Getting More Clients by Thinking Like a Farmer

Think all a farmer has to do is wait until fall to harvest truckloads of delicious tomatoes or corn or squash? We all know that’s not how it works. That farmer has worked hard all year long to prepare for that week or two of reward.

He prepared the ground following last year’s harvest. He planted seeds in the spring. He watered and fertilized and protected his fragile crops from pests and drought and poor weather. And finally, after months of work, he enjoys the results.

Your business works the same way, and if you take a page from the farmer’s playbook, you’ll soon be reaping the rewards, too – in the form of getting more clients.

Preparing the Ground

This is your brand, your voice, your very presence in your market. If you’re just starting out—like that farmer after his harvest—you’ll spend your time simply becoming known.

Hang out with other coaches in your niche. Join forums where your ideal clients spend their time. Build a website and start your mailing list (we can help with this part if you need it!) This is the prep work that will form the foundation of a solid business in the future.

Planting the Seeds

Your seeds are your content and products. With each blog post you write, every product you create, you’re planting a seed you can harvest later. But unlike the farmer, your seeds will produce over and over again, endlessly.

In fact, you’ll likely find that blog posts you wrote years ago will continue to bring in new clients year after year, with no further help from you. Products can be sold over and over again or reworked into new offers. Podcasts, videos, ebooks, and more all continue to work for you, getting more clients on your site month after month, year after year.

When you think about it that way, it’s easy to see that planting seeds is a critical part of every business.

Nurturing Your Crop

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just “set it and forget it”? Unfortunately, that style of business rarely works.

Instead, you must spend time nurturing.

  • Stay in touch with your email list
  • Update old blog posts with new ideas
  • Study your stats to improve your traffic and conversions
  • Improve your products

It doesn’t take much effort to update your blog posts or tweak your products, and the rewards can be fantastic.

Of course, being a farmer is a long-term investment. The work you do today may not pay off for weeks or months to come. But with a strong history of consistent “farming” in your business, you’ll soon see that those long-term rewards are paying off, getting more clients to your site consistently.

Lessons Learned: What a Lost Client Really Tells You

We’ve all lost clients. Sometimes it’s our fault. Sometimes it’s theirs. Sometimes it’s out of everyone’s control.

But no matter the reason, there is something to be learned from a lost client. A system to review lost clients will help keep your business improving and growing.

Exit Interview

Typically done when you leave a job, an exit interview is also a great way to review what went right—and what went wrong—during your working relationship with a client. You’ll want to review:

  • What specific advice, service, or tools worked for them
  • What specific advice, service, or tools did not work for them
  • Any personality conflicts
  • Why they decided to move on moving on

This is not the time to get defensive. Be open to their criticism (if there is any) and use the information to genuinely improve your business.

Be Honest With Yourself

One of the most common reasons for client loss is that the customer is simply not a good fit. Maybe you suspected it when they signed up, or maybe not, but now that they have moved on, ask yourself:

  • What signs were there that they were not the right fit?
  • Why did you ignore any signs that were present?
  • How can you use that information to protect yourself from a less-than-ideal client in the future?

If you can identify a bad match from the start and decline the work (or better still, refer them to another colleague who is a good fit) you’ll find you have a lot less stress in your day-to-day business.

Misunderstandings

Sometimes, client loss is as simple as a lack of understanding on your client’s part. Do you clearly state:

  • The schedule of calls/emails
  • The timeline for project completion with milestones
  • Review and feedback process
  • Length of your contract
  • Any other project-specific information that can be easily misunderstood (PRO TIP: if you’re struggling to think of what might be misunderstood by a client, run through the entire “onboarding” process with a close friend or family member. Just remember to remove any personal info about your client if you’re using a real project as a test scenario.)

Do you also have a system for staying in touch with a client who has gone quiet? Sometimes all it takes is a quick phone call, email, or text message to get your wayward client back on track. Many business relationships have been salvaged with a simple phone call or email, so if you haven’t heard from a client in a while, pick up the phone.

Here’s the bottom line: Client loss happens. But if you can learn from each client, and use that intel to improve your business, then even a lost client can be turned into new profits.

