Looking at The Marketing Pie


Marketing is an essential part of any business (and some say marketing should be the main focus of the business owner) but there are many different pieces to it to consider as well. Play to your strengths or to the ones that will produce you the most results.

One way to look at marketing is as a pie of different slices of activities. It’s impossible to do every part of the pie at once, but if you take on tasks for one or two pieces at a time and slowly build up to the others, you will build yourself a successful marketing system.

The Marketing Pie - Free Offers, Networking, Unpaid Sales Force, Staying in Touch
Part 1 of The Marketing Pie - Free Offers, Networking, Unpaid Sales Force, Staying in Touch

The different elements of the marketing pie include:

Irresistible Free Offers

These offers are both compelling and relevant to your target market; their purpose is to help you build your list so that you can further market to them slowly over time.

Not everyone who visits your site or talks to you is ready to purchase immediately, but by slowly drip feeding information to them you can build your relationship with them, create a reputation as an expert or up sell them on other offer. Free offers can also be used as Call to Actions or Opt-In Forms. A Call to Action offers defined instruction of how the visitor should interact with your website. Common phrases are: “Click Here”, “Download Now”, Register Today”. Each phrase should create a sense of urgency and specific action that the user should take. Every page on your website should have a Call to Action.

Irresistible free offers are a way to build your expert reputation, offer value and collect contact details to build a list for future marketing and sales efforts. The ultimate goal is to build your List.

Items that can be used as a free offer are

  • Free Report
  • White paper
  • CD
  • Checklist
  • E-course
  • Webinar
  • Guidelines
  • Case Study


Networking is about making connections and building relationships.

You should never go to a networking event with the intention of selling your services, instead, focus on learning how you can help others. One popular phrase is “How can I help you move your business forward.” Networking is just the beginning of building a relationship and should be seen as a long-term activity. People do business with people they know, like and trust.

After a networking event, you should follow up with a call or email to connect and schedule an individual coffee meeting (or one-on-one)

Some styles of networking recommend meeting as many people as possible in a room in order to connect those who are looking for each other and be seen in a favorable light. Rather than spending the networking meeting socializing, they recommend that you save the getting to know someone for later and just meet as many people as possible. You then follow up with a one-on-one to learn more about that person in order to connect them with others who need their services or with those they are looking for.

Some examples of networking groups

  • Networking Groups: BNI, B2B Groups
  • Business Associations
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Industry Associations

Unpaid Sales Force

Every business should have an unpaid sales force in place (no, not slave labor). Unpaid sales people are power partners, clients, networking partners and others in your social circle that send referrals and new clients your way.

Power partners are people who work with your target market but offer different services. You become the perfect partner to refer business to each other and to bring the other business in on your projects. It is a symbiotic relationship.

Clients who are very happy to work with you and love your services can be leveraged as well. Happy clients are willing to give rave (glowing) reviews of your services. Make sure to collect these testimonials and utilize them in your marketing material, on your website and on different online review sites – Yelp, Google+ Local, etc.

A person of influence or center of influence is someone who has a large network of potential clients that you want to reach. He or she may be an expert in your field, someone who is well respected in your local community, or just have a large list of ideal client. You can work with them in an affiliate relationship where the center of influence promotes your products or services to their list, or on a more personal basis by teaming up with them. A person of influence will help spread your reach to his or her own circles as well.

Social Media / Stay-In-Touch Marketing

Stay in touch marketing comes into effect once you have already connected with a potential client. As I mentioned with the irresistible offer, you want to continue to build your reputation with your leads by offering valuable advice, tips and updates and encourage them to take action by offering special deals. Social media is also a type of Stay-In-Touch marketing because you are sending out constant streams of updates and interacting with your audience through different formats.

Examples of Stay-In-Touch Marketing

  • E-newsletters
  • Blogging
  • Social Media
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Yelp
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram

This is part one of a two part blog on The Marketing Pie. Watch next week for part 2, covering:

  • Speaking
  • Online Marketing
  • Teleclasses & Workshop
  • Articles

Not sure what marketing is? Learn more about The Difference Between Sales and Marketing.

What is your favorite part of the marketing pie? Do you think this is a good analogy?

Using Referrals to Grow Your Business

Understanding A Referral System

Referrers to your company are often called your unpaid sales force; they work to promote your business because they love what you do and value your services – all without expecting any sort of compensation. Any business should be working to maximize the leverage they receive through their referral network.

Your referral network can include clients, power partners, networking group members, friends, family, neighbors, associates, past co-workers, essentially anyone who knows you and recommends your services or products to others.

The providing of a referral can be done directly, in a conversation, an email, a passing of your business card, or it can be offered indirectly through public review sites such as Yelp, Google+ Local, Angie’s List and more.

Referrals are essential to every business because they help build up your reputation before the prospect has even met you. A referral is also called a warm lead, because they are a potential customer who has shown interest in your products or services, but has also already received a positive review that has given your business credibility or at least a headstart against the competition.

This leads into another topic that I will have to discuss later…how do you ensure that you get referrals? Delivering outstanding customer service, under-promising and over-delivering, are just a few ways to ensure that you have raving (happy) fans and a strong customer support base.

Referral Marketing Handout

Below are some examples of free and inexpensive advertising methods, created by Elizabeth Rupp, of Office Spots.

