Avoiding the rollercoaster 🎢

Posted by Derek Mason

28th February 2024

Picture credit: Campaign Creators on Unsplash

After nearly 13 years in business, growing from one structural engineer (me) in my garden office at home, to a team of 8 in our Twickenham offices, I’ve learnt a great deal along the way. Every so often I like to share some of what I’ve learnt, especially when economic conditions are a little bumpy. So let’s look at an element of marketing where I see a lot of freelancers, consultants and small businesses going wrong.

One of the biggest mistakes people make in marketing, is to zoom in on individual tactics without doing the foundational marketing work required. You’ll see people who’ve said, for example, “We need to be on LinkedIn”. So they start posting on LinkedIn in a scattergun way, without investing a little time and thought into preparation.

This is a bit like attempting to build an extension without plans or drawings, and without digging the foundations deep enough. We know people might do it if they can get away with it, but it’s not the most effective or sustainable way to approach a project!

Most business owners have been there – putting an individual tactic ahead of creating a proper marketing plan – but there’s a better way.

Here is one of the marketing principles we follow at Super Structures Associates, which mean we’ve got a clear strategy to follow before we throw our energy and resources into a new medium or method for attracting clients:

Market > Message > Media

This phrase, “Market, message, media” underpins the way we think about marketing. It’s a guideline to remind you of the order in which to approach things.

1. Market

First you need to define your market. Who are your customers? And who are the people you can partner with, who can put you in touch with more of those customers?

2. Message

What do you need to say to your customers, to make them confident to work with you? What do they need to know? What language do you need to use? Do you need to dial down the complex language of your profession and use words that make sense to your customers? Do you need to educate some of your potential customers, so they know how to choose the best person for the job? How will you demonstrate that you’re good at what you do?

3. Media

Once you’ve covered the above points – you know who you’re speaking to, how to talk to them and what they need to know – now you can focus on the media or method of reaching your potential customers or partners. Where do they spend their time? Are there online “watercoolers” where they hang out, such as specific forums or social media channels? Are there in-person events where you can interact with them? Are there publications it makes sense for you to be featured in, podcast interviews you could give, or awards you could enter to get attention?

This foundational work does take a bit of time and might involve asking some of your customers how they found you and what made them choose you. But it’s well worth investing time in this, as it means the marketing you’re doing is much more likely to be effective. Which beats spending time on things that don’t bring in more clients.

Another key principle is that of continuous marketing. Even when you’re very busy, make time for marketing. It’s the best way to prevent having a rollercoaster year. Of course, we can’t stop outside forces from making things a little bumpy, but we can do our bit to keep the enquiries flowing.

If you have any questions about this, let me know. I’m always happy to talk about the way we run Super Structures Associates, and what we’re doing to grow the business. And if you need assistance with the structural elements of an upcoming project, please do get in touch.



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