You have the imagination and creativity that matches nobody else’s. You have all the tools and materials needed to successfully portray every design that you create in your mind. You have the right knowledge and foresight that allows you to plan all the steps necessary to complete every project thrown your way.
What else is missing?
If you say that you’re still short on the number of clients to work with, then don’t worry, you are definitely not alone.
There are so many amazing, talented designers out there who have yet to showcase their skills because, well, there’s just no one to work with, no project to complete. More often than not, the projects go to those who have already established their presence in the business. So it’s the same people over and over again, while those new to the industry are left trying to scramble after the leftovers.
But every so often, someone breaks the mold and grabs great clients from under the more experienced designers’ noses. This is something you can do if you pay close attention to client acquisition secrets given by nothing less than the true experts in the field.
Here are a few pieces of advice coming from the very people who have mastered the art of client acquisition. By applying their tips to your client acquisition approach and methods, you can undoubtedly close deal after deal and score client after client in no time.
Lisa Calhoun, President and Founder of Write2Market
Write2Market has been declared by Hubspot as one of the Top 10 Agencies for Startups in the US. Knowing that they were given this honor, there is no doubt at all that they were under the kind of leadership that knew exactly how to make those clients sign. In other words, Lisa Calhoun definitely knew what client acquisition is all about.
When asked what the secret ingredient is to client acquisition, she only has one advice – measure the broadest possible array or marketing media.
We see so many business owners, professionals and marketers pour out all their hearts and souls into one or two marketing strategies, like blogging and social media or email marketing and Facebook. But what about the potential clients that they can connect with through other means?
Before these clients seal the deal with someone else, it’s better to jump right in and get a head start. Remember that clients are always finding new ways to connect, new ways to find partners, new ways to find people they can work with. And as long as you are willing to go beyond your usual default marketing media and try out every new thing that emerges, you will find clients who can see your potential and trust you to do the job for them.
Liam Brown, Founder of Sidestep Coaching
Having built 3 successful companies himself, we know that he has probably experienced and encountered every stumbling block there is when it comes to client acquisition. And guess what he did to these stumbling blocks? He went through them.
Liam Brown believes that the most important thing you should be doing before jumping into client acquisition is to identify your target market. Sure, you hear this all the time. It’s one of those sales clichés that a lot of you have gotten tired of hearing. But you know what? It has been proven to work – a lot of people just don’t know what to do with it.
This question will probably solidify things for you – if you have no idea who you’re talking to, how would you catch any of them?
Liam gave a great example when NG Data, a customer experience management solutions firm, asked him about the topic. He says that if you were to reach out to mortgage brokers, you can’t get them to say yes to attend a seminar that’s entitled “Learn How to Generate More Customers for Your Business” because it’s just too generic. It will never appeal to the mortgage broker in them.
Now try offering a seminar called “Learn how to Generate More Customers for Your Mortgage Business Through Profitable Relationships with Realtors” and you’ll see actual results. And where will this creativity and personalization come from? From knowing who your target market really is.
Bhavesh Vaghela, Chief Marketing Officer at ResponseTap
Knowing that ResponseTap is a leader in the industry that automates call-based marketing, it’s not surprising at all that they also know a secret or two when it comes to client acquisition. And when it comes to this topic, their CMO has only one thing to say – focus on your omni-channel client acquisition strategy.
What is omni-channel client acquisition? This means that you pay close attention not only to your online touchpoints, but to the ones available offline as well.
The digital era has made every single marketer turn into digital experts, which has led a lot of them to neglect the traditional means of marketing. Yes, going online and staying digitally connected gives definite results. But you would also have to consider those who fancy a real conversation done the traditional way – by talking to them personally, and not through a gadget.
Call center data, according to studies, are still important. After all, this data reveals actual customers talking to you as a brand, telling you what their actual experience is. So what if you get a few rude calls telling you that you’re no good? Remember that this is the juicy stuff – the stuff that’s going to allow you to improve on what you can improve and change the way clients see your service.
Antoinette Forth, Entrepreneur, Strategic Advisor and Mentor
Imagine having worked in corporate sales for over 25 years. Add to that 8 years of successful independent consultancy and you have a true expert in Antoinette Forth. Her advice to those struggling with client acquisition? Look at customers both on micro and macro levels.
