Clients, Customers, Keynote Speakers – whoever your target market is!
I have had a client of mine ask me this week, as they knew I had been working with some keynote speakers due to some enquiries I had been making, how I was increasing my client base.
Well, I said, there is a process. There isn’t just one thing is there? With anything really, there is always a series of events, that leads to a finale.
Your Niche or Brand
It’s important of course, for your own brand, or design or product to be strong in its own marketplace, especially if you want to expand or grow your brand within your peers and colleagues too.
Your topics need to be relevant to your audience and of interest too. Maybe, they should be something that your clients may also want to share with their network too. How fab would that be? In order to do be strong in your brand, what I find within my own community, with my peers, and my own client base and people I aspire to is as follows:
Become an Expert
Firstly, I would suggest that you become an authority in your topic. Write about it, blog about it, share it on social media, answer questions to your subscribers and become known for your business and your brand. Ideally, you need to put out new content on a consistent basis that works for you, whether that is on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis so that others may share it with their networks.
What I feel is most important, is that you start (or continue) a video and/or podcast series. Not just for SEO purposes but you need to be visual.
Being visible means that your audience will get to know you. Your audience will get used to seeing you in their content, get used to hearing you and get used to your tone of voice, your humour and most of all, resonate with you. This content is then perfect for then creating a series on your YouTube channel where you are then creating further content for others’ thoughts and comments. Again, this is additional content to be shared on your website and social media platforms as well. If you have a marketing campaign planned already, then your topics will be well-aligned.
Wait for it? The one that most people seem to dread – you need to undertake LIVE VIDEO! Yep, you do! Even I hated doing this when I first started. Oh boy, I couldn’t mutter a 30-second introductory video when I first stepped-out, but we all have to start somewhere. Find out where your target audience is. Whereabouts are they in your social media platforms and direct your video to those that are going to be where you direct your video. It’s no good putting a video into Facebook if your client base is in LinkedIn. You need to tailor-make your content and ideas for your market and then deliver it.
This is all continuously ensuring that you are building your brand and identity. You are reaching out to your clients. You are establishing your strong client base and reaching out to people who need you and meet your criteria. The rest is up to you to refine your niche, develop your keynote speech and network with your target market into how you can craft the perfect client base for you.
Of course, it doesn’t stop there. You need to maintain a follow-up system. Those clients need nurturing and maintaining.
Finally, you need to eat it, sleep it and repeat it. If you feel that you need a helping hand with building your brand, then feel free to liaise with NottmVA for your networking, business and social media support.
Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Maybe that is the first question we should ask. Do you need one, if so, what would you need it for and for what purpose? You really need to determine for what use you are going to use this social media platform for and incorporate it in your marketing plan. You do have a marketing plan, right?
FOR WHAT PURPOSE?
Many different companies, individuals and sole traders use LinkedIn for varied reasons and of course, this is entirely up to them – is your reason for lead generation, recruiting, to display your wares or to promote your business service or to communicate with other groups perhaps. You will need to decide on this, so you know how to market yourself and know how to write your profile accordingly.
Having determined your market, you may wish to begin with your headshot. It is always highly recommended that you have a professional photographer take your business photographs as they are aware of your branding colours, know how to get the best out of you, your business and will have your professional interests at heart. You don’t want to be promoting yourself at a family event with your head half out of the picture, or something worse perhaps??
Your headline is quite important as that is something that follows you around along with your photograph of course and is seen when you remark on others’ articles and comments. This needs to be again pointing to your niche audience and eye-catching to attention-grabbing creating curiosity so that people are likely to open your profile. It needs to be about your audience, what you can do to add value for them (not you) and how you can assist them.
YOUR BACKGROUND COVER PHOTO
Have you seen the blue spacey blue background photos at the top of people’s LinkedIn profiles? It really is a waste of advertising space! Whoah, you need to go and get your photographs and get them up there! The background photograph has to be a required pixel size too.
You can make use of text, graphics and your logos and have your header cover in the background and it can be the same across the remainder of the other social media platforms too creating consistency so that your clients create the know, like and trust with you. You’re missing a big trick there if you do not use this big, wide space here.
THE ABOUT SECTION
Moving on to the About Section is quite an important part, to be honest. You need to again, write about what you can change for your audience, not write about you. Your reader needs to see what you can do for them, not how many years you have done x, y, z etc they want to know that you are going to create a solution for their problem that they are currently experiencing – so remember that niche that you have decided to hone in on? Yes, that – you need to now write about it. Talk about that problem and how you can now provide that solution for your client and how you can do it.
