With the tumultuous environment of 2020 we've seen so many Aussie businesses shut down and spring up new developments, like a phoenix rising from the ashes. This kind of renaissance of small business pop ups leaves many experienced owners starting from scratch.
So you, like many other business owners, might be wondering how you can even build a client base that will fund your next venture and pay the bills. Well, keep reading this article because we have a simple philosophy and action plan that can get you new clients or customers in just as little as 3 days!
Where To Begin
When starting a new business it's vital to understand who your ideal customer actually is. You would have heard of 'client profiles' or 'customer avatars' before and they are absolutely crucial to building your client roster. We see so many businesses focus on WHAT they sell, and not WHO they sell too. Even worse, they don't focus on the buyer's experience but simply think about their business goals or plans to scale.
If this is you, take a step back and bring it back down to basics. It'll be quite a while until you hit those big business goals or have the most perfect product or service - that comes with experience, time and money. For now let's make sure we understand our customers so we start making that first lot of money and build a name for ourselves.
So What Is A Customer Avatar?
A customer avatar is a detailed profile of your ideal customer or client. It shouldn't be a lump assumption of a group or demographic, instead it needs to focus on one person and outlines everything about them, from their personality to their worst pain points. It needs to go into great depth and you shouldn't be afraid of spending a lot of time building it.
To create an awesome customer avatar that you can utilise, you'll need to ask yourself the below questions:
What's my ideal client/ customer's age?
What’s their age?
What’s their gender?
What’s their marital status?
How many children do they have? How old are their children?
Where are they located?
What’s their occupation?
What’s their job title?
How much do they make each year?
What level of education have they completed?
What are their goals? What are they trying to accomplish?
What are their values? What’s their “hill to die on”?
Where do they get most of their information?
What books, magazines, websites, conferences, and gurus do they trust?
What challenges do they need to overcome? What pain points are they experiencing?
Why might they object to purchasing your offering?
What’s their role in the purchasing process? Are they the direct buyer, or do they need approval from someone else?
My two favourite questions to ask myself or other businesses when forming an Avatar are:
When are they so happy they could die? / What makes them feel on top of the world?
When are they crying on the floor? / What makes them feel like giving up?
These questions probably seem strange at first but they offer a glimpse into their deepest, most primal needs as a human being. If you can solve whatever issue they have when they're crying on the floor and bring them to 'so happy they could die' - then you've already sold them. You're their saviour! To truly understand your customer or client is such a powerful tool and is absolutely necessary to start building that initial roster.
Build out your Customer Avatar (doesn't have to be fancy, a word doc will do) so you can constantly refer to it when bringing clients onboard or marketing your product. Having this written down will also let you refer it when on a sales call and help you speak in their language. If you can make someone feel like you're talking to their inner being then you'll create a bond so strong they'll be excited to work with you!
Finding The Right Offer
Once you know exactly who your ideal customer is then its time to find the absolute perfect offer they can't resist. This may be tricky to come up with at first because you need the offer to be both beneficial to you and to the buyer.
The main reason we're creating this offer is to get a new customer in at the ground level, at an insanely cheap price. Our actual 'profit' doesn't come from this purchase but the purchase they'll make in the future because they loved working with us so much.
For example, one of our hot ticket items we like to sell is our Brand Kits. Usually when a new client finds us we charge them around $1k for a Brand Kit which includes a logo, typography files, brand guidelines, etc. Pretty standard price for such things. However, if we're having a slow week or simply want to reach more baby companies (our name for brand new companies just starting out) we pump out the offer for our Brand Kits at just $47AUD. I know, it's bonkers. We never make any kind of profit from this, in fact we loose money but it's worth it, and here's why. We find that 90% of the customers we create Brand Kits for at this special price offer go on to ASK US to quote them for a bigger project within two weeks of completing the Brand Kit project. Usually they ask for a website or some kind of lead gen and we easily make $1.5k from that. Once that next project is completed they ask for another, and another, and another until we are their trusted digital marketing supplier!
There's a few reasons why this tactic works:
We provide the exact same quality of work to their $47 Brand Kit that we would for a $1K Brand Kit customer. We develop a rapport with them and show them we're the real deal and they were just lucky they came across the deal.
We strategise and support them through their frustrations in their new company. We listen to what they need and offer free strategy sessions, just like a good mate would, so they can depend on us to help them.
We are with them at the beginning of their business. They're in a very anxious time in their business journey and we naturally grow with them.
We actually care if they succeed. Being a small business ourselves we want to see others do well alongside us. We know what it's like to build something from the ground up and want to support them.
We've already broken down the main barrier of entry - payment. Once a customer pays you it's 10x easier to sell to them in the future.
In a nutshell, we give them an unbelievable, high quality deal that only benefits them. We work super hard to ensure their satisfaction and in turn they naturally want to keep working with us. It's great! Those few customers who don't continue to spend with us are fine too, because the success rate is so high it doesn't effect our margins in the long run. At least we gave someone a sick logo, right?
So what should your offer be? It all depends on the kind of business you run. The Brand Kit deal works well for us because it highlights our strengths and targets the demographic (new struggling business owners) we know we can develop a relationship with.
So if you're an ecommerce brand selling skateboards or other xtreme sport apparel, try building an offer around newbies who are just entering the sport or hobby. Get them in for a crazy, low price, beginner deck and offer helpful material they can resort to when learning new things. They'll begin to trust your brand and associate it with quality and kindness, meaning they'll buy from you again.
