Passive marketing – or how to get clients knocking at your door

During the first week of January this year, we took on two new clients and had two existing clients ask us to do more work for them. I wasn’t at work during the first week of January, and, as one of my members of staff pointed out, I hadn’t been out networking or meeting clients for a few weeks. So where was the work coming from?

I could say it was the Law of Attraction at work, or that it was Zen Marketing, but I like to call it ‘Passive Marketing’. Or ‘sit back/go on holiday and wait for the phone to ring’ marketing.

So how does this great new marketing strategy work? Here’s what you do. You start writing a blog or an email newsletter, or both. You build up a list of contacts, by going to networking events and speaking at seminars. You give away lots of advice and ideas to help the people you meet. You have regular meetings with your clients and listen out for things they’re struggling with, with which you can help them. You build strong relationships with them so that they trust your advice. You might like to write a book and sell it to people you meet; you can even give it to some people, like past clients. You can spend time on sites like LinkedIn, connecting with people you’ve worked with in the past.

Once you’ve done all that, then you get to sit back and wait for the phone to ring! One of the new January clients came to a workshop we ran 3 months ago. We’ve kept in touch with her ever since and come the New Year, she decided she was ready to kick start her marketing. The client who decided to accept our quote for writing her blog is one with whom I meet every two months, to work on her marketing. Back in the autumn she told me she was thinking about setting up a blog and could we do it for her. After a few months of keeping in touch with her – and a few more regular meetings – she too decided it was time to take the next step.

Marketing is a long term process. It’s not a quick, over night fix. You can’t go to one networking event and expect clients to flock to you. One newsletter or a week of tweeting won’t build you a great reputation. So, if you want to practice Passive (sit back and take it easy) Marketing, then you need to put in the effort and the groundwork. Once you do, then the clients will come flocking to your door!

Do you work with your ideal clients?

When someone asks you who your clients are, is your answer something like, ‘anyone with a pulse and a cheque book’?

If it is, I’m going to let you into a secret. No matter how hard you try, you are always going to struggle to grow your business. You might think that trying to attract every sort of client to your business is a great way of getting more clients to work with you. But that’s not true. Trying to work with every different kind of business means that you will always be chasing everyone you meet, working hard to persuade them to work with you. It means that you will agree to work with clients who don’t really value what you do and how much you want to charge. They will beat you down on price and then want everything done really quickly. They won’t recommend you to other businesses, because they don’t think you’re that special.

Do you still want to work with clients like that?

Your perfect clients are the ones who come and find you. They want exactly what you want to offer them and they want to pay what you want to charge. They are a joy to work with and they always recommend you to other businesses. But there is a trick to finding them. Nearly every consultant or coach that starts a business begins by doing whatever comes along. The idea of sitting around waiting for people to come to you is a strange one, but it’s one that you need to understand. When you know who your perfect clients are and what you want to offer them, you’ll be able to attract them to you, instead of having to chase after them. You can save time by focusing your attention on only working with clients who really appreciate what you do and who pay you what you’re worth. You can save money by only marketing to your perfect clients and you can make more money from working with them.

Do you know who your ideal clients are? Are you working with them or putting up with not-so-perfect clients?

This is an exerpt from my new book about Marketing Planning, which will be published on 16 November 2011.  Pre-launch orders now being taken – click here to reserve your copy.

Do you know your ideal clients?

Chantal CorneliusDo you know your ideal clients?

When someone asks you who your clients are, is your answer something like “anyone with a pulse and a cheque book”?

If it is, I’m going to let you into a secret. No matter how hard you try, you’re always going to struggle to grow your business. You might think that trying to attract every sort of client to your business is a great way of getting more clients to work with you. But that’s not true. Trying to work with every different kind of business means that you will always be chasing everyone you meet, working hard to persuade them to work with you. It means that you will agree to work with clients who don’t really value what you do and how much you want to charge. They’ll beat you down on price and then want everything done really quickly. They won’t recommend you to other businesses, because they don’t think you’re that special.

Do you still want to work with clients like that?

If your answer is no, then you need to find out how to identify and attract your PERFECT clients.

Your perfect clients are the ones who come and find you. They want exactly what you want to offer them and they want to pay what you want to charge. They are a joy to work with and they always recommend you to other businesses. But there is a trick to finding them. Nearly every consultant or coach that starts a business begins by doing whatever comes along. The idea of sitting around waiting for people to come to you is a strange one, but it’s one that you need to understand. When you know who your perfect clients are and what you want to offer them, you’ll be able to attract them to you, instead of having to chase after them. You can save time by focusing your attention on only working with clients who really appreciate what you do and who pay you what you’re worth. You can save money by only marketing to your perfect clients and you can make more money from working with them.

