Is it ok to have a favourite client? Of course it is.

There are some people you naturally love working with.  They appreciate you.  They pay on time.  They even pay more.
And then there are the clients that you loathe.  You cringe when they call.  If you see them in the mall, you bury your face and hide in some clothes.

What if we told you that you could have more of your favourite clients and eliminate the ones you don’t like?  Does it sound too good to be true?

It’s not.

There’s a way to set up your business so you can enjoy a steady stream of clients that you really love working with.

First, while different companies' marketing strategies are completely different, the best practices for developing those strategies remain consistent.

Second, without facilitation, all three would have finished their planning process ignoring the same three best practices, all claiming that the practices "make sense but don't apply to us because we're different."

What were the best practices that were all rejected by the companies?  Is it possible that your company is ignoring them as well? Because of a lack of understanding or improper application, someone, somewhere has incorrectly concluded that a marketing best practice is not a best practice for you?

Let's take a closer look at how small businesses tend to break certain marketing golden rules in their haste to finish the marketing plan.

1. Start With Who

If you try to reach everyone, you’re at risk of reaching nobody.

Your business can have several targets, but the messaging should be different for each because the needs of each will be different.
Getting this foundation step is critical.  If you fail to get specific about your ideal customer at first, you will pay for it for the duration of your business.  Everything will become more complicated.

Here are four consequences of being what Zig Ziglar used to call a “wandering generality”:

  1. Your marketing will be diluted because you won’t be able to speak directly to an avatar
  2. Your sales strategy will suffer because you won’t know who or where to target your efforts.

  3. You processes will suffer because you won’t be able to automate your steps since you’re reinventing the wheel so often.
  4. You will feel spread thin like jam over too much toast.  You’ll be spread out as a company that tries to do everything but isn’t great at anything.

Let’s make sure none of those things happen.  So let me ask: Who would you say is your Who?

Here are some questions that will get you started on identifying and getting clarity on your Who:

  • Who are your favorite people to help?

  • What’s the coolest outcome you’ve achieved for someone?
  • Who are your best success stories?

  • Who do you like working with?
Who gives you the most money to do it?

2. Create A Plan To Reach Your Favourite Kind Of Clients

An aligned marketing plan outlines the company's objectives and the tactics that will be used to achieve those objectives.  It establishes who is responsible for what task and how success will be measured.  If the expected results do not materialize, a good plan will include backup plans.

Many businesses begin with specific objectives in mind, only to become distracted by the latest and greatest tools.  Their strategies become disjointed from their objectives.  They talk about buying the latest relationship management software upgrade or logo redesign as their fixation on the need for "new" marketing tools grows, without considering whether those actions are aligned with the goals they set up in the first place.

What marketing objectives do you have in mind?  How many potential customers are you attempting to entice?  Is the brochure aimed at new customers who haven't heard of you before, or at existing customers who aren't aware of a new service?  Who is the target audience for your website, and how can it best serve them?

Who is in charge of marketing in your company, and are they properly trained?  How will you know if your efforts were fruitful... The list of inquiries is extensive.

The more specific the marketing objectives are, the more specific the strategies can be, right down to the processes and procedures that will achieve those objectives.

3. Track Your Progress

Why do so many mid-sized businesses believe that marketing efforts are impossible to track?
Part of the problem is that people don't set goals in the first place, so they can't reverse engineer the measurement.  Or perhaps they were told it couldn't be measured and decided to believe it so they wouldn't have to. Or they know they should, but they don't know how and haven't made finding a solution a top priority.

Measuring marketing efforts is possible and recommended. Get assistance if you can't figure out how to measure it.  Why spend money on marketing if you can't see a clear result?

What gets measured gets managed, and without measurement, it's impossible to know what marketing resources should be allocated and whether they've outperformed expectations, fallen short, or are somewhere in the middle.  A company that is unable to measure its performance is doomed to repeat its mistakes and fall further behind its competitors.  Your company, on the other hand, will not make the same error. Because you now know better, you will perform better.

What Are The Next Steps?

Knowing what to do is one part of the equation. Getting people to do it is the other.  Changing the attitudes, beliefs, and actions of the employees in your organization is no easy task but it is a task worth the investment.