Episode 167: How to Find Potential Clients Online
Oh, magical Internet with all your superpowers, surely you can help me find allllll the clients without breaking a sweat. If only it was that easy! In this episode, we’re getting real about how to find potential clients online.
Before we dive in — a warning: This isn’t an episode about content marketing. While I love all things content marketing, we do a breakdown on the ins and outs of this on episode 151.
Instead, we’re going to break down some of the best tactics to help you find clients online that don’t involve you creating mounds of content and killing yourself to try to become an Instagram superstar.
Before I get into all of these, I do want to share a disclaimer that these can be longer lead ways to find clients, and they’re less direct. One of my biggest frustrations when it comes to finding clients online is that people think that if they’re on the Internet, it will happen through some type of secret unicorn blood magic.
To find clients online, the focus still needs to be on relationships and trying to take a conversation down to a 1:1 level.
With that out of the way, let’s get down to it.
Be a Special Guest Star
When I was a kid, I used to love when my favorite shows would have a special guest star. Sure, it was a ploy to boost ratings, but it added a little something extra to the episode. Think of Friends and how many people they had as guest stars on the show; being a guest star instantly gets you attention, and shines the spotlight on you.
So when I say guest star, you may be wondering what the options are. This is what I typically refer to as being featured on “other people’s platforms.” This could be guest teaching, participating in an Instagram takeover, doing podcast interviews, or speaking at events. The key is that you’re being highlighted on someone else’s existing platform vs. building one of your own.
The idea of being a guest star can be intimidating; start by thinking about where your talents lie and play to them. Then do the work to identify opportunities and start positioning yourself as a desirable guest.
When I say online communities, these may be spaces either on social media, such as Facebook groups, or spaces that exist as part of programs. Don’t get hung up on the platform, but consider where people who are your potential clients are gathering online.
Joining these communities isn’t enough; you need to commit to consistent action and find ways to add value. Lurking will not get you noticed.
Hands down one of the most effective ways to engage in online communities is to be insanely helpful. Answer questions, be of service and reduce conversations down to a personal level.
Someone who’s amazing at this is Samantha Pennington, who’s a member of the Small Business Boss Society. I see her in action all the time, and there’s a reason online communities have helped fuel the growth of her business. She’s always adding value and is thoughtful in what she shares. Most of all, it’s genuine.
When it comes to online communities, work to cull the list of communities you participate into only a handful, and avoid the temptation to be a know-it-all. No one likes individuals who roll up into a group and make things all about them and how brilliant they are.
Next up, the one tactic that I think scares people the most: cold outreach via email or LinkedIn.
Newsflash. You can do this in a way that’s not gross or pushy. I know because it’s something we’ve added to our lead gen for Scoop Studios, and I only wish now we’d started sooner. It’s WAY less icky or scary than I thought.
You can target companies you think could be ideal clients via LinkedIn or by email. To make it helpful, do your homework so your outreach is personalized and relevant.
I can’t emphasize enough how much a thoughtful approach is needed to be effective, because I’m on the receiving end of these emails and 99.99% of them totally blow.
Be the exception, and keep in mind that cold outreach to some degree is a numbers game, so don’t get discouraged.
If you have an active social media presence, this is a great way to nurture potential clients, so find ways to cut through the layers of BS and have a conversation.
This means engaging your audience, having discussions, and dropping the pretense that you’re Beyoncé and don’t have time to answer. Social media is meant to be social, and unless you have 126 million followers, I’m willing to bet you can make a little time.
Personally, this is something I’m working on for Small Business Boss right now as I realize how easy it is to default to social media being a publishing platform, and in 2019, that’s simply not good enough. The brands who stand out and breed loyalty are the ones that show up and have conversations. A change is coming with social media so if it’s part of your marketing strategy, think about how to ensure it’s truly social.
Make sure to join us over in the Small Business Boss Squad, the free Facebook group where we’ll keep this conversation going! I want to hear from you exactly how you’re going to put this into action to find more clients.