If you're a wedding photographer, try creating an offer that allows the customer to get their engagement shoot completely free if they book their complete wedding package with you. So many couples struggle to afford the wedding of their dreams and photography can feel like a luxury not worth paying for. By executing this offer correctly, you should feel like a saviour to these people! There's no reason you wouldn't be flooded with enquiries after putting that offer out there.
So if you're struggling to think of the right offer just consider the below points:
Make sure the offer is irresistible - so good that if they pass it up they'll always be thinking about it until the day they die (or at least for a couple of days).
Speak directly to their needs, wants and desires (this should be easy if you've created your customer avatar properly).
Most importantly, make sure the offer aligns with the start of their buyer journey. You want this offer to be the first of many projects/ products they'll purchase from you.
Getting It In Front Of The Right People
So you've got your super defined avatar, got your incredible offer, now we need to put it somewhere its going to be seen. There's a couple of options you have here. Either go with the paid ad spend option, or organic and free option. Naturally I can feel you leaning towards the 'free option' but let me show you the pros and cons for each first before you make a decision.
Organic, free advertising sounds awesome on paper but it's biggest drawback is that it's slooooooooooooooooow. You can work hard on your search engine optimisation and get your page ranking number one on Google with your irresistible offer but that can take 6-12 months before you see real results. Another free method is posting your offer on your social media channels however you'll need an active following already (that also matches your target avatar) in order to get any hits. Now, I'm not saying don't go with organic, free methods but if you do, you certainly won't 'Build A Roster Of New Clients In Just 3 Days' which is what this article is all about. It'll be more like 'Build A Roster Of New Clients In Just 12 Months', so let's chat paid alternatives.
Paid Advertising not only allows you to put your offer in front of someone IMMEDIATELY but also allows you to target incredibly specific people, demographics, and so much more based on your customer avatar. However a lot of marketing gurus will tell you to stay away from paid advertising if you're not hitting over $10K a month in sales, and I somewhat agree. It's hard to budget for ad spend if you have no income whatsoever but if you do have a buffer, and you know what you're doing, that money will come back to you three fold. The most important elements you HAVE to understand before touching a paid campaign is Interest/ Geo Targeting, Effective Ad Copy & Creative, Purchase Funnels & what your absolute final budget is to spend.
Make It Easy To Pay
The absolute last thing you ever want to happen is fine tuning the most amazing avatar, offer, funnel and advertising system just for your payment gateway to fail. Trust us, it happens to the best of us.
No one actually likes spending money, we like shopping. So when it comes to finally saying 'I like these guys, let's do it!" and they pull out their credit card, they need the next payment steps to be as painless as possible, otherwise they'll double back and start to hesitate on that impulse decision. Whichever way you want your clients to pay, make it as streamlined as possible.
We find that integrating a payment gateway into your website to be the best way for customers to quickly pay securely and efficiently. Another option is sending invoices with a smart app (like WaveApps) that allows them to pay via credit card rather than direct deposit. Yes there are transaction fees associated with these methods but the rewards you'll reap from an easy gateway outweigh the negative costs.
This is a no brainer, you obviously need to rock your new customer relationships if you have any hope of growing with them. Show them why they chose to give you their money. Bring out your personality, brand voice and vision, show them that you're a real person who actually gives a damn!
Any issues they have with the service or product address it quickly, kindly and efficiently. Do they have problems with checking out? Find a better, more easy way for them to pay. Did their product come faulty? Replace it no questions asked with a bonus gift as well. Go above and beyond and watch them come crawling back for more.
Do More Than You Should
Similar to the above, you need to show why they chose your business over your competitor. The easiest way to do this is to provide more than you promise. If you provide a freebie that has a high perceived value, even better!
For example, with our brand kits we say that the customer gets only 5 mockups to choose from and 3 amendments to their final logo. Have we ever stuck to that rule? HELL NO. But they don't know that going into the purchase. We allow unlimited reviews and usually provide around 12 mockups per client when doing Brand Kits because we know how it feels to be spoiled for choice. When we allow our new clients to feel heard and understood we're giving them such a unique customer experience that they just won't find anywhere else. This outweighs any cost, any final product out there.
So if you run an artisan candle company, why not throw in a free gift with new customer purchase? You could throw in a candle snuffer that wholesale prices for just .15c a piece but looks gorgeous and feels sturdy. It costs you almost zilch but your new customer will feel taken care of and elated with their surprise, high perceived value gift.
Maybe if you're a plumber you can provide free consultations or even send them a branded plunger with your business name in the mail after you've done a job for them. You can grab this for $1 a piece wholesale and yes it's cheesy but it creates an ongoing relationship with that client and every time they drop a deuce they'll think of you!
Be A Mate
Offer your clients professional tips, tricks and advice. Be there for them when no one else is. If you're a camera hiring house and your client rings up asking for advice on which camera is better suited to the event they're about to film, don't shoo them off the phone thinking this is wasted time, instead ask them MORE questions to get to the bottom of their goals. Give them your professional take on the situation and make suggestions. They will 1000% purchase that gear hire from you right then and there.
When building a roster of clients it's not necessarily about getting reliable income from them quickly but rather building long lasting relationships and connections. If you can truly be a friend to your customer they will stay with you for the long haul and recommend you to their friends.
It's no exaggeration that if you do your research and follow the above steps to a tee, you WILL get a couple of new clients or customers within 3 days of implementing it. Just keep your offer screw tight and your customer service top notch and the rest will just fall into place.
Want to better understand this method of client acquisition? Book in a time to chat strategy with us, completely free of course, and we'll point you in the right direction. Book here.
(02) 8006 4212