Tag Archives: client

Why you’re not attracting new clients on LinkedIn

As most of you know, I’m a huge fan of LinkedIn, for both networking and for finding new clients. With more than 100 million professionals, Neilson Online refers to it at “the world’s largest audience of affluent, influential professionals.”

So why is no one calling or connecting with you?

I’m working on a full LinkedIn course, but I’ll give away two secrets why you’re not attracting more clients. And if you’re reading this and not on LinkedIn, go there, set up your profile and then come back here — it’s that important.

First, you’re waiting for them to come to you.
Seriously, prospects and customers won’t just show up or beat down your virtual doors because you’re on LinkedIn. You have to go out and reach them instead. And make them know about you. Do this by having:

  • A 100% complete profile
  • Status message updated daily (or more)
  • Writing recommendations on people and service providers

Second, you join groups. Just not the right groups.
LinkedIn’s settings permit you to join up to 50 different groups. But most people just sit there like wallflowers, lurking yet never participating in the conversation. Or worse, you only join groups where there are like members. I made this mistake myself early on, joining a bunch of consulting groups. Lots of consultants, no clients. So if you cater to attorneys, join groups where the membership is primarily attorneys.

Social networking is all about being social — you’ve got to participate. And it costs nothing but time. If you want to create thought leadership around yourself or your brand, you’ve got to let the world know you’re out there.

What’s better than a client referral?

Professional service providers win when their efforts provide immense value, and thrive when their clients refer other like-minded people who have similar needs. So what could be better than a client referral?

A client testimonial!

An Econsultancy article from July 2009 refers to a Nielsen survey showing that 90% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know and 70% trust opinions of unknown users. The client referral pays you once (maybe twice), but the client testimonial earns it keep every time it’s used.

Here is a sample template you could use (where permitted and based on your profession) to solicit better testimonials:

  1. Why did you retain (business name) for your (service provided) needs?
  2. Please list three things you like most about our services. Why do you like them?
  3. What, in your opinion, is the strongest feature of our services? Why?
  4. Is there anything about our services you would like to see changed?
  5. May we use your comments for promotional purposes?

Once you get these back, have them signed and dated for everyone’s benefit. Then use them on your website and in other promotional materials.

Pay-Per-Click vs. Search Engine Optimization

There are few websites online today that don’t crave more attention from search engines, more views and purchases from customers, and more inbound links from other sites. However, getting to the point of online rock stardom takes more than simply wishing your way to the top. It often takes a ton of work optimizing pages, a few dollars spent on advertising, and an ounce of good luck to seal the deal. Two very different approaches – Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising and organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO), have been known to produce favorable results in increasing a website’s visibility, but the key to success online is in understanding and taking advantage of the strengths and weaknesses of both.

Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of following best practices in order to gain better position in a search engine for one or more keywords or phrases. With SEO, visitors use a search engine to find sites that are relevant to the keywords and phases they provide. The most common search engines used today (Yahoo!, Google and MSN) are relied on by over 90% of web users to find what they are looking for online, but most only view the top 30 results produced by search engines. These factors make getting to the top of a search engine’s results for specific keywords an absolute online necessity for websites.

Search Engine Optimization has several advantages which make it appealing to those looking to be online for the long run. Its most noted advantage is that, when using sound practices, its results are realized for the long term. Another major advantage of organic SEO comes in its cost, which ranges from free to minimal as the only costs incurred, if any, are those paid to make website changes. SEO methods that focus its keywords on the products, service and information provided by the website also have a better chance of delivering repeat visitors and customers that are ready to act.

Organic search engine optimization has two clear disadvantages, which are always outweighed by the advantages SEO methods provide. The first disadvantage is that SEO takes time – time in constructing pages to appeal to search engines; time for the search engines to find, index and “trust” the pages; and time to realize the positive ROI between customers and efforts spent. This disadvantage is usually minimal to those looking to be online for the long term. The final disadvantage with organic search engine optimization is that it does not deliver guarantees, especially for websites with lots of competition online. Keeping in mind that each website has the opportunity to “optimize” their pages as well should put the chances of success through SEO in perspective.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Both new websites and those finding it difficult to get their fair shake in the top of the search engines, may opt for Pay-Per-Click advertising to increase their visibility online. In short, Pay-Per-Click advertising allows you to select, bid, and pay for keywords that are relevant to your website’s offerings. In exchange, the Pay-Per-Click program offers a website guaranteed visibility when a searcher enters in the chosen keyword and when the searcher is on a website that is related to the keyword.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising guarantees that websites are put in the eyes of their chosen target audiences. When properly managed, the pay-per-click advertising costs can often times be recouped through the increase in sales that are driven to the website. In addition, the flexibility in keyword selection, the precise management of campaigns, the instant feedback provided, and the ability to budget spending make PPC appealing to most companies that do not appear in top search results.

There are several disadvantages to pay-per-click advertising which can be reduced or even eliminated with proactive PPC campaign management. One major disadvantage results from the bidding nature of PPC programs, which tend to list the highest bidder for a keyword ahead of lower bidders. This “bidding war” forces the lower bidder to increase their bid in order to regain position, and can squeeze out companies with smaller marketing budgets. Another disadvantage to PPC advertising comes in the improper selection of keywords which results in bidders paying for visitors that are simply “window shopping”, and have no intention of buying products. The final disadvantage to PPC advertising is the most obvious and the most painful – once the payments for keywords stop, so does the website’s visibility.

Which Method Is Best?
Websites with little or no visibility can easily change their circumstances by using Pay-Per-Click advertising to instantly gain web presence. And although the guaranteed visibility comes at a cost, those just starting out on the web can often time recoup their expenses through the building of repeat customers, word of mouth referrals and increased traffic flow. Also, keep in mind that paying to be in front of visitors has major disadvantages that good SEO should eliminate over time. So, our suggestion is to always use Pay-Per-Click advertising to get into the face of web surfers in the early stages of a website’s growth, but to also implement the techniques of Search Engine Optimization which will provide the website with long-term staying power. Used in conjunction with each other, your website will realize both immediate and long-term success on the web.

Photo credit by svilen001.

What is it you’re really selling?

chain linkIt’s been said that in business, sales are King, but marketing is Queen, and she runs the show. Marketing is the engine behind your business, but also its weakest link. Before defining your niche, it’s helpful to create and implement a high level marketing plan containing the following:

  • The purpose of the plan (what you want out of it — more sales, more website visitors, more email leads, etc.)
  • Your main benefit to clients (more on this later)
  • Your target audience(s) — describe the ideal client very specifically
  • Your marketing budget, expressed as a percentage of gross sales, so it grows in step with your business’ growth

How to Define Your Niche
Your main benefit, or why a client does business with you, is critical to your success, so invest the time needed to carefully think about and answer these questions:

  • How do I solve a client’s problem, achieve their goals or satisfy wants?
  • What can I do to create desire for my service? Could be based around convenience, speed or a promotion.
  • Could I make my service solve multiple problems or achieve multiple goals for my clients?
  • What can I do to make it easier for clients to do business with me? For example, convenient hours, value pricing, excellent staff members, variety of services, speed of delivery, etc.

With your niche and plan in place, you’ll give clients a reason to hire you – and be foolish if they went with a competitor!

Photo credit by saavem.