It’s hard to believe, but in July of 2020, I will have had my business for eight years! Time flies when you’re having fun, and getting great results for the people you were meant to serve 🙂 If you’ll indulge me, I would like to dig a bit into my back story. It’s a little selfish, but I promise it will be worth your while. My story will help you understand how I first started to get leads into my brand new business and turn them into clients. And to boot, these are the very same digital marketing techniques that STILL work to get me leads and turn them into clients almost 10 years later!
I left my previous partnership suddenly in early July of 2012. While I knew it was the right move, I also quickly realized that my hasty action had left me and my family with no income, and I needed to change that FAST. So, by the end of that same July, Social Abundance Marketing was born. I had the following assets: 3 years of experience in social media; plenty of negative role models from the past that showed me clearly the kind of business I DIDN’T want to run. While I was still a bit unclear as to exactly the kind of business I DID want to run, I knew I could trust in the assets I did have, jump into lead generation, and have faith that the clients would come. And, you know what? The clients did come! And here I am, almost a decade later, running the business of my dreams, helping clients do the same.
So, how did I get off on the right foot and start getting clients immediately? It was these 6 quick tips that continue to serve me to this day:
- Private Messaging – The very night I parted ways with my previous partner I began to send private messages to all my past clients from the partnership via LinkedIn informing them that I had left my partnership and was opening my own business. I didn’t ask them to follow or become clients, I just wanted to let them know that I had enjoyed working with them during the time of my partnership and keep the relationship going. I had no expectations of the responses I would get. I was just trying to be upfront, that I no longer would be the person to answer their social media questions at my old company.
So, what was the result? It didn’t happen instantly, but most of my old social media clients hired me by the end of the year. LinkedIn relationships are still one of the most important ways that I successfully create relationships and convert leads into clients without hard selling.
- Consistency – I started a Facebook page for my new business almost immediately and got to work increasing likes and engagement. Consistency was the key to my visibility. I offered posts that added value and gently shared my expertise through how-tos and other tips. And, thanks to this commitment to consistency started to get clients from my posts. From my experience, it doesn’t matter what platform you use, as long as you commit to being consistent with the ones you choose.
- An “Online Storefront” – What that actually means is a website. Now, I didn’t start with a website. As a matter of fact, I didn’t have a website for my first six months. I observe that it is a common mistake for people to overinvest in their websites and neglect social media and other digital marketing channels, which I have found are actually much more crucial to lead generation. The truth is that you can have the most beautiful website ever built, but you might as well not even bother if people know about you on social media. I think a website is very important but just as important, if not more, is to build up your social media and give your leads reasons to visit the site.
- Email List – I started collecting emails after I had demonstrated to my audience that I could be consistent on social media. It’s imperative to have an email list, because, in my opinion, it’s one of the few assets in the marketing realm that you actually own. But, again, it won’t do you any good unless you are consistent with the number of emails you send out. Many companies I work with are afraid to email “too much”, but in my experience, the fear ought to run the other way most of the time. The average open rate for marketing emails in 2020 is 17.8%. Depending on the size of your email list, you should be emailing at a minimum of once per week, and ideally three times per week, in order to maximize your open rate. The more you email the higher your open rates will be. Try it and see!
- Don’t neglect offline marketing! – I remember the days when I went to 100 networking events a year so that people could learn about my business. Do you remember? You collected all these business cards and now they are sitting in your desk drawer collecting dust. Bring them out and connect with these contacts on your social media platform of choice. Refer to tip one and send them a private message. You would be amazed at how many people are willing to talk to you if you ask them open-ended questions. *Here is the trick: DON’T SELL! Continue the conversation, and see if they are a good fit to work with you by having a relationship first. If it’s right, you will both know when it’s time to have the sales call.
- Content creation – The last tip I’ll give you today is the power of the blog, vlog, or podcast. Many people feel like creating a post or podcast with the above tips is just too much because they fear they would never be able to create that much content consistently. But, just start brainstorming ideas and you might be surprised by how many different topics you are prepared to write or talk about at length. Once you get going, you will see how much you have to say. It’s actually almost unheard of for people to run out of ideas when they really get into the flow of content creation. Plus, you can take a long blog post like this one and break it up into smaller bite-sized posts that can be repurposed on social media in all sorts of ways.
So, how does applying all of those tips result in leads? Simple. The bigger the audience you grow, the more relationships you nurture, and the more likely that, when the time is right, you will have a substantial audience positioned to buy from you when you have a new product or service ready and available. All you will have to do is go through your list and find those that would be the right fit for you and your offer or ask them to raise their hands through your marketing channels. But, none of this will happen without steady, consistent efforts at lead generation. The 6 tips above are the best places I have found to start that process, both for my clients, and myself!