Tired of constantly chasing clients and seeing only poor results? Mark Satterfield offers a way to end your exhausting pursuit and get prospective clients to reach out to you. Learn more about the One Week Marketing Plan.
In theory, if you want a new client, all you need to do is make your case and ask for the business, again and again and again. Does that approach work? Well…sort of. Ask enough people and eventually someone will say “yes.” But in the process, you run yourself ragged. The time and energy you spend chasing clients could go toward improving other areas of your business. Worse, you end up on a demoralizing “feast or famine” rollercoaster—constantly in flux—where business is either booming or business is a bust.
“Too many companies rely on existing clients to send new business their way,” says Satterfield, author of the new book The One Week Marketing Plan: The Set It & Forget It Approach for Quickly Growing Your Business (BenBella Books, August 2014, ISBN: 978-1-939-52978-7, 24.95, www.gentlerainmarketing.com). “This strategy subjects you to the whims of fate. You’re at the mercy of whatever random company happens to come knocking. You must stop what you’re doing and chase the new lead, whether they’re really right for you or not. It’s exhausting—and, frankly, not very effective.”
In The One Week Marketing Plan Satterfield explains exactly how to end this perpetual pursuit of new business and bring high-quality prospects to your doorstep. He lays out a step-by-step, “set it and forget it” system entrepreneurs and small business owners can put in place in just five business days. And with his five-point philosophy, he dispels what so many business owners think about marketing:
- Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive, time-consuming, or confusing.
- You can have a highly effective marketing system up and running, doing what it’s supposed to be doing in a week.
- The key is to focus on a system rather than a series of unconnected activities.
- Ultimately, successful marketing is all about developing relationships first and selling things second.
- Anyone can do this.
“We’re told marketing is hard,” says Satterfield. “That it requires weeks of brainstorming, months of analysis, and years of consistent implementation. To succeed in marketing, you need the fortitude of General Patton, the genius of Don Draper, and the cash reserves of Warren Buffett. Wrong. One week. That’s all it takes for most businesses to dramatically improve their marketing.”
If you’re ready to stop chasing clients and get them to come to you, read on to learn more about Satterfield’s One Week Marketing Plan. (Of course, in reality it may take you more than a day to execute each major step. And if it takes a bit longer, that’s not a problem. Just make sure you don’t let inertia place its hold on you.)
DAY ONE: Choose Your Niche Market. In 2009, Matt Sonnhalter switched the focus of his advertising and marketing agency from B2B industrial manufacturing accounts to working only with companies that sell products to professional tradesmen. To further set itself apart, Sonnhalter Advertising created a new category of business: Rather than be a B2B company, of which they would be one among thousands, Sonnhalter dubbed itself a B2T or “business-to-tradesmen” agency. This niche focus has had a tremendous effect. It has brought in many new business leads, attracted business from large global brands, and earned Sonnhalter a spot on BtoB magazine’s top agency list from 2009–2012.
“Finding his niche gave Sonnhalter access to a wellspring of business,” says Satterfield. “Many businesses resist niche marketing because they think focusing on a niche will mean they’ll miss out on opportunities outside of that particular area. But the truth is, focusing on a niche helps you stand out from your competition and eliminate many of the potential objections people have about doing business with you. In short, the key to attracting lots of new clients is to have a marketing message that speaks directly to a specific group.
“When it’s time to choose your niche, the best place to start is with your current list of clients,” he adds. “Look for common industries and functions, whether one group is spending more on your services than another, who’s easier to sell to, who you enjoyed working with, and so on. Building on your current strengths is one of the easiest ways to become the predominant expert in a particular area.”
DAY TWO: Create Your Free Offer. Once you’ve chosen which niche market to target, it’s time to draw them in. A great way to do that is by giving them information they want in the form of a free report. Your free report is the first step in the client attraction process. It serves two purposes. First, it helps you build credibility and trust with prospective clients. Second, it allows you to provide prospective clients with enough information that they believe you know what you’re doing but not so much that they can do whatever they need without hiring you.
