It gets so old. One day we’re flying on top of the world: booked up with clients, rolling in the dough, and expecting it to only grow and grow and grooooow! … and the next day we wake up to the sound of crickets chirping.
It’s called feast-or-famine mode, and every service-based entrepreneur I know has experienced it.
It happens when we don’t have a system to get visible with potential clients and consistently generate leads–when we’re just winging it in our marketing efforts, or worse, just waiting for clients to magically fall out of the sky.
But “getting a system” is easier said than done. The reason why so many business owners don’t have one is that it takes a lot of effort to get things set up before you can start using it.
And it takes a lot of time, consistency, and patience before “using it” turns into actual results. Most people give up before it has a chance to work.
As a brilliant marketing friend once told me, “Everything is a long game.” So let’s not waste any more time and get started!
Why you need a marketing SYSTEM to attract clients online
- A website doesn’t work on its own.
- Social media doesn’t work on its own.
- A beautifully branded identity system doesn’t work on its own.
- SEO doesn’t work on its own.
- Advertising… you get my point.
All of these things can set you up for getting consistent, high-quality clients banging on your door to work with you, but no single one of them is going to be a magic bullet.
For example. A lot of business owners THINK they need SEO, but search traffic landing on a website that doesn’t convert ain’t gonna do a damn thing.
Here’s another common one. A lot of entrepreneurs come to me for a website design… but a website without a brand strategy or a plan to drive targetted traffic after it launches is just going to sit there looking pretty on the internet doing absolutely, positively nothing.
For a long time, I wondered why people would pay me–in some cases quite a lot of money–to design beautiful logos and websites… and then not really DO anything with them. Then I realized that I was making the same horrible mistake in my own business, and when I sorted myself out, I re-worked my entire process so I could help my clients put together a system too.
The 5 basic components of your client-attraction system
#1: Clarity About The Brand You Want To Build
Very few business owners can really articulate why they’re different from their competitors or the reasons why someone should choose them. And therein lies your opportunity to stand out and get noticed, so first get clear about how you’re going to differentiate your brand.
What is the “one thing” you want to be known for? Maybe it’s a specialized service, or that you serve a niche customer whose problems you understand more intimately than anyone else; maybe it’s a unique process; maybe there’s something about your personal story that allows you to create an amazing client experience — whatever your “one thing” is, you need to shine a spotlight on it. Consistently.
The key is to focus on the ways you solve your ideal client’s biggest problems better than anyone else, not just on the bulleted list of the services you provide.
Once you’ve figured out that one thing that makes your brand unique, everything from that point forward becomes about intentionally building your brand so people know what that thing is. You build your brand by using marketing. Every marketing effort should relate back to communicating that problem you solve, who you solve it for, and why you’re the one to solve it.
You’ll communicate your unique brand quality in your copy, in your visuals, and really, in everything you do that’s visible to your dream customers.
To drive the point home: It’s your brand that attracts clients to you and creates the good feelings that lead to sales.
#2: A Website Designed To Convert
Your website is your home base and it needs to work hard for you.
It establishes credibility (or blows it) within seconds, so it needs to make a great first impression. This is largely dependent on the visual design and the very first snippets of copy your visitors will read, so make sure it’s clear what they can expect if they read on and what’s in it for them.
It needs to convince your visitors that you’re the one who is uniquely qualified to solve their problems, so make sure you’re communicating those points of difference and they’re apparent to visitors who are “skimming” the page and looking for that reassurance.
It also needs to “closes the sale” (a.k.a. inspire action), so make sure your website informs your site visitors exactly what they’re expected to do as a next step.
If you think of your website as an afterthought, it’s going to be hard to generate leads. The days of “set it and forget it” brochure sites are over… your competition will eat your lunch if you’re not paying attention to how your customers are interacting with it.
