Our firm has tried it all when it comes to marketing.
We've done referral source meetings, seminars, books, newspaper ads, phone book ads, radio, television, Internet advertising, directory listings, direct mail, and on and on.
None of it works. You won't run a TV ad and be deluged with clients. The same is true of advertising on the Internet, doing seminars, or running an ad in some directory. No single approach to marketing turns on the fire hose, resulting in a deluge of clients. It's just not like that. That's true no matter what the salesperson told you when he sold it to you. There is no magic bullet.
The deal with all of these marketing approaches is that they work a little. Over time, the impact of different approaches accumulates. You'll eventually have a thriving practice if you're willing to keep the marketing going as you slowly grow.
Unfortunately, many of us do something counterproductive. We try something, and it doesn't work, so we quit. We try something else, and it doesn't work, so we quit. We try a third approach, and it doesn't work, so we quit. That's not going to help you over the long haul.
You need to lock in on a couple different avenues to build your practice (I'd always start with building a network of referral sources, speaking to groups, and writing for publications), and be religious about sticking with them. Don't expect the floodgates to open. You'll get a call here and a client there, but don't quit when they don't line up outside your door. Keep going.
Give it time (like two years) and just keep at it. You'll get frustrated with your lack of progress, but use your frustration to double down on your efforts. Use your frustration to do more of the same, not less. Keep doing it even if it's not generating the results you'd like to see.
Eventually, your efforts will pay off. You'll find that someone you had lunch with six months ago (who had forgotten about you) heard you speak at the Rotary club meeting and then saw your article in the business journal. Out of the blue, a friend asked him for a referral, and he remembered your name and sent his friend over. Boom—you've got a client.
Did that client come from the lunch, the speech, or the article? It's the persistent combination of all of your efforts that generates the client. You can't start and stop, you can't quit, and you can't shift directions every 90 days. Set your course and stick to it, and you'll see results.
You see, nothing works in marketing. However, everything works in marketing. It just takes time, commitment, and consistency. The growth will start slowly and then become exponential so long as you continue to follow the path you've set for yourself.