Swearingen Communications Insights

Fresh ideas, seasoned perspectives, and solid marketing strategies to keep you grounded and growing.


5 Rules of Engagement for Today’s Marketer

This is the age of empowered consumers.  They can find you, critique you, and compare you with your competitors 24/7.  As a service provider, how are you adapting? Are you hiding out, or actively engaging with this dynamic business shift? If you haven’t begun the engagement process, here are a few tips to help you get started.

“Do no harm” is my number one rule for both traditional and Web 2.0 marketing.  Doing nothing is preferable to doing something poorly or worse, blowing the client’s confidence.  Developing a well-conceived plan is the best defense.  Your engagement  should center around your clients’ needs and building stronger relationships. It’s not a campaign about you.

Second, invest time in clarifying your personal brand. What makes you different?  Whom do you serve?  What are you passionate about? Is your style formal, informal, serious, or playful? Develop your brand voice, then let it permeate across every channel, from LinkedIn and blogs to expert articles and snail mail.

Third, listen and explore. Go online and see what others are doing and saying. Set up Google Alerts on subjects that interest you. If you don’t have one, set up a Twitter account.  Follow the conversations. Twitter made me crazy until I finally plunged in and started exploring.  You’ll be amazed at the depth of resources at your fingertips.  Everyday I benefit from valuable information shared by those I follow.  You can too.

Fourth, decide your level of commitment and engagement. Marketing, and especially Social Media, can consume a ton of time. It’s recommended that service professionals  invest at least 10 percent of the work week on business development, no matter how busy.  At the very least, create and maintain a robust LinkedIn profile. It’s free.  There are more than 80 million professionals on LinkedIn.  Set up a system for staying in touch with your clients and referral sources, and stick to it.  Like exercise, a modest effort is better than no effort at all.

Finally, be authentic and not self-serving.  Share your professional knowledge with honesty and humility.  Social Media is not the place to solicit work or promote yourself.  This is the age of two-way conversations.  More and more, those conversations are being initiated by empowered consumers.