Filling the pipeline through marketing is not magic. It’s the measurable result of sustained outreach! Marketing is not rocket science. In many ways, it is an intuitive process that is constantly in need of a “reality check” from the numbers (ultimately of dollars) it generates. Your outreach is successful not because someone says you have a beautiful brochure or a great website, etc. Marketing is successful when it brings in paying clients.
Filling the Pipeline Through Effective Outreach
The pipeline metaphor is useful in understanding marketing. “Pipeline” suggests “in one end” and “out the other”; it captures the sense of flow from possibility to realization; it also suggests a process taking place—a process you must understand and learn to control if you are to generate paying clients.
The number of people who go on to become paying clients is much smaller, of course than the number who inquire. People at the inquiry stage are either suspects or prospects. You need lots of both in order to have enough people who move on to the paying client stage of your pipeline.
Filling the pipeline can take years. That’s right: YEARS. (It’s daunting but true: an “overnight success” is often years in the making.) How do you fill your pipeline and keep it flowing? You do this through your marketing outreach.
Don’t let the simplicity of this truth escape you: paying clients won’t find you unless you do the work to make yourself known! It’s not because your service or product is great that people find you. It’s because you publicize your work through effective outreach!
There are several layers of outreach. One is general outreach: at this level, your goal is to create awareness. At your best, you do this on a continuous and consistent basis.
General outreach includes the profile article in the local newspaper, your participation on a panel at the library, your pertinent letters to the editor, listings of your schedules in calendars of events, networking at a business breakfast, putting up (and maintaining) a website. Together these add up to informing the public of your services. Awareness of your services begins to build. While general outreach does not contain a call to action, it often leads to inquiries. When people contact you as a result of your general outreach, they enter your pipeline.
Specific outreach includes all the publicity you undertake for specific events. The press release on your fall workshop series is one example and so is the article in your e-newsletter announcing your new coaching program.
The only way to make sure your pipeline is full is consistently to do general and specific outreach. As simple as that—and as difficult.