HISTORY, EDUCATION AND TRAINING
These sections will speak for themselves, of course – but it’s not like a straight copy of your curriculum vitae. Do not get caught up in copying your CV like, for like – you’re only putting in relevant information only, again for that niche audience. You can’t target everyone – it would be like a needle in a haystack. You need brief information to cover each relevant piece of the company and you can upload the logos too to link up with individuals from the same workforce.
ASKING FOR RECOMMENDATIONS
If you have undertaken work from others who are already on LinkedIn, you have the ability to request recommendations from them this provides credibility within the social media platform but has to be agreed between both parties.
The all-important details, of course, are how to get in touch with you. There is nothing worse than someone having to hunt around trying to find your contact details – aagh! Leave as much information as you can – you do not know how your client prefers to work. Do they prefer telephone contact, do they prefer to directly message you via LinkedIn, or would they prefer to email you? Which way is the better way – well, the client’s chosen preferred way of course?
PROFILE SET UP
You are nearly on your way to having an almost great profile to get you on your way apart from tweaking some of the settings to be how you need them to be according to your personal preferences and that will come with time and use. Of course, there is much more to complete behind the scenes but this is a good start.
You need to add people (or connections) to connect with so that you can see them in your newsfeeds, and they will then be ‘1st’ connections in your newsfeeds. Their connections will then be listed as ‘2nd’ connections to you, thus expanding the available connections to you and so on.
In order to become familiar with your target market, or niche audience you will need to converse with or comment on your network connection posts of those people you have connected with. This is deemed the most appropriate way to network as this is the required etiquette of LinkedIn and some deem it inappropriate to direct message regarding direct sales. What do you think?
DO YOU NEED A LINKEDIN PROFILE?
As a Virtual Assistant, I am often asked to create LinkedIn profiles and other online social media marketing for my clients as it does create a professional ‘POS’ signpost to point your clients to if you do not have a website or other material readily available. If this is something that you do not feel that is within your realms at this moment in time, or you feel that your time is better spent on other aspects of your business then please do get in touch and I can undertake this service for you.
Everyone is talking about it and doing it aren’t they? Even I have succumbed to it. Me, who couldn’t even mumble a 30-second introductory video about my business when I first started. We’ve all been there, nervous, dreading being in front of the camera and afraid of looking a fool in front of, well, who? We just don’t know! Well, according to Woody Allen, 80% of Success is Showing Up. So, what are we waiting for – let’s go and do it!
Where Do you Find the Right Networking Event for You?
Now, this is the tricky part. Networking takes time and patience and you have to be prepared to put some time in. I know, I know we are all busy people, but you know – we all have the same amount of hours in the day and you have to put in what you want to get out. You may get lucky and find the one that works for you the first time. I was 3rd time lucky did you know? I have found an absolutely fabulous group called the Global Woman’s Club which is held in my local town in Nottingham and being a Virtual Assistant, the Club is Global – it is held all over the World so of course, it is the perfect group for me!
So, what are the key points to look for when joining a group?
It is important to find the right networking group for you. You want to feel comfortable in your surroundings and to feel natural when you are speaking with others. Here are a few pointers to think about:
You want to find a networking group that has similar or like-minded people to yourself
The networking group needs to be familiar with your target market or open to your mindset or law of attraction
Be open as to what YOU can offer or contribute to the networking group
Does the networking group offer additional networking outside of the event days/evenings i.e. online networking, social gatherings and so on?
Where is the networking group held, is it the same venue/date/time each occasion? Is it weekly/fortnightly/monthly? Would you feel comfortable in this environment?
You will need to endeavour to build the right relationships for both yourself and your business and for the other members of the networking group to ensure that it is a success for both yourself and everyone involved.
What is it about Networking that Everyone finds Valuable?
The Value – it’s so important for everyone to take some importance from their meeting or why would they take time out of their busy day or evening to spend it with you? You will be meeting and greeting new business introductions – look at all those new possibilities! People to talk to and discuss what you have been doing, learning, and chatting about your family and what people’s husbands and wives do too – it’s not just about the people in the room, there is a lot of referral business that is undertaken too.
There is a lot of value in the support that is gained from networking. Many businesses are sole traders and entrepreneurs working from home or in isolated areas and numerous business gurus thrive on meeting up and blossom in a room full of people for an hour or so. It is important to ‘walk’ the room or mingle – if you see someone on their own, introduce yourself and ask about their day – they may be feeling as nervous as you perhaps.
