How To Matter To Your Ideal Clients
You started your business because you wanted to help people. When asked "Why did you start your company?" The answer often starts like this, "because I wanted to help ______________ to do ___________________ so that they could become better ___________________." Or something along those lines. The word "help" is in the answer, almost always.
I'm going to tell you how to really help your Ideal Clients not by selling something to them, but by solving a real problem for them by giving the education, inspiration, and value that they come to look forward to, trust, and share with others. You're going to give away your best ideas for free and they'll love you for it. Eventually, they'll pay you for it. Here we go...
Imagine you're at a cocktail party. Your friend invited you to this event and it's full of interesting people from all walks of life. It has all of the makings of a great party. Someone "over there" catches your attention for one reason or another and you remind yourself to make a point to meet that person later.
Later comes around and that person is just as lovely during a first impression as you had thought they'd be. They're witty, kind, and thoughtful in their conversation. You exchange business cards and agree to meet for coffee in the coming weeks. You're excited and inspired, and you're really looking forward to learning more about this person.
After a few days, you reach out and schedule coffee at a local shop where the two of you engage in effortless and authentic conversation. You can feel the fast friendship forming and when coffee is over, you realize this is a person whom you're looking forward to seeing again. There is mutual interest, common ground, shared values, and good vibes all around. And the rest, they say, is history.
This common story outlines the natural and organic way we build relationships. You've built a rapport with another human based on trust, genuine interest, and authenticity. There's no agenda; not a single shred of manipulation present.
The same should be true of how you engage with others who are interested in your brand. If you're in it for a quick sale, you're destined to fail.
An entrepreneur who is in it for the long game, knows that they will spend considerable time nurturing their audience with education and inspiration, and even then their Ideal Client may not buy from them. There will come a point in time, perhaps months down the road, where our entrepreneur will make an offer that will resonate so deeply with their Ideal Client, that the Ideal Client thinks that it was made specifically for them. In which case they will not only buy the product, they will share it with others who may find it just as valuable. These are clients I call "Evangelists" and they're the very best kind. They know the real you, why you're in business, and how much you seek to serve.
They're willing to risk their reputation by advocating on your behalf and referring you within their network. They do this because they believe in you and it's one of the humbling experiences you'll ever have.
This is how we grow a business based on generosity, goodwill, and authenticity.
But let's back up and see how our Ideal Client goes from just becoming aware of you, to an Evangelist...
You've caught their attention with something of high value
We're bombarded with information and shiny new objects everywhere we look. When you do the deep work of understanding who your Ideal Client is, what keeps them up at night and how they're wired, you'll know how to approach in order to educate and inspire. Notice I didn't say sell. We're not selling anything. Geez, we're just shaking hands, not getting married.
You can attract and appeal to your Ideal Client because you've spent the time understanding what they value, need, desire, fear, and love. You know what motivates them and you create thoughtful, free content that solves a real problem and helps them make an informed decision that improves their life.
They like what they see and they'll continue to pay attention to you if you continue to show up.
Have you ever followed a blogger or someone on social media who really inspired you and then all of a sudden they decided to shut their account down or take a social media hiatus? Then you know how it feels to miss that "regularly scheduled programming" from people who help you live a better, more informed life. When they come back, things may not be the same. Our attention is fickle and we're not very loyal creatures in this case. Show up regularly, on whatever cadence that means for you, on whatever platform works for you and your Ideal Clients. Create a standard, before improving upon it. Never stop showing up.
You have made a silent promise to your Ideal Clients that you will consistently show up and add value because you're determined to help them live a better, more informed life.
Prepare to be shopped...
Spoiler alert... You're not the only one in your field consistently showing up and adding value. It's the cardinal rule of content marketing and lots of people do it really well. That said, nobody else will do business and offer your services YOUR way. No one.
Your uniqueness is your biggest differentiator. Don't get distracted by who's doing what, how often, and where. Do you and and do it consistently.
As humans we're wired to protect ourselves and it's no different when we're comparison shopping. We want the best deal and we don't want to get duped, swindled, or lied to. Don't worry. You're honest and generous. Your Ideal Client will be back after they do their due diligence.
When the time is right, they will buy.
Not only will they buy, they will be so overjoyed, confident, and excited about their purchase that it will take you by surprise. They're proud that they made the best and right decision for themselves.
They're glad to be out of the decision making phase and are looking forward to how the next steps are going to change their life. Congratulations, you're not honeymooning. A word of advice: they will want more content from you than ever before. Prepare to double-down on your email marketing and specialized content that is reserved just for clients.
You paid off. You were a wise decision
Their decision to hire you is starting to pay off and they're seeing the ROI. They're proud of their super-smart-move and think they're so savvy for hiring you. They are, after all.
They're telling people about this new experience of working with you and they're feeling like they've leveled up and want everyone to know it.
Meanwhile, you continue to add free value, as you always have, still consistently showing up on the same platforms with the same cadence, while their friends, peers, and colleagues vett you out on your platforms and consider if you're right for them. For some, you won't be. This is ok and it's natural. #blessandrelease
You now have an advocate, referral partner, and an evangelist
Of course your client gives you a phenomenal and humbling testimonial which you proudly share, and they continue to sing your praises. You continue to show up, diligently and timely as ever, on your platforms sharing what you've learned along the way as well as your client's success story. This builds trust with others who are watching, just becoming aware of you.
What I've just described is often referred to as the Customer Journey. Here's a graphic I made to help you get a visual.
It's a funnel for a reason. You lose people along the way. If 1000 people are aware of you, maybe 20% move down through process listed here in the funnel.
So what feelings come up for you as you're reading this? Does it sound "too easy?" Does it sound idealistic? Does it sound like a fantastic plan that you'd like to figure out how to do?
Everything you've read in this blog post is true and really happened. Actually it's happened a lot. I've built a profitable company based on the principles of generosity, authenticity, and integrity; without agenda, manipulation or aggressive sales tactics. #gross
Content marketing is the material you create that represents your business and your brand that you share with the world. It solves real problems for people and you produce it regularly and often. It's quite literally, the thing(s) that keep people coming back and interested in what you have to say.
If you liked this story and it resonated with you, would you let me know? I'd love to hear what this stirs up for you and how things are going for you in your business.
Thanks for your time & attention today!
Owner, Willow & Oak Business Solutions