So you’ve figured out your brand strategy, you’ve got your business cards and a dreamy lookin’ website. You are set for success. But, there’s a small problem— aside from the small trickle of referrals and that one customer that found you on the 70th page of Google, your sales stats are looking grim.
Well, let me tell you friend, I have been there, done that and got the t-shirt. We’ve been through busy times and incredibly slow times, and sometimes it can feel like the flow of customers is completely out of your control.
I am not pretending to have marketing ‘all figured out’. Honestly, I don’t know if that’s possible in our constantly evolving digital landscape. But, I am going to share how we have attracted a steady flow of customers to our business, and how you can apply these strategies to your business too.
Before you start marketing your business
Let’s get a couple of things clear. First, before you even begin marketing yourself, you need to get really clear about the brand you are trying to build, including the customers you want to serve. Trust me, it will make your marketing efforts SO much easier. Our invaluable guide & workbook can help with this, as can this brand positioning blog series.
Second, if promoting or selling yourself or your business scares the bejesus out of you, know that your sales tactics do not have to be slimy or annoying. In fact, your new marketing strategy is going to focus on selling the value you offer to your customers. If you know and believe that your offering genuinely helps people, then you should have no problem!
Attracting new customers to your business
1. Begin at the end
First, if you have multiple products and services, decide what you are going to focus on selling. If you’ve already worked on your brand strategy, you should have a clear understanding of which of your offerings are the most lucrative, that you do really well, or that you specialise in.
I’d suggest choosing one offering to work on promoting first, and then you can come back and repeat this process for your other offerings if you wish.
2. Determine your value
Next, determine the end value of your offering—what is the benefit of purchasing your offering? For example, if you are an interior decorator, the end benefit might be the status of having a beautifully designed home, or it could be space to gather with family and friends.
If you get stuck, this article talks about how to uncover the end value of your what you’re selling.
3. If you have the solution, what is the problem or desire?
Next, determine the problems, challenges or desires that your solution addresses. Ask yourself, if the end benefit is [insert end value], what is the problem or desire my ideal customers are experiencing?
For example, if you’re selling ‘space to connect with family and friends’, your customers could be experiencing a lack of entertaining space, functionality or aesthetic appeal.
4. What questions will they be asking at every step of their decision making journey?
Think about the types of questions your customers might be asking about their problem. Put yourself in their shoes. If you had their problem or desire, what would you be Googling? And how could you help to answer these questions by offering your expert advice?
In the awareness stage of their decision making process, your customers might know they have a desire or problem, but aren’t sure how to solve it. They could be searching for ‘modern living room ideas’ or ‘small living room decorating ideas’.
As they move into the consideration phase and are evaluating options to solve their problem, they might be asking questions like ‘what are the benefits of hiring a decorator?’.
Finally, as they move onto making a purchasing decision their queries might be ‘how much does it cost to hire a decorator?’ or ‘best interior decorators’.
5. Create content
People visiting your website will likely be at various stages of their decision making journey. And, at every stage of this process, your customers increase their readiness to buy.
Someone who is googling ‘decorating ideas’ is not nearly as ready to buy as someone googling ‘interior decorators Perth’. At any given time, there might be people who are ready to make a purchase, as well as those who are just looking for information. It’s your job to meet them where they’re at in their buying process.
If you just cater for people who are ready and rearing to buy, you’re only talking to a very small percentage of your website visitors. Plus, if you can provide value and advice early on in your customer’s decision making process and establish yourself as an expert in your field, guess who they’re going to consider when they are ready to buy? Make a good impression, and you’ll be at the top of their list.
Providing value and advice for people at every stage of their journey could be as easy as creating helpful blog posts or videos. But I also suggest creating a ‘gated’ resources or lead magnets. These are valuable resources, series, events, challenges or guides that you offer for free, in exchange for their email address and name.
Your lead magnet could be a series of valuable emails, a webinar, workshop, video series or a PDF download. Choose a format that works for your business. If you're curious about how this works, you can read more about content marketing here.
6. Promote your content
Next, you need to get some eyeballs on this epic content of yours. Here are some ideas for spreading the word:
- Organic Social Reach: Share it with your audience on the platforms you use —facebook, instagram, pinterest, linkedin, twitter, snapchat.
- Email Marketing: If you have an email list, share it with them too for maximum engagement.
- SEO: Make sure your content is optimised to rank well in search engines so you can attract the people who are Googling the questions you brainstormed.
- Paid Advertising: Invest in paid advertising. We like facebook and instagram ads because they are cost effective and have a great reach. You can also retarget past website visitors with new calls to action. AdWords is great to attract people who are ready to buy, but the cost per click can add up quickly, especially for small businesses, so make sure your keywords are really precise.
This is not an exhaustive list, so be as creative as you like. Just make sure you’re tracking and measuring your return on investment, so you can see which avenues work best for you.
You don’t have to pick one platform or channel, in fact, I like a mix of avenues to direct people to our website. But, make sure you pick a manageable amount too. It’s better to be fully engaged with your audience on fewer channels, than disengaged on many. Remember to choose your promotional avenues based on your ideal customer too. Wherever your ideal customers are, meet them there.
7. Ask for the sale
After a few weeks or months, you might start to see some nice side effects of your efforts like your website traffic trending upwards, your social media following growing and your email list expanding. Lots of people will be crushing on your valuable free content and amazing brand. So, how do you convert these people into paying customers?
If you’re familiar with high-energy marketing wizard, Gary Vaynerchuk, you might be familiar with his jab, jab, jab, right hook philosophy. Well, this is exactly what you’re going to do. Give your new followers and subscribers loads of valuable content, share more about your brand and your team, build trust and, every now and then, offer them the opportunity to buy that offering from way back in step 1.
This call to action doesn’t need to be pushy, preachy or salesy. Just focus on how your offering can help them achieve their goals. In a nutshell—80% of the time give amazing, blow your socks off value and 20% of the time, give them the opportunity to buy.
Not everyone will buy (or buy immediately), and that’s ok, keep dishing out your best advice anyway. You can’t expect the sale if you don’t ask for it, so always remember to ask.
Measure, optimise, automate, repeat
Measuring the results of your marketing is crucial to your success. It will help you to see how your tactics are performing, so you can change course or do more of what works.
While you can automate your marketing to some degree (and I highly recommend doing so), you still have to actively manage it or have someone manage it for you. It's too late to start marketing your business when the leads start to dry up, because it can take days, months or years to convert a visitor into a paying customer. The results aren’t instant— it's a marathon, not a sprint—so make a point to focus on your marketing consistently. Even if you aim to carve out a little bit of time each week to work on your marketing, it will pay dividends.
Hopefully you can implement some of these ideas in your business and start growing your number of enquiries and sales! If you liked this article, or know someone who might benefit from reading it, don’t forget to share it.
I’d love to hear about the marketing strategies that have sky-rocketed your business success! Let me know in the comments.