A key marketing technique is showing people that you have something they need, and being on their minds when they realize they need it.
When you find ways to repeatedly get in front of potential customers repeatedly, you will be on their minds when they need what you offer. You can accomplish this by becoming a resource for customers, media, others in related fields, and even your competitors. Here are some ways to do so:
Create a useful web site. Include a discussion board, links, articles, and useful tools. Make your site a place people want to return to time and time again. A real estate agent could list service providers needed by homeowners, such as painters, roofers, handymen and others. This would attract both people who are planning to put their houses on the market (and need to fix them up) as well as homeowners who may one day need a Realtor to list and sell their homes.
Let the media know about your expertise, and that you are available as a source. Send an email or letter to editors and producers listing the topics on which you can comment, and your qualifications as an expert. This helps them by giving them access to information they need, and you, by giving you media exposure. If they call you looking for a source about a related topic, give them names of qualified people. You’ll score points with the media and the people to whom you referred them.
Have a network to which you can refer customers for products and services you don’t provide. If one of your customers has a need you can’t fill, but you can recommend someone who can, you’ve found a way to keep that customer coming back to you. You have done something good for both the customer and the person who got their business.
The same thing goes for suppliers. Do you know where to find products your customers need? Either become a supplier of those products, or tell customers where they can get them. Publish a directory of resources. It doesn’t have to be fancy—a trifold brochure will work.
Start a speakers bureau. Become a resource for meeting planners by maintaining a list of speakers available for free speeches. It can be as simple as a page on your Web site or a small booklet or brochure listing people and topics. Speakers may be members of your professional association, your employees and associates, and others in your network.
Get to know others in your field. If you are not in direct competition (e.g., you are targeting different markets with similar products or services) there may be times when you can help them or they can help you. For example, providing back up during vacations or especially busy times, or making referrals of customers who are a better fit with the other business.
Being a resource is about sharing your knowledge to help others get what they want. In doing so, you get what you want: a positive reputation as a helpful expert, leading to more business.