Create an advisory board
With all the wonderful marketing ideas that exist –one of the easiest things you can do is form an advisory board. This board can be comprised of a mix of your own clients and business colleagues. They should be people whose advice you trust and whose judgment is respected in the business community. It can be any size that is efficient for you – and members can rotate off and new ones selected annually or at a time frame you decide is best for you.
Whether you meet periodically over dinner, or informally at your own office, there are many wonderful advantages to having access to consistent advice from a group that represents your targeted audience.
• You learn first hand what your clients most value and what services are really relevant
• You get an insider’s perspective on industry trends and challenges
• You will have access to business intelligence from people you respect that you might otherwise never tap into
• You can craft a more effective, targeted marketing message to address the real needs of the community you are serving
• You have a platform that encourages ongoing interaction with your best and brightest clients and referral sources
There are benefits to the participants as well.
First of all, they have the opportunity to share their ideas with you. As clients and friends, they will be happy to help your firm in such a meaningful, measurable way. Secondly, they have a unique chance to meet with other community leaders as well as to learn from the exchange of ideas that will take place.
However, hosting an advisory board involves a sincere commitment on your part. Your board will be made up of prominent business leaders and, as such, you cannot waste their time. You will need to establish clear goals for the board, expressing what you hope to accomplish. Next, you should schedule the year’s meetings in advance to make it convenient for the attendees to arrange their calendars. Lastly, each participant should receive an agenda one week before the meeting along with notes from the prior meeting, so that they have to prepare and be as effective as possible.
If you know what your objectives are, and you have well-attended meetings (perhaps even bringing in a guest speaker occasionally to add even more value) you will reap terrific benefits from these frank and candid discussions.