Stop Chasing Clients Once And for All: A Five-Day Plan To Bring Them To Your Doorstep
In theory, if you want a new client, all you need to do is make your case and ask for the business, again and again and again. Does that approach work? Well… sort of. Ask enough people and eventually someone will say “yes.” But in the process, you run yourself ragged. The time and energy you spend chasing clients could go toward improving other areas of your business. Worse, you end up on a demoralizing “feast or famine” rollercoaster — constantly in flux — where business is either booming or business is a bust.
Too many companies rely on existing clients to send new business their way. This strategy subjects you to the whims of fate. You’re at the mercy of whatever random company happens to come knocking. You must stop what you’re doing and chase the new lead, whether they’re really right for you or not. It’s exhausting — and, frankly, not very effective.
In The One Week Marketing Plan I laid out a step-by-step, “set it and forget it” system entrepreneurs and small business owners can put in place in just five business days. And with a five-point philosophy, I attempt to dispel what so many business owners think about marketing:
- Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive, time-consuming, or confusing.
- You can have a highly effective marketing system up and running, doing what it’s supposed to be doing in a week.
- The key is to focus on a system rather than a series of unconnected activities.
- Ultimately, successful marketing is all about developing relationships first and selling things second.
- Anyone can do this.
We’re told marketing is hard. That it requires weeks of brainstorming, months of analysis, and years of consistent implementation. To succeed in marketing, you need the fortitude of General Patton, the genius of Don Draper, and the cash reserves of Warren Buffett. Wrong. One week. That’s all it takes for most businesses to dramatically improve their marketing.
If you’re ready to stop chasing clients and get them to come to you, read on to learn more about my’s One Week Marketing Plan. (Of course, in reality it may take you more than a day to execute each major step. And if it takes a bit longer, that’s not a problem. Just make sure you don’t let inertia place its hold on you.)
DAY ONE: Choose Your Niche Market.
In 2009, Matt Sonnhalter switched the focus of his advertising and marketing agency from B2B industrial manufacturing accounts to working only with companies that sell products to professional tradesmen. To further set itself apart, Sonnhalter Advertising created a new category of business: Rather than be a B2B company, of which they would be one among thousands, Sonnhalter dubbed itself a B2T or “business-to-tradesmen” agency. This niche focus has had a tremendous effect. It has brought in many new business leads, attracted business from large global brands, and earned Sonnhalter a spot on BtoB magazine’s top agency list from 2009–2012.
Finding his niche gave Sonnhalter access to a wellspring of business. Many businesses resist niche marketing because they think focusing on a niche will mean they’ll miss out on opportunities outside of that particular area. But the truth is, focusing on a niche helps you stand out from your competition and eliminate many of the potential objections people have about doing business with you. In short, the key to attracting lots of new clients is to have a marketing message that speaks directly to a specific group.
When it’s time to choose your niche, the best place to start is with your current list of clients. Look for common industries and functions, whether one group is spending more on your services than another, who’s easier to sell to, who you enjoyed working with, and so on. Building on your current strengths is one of the easiest ways to become the predominant expert in a particular area.
DAY TWO: Create Your Free Offer.
Once you’ve chosen which niche market to target, it’s time to draw them in. A great way to do that is by giving them information they want in the form of a free report. Your free report is the first step in the client attraction process. It serves two purposes. First, it helps you build credibility and trust with prospective clients. Second, it allows you to provide prospective clients with enough information that they believe you know what you’re doing but not so much that they can do whatever they need without hiring you.
The first step to writing your free report is to choose an attention-grabbing subject. Here’s what you want to consider: What’s the biggest area of pain for your target audience? What are they most afraid of? What are they most curious about knowing? As you develop the content of your report, I recommend carefully balancing how much information you include. The best formula to follow is to tell your readers what to do and what not to do, but not precisely how to do it. Then, top it off with a compelling title.
