When you’ve just started a new business or you’ve moved into a new marketing niche, it can feel like an uphill battle to find clients. You have no audience, no testimonials and you’re very likely still building your confidence.
Finding clients is more difficult at this stage than it will ever be again.
While there are no shortcuts, I’m going to share with you how to start finding clients at this early stage of a business.
This strategy is what I used when I started my business as a marketing coach in March of 2020. In less than one year, I went from having virtually no online audience and zero testimonials to having paying clients and a handful of heartfelt testimonials.
What this strategy is NOT:
- Faking it until you make it.
Even if you’re able to fool people into believing things that are untrue about you, business is so much more enjoyable when you’re authentic and truthful. This strategy is all about authenticity from the very beginning.
- Endlessly editing on your website copy.
Overthinking your website copy in the beginning of your business will only slow down your business growth. Don’t spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for a web designer when you don’t even have clients yet. Instead, create a simple website as a placeholder for now and put your time and energy into finding clients.
- Posting salesly posts on social media.
Writing posts every week that you’re offering a new service won’t get you clients in the beginning. And eventually it will start to annoy your friends and family. There are better ways to use social media, as I share below.
- Using hard sales tactics.
If you try and pressure people into becoming a client, especially in the beginning, you’re going to develop a reputation that you don’t want.
- Trying to create viral content.
Trying to start your business by “going viral” on social media is a goal that will only emotionally drain you and distract you from what you need to be doing instead, which is to create meaningful content.
The Core Principles Behind This Strategy
Building a deep personal relationship with your audience is the fastest way to start finding clients in the beginning.
Now that you know what not to do and the core principle, here are the steps to start finding clients.
Step 1. Have a burn-out free content strategy..
So many new business owners try and go full blast into creating content for social media only to find that they burn themselves out and develop an unsustainable lifestyle.
Others will be very shy about creating content, always stuck trying to think about what to say and worrying their content isn’t good enough.
To avoid both of these pitfalls, focus on growing a small audience that loves you and doesn’t care if you’re not perfect. This will help you develop a consistent rhythm of content without being overwhelmed and that will lead to clients.
What should you write about? Your content is meant to be helpful. Share strategies and ideas that have helped you in your journey. Answer common questions that are asked by clients. Share your stance on trends in your industry.
What platform should you choose? There’s no need to obsess over posting the right type of content on the right platform. Just go where you’re most comfortable and most excited to be. Many of my clients start with Facebook or Instagram. You can also start with podcasting, Youtube, TikTok, LinkedIn, or Medium.com. Just start producing content and then learn as you go.
Step 2. Build relationships with your followers by inviting them into 1-on-1 marketing research interviews.
When you notice someone new interacting with your online content or following your business page, take a look at their social media profile.
If they appear to be an ideal client then send them a private message. Ask them if they’re willing to meet with you over Zoom for a 1-on-1 marketing research interview.
Marketing research interviews are imperative when you’re a new business owner because they help you create more meaningful marketing content and they’re the fastest way to build relationships with potential clients.
Because of the deep level of connection and intimacy that become established through marketing research interviews, many of those you interview will ask about your services and may even become a client.
If they don’t become clients, don’t pressure them. Marketing research interviews are not meant to be “bate and switch” sales calls. Those who don’t become clients will become more devoted fans of your content and supporters of your work.
In this early stage of your business, there really isn’t anything else you could be doing with your time that is more valuable than by having 1-on-1 conversations with your audience.
Step 3. Be prepared for inquiries.
If you do steps 1 and 2, you’ll start having people ask about your services. This is where you need to be ready to talk about your services and your prices. This can be anxiety producing for a lot of people, so take time to prepare the details of your offerings.
While you’re working with clients, periodically check in together on how your progress is going. Review what your goals were at the beginning of the coaching relationship, what’s been accomplished so far, and if they have any new goals or intentions. If they start sharing positive results of your work together, don’t be shy about asking for a testimonial. Happy clients are almost always very happy to share about their positive results.
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And if you’d like some help implementing this strategy, I’m currently offering 30 minutes of free 1-on-1 coaching in exchange for a marketing research interview. If interested, apply here.