So you have a new or existing business, everything is set up …but how do you attract clients, it’s a little harder than putting your shingle out then expecting clients to rush through the door. You need to make yourself relevant, provide a service that people want and most importantly they need to know you exist!
Longevity in business is about creating a pipeline of clients, a steady stream of work that can help you exist and grow, but how do you go about doing that? It can be a very up and down time like you're riding a wave, the thrill of winning new clients balanced against times when you wonder if your phone is working.
One things for sure, you can’t wait, you need to make it happen, get some momentum, make connections and create the demand, so how do we do this…..
Tip 1 Get amongst it - You need to get your brand out there, clients need to know what you do, how you can help them and most importantly why trust you over your competitors. A website is a good tool to legitimise your business and direct clients to but don’t expect it to generate leads for you. Think about the speaking circuit, networking events, industry awards, sponsorship, writing a newspaper column, looking for complementary partnerships who already have a solid client base you can leverage.
Tip 2 Follow up Leads - You need to stay relevant and in people’s minds so when the need arises they know exactly who to contact. Being in the right place at the right time is not blind luck, it's dedication to constant follow up, always keeping the door open and making a genuine human connection. By the way it doesn’t mean pressurising people or stalking them! The best one I know is my real estate agent, I get a genuine “how are you call” every few months asking how the kids are, what am I up to and some information on the current state of the market, I know who I will go to first when the time comes to sell my house.
Tip 3 Look after Current Clients - Once you have a client base make sure you service them and deliver on your promises, it’s funny how the smallest of things can build your credibility, arriving on time or having work completed when you said. It is so much easier to retain and win new business from existing clients who know you than prospecting and convincing new clients they should give you a go. The referral network is also very powerful, it's the best way to knock your competitors out of the picture, the reverse is also true so make sure your client’s expectations are being exceeded.
Tip 4 Use social media – Social media is a very powerful tool for reaching lots of people quickly but like any channel you need to harness its power, having 10,000 followers on Instagram may make you feel “loved” but as a business tool are you really reaching your target market? Try using the segmentation functionality on social media to really narrow down and target effectiveness of marketing campaigns, make sure your brand is consistent across the different platforms and you understand what you are using each for, maybe Instagram for brand awareness, Facebook post boosting and Google Adwords for acquisition or Twitter for communication. Provide customers with valuable and relevant information such as blogs and newsletters so they see your expertise and insights.
Tip 5 Keep Adapting - Business is not a set and forget thing, things which are working for you now may not work in the future as you grow, your service changes, new technologies become available and your client base changes. What you don’t want to be doing though is changing every 5 mins, so make sure every month you track how much you are spending vs which channels your clients are coming from.