PublisherSol Minion Developmenthttps: Marketing salessmall business

Marketing products and marketing services each require two very different approaches. In the former, your customers get something tangible that they can hold in their hands and evaluate quantitatively. The latter is more subjective and your customers must rely on qualitative criteria to determine if they will give you a good or bad review. When it comes to services, people buy from people they like. Seeing your face plastered on a billboard or in an ad on a Web site, email, or newspaper isn't going to have as much sway with them. Which brings me to this headline and the fact that the first rule is to just show up.

I stumbled across an interesting article a while back about growing a business with the power of "offline" relationships. You might be snickering about some Web developer telling you to step away from your computer and go out for some human contact, but how else can you grow a business if you aren't meeting people. Certainly, companies need a Web site and down the road they might even need custom applications for either a Web or mobile platform to provide better service to your customers. Social media does act as an icebreaker (if you're consistent with content), but online can only get you so far and it's certainly more important to have it as a means of validation for the client you just had coffee with.

When I first launched Sol Minion Development, I evaluated networking groups and after getting some advice, I joined the Tempe Chamber of Commerce rather than one of the networking groups I'd visited. I discovered that I really could get the biggest bang for my marketing buck and as a solo business owner I had limited budget. I struggled that first year while I tried to figure out exactly what I do and what made me stand out from the dozens of other Web developers in the Valley. I stuck with it and worked hard. More than that, I got involved, even chairing a committee my second year.

After some stumbling, some learning, some tweaks, and ultimately learning a great deal from a fantastic business advisor I met through the Chamber, I grew to become not just a company, but an employer. All because I "showed up". Marketing with a great Web site, killer Web apps, and a stunning mobile app is wonderful, but people need to see you when it's all about the service. Remember to consider your audience and whether you're selling a service or a product. Each requires a different approach, but both require you to show up.