Ever had a hard time finding new clients?
Even if you’ve been running your business for years, it can be hard to find work sometimes. Many people start looking for new markets to target when times are lean, but the truth is that many times most of your existing market doesn’t know your name.
Seth Godin says it well in The Dip:
Sure, some of the people in a market have considered you (and even rejected you). But most of the people in the market have never even heard of you. The market doesn’t have just one mind. Different people in the market are seeking different things.”
Today we’re going to look at some of the methods you can use to reach that overwhelming portion of your market that doesn’t know you yet, including the bullseye marketing method.
Find Your Personality
When many businesses get started, they default to bland marketing speak. Even solo business owners like myself fall into this trap as they try to sound bigger and more serious than they are.
Unfortunately this type of marketing language makes you sound like a cardboard cutout, and few people are going to be willing to hire you.
In an entertaining retrospective, Jack McDade founder of Statamic talked about the impact that adding personality to the branding for his product had in 2017. From 2013- 2017, Stamatic had a slow climb in popularity. Once he added his 80’s branding aesthetic to the website’s design, it stood out from all the flat designs out there.
This re branding translated into more sales and brand recognition.
Similarly, I use Lego images and talk about my kids and mountain running on my site because that’s who I am. Remember, your clients are hiring you, not an agency where people may change throughout the project.
I even take my personality into my contracts, which talk about maple syrup fights and shiny gold plated billing robots (doesn’t that sound like more fun to read than a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo?).
Enjoy New Pitches
When I started adding personality to my work I also started getting hilarious pitches from potential customers. One spent three paragraphs talking about their favorite cyclist in the Tour De France that year because they read a post about my cycling habits.
This inclusion of personality has also meant that years after I’ve worked with some clients we are still emailing a few times a year to check up on how each other are doing in their running or triathlons. These are the long-term connections that continue to bring in referrals.
I know that you’re wondering if too much personality can scare off some clients; yes it will. I’ve had people read my contract and then say they would never work with someone that used a contract like mine.
Remember, that you should be working with your ideal clients, so this filters out some of the people that aren’t the best fit with the way I work.”
Your goal should never be to win every prospect that comes in the door, but to play the long game of having a business that you still enjoy running in a decade. That means you work with the customers that fit with your long-term vision best.
Establish Your Single Metric That Matters
Before we can dig into the act of marketing, we need to determine what the single metric that matters for us is.
Start With Website Traffic
When you’re starting, it’s likely simple traffic to your site because it’s a decent starting measure for how much of the existing market knows you. It’s also true that without some type of traffic you won’t be able to start to test any of the other types of metrics that can be used.
To track traffic you can use pretty much any analytics package such as Google Analytics, WordPress Stats, or Fathom. The key is for you to be able to identify when a marketing effort is yielding more traffic to your site, and what types of content are yielding the best retention on your site.
One caution here is that you don’t just want any traffic.
A number of years ago StumbleUpon was a huge driver of traffic to sites and I got lots of requests from clients to make sure that they could get that traffic.
The problem was that StumbleUpon was random traffic to your site. Sure there was some filters for preference, but most of the traffic wasn’t looking for your product. They were simply bored and clicked a button to take them to a random website.
This wasn’t quality traffic that would create new business. The likelihood of getting a decent lead out of those thousands of visits in a day was unlikely.
All it did was cost you money in hosting as you used up valuable server resources on people that didn’t care about you or what you had to offer.
Look At Conversions
Once you have some traffic, it’s time to start looking at conversions. You don’t only want traffic. Ultimately, you want people that are interested in your products or services.
Prospects signal that they are interested by signing up for your email lists, joining your forums, or leaving comments on your site.”
The king of these types of metrics is the email list subscription, because despite so many people talking about the demise of email, it’s by far the best medium for conversion of people into paying customers.
When you have a steady stream of minor conversions, it’s time to start looking at a major conversions, which is turning users into paying customers. Here you need to know what your current rate of leads is and then focus in on the methods that help increase this number (which requires analytics).
