I have to admit that I'm in a quandary over how best to market my services. As with most very small companies, people who know me tend to come back and use my services - I've been working with the same design agency now for almost 15 years and my most lucrative client has used me for more than a decade.
But it's not safe to rely on these guys coming back month in and month out with new and interesting projects - changes in their business may well lead to me falling out of favour in time.
Whenever business has been quiet, I've looked to market the skills I offer and the services I provide to organisations I'd like to work with or for. That has always worked better than waiting for responses to an ad on a page or people just happening to reach my website.
I'm not one for cold calling - how often will people look to buy services from an organisational communication professional as the result of a phone call? Sometimes I'll write a letter or fire off an e-mail - but rarely to a cold lead. Our kind of business is built on close working relationships, so that has to be some kind of connection for me to even think about proactively contacting someone who hasn't used my business before. So, I'll keep a regular eye out for who's moved where and will also work the network - getting back on the radar of people I've enjoyed working with in the past.
Many of the letters and e-mails prompt little or no response - not necessarily a bad thing as I'm not into heavy selling - but may just prick a memory bubble that could lead to a conversation or even a piece of work further down the line. But a few do prompt a good response and it's gratifying to know that people want to work with Leapfrog again - even if they may not have anything immediate.
But the most useful tool for me in marketing Leapfrog is personal relationships - getting out and meeting my peers and colleagues and sharing those subjects of mutual interest. Tonight I'm off to a seminar on blogs, wikis and the other new technology tools at our disposal. I'm there to learn, but also to market myself.
At the other end of the scale, I'm looking at ad opportunities and making more of my website. However, I've yet to really divine what value they bring other than shoring up my presence within my comms niche.
There may be a better way still of promoting Leapfrog's services - I'm certainly still looking.