Last week I had a couple of blog readers comment that they felt they would benefit from a detailed description of each of the items on the checklist of materials for a successful word-of-mouth campaign. Thank you to Betsy Maniotis and Adam Erstelle for taking the time to send in their feedback and I’m more than happy to comply with their requests for the list below.
1) Testimonial letters from satisfied clients–Testimonials are one of the most effective ways to showcase the quality of the products or services you provide. You can keep hard copies in a binder, or you can post them to your website. If you have a LinkedIn profile, you can ask the clients in your network to “recommend” you.
2) Photos of yourself, your office facilities, equipment, and/or products–A professional photo, or headshot, is important for promotional opportunities and for your social media profiles. Photos of your office or business operation and products help to legitimize your business and gain credibility.
3) Logos of your key customers–You can put these on your website to show the type of clients you have successfully served.
4) A list of your memberships and affiliations–This is very helpful when you meet someone for the first time — it’s a great way to see if you have mutual acquaintances or business associates. It may also lead to an introduction to someone in one of your organizations to whom you have been hoping to be introduced.
5) Question-and-answer sheets–One of the quickest ways to learn about a person’s business as a networker — and for him to learn about yours — is to make the initial meeting as organized as possible. A sheet with questions that you can each ask each other can ensure you don’t forget to find out the most important information about each other’s businesses, the information that could lead to a referral the quickest!
6) Photos of awards and certificates you and your staff have earned–These items can rank almost as high on the credibility factor as testimonials.
7) Articles you have published, or in which you’re mentioned–Writing articles (or being professionally mentioned in them) is a great way to become known as an expert in your field — and people like to know they are working with experts.
8) A one-page flier–You should have a brief overview of your business ready to pass along at all times — both a hard copy to fax and an electronic copy to e-mail — in case you meet someone while networking who wants to quickly pass along your information to a prospective client she knows.
9) New-product or service announcements or press releases–As you network, make sure the people who might potentially hire you — or refer others to you — are immediately informed when you offer new products or services, or if you are expanding you operations geographically, or of any other achievements that might help further establish you. The best way to do this is through press releases and announcements. In addition to submitting these to news outlets, you can also hand these out at meetings, or you can post them on your website and on your social media accounts.
10) Current brochures, circulars, and data sheets, and product catalogs–This may seem like a no-brainer, but quite often I’ve noticed that business owners are too busy running their business and neglect their collateral materials. If you hand out a brochure that doesn’t list your most recent offerings, you could miss a chance of earning the business of someone looking for just these offerings.
11) Items that reflect your “brand”–These items go a long way in building the consistency and recognition of your brand: Logos, trademarks, service marks, patterns, designs you’ve used, posters, banners, and display materials used at trade shows.
12) Items that help you explain your business to your network–These can include: your annual report, capability statement and prospectus; your motto, mission statement or service pledge; or even a written history of your company. You can also use information from newsletters or news-type publications, survey results (from surveys created and compiled by you or by others in your industry), presentation notes or slides (including audio or video), advertisements you’ve run, or audio or video presentations.
13) Client or customer proposals, bid sheets, or marketing letters you have written to existing clients–Keeping this information top-of-mind will come in very handy if you are at a networking event and have the opportunity to talk to a prospective client in depth. The prospect may have a specific need that is similar in scope to jobs you have already bid on, and having the ability to quickly refer back to previously-completed proposals may give you an edge with the prospect.
14) Articles on trends affecting your target market–Keeping up with issues and news items that are important to people helps you to be able to target your conversation and, subsequently, your products and services more directly to your prospects whom you want to turn into clients.
Remember, this is not a complete list of items needed to market your business. The items in this list are focused on enhancing your networking activities which will lead to greater word of mouth and referrals.