that they only need at one time, when they are separating.
You need to be clear in your message
The major mistake that I see in most marketing is too much information, too many things going on. I was thinking about it recently when my husband and I were looking at buying a fan and he started reading me the copy for the fan that he was looking at. I said, you know what has happened there? The product department has railroaded the marketing department because they quite rightly believe that there are some really great features.
The problem is that in marketing people don't want an immediate download of all of the information. If they want all of the information they will go looking for it.
In marketing you need to make your point simply and clearly. For instance here is a snippet from the Dyson page, and bear in mind that Dyson are the most expensive product so they must have some great features.
This is not confusing, I can see the difference between the two main products at a glance, and I have the option to dive into more information if I want to. The image is doing a really good job of communicating, quickly, why I would want to buy this, and the copy is quickly and simply highlighting some (but not all) features.
The fan that we were looking at mentioned half a dozen different features, different pricing options, and photos of all of the other product options. Now sure we ended up buying it but we had received a personal recommendation for the product and we went to the site only to buy the product. Your marketing probably is not aiming at people who simply want to spend money with you. Your marketing is probably aimed at people who haven't yet decided to use you, or who are not yet separated and don't yet need you.
I want to start with a definition. Marketing does not mean social media. That is not what we are covering here.
Social media might be part of your marketing strategy but it is not marketing.
The most useful definition I found for marketing for the purpose of this blog post was - "Marketing is profitably using the results of studying short term and long term needs of those who can pay for a one-time, or in most cases, a steady flow of service or product placement. " I probably should have chosen a simpler definition, but I think that definition suits the point that I am trying to make. It is not an obscure definition by the way, I am citing Wikipedia.
It is a bit convoluted though so let's break it down a little.
Of those who can pay - Of those who will pay
Okay I added that second bit (of those who will pay) but I think it is a point that needs emphasis. Who might use your service? In the case of mediators you have a very specific type of person who will use your service, either family lawyers, or self-represented parties who are going through a separation. There is no point marketing to people who sure, can afford your service, but are unlikely to ever use it.
You might have lots of engaged and active followers but if you are not reaching these people then you are not actually marketing.
Using the results of studying short term and long term needs
This part of the definition is important for a few reasons. You need data, you need a target market, and you don't simply come up with one marketing strategy, once.
It is important that you are using the results of your study. Your business is unique, don't let anyone else tell you what your ideal clients want or need.
Look at your own business, your own data. The handout will step you through how to do that.
Once you have collected the data you then need to do the second step, define your target market. You cannot know the short and long term needs of everybody. You need to narrow your scope so that you can understand what they want and need.
People mostly think about themselves, they are not reading your content out of the goodness of their hearts, they are looking to get something out of it.
While it isn't as obvious in the definition, you don't do this once. You will do this again in three or six months. People change. Their needs change. Marketing techniques change and the way that people communicate also changes. Sometimes family law changes and that creates a different dynamic for mediations which impacts your ideal client, and therefore your marketing strategy. Sometimes you trial something that in theory is great, but does not work in practice. Sometimes you discover that something you gave very little thought to was wildly successful.
You need to revisit the data, which feeds into the first part of that marketing definition.
You are not creating a marketing plan to be well-liked, to be popular, to have more followers than your competitor, or even to have a wider potential audience. At the end of the day your marketing has to drive dollars to your business.
This is why Step 3 above (revisiting the data) is important. You need to keep looking at what is working and then refining your approach. Even the best, most expensive and most effective marketing plans are refined over time.
Now a big part of that is sales, and while there is some cross over between sales and marketing I want to say to you for now that sales is the pointy end of this process, marketing is finding the right audience and then starting the conversation with that audience so that you then have permission to sell to them.
So for today we are talking about marketing, who will use your service, who can afford your service, who is your target audience, and how will you reach them.
That is all lovely, but ....
Okay that is great, but what does it all mean.
Read on as I spell out the steps that are required for setting up your strategy, and also sign up below for the checklist that I have created.
Your first step is target market, how to define your target market. You can read about that here.
If you want to get my worksheet that steps you through the above steps, and then helps you to come up with a strategy based upon the data that you collect then please complete your details below. My worksheet includes how to market if your clients are coming to you through Facebook, Instagram, Google, an existing email list or business referrers (so B2B). It also includes steps you through questions to help you to properly identify with specificity your target market, and then their needs and wants, and then some prompts to help you to keep your marketing on message and directed to those needs and wants.