Jessica Broome boosts her revenue with strategic B2B marketing

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Jessica Broome sent this greeting card to her customers in summer 2016.

Jessica Broome sent this greeting card to her customers in summer 2016.

Jessica Broome has landed plenty of work since leaving the agency world to become a globe-trotting self-employed market researcher in 2008.

Jessica Broome started sending custom greeting cards to her clients in 2011.

Jessica Broome started sending custom greeting cards to her clients in 2011.

Being busy stopped Broome from focusing on marketing, both because she didn’t feel she needed it and because she was too busy doing one client project while closing the next one.

“If you’re the seller and the doer, everything else takes a back seat,” Broome said.

But then, if she’s honest, she also suffered from “paralyzing fear.”

Marketing meant identifying her ideal client and getting specific about the kind of work she wanted to do. She worried she’d pigeonhole herself.

Instead she hid from marketing by staying busy. “It’s hard. I don’t want to do it. I don’t need it. Why should I?”

The answer: She’s already hitting her 10 percent revenue growth target.

Jessica Broome hired Sarah Hodzic to take new photos for her redesigned website.

Jessica Broome hired her high school friend Sarah Hodzic to take new photos for her redesigned website.

Why Jessica Broome started focusing on B2B marketing

Broome wasn’t short on clients, but after she attended a daylong marketing workshop I co-taught with Amanda Hirsch, she realized she could work smarter, not harder to generate income. She also hoped hiring us to coach her could help her move through that paralyzing fear.

Over the course of several coaching sessions, the three of us talked about tactics — what Broome’s website should look like, what she should blog about, how she should use social media — but it all hinged on key strategic decisions.

When we asked her to name a specific revenue goal, Broome said she’d like to make more money, but she was already at full capacity for research gigs.

Hitting her goal would mean changing how she worked and how she positioned herself. We encouraged Broome to identify the kind of work she most wanted to do, looking both at what she enjoys and what kinds of work would let her charge more.

Once she declared she wanted to make more money, she needed a marketing plan that supported her goals.

What Jessica Broome changed about her B2B marketing

What’s changed in Broome’s marketing since we started working together? “I’m doing marketing,” she said with a laugh.

To hit her growth goals, Broome needed fewer, higher-dollar projects. She’d need to show that she was worth that higher price tag.

She was initially modest about how she portrayed herself, but we encouraged her to see the strength of her credentials, including a master’s degree in applied social research, a doctorate in survey methodology from the University of Michigan, and market research experience at MS& L and Ogilvy.

We worked to craft a new tagline: Better research, better business. It’s not bragging to say she brings real strategic value to a project. She aims to help clients use research to make more informed decisions that can deliver increased profitability.

Broome overhauled her website so that now:

  • It positions her as a strategic partner working toward her clients’ business success, not just a vendor to design a survey or lead a focus group
  • It’s easy to skim, with shorter, punchier copy and prominent endorsements, thinking about how busy her agency and corporate clients are
  • It includes bright orange call-to-action buttons to set up a consultation, so people know what the next step is and it’s easy to do — and it’s worked, prospects have reached out via her website
  • It includes carefully selected case studies of projects like the ones she hopes to do more of, instead of a mix of everything she can do or has done.
Jessica Broome new website

Jessica Broome’s redesigned website is easy to skim and includes a big orange call-to-action button.

“I used to think of my website as something I just had to have. Now I think of it as something someone would actually read,” Broome said. It’s unlikely someone will Google “market research” to hire Broome, but a thoughtful website helps satisfied clients give referrals and shows past clients what she might do for them now.

She doesn’t put much time into social media or blogging because she hasn’t found they matter in landing new business. She tracks the source of each project, and it’s all about the power of her network.

Jessica Broome focuses on relationships in her B2B marketing

Jessica Broome made these gift toolboxes for her clients this year, featuring goodies from Michigan, Brooklyn and San Diego -- all places she has a connection.

Jessica Broome made these gift toolboxes for her clients this year, featuring goodies from Michigan, Brooklyn and San Diego — all places she has a connection.

Because she’s a solopreneur doing B2B work, she really only needs about a dozen clients a year to make a good living, so Broome doesn’t need to do mass outreach like a retailer or restaurateur. Instead, she can focus on nurturing a smaller number of relationships.

For example, she maintains her agency contacts and client relationships through one-on-one meetings and personal emails.

She’s also sent custom greeting cards since 2011, initially once a year, now twice. Her friend Nicole Ray designs the artwork and Broome hand writes a message in each one.

“People love the cards. I could never stop doing them,” Broome said. They trigger business leads and they’ve become something of a trademark.

Every year when Broome goes home to Virginia for Thanksgiving, she and her mom spend a day assembling thank you gift baskets for Broome’s clients.

Broome never thought of any of this as marketing, but now she nurtures her network with an eye toward starting conversations about how she could bring strategic perspective to a project. It’s tying her new marketing positioning to her traditional, comfortable sales process — and it’s working.

Broome set a goal to increase her revenue by 10 percent annually for five years, but since she’s already on track to hit that this year, she’s turned up the heat: Jessica Broome is aiming for a 25 percent increase.

Would you like help improving your B2B marketing strategy? Or prioritizing what you should be doing as a solopreneur to communicate with your customers? Contact me.

 

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