I agree with  small business marketing coach Jody Gabourie, great marketing is not trying to get someone to buy something from you.  Great marketing is about building a relationship with current clients and prospects.

She suggests there are five steps to building the relationship:

Step 1 – figure out what you have to offer

Step 2 – start a conversation

Step 3 – build the relationship

Step 4 – get a commitment

Step 5 – maintain the relationship

Step one is not as easy as it sounds.  Too often I talk to small business owners, who are unable to articulate clearly what it is they do.  Before you head out the door to a networking event, send an email, write a blog post, or create a clever direct mail campaign you need to clarify your offer.  WHAT DO YOU DO?

And your answer needs to be in terms of the benefit your customer’s derive from the results.   At roundpeg we do many things: email, websites, pr, graphic design, etc.  But if you ask me I will tell you we help small businesses become big businesses. Clearly understanding our offer makes it easier for us to start a conversation, with customers, referral partners, and the community at large.

The same can be true for any business.  Figure out who you are, what you do, before you go off looking for relationships!