Recent Blog Posts

Hunting Bunny Farmers, not Bunnies

Posted By on October 25, 2010

If your business relies on how many clients you secure, it can be pretty stressful. No clients mean no money, right? For most of us, we find prospects through our websites, social media, or in-person networking. They provide us with the possibility of at least one closed sale – and more if those clients send referrals. However, what if you changed the way you found your prospects?

There are two ways to grow your client base: find more clients (aka bunnies) or find more referral partners (aka bunny farmers). Herding bunnies can be exhausting and time consuming, whereas finding some strategic bunny farmers can mean a pipeline that carries you through the down times.

When looking for your farmers, consider those who go after the same target market as you do but don’t compete. As a writer, I  partner best with marketing strategists, Web designers, graphic designers, and business coaches. Even other writers with a different focus are great referral partners. All of these professions work with and know people in my target market. Remember that this is a two-way street: not only can they send me prospective clients, but I can send them prospects as well.

Once you’ve identified your farmers, you need to let them in on your plan. That may seem obvious, but there are some people who naturally share referrals and some who aren’t quite as familiar with the process. When I started this approach in my own business, I created a bit of a referral advisory board consisting of various professionals who share my target market. About 10 of us meet once monthly as a group, and we are encouraged to have one-on-one meetings in the interim. The other benefit of this partnership is that I have professionals on which to call when I have questions or need support in my business. My referrals have significantly increased because of this approach, and I feel as if I’m part of a team instead of going forward on my own.

Touchpoints

Posted By on October 19, 2010

When it comes to sales, statistics say that it can take seven or more “touches” until a prospective customer is comfortable with a brand and is ready to buy. It’s easy to achieve that number of touches when it’s a big-name brand and ads are everywhere, but what if you’re running a small business out of your living room? What is your strategy for creating a system of touches?

There are various ways to interact with prospective customers: in person or via postal mail, the Internet, e-mail, social media, or phone. Each of them can work independently, but they can also work together to build a system. I used to work in college admissions, and I remember that on my first day at one job, I was tasked with creating and implementing a system of touches to push applicants down the sales funnel to become students. This is the the same thing I do now for my clients, and I do that through creation of a comprehensive communications strategy. Usually, my part consists of ghostwriting social media updates, e-mail newsletters, Web copy, press releases, articles, or blogs. The idea is that the brand stays in front of prospects so it remains top of mind.

Not all methods will work for all businesses, so be sure you know who your target is. One prospective client told me he was looking to reach small businesses with storefronts in one tiny town on the outskirts of Phoenix—through social media. I told him social media may help reach others, but it won’t be a good way to connect with his target. For that, direct mail, cold calling, and visiting those sites would be best.

So sit down and determine first:

  • Who is your target market? Be specific.
  • How long is your sales cycle? Keep in mind that big-ticket items usually take longer to close.
  • What is your goal? Do you want to increase sales, visibility, or something else?

All of these things together (and perhaps a few more, depending on your business) will determine how, where, and how often you need to be in touch with your prospects. Before you know it, you’ll have built your communications strategy, and then you’ll start to see results!

For the last time …

Posted By on October 7, 2010

Today I sat down for a one-to-one appointment with a fellow networker, and he naturally asked about my business and what I do. As I was sharing the litany of things The Grammar Doctors provides, I realized again that most people have no clue what I do. As another one-to-one appointment today pointed out, there is a clear distinction between what one sells and what one buys, so let me explain it two ways.

What I Sell
Copywriting, copyediting, proofreading, ghostwriting, and communications strategies. This amounts to sharing clients’ message through Web site content, articles, blogs, social media posts, press releases, résumés, and bios.

What Clients Buy
Time, expertise, and a consistent voice in their marketing efforts. Some clients want to create results for a specific campaign. Others are looking to maintain top-of-mind awareness. But all of them regain time to focus on other strengths (since writing isn’t at the top of most people’s talents), a strategy focused on results, and a marketing communications flow that makes sense.

So I hope that this clears it up for all of you. If you have questions, perhaps we should have a one-to-one conversation….