Do you know who your perfect clients are?

How should you use #ff effectively in Twitter?

Alice

For those who don’t already know, #ff is a hashtag that stands for ‘follow friday’. It is a fun gimmick that adds to the sociability element of Twitter, typically used on a Friday to allow tweeps (Twitter users) to recommend certain followers for others to follow.

Not only is it a way of recommending or being recommended, it is the altruistic part that appeals to many. “Wow, so-and-so must really like what I’ve been saying this week to want to #ff me!”

And that’s the crux. It should really only be used on tweeps who have been socially active on Twitter, by those who have been socially interacting with each other. If there has been a repartie between two followers over the past few minutes, hours, days, week or whatever, using #ff is another way of showing your appreciation for that communication, regardless of the outcome.

But then there are those that abuse the #ff – those that fill up their Twitter streams with great long lists of @usernames and the obligatory #ff at the beginning or end. Either it is because they feel compelled to #ff a series of people to be seen as participating properly on Twitter (which they are not), or it is a way of gaining notice to themselves (which is does, but for the wrong reasons).

If you want to #ff someone, it should be because you really want to, because there has been some successful interaction between each other. You feel this person is worth knowing, and others should know them too. You’ve enjoyed your conversations, or even the content of their Tweets, and it is worth advertising the fact that they deserve more publicity and recognition.

Therefore, when you #ff someone, add a reason why. Not only does it make your #ff recommendation more personal, it shows you really care about what you’ve just done, and there is a proper reason for your action. Twitter is so full of rubbish and inane performances, when someone does a Twitter application properly it really stands out and is more likely to be noted (and appreciated).

What’s the best way to encourage more referrals?

Chantal

One of my clients told me that she’d given some vouchers to someone to say thank you for a referral she’d given her. Nothing new in that, I know. I do think it’s really important to send an appropriate thank you for every referral you receive that turns into work. Make it personal – don’t send wine to someone who doesn’t drink, or chocolates to someone on a diet.

It’s what my client did next that’s clever. She asked her colleague what she’d like as a thank you for the next referral she gave! It’s clever because it means you know exactly what to give that person next time; and it’s really clever because it will have that person looking for another referral they can give you. You’ve got them on the lookout for another great referral, because they’re looking forward to their next reward!

Clever stuff. And if you need a referral to a really good financial adviser, just let me know!

Use LinkedIn effectively – starting with your profile

Alice

The social networking site for business has to be LinkedIn. Anyone in business should have a profile that is properly completed and updated. Failure to do so is like submitting your CV with gaps and omissions, which would certainly not impress a prospective client or employer – since it is both these targets you should be presenting to.

Let’s examine a profile. Apart from your name (and it is you that the LinkedIn profile should be about, not your company) there should be picture of you. Any decent head and shoulders photo will do, so that your profile visitor can see what you look like.

Under your name is a brief description of your profession/job, which acts as your signature throughout your LinkedIn activities. This short phrase could be regularly revised to see what response it brings.

Next comes the status update, where you can write your latest comments and provide accompanying links that you would like to share with your LinkedIn community, and on Twitter if appropriate.  It will default to your latest activity, such as your blog feed, if you don’t update it regularly.

The next area resembles your CV, which should be fully completed to list your current and past positions and your latest education status. It extends to show how many people have recommended you, how many connections you have, links to your websites and blogs (which can be optimised), a link to your Twitter profile and your LinkedIn URL (which can be personalised).

Below that is a summary of what you do in your current role.  This is something that should be carefully constructed, consistently updated, and written with your prospective client or employer, not to mention search engine optimisation, in mind.

LinkedIn also provides applications that allow you to show your latest presentations and feed your blog posts and tweets into your profile. All this activity shows your online proficiency outside of LinkedIn, plus extra exposure to your business and expertise status.

Don’t forget to fully complete the experience area. Here you can describe in detail about your present and past positions, which should be regularly revised. Attached are links to ask for recommendations, which are listed below prominently showing what others say about you, your business and your effectiveness in performing within your industry.

If you are members of any groups, these will be listed with the latest connection at the top. It is all very well being a member of a group without some sort of contribution, which is listed in your activities section in the right column.

As well as listing your latest activities in LinkedIn (your updates, new connections, blog post feeds, plus any questions you have asked or answered and groups you have contributed to), the right column also lists any groups you share with others, recommendations you have given recently, and other profiles that the viewer has also visited.

A particular section is revealed once you become an expert in an Answers section (I am privileged to have given a best answer in graphic design, search marketing and blogging).

You can see examples of all this in my LinkedIn profile, built up over a number of years. There is no reason why you cannot have something similar, it just requires time and effort to update and improve it.