You know, clients you actually like and want to work with! 

It might be stating the obvious, but getting the right type of clients on a consistent basis is critical to the long-term success of your business. But knowing who the right type of clients are isn’t as obvious as you might think. 
 
No one wants to work with clients that are difficult. Or that don’t properly understand what it is you do for them. So why not choose to have clients you like and want to work with. Clients that share your values, understand the value of what you do for them, and (importantly) are happy to pay for it. 
All you need to do is go out there and find them. Easier said than done. 
 
To help you in this quest, I’ve outlined a proven framework that when properly applied will enable you to attract the right type of clients to your business on a recurring basis. 

Know your ideal client 

This seems pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how few companies actually spend time on this critical first step. 
 
There’s no way to effectively target your marketing efforts until you know who you’re trying to attract to your business. The clearer you are on who your ideal client is, the more targeted and more effective your marketing. 

Bonus: The more targeted your marketing the lower your client acquisition costs. 

As a starting point to identifying your ideal client, think about who you currently do business with. Can they be segmented into specific groups? If yes, which groups brings you the most revenue? Which clients stay with you longest, return more frequently, or spend more money? Who do you and your people like dealing with? 
 
You may need to put in a little bit of work, but clearly identifying your ideal client will put you further ahead than your competition, and most other businesses. 

Really understand their pain 

To maximise your marketing efforts you really need to understand the challenges and pains of your ideal client. Once known, you can focus your marketing messages to show how your solution can help them overcome their main challenges or alleviate their pains. 
 
Remember, this isn’t about you. Your marketing messages should be about their challenges, their pains and how your solution can help them. 
 
Key questions to ask are; What are they most concerned about? What keeps them awake at night? What are they striving to achieve? What’s been holding them back? What have they tried before that has and hasn’t worked? 
 
Gather information from online forums they access, publications they feature in, groups they belong to, or websites they frequent? What kind of questions are they asking? What issues are they raising? What frustrates them? What do they consider good and poor service? What needs do they have that are not currently being satisfied? 
 
Do your own research. Ask your staff. And critically, ask your existing clients. 

Be clear on the value you can add 

What do you offer that can help them overcome their key challenges or alleviate their primary pains? That’s the question you need to ask yourself. 
 
You need to demonstrate the value your solution or product can add to their business. The starting point for this is to understand and document your value proposition. 
 
What is it you do better than anyone else? Why should your ideal client buy from you and not a competitor? What benefits would having your product or service bring to their business? 
 
Again, don’t just ask your people. Ask your existing clients what value you bring. Particularly those that match your ideal client profile. What elements of your product or service make you stand apart from others? 
 
Also, don’t be afraid to ask your clients why they decided to work with your company and not a competitor. There’s a reason they chose you! 

Position yourself as the answer 

Structure and present your marketing messages to position yourself as the answer to their prayers. 
 
Client case studies and testimonials are a powerful way to demonstrate how your service is helping similar businesses overcome the same challenges. 
 
If you don’t have access to case studies or testimonials, then clearly set out the key challenges and pains they have, show how your service can alleviate these, and, importantly, highlight the overall benefits they’ll derive from using your service. 

Go to where they live 

This is where you’ll really need to access your research skills. You’re already well ahead of the competition because you know your ideal client. Now you just need to find out where they hang out. 
 
If you’ve followed the earlier step to really understand their pains, you should already have a lot of the work for this done. You should know the main forums, publications, groups, and websites your ideal clients use. 
 
Now you need to plan how you’re going to use this information to establish communications and start a dialogue. 

Test your communications 

It’s unlikely you’ll get the communications piece right first time out. But don’t worry. Mistakes are rarely terminal. Testing is your friend. 
 
Don’t assume that your current preferred method of communicating with prospects is the best. Test different channels; email, direct mail, phone, etc. Test different messages. Test everything! 

The need to continually test your marketing and messaging is a mindset you should adopt today. 

The only way to know what works best for your target audience is to test your communications, measure the results, evolve accordingly, and test again. Good communicators see this as a never-ending and necessary cycle. 

It’s 2019 people, personalisation is non-negotiable 

Generic broadcast communication isn’t gonna cut it anymore. I’m not sure it ever really did. 
 
Business is about people, so you need to speak to people on a personal level about the pains and challenges they’re facing in their business. It’s about authentically, and ethically, building enough of a relationship to become a trusted source they believe can help them achieve their objectives. 
 
Name, company, a sentence or two that demonstrates you understand their current problem/challenge, and your solution to help them, will make a significant difference to your conversion metrics. 
 
It may take more time, thought, and effort to do this, but the relationship building payoff will be huge. 

Always have a call to action 

Tell your target audience what you would like them to do after reading your communication. Should they email or phone you? Do you want them to fill out an online form? Or is there some other action they need to take in order to gain access to you and your solution/product? 
 
Don’t assume people will know to visit your ‘contact us’ page or phone the number on your website. Tell them clearly what they should do if they’re interested in moving to the next stage. 
 
Pro tip: Adopting a call to action mindset, for every communication, will force you to develop proactive, goal-orientated communication 

What’s your follow up plan? 

It’s unlikely you’ll get your ideal client to join your business from the first contact. If you’ve really nailed the previous steps, you should find a small percentage of prospects that are ‘ready to buy’ now. But don’t build your business on this. 
 
Instead, expect that you’ll need to communicate with them multiple times using a variety of marketing and methods channels. That’s why you need to plan for this. 
 
So, what’s your plan to keep the communication going? What are you going to say to them or send them that will convert them into paying clients? 
 
GDPR compliance notwithstanding, you need to outline the first few communication pieces and contact points you want to have in order to move your target audience from ‘indifferent’ to ‘interested’, to ‘need to contact you today’. 

Don’t overcomplicate this.  We’re not building a complex marketing funnel. Keep it simple, high-level, and refine as you go. 

Think about how a conversation with your ideal client might go if you met at a function or networking event. There would be questions, rapport building, and a natural progression towards making your offer. If it was appropriate. You wouldn’t shake hands and pitch them your offer right off the bat! 
 
The same things apply when using email, direct mail, social media, etc. Except you need to be more interesting and compelling because you’re not in the same room. And it will probably take a bit longer. 
 
What I’ve outlined above is a basic but effective framework for attracting more of the right type of clients to your business. Applying any of the above to your current processes will have an immediate and positive effect on your marketing efforts. 
Applying the entire framework effectively and in a structured manner, testing and adjusting your as you go, will provide a massive boost to your client acquisition and consequent business growth. 
 
If you need help to implement a structure client attraction process into your business, feel free to drop me a line at richard@rule8consulting.com and I’d be happy to talk through these and other ideas with you. 
Richard Miller 
Director, Rule 8 Consulting Ltd. 
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