Many networking groups have guest speakers and with you attending it could be that you have access to new information, new learning and your value would be to gain new trusted information that has been pre-approved by the host.
What Can You Get Out of Networking for your Business?
Ultimately, you’re there for your business, aren’t you? But, don’t pitch-sell, sell, sell to your peers the minute you walk in the door – eek! You don’t want to be ‘sold’ to, do you the minute someone walks up to you with a cup of coffee in their hand? I know I don’t.
What you CAN get out of networking is a source of great support, this is something I get great value from. I have a fab collaboration of great people now to call on for a variety of information, referrals both to call upon for my clients and to send business to – it works both ways. New friendships are formed with yourself and your spouses too, it’s such a close relationship – but only if you want it to be. It’s your call. Remember, it is what YOU want it to be. It’s your business. Some networking groups are strictly business, some are extended into social gatherings – make sure you find the one that works for you. There are networking groups that will offer mentors or will have individuals that have these businesses within the group. Take the time to talk to everyone in the group. Make it work for you.
What if your chosen Networking Group hasn’t Worked for You?
There are some occasions when some Networking groups are just not right. I have tried a couple, and more than once, myself and just did not feel comfortable with them. There was nothing wrong with the groups, they worked very well for many people. You will need to ask yourself the questions I raised earlier about whether they are right for you regarding timing, environment, business strategies etc.
What you need to do is work out what you DO need and find something that DOES work and what did not work, however.
Does your networking group allow selling sessions? The Global Woman Club that I attend is a fabulous group and allows 2-minute presentations from everyone for you to speak about something regarding your business. As you can see here, my presentation was videoed,
sometimes live-streamed and then shared to the Facebook group to the local group and the Global group too – so there is lots of scope for other businesswomen to see my business pitch on that occasion.
Are you making sure that you ‘walk’ the room and mingle and don’t ‘sell’ in that coffee area? It’s important to get to know people and like the mantra of a business coach that I’m working with at the moment… obtain that ‘Know, Like, Trust’ factor from those around you.
Perhaps the cost of joining the networking group might be an issue for you right now, but something you may wish to think about if you obtained one client from that group is – what would a few months of that client’s business be worth to you, or your membership to this group. What is the value of being a member of this group mean to you? Is it purely monetary? Is it for support? Is it collaboration too – there are many other benefits too? Have you checked out the other benefit packages that the group has to offer?
Are you attending the meetings, are you allowing people to see your face, are you speaking, letting people hear you and hear the tone, your character, your laughter, your charisma – the real you? This is where people get to know YOU! The old saying is People buy people, isn’t it?
Then there is the final follow-up. Are you following up your contacts? Have you been left with many business cards? Have you sent an email to say anything, or followed up with a 1:1 meeting and met with a coffee to discuss your business in further detail or asked how you can refer any other businesses if that is appropriate or asked if you can add them to your mailing list?
What are the Benefits of Networking for You?
I touched on this briefly earlier, but you need to find out from your networking group what it can offer for you. Of course, you will be receiving the support, the collaboration, the networking and so on, but some groups will offer financial reward and other benefits for you introducing guests to future meetings so it may be mutually beneficial to you and your guests to find out what those benefits are. Why don’t you join me at one of the Global Woman Club meetings or if you are a male businessperson, you could join as a guest presenter?
What Strategy Should You Undertake?
You need to have a marketing strategy that works for your business. Have you worked out what your ideal client, skills or sector is and that you are marketing to that niche business?
Here’s a quick summary of what was mentioned earlier on:
Have you ensured that you defined your ideal client and you are marketing to a niche audience?
Are you making sure that you are only selling in the required environments that allow you to do so?
Do not sell in the ‘coffee arena’ just network appropriately and courteously
Is time and money an issue for you right now – do your networking group offer instalments?
Are you actually turning up to meetings and offering your character and charisma?
Take time to nurture your fellow peers and discuss your business and referrals and show your knowledge
Are you following up?
Whatever networking group you choose it should be one that you are comfortable with, one you feel you can relate to and one you feel best suits your needs – at that time. Just remember, nothing is forever. You can change, your business changes as it grows. Your ideal client niche will change as your business changes and develops. I wish you every success with your business, your networking and your personal development.
As your business does grow, it is inevitable that you will obtain an additional workload and may require the services of a Virtual Assistant to assist with your Business Administration and Social Media Marketing.
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