This subject comes up quite frequently in our industry:
New business owners, not knowing where to start advertising or how to market their business, will inevitably ask about cold calling (or its cousin, direct mailing), whether they should do it and how to do it.
They often will decide to start calling employers from classified ad listings. This is really a waste of time since employers who place ads are seeking employees (and to pay employee-level wages), not independent professionals.
You risk annoying these employers and wasting their time because the employer has not advertised a need or want for an independant professional. Their need and want is for an employee, and this scenario isn’t the best way to catch them in a receptive frame of mind toward alternatives.
That’s not to say that no one has ever had luck with this, but it’s always the exception rather than a rule.
Trying to make square pegs fit into round holes, along with indiscriminately cold calling or direct mailing businesses is about as effective in finding clients as trying to find a needle in a haystack. And both entail significant costs to your business in time, effort and money.
When beginning to market, you want to first identify a target market and then identify those with a need/want for your solution.
In our case, the largest market of clients with the need/want for our solution is the business owner who doesn’t have the time, space or enough of a workload for an employee, but who still wants that close, ongoing, collaborative relationship with someone who helps them with their administrative needs across the board.
Once you’ve narrowed your target and identified a need/want for your solution, focus your efforts on methods that are the least expensive, but give you the greatest return on your investment (ROI) of resources.
For many professional services, networking and building relationships are where it’s at and carry the biggest bang for your buck.