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In the A-Z of Marketing Experts, O is for Options HR

A large number of the people who I meet at networking meetings tell me that marketing is complicated and time consuming, because there is just so much to do. They talk about all the effort that they feel they have to put into social media; they tell me how much money they have to spend on advertising. “How much of that works for you?” I ask. The answer is often that they don’t really know, but they feel that they need to keep up the level of activity, just in case it brings them new clients. “You have to try out different marketing tools, don’t you, just to see what works and what doesn’t,” or so they tell me!

Sue Ferguson at Options HR takes a very different approach to her marketing. Sue has been providing HR services to small and medium sized businesses for many years. She’s been thinking about retiring for many years too, but keeps taking on new clients, because she really enjoys what she does and she’s very good at it. She also knows the best marketing to attract new clients. She’s a consultant, so she knows that networking and referrals will always be the most effective marketing activities that she can put her time and effort into. Sue also appreciates the importance of good content to back up her networking and the recommendations that she receives.

  • Recommendations – As I write this, Sue has just told me that her two newest clients came from referrals. Both clients came from the same recommendations from the same law firm, but from different partners. She’s built up relationships with local law firms, accountants and other companies who need to recommend a good HR Consultant to their clients. Sue will spend time, have meetings with the people who are likely to recommend her, so that they know what she does and why they should refer her.
  • Networking – As Sue isn’t really looking for more new clients (they just keep finding her!) there isn’t much networking that Sue does any more. She meets on a regular basis with a group of other HR Consultants, who pass work between each other and sometimes she’ll attend an event if there’s an interesting speaker. Sue also runs a workshop twice a year, to talk about Employment Law updates. Clients and prospects are invited to hear the last updates and how they might affect their businesses. This is a great chance for Sue to talk to her clients away from their offices and catch up with them. (If you’d like to attend one of Sue’s workshops you can find out about the next one here.)
  • Content – When Sue receives a call from a referral, she knows that they have probably already been to her website to see what she’s done. They have probably read some of her blogs, which are added to her website every month. If a prospect contacts Sue having met her at a networking event, they will often subscribe to her bi-monthly newsletter, Working Together. It contains up to date employment topics that apply to her clients and prospects. No sales pitch – other than telling readers about her next workshop.

So, Sue follows the ABC of Marketing – asking for referrals, business networking and content – and it works for her. She knows that she doesn’t need to spend much more time and effort on her marketing. She told me that she’s never spent any money on advertising her business. When she follows the ABC of Marketing, she doesn’t need to.

If you’re a Coach, Consultant or Trainer and you’re selling yourself – your own time and expertise – most of your new clients should come from referrals and networking, backed up by good quality content. Keep in touch with your clients, do a great job for them and provide excellent advice to them and your prospects and you will be able to less marketing, for less money and still get the results – and the new clients – that you want.

Talking of recommendations, Sue helped me with HR issues during the time that I had staff. I can thoroughly recommend her, if you’re looking for an expert to give you advice on anything related to employees. You can contact her by visiting her website at

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