Finding Clients Online: How Your Website Fits into the Big Picture
We all wish we could just put up a website, and the clients would come trickling in on their own. But, the World Wide Web is bustling these days, so it’s not enough to write some nice-sounding content, put it out there and sit back and wait. To find clients online, you need to understand how your website fits into the big picture. There are important steps to take before and after a website launch.
Step 1: Be Clear on What You Do and Who You Do It For
When potential clients visit your website, you want them to feel that they have come to the right place. Their first impression should be: “This person helps people like me with problems like mine.”
To achieve this, you should ask yourself:
- What exactly do I do?
- Who do I do it for?
Easy questions? Not always. It’s not unusual for new business owners to be vague with their answers. For example, when I ask a new life coach what they do, the answer is often something like, “I help people get a happier life.” When I follow up asking who their target market is, I’m not surprised when the answer is, “Oh, anyone really.”
This kind of general presentation of your business is not going to get you clients online because there are thousands of other people doing the same. You disappear in the crowd.
The way to stand out is to narrow it down. It’s scary to limit yourself, but it works! Transmit what kind of people you work with (your niche/target market) and what you’re an expert at helping them with (your services).
Look at these key message examples:
- I help you get a happier life
- I help stressed out single mothers get organized and balanced and find the joy in life
- I help professionals who are frustrated about lack of progress get unstuck and achieve a fulfilling life and career
The last two are much more powerful. The single mother or the frustrated professional will right away identify themselves. They know they are in the right place to get help for their specific problem. They will want to read more!
Step 2: Market Research
There is no point in spending lots of time creating impressive sounding web content just to realize months later that nobody connects with your message or needs your services badly enough to want to pay for them.
How do you find out what your clients need so much that they will pay for a solution? You ask them! Do market research and arrange interviews with people in your target market. This is important because we tend to offer solutions to problems we wish our clients have, instead of the problems they actually have.
Step 3: Build the Website
Build your website after you have gone through the first two steps. Whether you build it yourself or have a web designer do it for you, it’s your responsibility to be clear on what messages you want to communicate.
When preparing content for your website, go back to your market research results to determine which key messages to create. Reflect the same words your audience used to describe their problem, their feelings around it and what they see as their ideal solution. This will keep their attention.
Step 4: Spread the Word!
Your website is up, and you are ready for clients. Since few people will find you by chance, you have to put in some work:
- Be active in online groups where your target market is active or start your own group! Tell people what you do, connect with them, provide value and, whenever appropriate, provide links to your website (your blog, resources, services, etc.)
- Go to networking events that your target market attends, exchange contact information and stay in touch with interested people
- Ask family and friends for support. Send them an email introducing your business and website, and ask them to forward to anyone interested
Step 5: Stay in Touch with Leads
“Clients are more likely to make a purchase if they feel they have a relationship with you—even if this might start virtually through newsletters, audios and videos.” –Susan Tomlinson, Business Coach & Wellness Advocate
Many prospects won’t be ready to commit right away, so it’s your responsibility to stay in touch and build up a relationship until they are.
Create a mailing list and send emails regularly:
- Share your latest blog post
- Inform them of webinars or workshops you organize
- Share client success stories
These five steps will prepare you for the online world, and you will eventually reach your main goal: Paying clients!
Which step do you need to work on? Share your thoughts in the comments.
What I’ve found is that simply answering your phone is HUGE these days. If you miss a call, people aren’t waiting for you to call them back. They are right on to the next company to see if they can help them. I’ve lost a lot of potential business because I’m on a job and I can’t answer my phone when my hands are full.
Thanks for your input Guy. Might be an option to have a call center pick up calls for you if you get new business opportunities that way.
Nevertheless, many service providing businesses operate online only, and don’t even have a phone number. I had a phone number the first years, but I found that for me it was not necessary, as people would reach out to me via social media, email or contact form on the website as a first point of contact. Also, I prefer Skype calls always have to be pre-scheduled, as it helps me manage my day.
Some really helpful, practical tips there. I will definitely keep them in mind as I build my website. Thank you Vibeke!
Glad you found it helpful Anne-Marie. Good luck building your website!