The first step to writing your free report is to choose an attention-grabbing subject. Here’s what you want to consider: What’s the biggest area of pain for your target audience? What are they most afraid of? What are they most curious about knowing? As you develop the content of your report, Satterfield recommends carefully balancing how much information you include. He says the best formula to follow is to tell your readers what to do and what not to do, but not precisely how to do it. Then, top it off with a compelling title.
“If you still need proof that this works, consider that it greatly improved the business of an online perfume retailer,” says Satterfield. “What could an online perfume seller possibly give away for free online to draw in customers? After all, you can’t download digital scents! No need, because this business owner knew his customers. He knew most online perfume buyers fear paying for an expensive perfume but being sent a cheap imitation. So, the owner wrote a free report, ‘20 Ways to Spot a Fake Perfume.’ And it changed his business. He now has an email list with 18,000 subscribers, 5,000 friends on Facebook, and more than 100,000 Twitter followers.
“Now, you might be thinking, I’m a business owner, not a writer! There’s no way I can write a compelling free report,” he adds. “For those who feel they can’t do it, I do recommend outsourcing this task to a professional writer. There are great websites, like Elance.com and Guru.com, that can help you connect with professional freelance writers.”
DAY THREE: Create a Website for Your Free Offer. Now, you need a page on your website where prospects can get your free report. You have a couple of options for where this page appears on your website. It could be the landing page, otherwise known as the home page, on your existing website. Alternatively, it might be a dedicated page that resides within your site.
Satterfield recommends that you include a few key elements on your website:
- A catchy headline
- Bullet points to capture the reader’s curiosity and convey benefits
- An opt-in box for gathering email addresses
- A thank-you page
“I recommend heavily promoting your free offer on your website’s main landing page,” says Satterfield. “That’s what I do on GentleRainMarketing.com. Traditionally, landing pages focus primarily on communicating what the company does. But if we do not get our visitors to opt in when they come to the site, we lose control of our ability to follow up with them. It’s hard to send ongoing messages to people if they don’t tell us who they are.”
DAY FOUR: Develop a Series of Drip-Marketing Messages. While creating your free offer that motivates prospects to “raise their hands” and express their initial interest is important, keep in mind that it’s just the first step. Now it’s time to develop your drip-marketing messages that will convert these prospects into paying clients. These ongoing messages will build trust and credibility and play a significant role in getting you more new clients.
“You can send out two types of messages: timed and broadcast,” explains Satterfield. “Timed messages are sent out based on the number of days that have elapsed since a person initially signed up for your free report. You might set up a schedule so that immediately after your report is requested, the reader gets a ‘thank-you’ email. Then one day later, email message #2 goes out asking them if they have any questions. Two days after that, they get email #3, and so on. Broadcast messages are sent to everyone in your database at the same time, the advantage being that it can be timely. For example, you could send a message out to your entire database connected to a current event.
“You can ‘set and forget’ your marketing campaign using an autoresponder system,” he adds. “My wife, Marian, is a clinical hypnotherapist and success coach (MarianMassie.com). When I set up her autoresponder sequence, we bit the proverbial bullet and created two years of timed messages that go out approximately every ten days. At the end of two years, we just reschedule the person back to day #1 on the assumption that no one remembers an email they got two years ago. Talk about a ‘set it and forget it’ approach to staying in touch!”
DAY FIVE: Get Traffic to Your Website. One of the fastest ways to attract new qualified prospects is by using “pay-per-click” (PPC) advertising. Pay-per-click means exactly what it sounds like. The advertiser pays only when someone clicks on their ad. It is probably the best way to get immediate traffic and it can be done with an advertising budget of $50-100.
“You can advertise on search engines like Google and Bing or social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn,” notes Satterfield. “With Google and Bing, you advertise by bidding on keywords, which are the words or phrases people type into the search engines when they want to look something up. One big advantage of advertising on the search engines is immediacy. When someone searches for something using the keywords you’ve selected, your ad immediately appears.
“Of course, your success will depend on how compelling your ad is,” he adds. “So, when you write your ad, be sure to include one of your keywords in the title line, focus on benefits and forget about features, and use title case.”
“So, there it is,” says Satterfield. “Proof that a marketing campaign doesn’t have to take months to plan and implement or cost tons of money. The One Week Marketing Plan is about gaining visibility in your niche market, educating people about the problems you solve, and having clients call you about how you can help them. And you can have it up and running in one week. Go get started!”