It can’t be just one approach. It has to be a perfect blend of the two.
The micro level deals with actual human interaction between you and your customer. How do you do this? By joining conversations on social media. By looking at their network connections and understanding how they interact with other people online. The moment you start understanding how these people interact with one another is the same moment you understand how to interact with them yourself.
And when you look at them on a macro level, you create personas for them. You paint a picture of who they are, what they’re interested in, what they look for and what they despise. This is the key step in any client acquisition strategy because it allows you to draw plans and personalize your products and services before you even talk to any of the people you are targeting.
Rob Watson, Freelance Marketing Consultant
Rob Watson has been in marketing for over 20 years, helping companies and individuals market their brands, products and services. With such a huge amount of experience in his portfolio, it’s safe to say that he’s seem them all.
When it comes to customer acquisition, he has one thing to say. Look at the numbers.
A lot of people strategize and brainstorm endlessly, sometimes forgetting about why they’re strategizing and what they’re brainstorming for. If you want real, effective results from all the planning, you need to have the numbers laid out in front of you.
How much budget are you working with? How was your performance last quarter? What are your goals for this period? How many clients are you targeting? How many clients are you currently connected with?
By asking yourself these questions, you can get the kind of numbers that matter. From here, you can have a more organized plan that once implemented will give you the kind of results you’ve been hoping for.
Idan Shpizear, Owner and Founder of 911 Restoration
Idan Shpizear goes right back to the basics and tells it how it is. When it comes to customer acquisition, he believe that the most important thing to look at is building trust.
Step outside your marketing hat and think of yourself as a consumer. Would you purchase anything from a person you don’t trust? Would you even consider trying something out if your gut tells you that the person selling it to you is up to no good?
Now step right back into the marketing realm and ask yourself – am I trustworthy?
Trust, however, is not exactly something that you can have in an instant. It’s something that you build over time.
Be approachable and make sure you are open to people’s inquiries, suggestions, and comments. Avoid blocking anyone’s opinions no matter how different these are from your own. Practice this every chance you get, from smiling at a random person you see in the grocery aisles to having some light chitchat with the storekeeper down the road. This simple brand of friendliness will shine through and will transform you into someone who people can instantly feel comfortable with, someone who can be easily trusted.
And once you have gained people’s trust, make sure you don’t break it. Deliver what you promise and make sure you attend to any issues the moment they surface. This way, people know that anytime anything goes wrong, you still have their back. That’s where clients can prove that their trust is in the right place, something that they’ll happily share with other people who can potentially be your clients, too.
Maile Cabral, Brand Publicist
Maile Cabral is someone who has proven how well she understands the entire process of client acquisition solely by the clients she has gotten and retained throughout the years. She is considered an expert in celebrity endorsement, celebrity placements and celebrity social media brand support and engagement.
The best advice she can give to those who are struggling with client acquisition? Concentrate on long-term branding.
Sure, you may be seeing a huge influx of site visitors today. You may have sold so much of your products in just a single week. But have you thought about planning for next week? Next month? Next quarter?
When you think about branding, you have to think long-term. This is where the real treasure lies, after all. Those customers may be buying for now, but how are you ensuring that they remember you after their initial purchase? When you focus on long-term branding, you can make sure that they will be coming back for more, cementing your numbers and allowing them to grow faster and stronger.
Jeremy Durant, Business Principal for Bop Design
Jeremy Durant has worked with so many Fortune 500 companies, helping them build branding and marketing strategies. And if he were to share one of his most surefire client acquisition strategies with you, he would tell you this – look at your content.
Remember that through your content, people can immediately sense whether you’re someone who knows what they’re talking about. It’s the best way for you to be discovered by potential clients, and will also be the best way for you to connect with them. The best part about this is that people already know how good you are on what you do based on what they have read and seen. So closing the deal will pretty much be a little easier from there.
Make sure you deliver consistent relevant content so that you can make every potential client feel that you truly are looking after their welfare and would like them to be as educated as possible. From here, you can start building long-term relationships, pushing these people to become brand ambassadors for you in the end.
Different experts, different pieces of advice. Remember that client acquisition is not just something you do so that you can start hitting your quotas or raising your profits. Rather, it’s something you do to build a stronger foundation for your profession and business, allowing you to make those great design projects to just keep coming in without you even putting in as much effort a good few years from now.
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