If you still need proof that this works, consider that it greatly improved the business of an online perfume retailer. What could an online perfume seller possibly give away for free online to draw in customers? After all, you can’t download digital scents! No need, because this business owner knew his customers. He knew most online perfume buyers fear paying for an expensive perfume but being sent a cheap imitation. So, the owner wrote a free report, ‘20 Ways to Spot a Fake Perfume.’ And it changed his business. He now has an email list with 18,000 subscribers, 5,000 friends on Facebook, and more than 100,000 Twitter followers.
Now, you might be thinking, I’m a business owner, not a writer! There’s no way I can write a compelling free report. For those who feel they can’t do it, I do recommend outsourcing this task to a professional writer. There are great websites, like Elance.com and Guru.com, that can help you connect with professional freelance writers.
DAY THREE: Create a Website for Your Free Offer.
Now, you need a page on your website where prospects can get your free report. You have a couple of options for where this page appears on your website. It could be the landing page, otherwise known as the home page, on your existing website. Alternatively, it might be a dedicated page that resides within your site.
I recommend you include a few key elements on your website:
- A catchy headline
- Bullet points to capture the reader’s curiosity and convey benefits
- An opt-in box for gathering email addresses
- A thank-you page
I recommend heavily promoting your free offer on your website’s main landing page. That’s what I do on GentleRainMarketing.com. Traditionally, landing pages focus primarily on communicating what the company does. But if we do not get our visitors to opt in when they come to the site, we lose control of our ability to follow up with them. It’s hard to send ongoing messages to people if they don’t tell us who they are.
DAY FOUR: Develop a Series of Drip-Marketing Messages.
While creating your free offer that motivates prospects to “raise their hands” and express their initial interest is important, keep in mind that it’s just the first step. Now it’s time to develop your drip-marketing messages that will convert these prospects into paying clients. These ongoing messages will build trust and credibility and play a significant role in getting you more new clients.
You can send out two types of messages: timed and broadcast. Timed messages are sent out based on the number of days that have elapsed since a person initially signed up for your free report. You might set up a schedule so that immediately after your report is requested, the reader gets a ‘thank-you’ email. Then one day later, email message #2 goes out asking them if they have any questions. Two days after that, they get email #3, and so on. Broadcast messages are sent to everyone in your database at the same time, the advantage being that it can be timely. For example, you could send a message out to your entire database connected to a current event.
You can ‘set and forget’ your marketing campaign using an autoresponder system. My wife, Marian, is a clinical hypnotherapist and success coach (MarianMassie.com). When I set up her autoresponder sequence, we bit the proverbial bullet and created two years of timed messages that go out approximately every ten days. At the end of two years, we just reschedule the person back to day #1 on the assumption that no one remembers an email they got two years ago. Talk about a ‘set it and forget it’ approach to staying in touch!
DAY FIVE: Get Traffic to Your Website.
One of the fastest ways to attract new qualified prospects is by using “pay-per-click” (PPC) advertising. Pay-per-click means exactly what it sounds like. The advertiser pays only when someone clicks on their ad. It is probably the best way to get immediate traffic and it can be done with an advertising budget of $50-100.
You can advertise on search engines like Google and Bing or social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. With Google and Bing, you advertise by bidding on keywords, which are the words or phrases people type into the search engines when they want to look something up. One big advantage of advertising on the search engines is immediacy. When someone searches for something using the keywords you’ve selected, your ad immediately appears.
Of course, your success will depend on how compelling your ad is. So, when you write your ad, be sure to include one of your keywords in the title line, focus on benefits and forget about features, and use title case.
So, there it is. Proof that a marketing campaign doesn’t have to take months to plan and implement or cost tons of money. The One Week Marketing Plan is about gaining visibility in your niche market, educating people about the problems you solve, and having clients call you about how you can help them. And you can have it up and running in one week. Go get started!
Mark Satterfield is the founder and CEO of Gentle Rain Marketing, Inc. He specializes in working with consultants, advisers, and small businesses on how to get consistent streams of new business. Since 1992, he has helped clients in financial services, insurance, health care, consulting, real estate, advertising, training, recruiting, and more than 75 niche industries grow their businesses without cold calling or hard selling. He is the author of “The One Week Marketing Plan“.
This is an article contributed to Young Upstarts and published or republished here with permission. All rights of this work belong to the authors named in the article above.