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Seven (More) Cool Marketing Tips to Help You Reel in Clients
By Mark Satterfield, author of The One Week Marketing Plan: The Set It & Forget It Approach for Quickly Growing Your Business (BenBella Books, August 2014,
ISBN: 978-1-939-52978-7, 24.95, www.gentlerainmarketing.com)
Once you get a taste of how effective the One Week Marketing Plan can be, you’ll want to continue boosting your marketing efforts. Satterfield recommends a number of “strategic boosts” that are low cost and can also be deployed quickly—usually within four to eight hours. He recommends that after you’ve implemented the One Week Marketing Plan, you try one new tactic every month. Read on to learn more:
Be “social” (in a smart way). These days social media sites like Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn are becoming more and more like search engines. People use them to search for information, not just to connect with others. You need to optimize your pages to attract the right kind of prospects and hold their interest. (Satterfield’s book explains how.)
“The most important thing you can do to optimize your social media home pages is to make sure your bio or profile includes the keywords or phrases that potential customers would use if they were searching for the products or services you offer,” says Satterfield. “You already have your keywords prepared since you’ll most likely use the same ones as you used for your free report.
“The best way to use your social media posts is to drive people to your blog,” he adds. “As a result of the blog, people engage with you. So, when you post on social media, you might quote from your latest blog post, tease the tips or advice you’ve provided in the blog, show how your blog answers a question they might have, and so on. And once you’ve optimized your social media pages, you’ll want to post regularly. You can automate this process by using Hootsuite, which allows you to import your social media profiles and then schedule posts.”
Tweet about it. Twitter is one of the most social of the social media platforms, so this little bit of effort will go a long way. Because Twitter moves very fast, you can get immediate attention, but in order to have a sustained presence on Twitter, you’ve got to commit to tweeting multiple times a day.
So, let’s say you’re an accountant who wants to drive your Twitter followers to your latest blog post titled “Five Surprising Ways to Save on Your Taxes.” You might tweet out a question to tease the blog, e.g., “Which of these tax-saving ideas would save YOU the most money?” Then, use Bitly, a website that will take your URL and make it shorter, to include a link to your blog. You can also get creative and include quotes or tips from your blog; just be sure to stay within the 140-character limit.
“In addition to coming up with your own tweets, be sure to take advantage of the culture of ‘retweeting,’” notes Satterfield. “Retweeting simply means resending a tweet that you received from someone else to your own list of followers. Why is retweeting and replying directly to those who retweet your messages important? It’s a simple and effective way to build engagement with your connections.”
Start a blog. Blogging can be a valuable way to establish yourself as a thought leader. Each time you publish a post, people searching for any keywords it contains will be drawn to your site, where they may sign up for your email list and buy your products or services.
First, successful blogging is all about offering value to your readers. It doesn’t matter how flashy or funny or well-written your posts are if they don’t provide useful information or answer readers’ questions. That said, consistently creating compelling content (say that three times quickly!) is a challenge for a lot of bloggers. So that you don’t find yourself facing blogger’s block, it’s smart to have a broad understanding of what readers generally find interesting.
“I suggest making a list of posts you want to publish so that you can work on them when inspiration strikes (and so that you can have a lot of content in the can for a rainy day!),” Satterfield says. “Be sure to keep a constantly evolving record of any new ideas that come to you. I use a program called ‘Evernote’ that enables me to keep all of my ideas readily available.
“Blogging makes it easy for readers to pass along interesting or controversial posts to their friends, fans, circles, and followers,” says Satterfield. “I recently acquired a major client all the way from Australia because of a blog post. And my dentist says she gets a new patient for every few blogs she posts—and those are only a few examples. So yes, the time, thought, and energy you put into strategic blogging can have an incredibly positive ROI for your business.”
Create a video (and promote it via YouTube). Study after study shows video is more effective than text in terms of SEO, lead generation, attracting prospects to your website, keeping them engaged while they are there, and ultimately converting them into customers. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. A simple, “talking head”-style video where you tell viewers what you’ve got, why they need it, and what you want them to do next will do just fine. If you don’t want to appear on camera, you might create a narrated text video. All you have to do is create a series of slides using either PowerPoint or Keynote (for Mac users) and record a narration.
