We’re well into the fourth quarter of 2010, and while you’re working away to close the year strong, it’s not too early to start thinking about how you’ll attack 2011.
Here are 21 ideas to give you a spark (in no particular order):
- Make a plan. (As basic as it sounds, how many of us have been guilty of just “winging it”?)
- Launch an e-learning program. Virtually everyone you speak to during the year is a potential enrollee, as are your book buyers, website visitors, and others. You could even offer customized programs for individual client organizations as add-ons to your keynotes.
- Target new, largely untapped (by you) sectors or industries. Maybe there’s a particular market you’ve always felt you could help, or maybe you’ve had great success with a few companies in a certain industry. Develop and launch a campaign with maximum relevance for those prospects.
- Think about how you can educate prospective clients about what you can offer and how you can help them instead of just how you can “advertise” to them — a subtle, but significant shift.
- Update and/or enhance your website. Make it a more valuable resource for visitors (of all sorts, from consumers, to planners, to executives) and load it with content that will improve your search ranking for your most desired search terms.
- Start (or overhaul) your e-newsletter. Consistently sharing valuable content with prospective clients and customers is a great way to cultivate business.
- Write more articles and submit them to key publications. Don’t forget you can recycle (and update) past articles, have portions of your keynote(s) transcribed, or hire a ghostwriter — the important thing is to get your content “out there.”
- Seek out partnership opportunities with key entities/organizations. There are organizations who either already have access to the markets you want to reach, and likewise, there are organizations who want to reach the markets you have access to — get creative and create win-win initiatives.
- Lower the barrier to entry for prospective clients and customers. What options do you currently have for someone to buy from you, book you, or hire you? Offer some valuable resources for free to get people in the door. Instead of offering just a keynote, would offering virtual programs like webinars make you more accessible to certain clients? Obviously you want the “big sale,” but you’ll lose a number of the prospective “big sale” customers if you don’t offer intermediate options.
- Create content that attracts interest and establishes credibility. Articles and e-newsletters are examples, but what else could you offer? A podcast? E-books? Webinars? Great content is great marketing!
- Create a viral video. You may have heard of “The Time Movie” — that simple little video has been seen over four million times since it debuted in 2003. What would happen if 4,000,000 people were introduced to you?!
- Start (and regularly update) a blog. (This is another application of #10 above.) For improved efficiency, you can use your blog content to put your e-newsletter on autopilot.
- Collect more email addresses (from your website visitors, event attendees, book readers, everyone!) and market appropriate products, services and solutions to them.
- Do an inventory of your business assets (contacts, relationships, content, marketing materials, etc.) and look for untapped opportunities to leverage them. For example, do you have quality content that’s currently collecting dust? There’s material for your e-learning program, blog, newsletter, articles, and more. (See how so much of this ties together?)
- Define your goals. This is not to be confused with #1 — “Make a plan.” You make a plan to achieve your goals. It’s hard to plan if you don’t know where you want to go!
- License your content to associate speakers, coaches or trainers. To me, a successful speaking business is one in which you maximize your reach and maximize your revenue (and specifically, your profits). It’s hard (actually, impossible) to do that if you don’t involve others.
- Send note cards or greeting cards to contacts to show appreciation and stay top of mind. With overloaded inboxes and mailboxes full of unwanted advertisements, personal notes go a long way. Send a free card right now.
- Team up with complementary (not competing speakers) on a marketing campaign. This is a great way to maximize your investment and boost the effectiveness of a campaign.
- Engage with a coach, consultant or mentor to help you reach new heights. If there’s a ceiling or obstacle you haven’t been able to break through yet, a coach who can challenge you, teach you and inspire you may be the missing ingredient.
- Create a consistent follow-up plan with existing leads, past clients, etc. These “warm” leads are among the most fruitful — especially if you come to them with new content or new offerings to consider.
- Outsource as much of the above as possible. Of course you’ll want to be involved, and there are some things that you just have to do yourself. But I’ve learned the hard way that one of the most dangerous traps for entrepreneurs and small business owners is the “I can do it all” or “I want to do it all” mentality. Look for opportunities to delegate marketing and support tasks and watch productivity and results — and your happiness — skyrocket. (Speaking of outsourcing, we might be able to help… check out our new service offerings!)
Which of these ideas do you like best? Have any you’d like to add? What are your big plans for 2011? Leave a comment below!