Remember, your goal is to build a system that allows you to hit your goals in a repeatable fashion.
- If you’re focusing on traffic, knowing how to use ads or content regularly to get people to view your site is key.
- For conversions, focus on downloadable content or other things that consistently entice people to raise their hand to say they’re interested in what you have to offer.
- When it’s time to focus on getting paying customers, try refining your email sequences to increase the number of people that purchase.
Ultimately, all of these metrics are a cycle.
At some point you’ll hit a plateau in your traffic, and you can then move to getting more conversions until you hit a plateau there. Then you can start to look at turning your existing leads into clients. Once that seems to have plateaued and you’ve got process to consistently convert people into paying customers, you’ll head back to traffic and try some of the different methods listed below to optimize from the top down once more.
Focus Your Marketing
For each type of marketing metric you’re currently focusing on, you can use the same method to figure out which marketing method is going to be the best option for you to use currently.
Maybe you’ll start with content marketing for traffic, but then need to move to PR as your business grows because PR does a better job at converting people to your email list.
You start by testing all the ways that you can market your business and see which one moves the metric you’re currently targeting. Next, try these two steps to really dial in your efforts:
- Once you can say that two or three are doing the best job at hitting your goals, you focus on those few until you have a clear marketing tool that is performing best.
- Once you have that single focus, take your other top items and get them to feed into your main one so that they work together.
Let’s look at this in practice for each type of metric focus.
Bullseye Marketing for Traffic
Photo by icon0.com
When we’re trying to generate traffic (awareness of our work) content is often king. That is writing content, or doing videos, that speak well to your target market.
That means you’re entering the world of content marketing.
Let’s assume that in your initial tests, blog content was indeed the best option for bringing more traffic to your site.
While building a full content marketing plan is outside the scope of this post, Liquid Web has lots of great resources to help you build a content marketing plan including a great beginner’s guide to content marketing.
Ultimately your goal is to be able to continuously produce content that drives views to your site.”
If that means starting with blog content, then maybe you’d use Facebook Ads to drive extra traffic to content that starts to catch on.
You may also add YouTube videos about parts of the same content (recycle content in different mediums to add value quickly) to entice people and drive them to your email list and site for more information.
Bullseye Marketing for Conversions
As you transition to focusing on conversions you may still keep your content as a key component, but focus more on any extras that can be provided with the content in exchange for an email address. You’ll need to ask yourself which traffic channels are converting best for what types of extra content.
Maybe Twitter does best if you present infographics, but Google Search yields lots of email subscriptions if you provide an email course to go with some content.
Again, your goal is to focus on your single metric and figure out exactly what type of offer or combination of offers takes the traffic you’ve built and turns it into more conversions. Often, that will come in the form of email subscribers.
Bullseye Marketing for Customers
Once you’ve moved to focusing on customers, you’re likely focusing on your email marketing sequences or the sales funnel on your site.
If you’re focused on your email marketing sequences, then you’ll need to look at A/B testing different headings and wording in your emails to see which ones get people to click to start becoming a customer.
In my business I did this with my initial client email as I worked to vet people in my client funnel so that I end up only working with people that are the best fit. In fact each and every email I send to prospects or former clients is timed and has been tested so that it has the best chance of finding the clients that are going to be my best fit.
If you’re focusing on your site based conversions, then you’re looking at A/B testing your checkout and every interaction that your prospects have on their way to becoming a customer.
Even if you’ve spent time on this before, looking back at every interaction every few months or once a year is what it will take to maximize your conversion of prospects into customers.
Starting Using Bullseye Marketing Today
If you can start now to figure out what your brand voice is, find your single metric that matters, and then focus your marketing on the best channels, you can build a sustainable pipeline of incoming leads.
With a bit of effort, you’ll be increasing the awareness that your market has of you and what you offer, bringing you more business.