No matter your niche, there are probably a million other people in business doing something similar to you. So how do you get new clients to pay attention to you? One Utah company, DOMO, announced its funding in 2013 via carrier pigeon. In another case, Dominos Pizza spent millions of dollars on ads admitting their pizza "tasted like cardboard," before moving forward with a retooled recipe and brand. Sales soared.
You don't need to do anything this dramatic, but as you develop your own next plans, consider these tips:
1. Attend new networking events and connect with influencers
My top picks include CEO Space International, with five week-long forums each year, and the ultra-exclusive West Coast event Secret Knock. Inc.'s 2017 conferences rank highly as well (and no, they didn't tell me to say that).
Regardless of your own picks, choose some new opportunities in 2017, and when you attend, network well.
2. Create a compelling speech and find new places to share it
Public speaking is one of the best ways to showcase your expertise in a non-promotional way. No matter your business, speaking can add income, grow your audience of followers and can serve as a subtle and effective megaphone for your products and services, too.
Begin by reaching out to local chambers, associations and networking groups and continue to build your momentum from there.
3. Use social media to share value-add stories and client results
With social media allowing instant access to millions of people, you are doing yourself a disservice if you aren't using it well.
So where should you be? The easy answer is to go where your current and potential customers go. LinkedIn? Probably. Or create Facebook groups. For most businesses, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will be the most beneficial social media conduits, with potential return-on-investment benefit from Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat.
4. Collaborate with other leaders on seminars and trainings
Richie Norton (the author of "The Power of Starting Something Stupid") is a successful podcaster not from launching his own show, but from becoming a high-value guest for others.
This strategy puts him in front of new audiences and vastly higher numbers of consumers for a minimum of his own work. In his case, from his own assessment, 30 percent of listeners are likely to subscribe or engage with him after these shows.
You can collaborate with influential people in your sector by commenting on their blogs, re-tweeting their posts and looking for ways that a partnership would benefit you both. Or you could write an article or blog on the value you gained from their concepts.
5. Offer targeted webinars to your ideal client base
Perhaps you could offer monthly or quarterly webinars to showcase a theme that features your skills and results. Webinars (and their accompanying resource materials) are a highly cost-effective way to build brand awareness year round.
6. Do a live video at least once a week
Use this time to share the things you and your clients have learned or are currently doing or to offer a tip.
Customers respond surprisingly well to presentations in which you share your genuine self. For example, herbal health expert Jane Barlow Christensen says her channel on YouTube has been one of the value-adds her customers appreciate most. Her own experiences on topics such as drinking enough water, etc., are surprisingly compelling in short segments of 1-1.5 minutes apiece.
Live streaming on Facebook is another effective tool for reaching thousands of people with ease. When an audience sees you in your natural environment, it helps them to connect on a deeper level, and to believe they can do the things you're accomplishing, too.
7. Write an eBook to showcase your marketing topic
Speaker and author Dr. Will Moreland, who has written more than 40 books, says authorship has become his single best PR play. It's helped him land TV, radio, podcast and interview gigs (and customers, too).
In my own case, I self-published a short e-book in 2015 called The Definitive Guide to Thought Leadership. It's a quick read that is a compelling way for customers to engage with my company, and is something I am happy to offer for free.
Before you chicken out, consider this bonus tip: With a tool like Google Docs Mobile (it's free), you can speak your thoughts aloud into your smartphone while driving or walking. The app will provide you with a near-perfect transcript for you, a ghostwriter or an editor to develop into a great finished piece.
Are you convinced? With thanks to the experts I queried, use these tips to go to another level in 2017 as the go-to person in your company or field. Pick two or three to accomplish each quarter, and be sure to let me know about the results you achieve.