If you’re DIYing your website, I invite you to sign up for my free resource library where you can download my free eBooks, The Ultimate Website Planning Workbook and Optimize Your Website For Higher Conversions as a great place to start. If you’re looking to hire a web designer to help you–ahem–just click here. 🙂
#3: High-Quality Content
If you want to get visible with people online, you need content. There’s no way around it guys, and I know it’s a lot of work to create the kind of content that gets people’s attention these days, but it’s content that replaces traditional networking, introduces you to internet strangers, and builds credibility, authority, and trust.
Now, content can mean many different things. It doesn’t always have to mean you start a company blog; but, a blog (in my opinion) is the best place to start. It helps you get discovered in search, gives you something to share on social media so you have a way to build authority, and can be even used to help you run retargeting campaigns.
If you’re not able to blog for whatever reason, think about creating audio or video content. Or social media posts with compelling graphics. Something. Pick something to communicate the value you can offer your potential customers and do it to the best of your ability with your available time and resources.
Great content will get discovered, and that doesn’t mean you need to be the best writer in the world. It means you create content people actually already WANT, NEED, and are ALREADY LOOKING for.
The smartest approach to getting your content discovered by your target audience and in search is to do keyword research (use KWFinder) and social research (use BuzzSumo) to see what people are actively searching for and sharing.
Then, create content that’s better than what everyone else has created on the subject. This may take you quite a lot of time, but that’s okay — it’s a long game. Think of each piece of content as a long-term investment, and over time you’ll build up a library of content assets that will convert site visitors into clients.
Remember that it’s QUALITY and CONSISTENCY that matters on the web today. Quality is what people are sifting through all the noise to find.
#4: An Audience
You’ll want to share your content on social media, but you need a social media following if you want to get clicks. Pick one or two platforms where your audience is likely to be and really dig in and build your audience on those platforms.
Building an audience happens when you show up consistently and share things they’re interested in. If you don’t have a lot of content yet, you can share other people’s content. Ask questions. Share motivational quotes. The bottom line is, you’re not going to grow an audience and build trust if you don’t show up and provide value consistently.
#5: A Traffic & Lead Generation Strategy
Once you have clarity about the brand you want to build, a website designed to convert, quality content to share, and a following on social media… you’re well on your way! And by the way, this isn’t something you throw together on a weekend… give yourself the gift of time, I’m talking a few months minimum, to get yourself a foundation with steps #1-4.
Now it’s time to really ramp things up and get serious about driving traffic to your website for the purpose of generating leads. For most small businesses, the most effective way to generate and nurture leads is still e-mail marketing. So your focus will be to drive as much targeted traffic to a free offer that incentivizes people to get on your list.
Traffic happens in three main ways:
- By getting in front of other people’s audiences (e.g. being a podcast guest, guest blogging, or submitting your content to directories in your niche)
- By getting discovered in search: and I don’t just mean Google. Depending on your audience, you want to be “discoverable” on the search engines where they’re looking for answers to their problems. That might be YouTube, Pinterest, Travelocity, Amazon, Goodreads.com… even on social media platforms
- By sharing your content to your audience on social media with relentless consistency
Generating leads requires that you create something of value to your audience–something that solves a problem and gives them a quick win–and it should relate to your service offerings (if your free offer isn’t enough to solve that problem, they can get more help by purchasing your premium service). It could take the form of a free course, an eBook, or even content upgrades for your blog posts (cheat sheets, checklists, swipe files, templates, etc.).
BEYOND THE BASICS
These are the basic components of your system and please be patient with yourself as you’re setting all this stuff up. You’ll run into learning curves, tech frustrations, and you may even experience self-doubt along the way. (It’s going to feel like “Hello!!! Is this thing on?” for awhile and that’s perfectly normal… awareness and trust with any audience takes time.)
If you’re just starting out (or if you need to revamp your approach), brand clarity is imperative, it will inform all of your actions. Without it, everything will feel like you’re just “winging it” and that’s the opposite of creating a system.
And that’s why I created The Client Attraction Mindset Workbook. It’ll walk you through the mental process of getting clear about exactly how you’re going to get the attention of the right people and brand your business with courage and consistency.
Please include attribution to Endeavor Creative with this graphic.