Business owners will give you different answers when asked ‘What’s the most difficult part about running a business?’. It’ll be the website design, naming the business etc. I personally think the setting up stage can be a difficult but very enjoyable process, but actually convincing clients to invest money in you is the tough part. Particularly if you need finances quickly, there’s a lot of stress surrounding clients and getting them to keep your business going. It’s a very anxious feeling for business owners when you currently don’t have any clients. In this post, I’m sharing some of my in-depth strategies on how you can help your business get booked out months advance.
Facebook groups are your best friend
I have more in-depth blog posts all about the best business Facebook groups and their importance for growth, but in this section, I will share more specifically about how they can increase your client waiting list. A lot of business owners have spoken of Facebook being dead for business due to its unhelpful algorithm. It’s sort of true; Facebook has a shocking organic reach of around 4% but isn’t necessarily dead. Facebook groups provide such a sense of loyal community, that most of them have thousands of very active users waiting to see what you’re up to. And I’ll let you into a little secret, not one of my clients hasn’t found me through Facebook.
The first thing you need to do is join Facebook groups for business owners, then join Facebook groups where your ideal client is likely to be lurking. If you’re a business coach, join groups that are relevant to small business owners, as these are people who will be needing your services. Then, instead of just throwing your links onto the groups and disappearing, wait for someone to ask a question and be so helpful it’s almost invasive, then offer your further services along with your email and website link. That is pretty much all there is to it. Engagement = Sales, and people are much more likely to want to work with you if they think you’re a nice person.
Blog for your business
Even if your business isn’t a blog, you should still be writing blog posts relevant to what your business does include, whether that be physical products or services. If you offer your coaching services as a business advisor, write blog posts about business growth. If you sell workout t-shirts, write blog posts about fitness. Think about your ideal client and write blog posts you think they would want to read. Write advice that you think they might need to hear. Seeing blog post titles that apply to their daily life will encourage them to click through to your website, thus increasing your traffic while displaying the level of knowledge you have in your niche. Blogging about topics related to your business is like selling without the awkwardly obvious self-promotion part. You market yourself and show why your business should be considered without forcing anything on anyone. Direct people to your services where appropriate, and use visuals as much as possible. People love pretty graphics.
Treat your current clients fantastically
I still believe that the most effective method of advertisement, even in the age of social media, is through word of mouth. No other source is as trusted as a customer who’s tried out the service you’re researching to hire. To make sure your clients are recommending you, make the time to plan what your client process looks like, as specifically as possible. Look to see where you can improve the process and perfect every area as much as you can. Make everything run as smoothly as possible with your ideal client in mind. If your process is fantastic, your clients are much more likely to recommend you to their friends and colleagues. If their experience with you was a great one, they’ll be itching to let everyone know afterward, and you’ll be the first name that comes to mind when they’re asked for recommendations.
Tip: Keep communications between you and your clients consistent. Your clients will be much less likely to recommend you if they’re left confused and unclear about certain information throughout their time with you.
Work with clients with a wide readership
This one doesn’t have a specific method to achieve it, as you can’t really control who gets in contact with you about working together. However, if the opportunity to work with clients who have huge or very engaged audiences comes up, seize it. Don’t let it scare you. I’ve previously worked with clients who had a very large number of followers, and that helped me to receive quite a few new clients. They found my link at the bottom of the client’s website and were all very excited to book consultations with me. Remember that you don’t need to sit and wait for clients to come to you either. If you want to work with a big-name brand and think it would benefit your business, you can always approach one yourself. You could offer your services at a discount, but always make sure you’re getting enough out of the deal. Your hard work does pay off.
Search for your ideal client on Twitter
The perfect social media platform for finding potential clients is Twitter, simply because people love to moan on Twitter, and it’s also the first place people go to to ask a favor or advertise freely. You can use tags to find people who are specifically looking for your kind of service. For example, if you’re a business coach, track keywords like ‘business’ or ‘small business’ and offer your services to those who look like they may be struggling. You can even search for larger phrases that are more literal like ‘business coach recommendations’ or ‘hiring a business coach’. It’s a very simple but effective way to find people who need what you’re selling, and need it urgently. Be friendly and approachable and let them know that you can help. Approach them similarly to how you would in a Facebook group by being outrageously helpful, then following up with your contact details to continue the conversation elsewhere. Give them a quick follow and tweet them your portfolio and email to discuss further details. Looks like you’ve found yourself a client!
Recycle a client
Have you considered that your new clients could actually be your old clients? When business is quiet, consider catching up with past clients to see if they need any additional assistance. Send them a quick email letting them know that you were happy to work with them and thank them for considering your services. Ask them how things have improved, or just ask them how things are going generally. Once you have an answer from them, you can place your services at the top of their to-do list by reminding them of your work and letting them know you’re still available for bookings. Let them know what specifically you can do to improve their business, to help confirm the sale.
Similarly, you can re-book clients for your services as soon as you’ve finished their project, essentially prolonging their business relationship with you. For instance, if you’ve been hired for ghostwriting services and you’ve finished all their articles, upsell one of your other services before you go your separate ways. If you offer a package for creating custom social media graphics, ask your client if they’d be interested in that, and create mock-ups based off the writing gigs you’ve just completed for them. A lot of the time, clients will say yes. It’s easier for them to receive all their services from one person because they’ve built a level of trust with you that may prove difficult with others. That’s the beauty of building friendly relationships with clients.
What methods do you use to increase your client waiting list?