“Once you’ve made your video, a great way to get viewers is to create video replies on YouTube,” advises Satterfield. “A video reply is where you use your video as a comment on someone else’s video. The trick to making this work is to find videos that relate to yours. In other words, would people watching these other videos also be interested in your video? If so, you will want to video reply to them. Start by searching under your keyword phrase to find appropriate videos to reply to. Videos with tens of thousands of views work well. Those that have hundreds of thousands of views also have a lot of significant competition.”
Write a killer press release. It may seem ironic, but the biggest mistake most business owners make with a press release is that they focus it on what they want to communicate about their business and their products. However, when you’re pitching the media, the reality is that they don’t care about your book, your business, or your free report. The media wants story ideas that will get people to watch or listen to their show, buy their paper or magazine, or visit their website.
“Thus, the trick to getting lots of media attention is to position what your business does in a way that appeals to the specific audience that the media outlet is trying to reach,” says Satterfield. “So, when it comes time to write your press release, you might tie in to a current event, connect to a holiday, provide how-to tips, and so on. Creativity is key.
“A great example of a successful press release is one that was sent out by It’s Just Lunch, the dating company,” he adds. “The release headline was ‘Singles Provide Chemistry Lesson in New Dating Survey.’ Their hook is that they finally discovered what singles mean when they talk about dating ‘chemistry.’ The release goes on to define chemistry as being more about comfort and good conversation than physical attraction—which probably isn’t what most people would expect. It was a terrific angle for a story and got a lot of attention because everybody talks about ‘chemistry’ and no one had really defined it before this release.”
Go “old school” with direct mail. Even in today’s electronic world of email, texting, and social media, direct mail is still a highly effective workhorse. There are several reasons for that. The first is that there is less competition in your mailbox than in your inbox.
“There’s also more engagement with physical mail than there is with email,” says Satterfield. “Another factor that makes direct mail such a winning proposition is that you can pinpoint your target audience with laser-like precision. Finally, since you look at only one envelope at a time, there’s less information overload with physical mail than when your inbox is crowded with email subject lines.”
Create and nurture “joint venture” relationships. A joint venture is simply a collaboration with someone else with the goal of making money for both of you. In order to identify good joint venture (JV) partners, you want to ask yourself, Who else has relationships with the types of people I want as customers or clients? These are the people you want to connect with to determine if there is some way that you can jointly market your services. For example, realtors are a natural JV partner for mortgage brokers. Financial advisors and estate-planning lawyers make obvious sense. Chiropractors fit nicely with personal injury attorneys and sports coaches.
“Once you’ve developed these relationships, there are lots of joint marketing activities you can engage in, including sharing trade show booths, doing webinars together, referring business to each other, etc.,” explains Satterfield. “The success of any joint venture relationship ultimately hinges on trust, and that takes time. Simply calling someone and suggesting that you cross-promote each other’s products or services seldom has a positive result. However, if you can develop the right relationships, joint ventures can be extremely effective and add significant dollars to your bottom line.”
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About the Author:
Mark Satterfield is the author of The One Week Marketing Plan: The Set It & Forget It Approach for Quickly Growing Your Business. He is the founder and CEO of Gentle Rain Marketing, Inc. For the past 20 years, he’s advised entrepreneurs, consultants, advisors, and business owners on how to attract consistent streams of brand new prospects and turn large percentages of them into paying clients.
Mark’s the author of eight previous books, including the best-selling Unique Sales Stories: How to Get More Referrals, Differentiate Yourself from the Competition & Close More Sales through the Power of Stories.
Prior to founding Gentle Rain Marketing, Mark held executive positions with PepsiCo and Kraft Foods, in addition to having served as the director of career services for the Graduate School of Business at Emory University.
To learn more or to receive weekly email tips for growing your business, please visit www.gentlerainmarketing.com.
About the Book:
The One Week Marketing Plan: The Set It & Forget It Approach for Quickly Growing Your Business (BenBella Books, August 2014, ISBN: 978-1-939-52978-7, 24.95, www.gentlerainmarketing.com) is available at bookstores nationwide and from major online booksellers.