Free Advertising Methods:

  • Posting on www.craigslist.org
  • Facebook Fan Page
  • LinkedIn
  • Cold Calls
  • Cold Emails
  • Newsletters

Inexpensive Advertising Methods:

  • Networking (Chambers, Ind Groups)
  • Tradeshow Booths
  • Promotional Items (ie Pens, Mugs, etc)

Definition of ‘Referral’

A person or business steered to a business by an existing customer. For example, a person who needs repair work on a vehicle is referred to a particular mechanic by a satisfied customer of the mechanic.


Definition of ‘Sales Lead’

A prospective consumer of a product or service that is created when an individual or business shows interest and provides his or her contact information. Businesses gain access to sales leads through advertising, trade shows, direct mailings and other marketing efforts. They can also purchase sales leads from third-party companies. A sales lead is not a sales prospect, meaning that further qualification of the lead is necessary to determine intent and interest.


Definition of ‘Power Partner’

Power Partners are people who can easily refer to you because:

  • They believe in you and your product or service
  • They have a ready made referral (customer) pool to refer from
  • They are willing to share their power partners with you
  • They have a desire to be of service
  • They also want to receive referrals
  • They understand the power of networking
  • They understand the value of word of mouth advertising
  • They are willing to make a personal and business commitment to you.


I’d love to hear your thoughts. Up until now I’ve received almost all of my clients and business through referrals. How do you receive your business – do you advertise or is it all word of mouth? Do you ask for referrals? Do you tell other people what an ideal referral for you would be?

Marketing For Referrals and How To Get More Clients Easily

I just came from a lunch networking meeting with other local businesswomen and the question we discussed was:

How do you market to get referrals? What strategies do you use and what works?

There are a wide variety of businesses and industries in our networking gourp but there were several overall themes that came out of it:

  • Contact and connection – out of sight is out of mind, be active in the community
  • Fantastic service – provide outstanding service and stand behind what you do
  • Ask – people don’t think of it on their own, so be sure to ask for referrals

My response to this was, use metrics and to make sure you have regular contact explaining what you do – in depth.

Use Metrics

As with marketing or anything else you do, you can’t track something if you aren’t paying attention to it. (Off topic: a lot of motivational speakers say that what you focus your time on is what you receive, so focus on the positive. Focus on referrals and you will start to receive more referrals, focus on tracking your income and your income will increase, etc). I found a wonderful free mind mapping website called Mind Meister that lets you create mind maps that are easy and fun. The problem with paper mind maps is that you run out of space, but this program adjusts and makes more room!

This is several months out of date, the Networking and Website sections have greatly expanded.

When I created my mind map, I made a list of all my clients and then worked backwards as to how I had first become in contact with them. I also wrote down all the networking groups I went to regularly and made a list of those who had inquired as well as those who became customers. What I created was a clear visualization of where my clients were coming from…my customers, friends and family.

This showed me that not only do my services speak for themselves, my clients are confident recommending me to others. It also shows that it is about the relationships and whom you know that counts. Networking is about meeting others and learning to know, like and trust each other but at the same time I have trouble explaining what I do to a large crowd or an individual in 30 seconds – 2 minutes. It is the long-term relationships I build that really count, and are what matter to me!

Regular and Meaningful Contact

For some, this is going to the same networking events over a long period of time, seeing the same people, participating in events in the same community. One way that I use this is to develop a monthly newsletter where I send out a brief personal company update of what we are doing and also include an article that relates to my business’ area of expertise: marketing, design, web and print. We offer complete range of services, but breaking it down into smaller pieces helps people understand it better.

Each month I choose a topic that I feel may be of interest to my customers, friends, networking groups, etc and discuss it. Not only does this hopefully answer some questions that may be confusing others, it helps clarify some of the problems I can solve and some of the services I offer.

In this newsletter, I also include a thank you section for anyone who has sent me referrals and link to their website as well.  This ties into the idea, make others aware that you would like referrals to help build your business.

How To Market To Referrals

Here are a few other notes that came out of our meeting:

  • Relationship building – For some it’s networking events and face to face contact, for others it’s constant contact through email and social media
  • Referral based – Many businesses are referral based through clients, make sure to show that you appreciate them through hand written and thought out ‘thank you’ notes.
  • Testimonials and reviews are great as a validation source, but it is the referrals and face to face contact that really make a difference
  • Networking is very important, as the saying goes “out of sight, out of mind”.
  • Maximize Networking – To maximize a networking event, go into it with a plan in mind, a focus or goal as to what you want to achieve rather than to just socialize. Make others aware of what you are looking for by being very specific in the clients or projects you need.
  • Be available – invite people to your space.
  • Repetition Become a household name; be visible and reputable and active in the community.
  • Just ask for referrals “I’m building my business, do you have anyone who could use my services, do you have any one you could refer to me?”
  • Like attracts like If you have good clients, ask them for referrals as their friends and connections are probably like them – ‘birds of a feather flock together’
  • Power Partners Strengthen connections with people you often work with who target the same clients, you may work together on projects and they will otherwise see your work and refer you to mutual clients.
  • Trust It all boils down to trust. A referral reflects on the person who makes the connection so they want to know that they can trust you to deliver and follow through.
  • Online company videos A video will help introduce your company and services in just a few minutes. Referrals feel like they already know you and understand what you do.
  • Thank You Write a thank you and ask for a referral on each invoice. Let clients know how much you appreciate them as well.

One particular example, a travel agent writes thank you notes to her clients so that upon their return, they straight away see a handwritten note from her showing her appreciation of their trust to plan their ideal vacation. It is a nice little ‘welcome home’ card as well.

Marketing can seem scary and intimidating when you look at a list of names or unfamiliar faces but you can also start close to home and look at ways of marketing to your referral sources and those who will help you generate warm leads.