Email Subject Lines That Increase Your Open Rates

It’s one metric we consistently watch and try to improve: email open rates. There’s a good reason for it, too. If your subscribers aren’t opening your email, then they can’t read about:

  • Your newest coaching program
  • Your latest must-have tool discovery
  • That epic blog post you just wrote

The trouble is, you only have about two seconds to entice a reader to open your email. Even worse, you have to do it in ten words or less.
Yikes! That’s a pretty tall order, even for seasoned copywriters. But there are some simple tricks you can use with your email subject lines.

Be Ambiguous

If you’ve been on Facebook lately you’ve no doubt seen those “clickbait” headlines that say things like, “She adds this to a box of Wheat Thins and I’m drooling!” The reason headlines like that work is because we can’t help but want to know what “this” is that she’s adding to her Wheat Thins. Is it sugar? Salt? Peanut butter? We imagine the possibilities, but in the end, we have to find out, so we click.
You can employ the same technique in your email subject lines. Just substitute the word “this” for the actual thing you’re writing about, and you’ve got instant enticement.

Use Numbers

Here’s another strategy for creating must-read content: numbers.
“7 Hidden Benefits of Waking Up at 5am”
“3 Unlikely Ways to Close the Sale”
“5 Social Media Platforms You Shouldn’t Be Ignoring”
The reason numbers work so well in subject lines is because we are ego-centric and curious. We simply must know if we already use those three ways to close the sale. We will either walk away feeling good for being a marketing maven, or we will have learned something. Both are compelling reasons to open an email.

Use Power Words

Just as with all writing, choosing power words is far more effective than settling for their weaker counterparts. Imagine these two subject lines appear in your inbox. Which are you more likely to open:
“WordPress Makes Better Looking Websites for Non-Designers”
or
“Create a Gorgeous Website—Even if You’re Not a Designer”
While both subjects offer the same information, the first is weak, while the second is far more compelling.

When it comes to email subjects, there are a few more tips to keep in mind if you want to up your open rates:

  • Keep it short – no more than 10 words at the very most, and fewer if you can.
  • Test everything. Use your autoresponder’s split-testing functionality to see which subject line styles perform best in your market.
  • Use personalization, but sparingly. Occasional use of your reader’s first name can be a powerful technique.

Here’s the bottom line: If your subscribers aren’t opening your email, they’re not buying. Paying closer attention to your email subject lines is the single most important thing you can do for your email marketing campaigns.

Pain Points: What You Must Know About Your Potential Clients

How well do you know your potential clients?
Chances are you’ve developed at least a simple client avatar. You know their business, their age, their income, and education levels. You know where they live and how many kids they have and what their biggest dreams are.
But do you really know what drives them?
We’re not talking about just what they want (we all want more money and free time) but more importantly, you need to know what their biggest pain points are. Figure this out, and you’ll not only be able to better create programs to help them, but your sales copy will dramatically improve as well.

What are Pain Points?

Think about it—if you’re uncomfortable with technology, and once in a DIY mood you destroyed your website during a simple update, then website management becomes a huge pain point for you. Now imagine you find a VA who not only works with WordPress but who calmly shares examples of how they’ve rescued client websites after such disasters.
They’ve clearly addressed your biggest pain point, and you’re sold!
The same is true for your potential clients. Show them you can help them avoid those pain points—or better yet, eliminate them completely—and you’ll forge an instant bond.

How to Identify Pain Points

Now you may already have a good idea of what causes your clients pain, but if not, you have plenty of ways to find out.

  • Talk to them. What do they most often ask or complain about?
  • Listen in on forums, on social media, and other places your audience hangs out. What are they struggling with?
  • Reader surveys. These can be a rich source of information in any market. Pay special attention to the words and phrases your readers use to describe their troubles.
  • Keep an eye on your competition. What pain points are they addressing?

Once you’ve uncovered your ideal client’s biggest pain points, you’ll have a powerful tool that you can use not only in your sales copy, but to also help define your programs and service offerings. If you can help your clients overcome the most painful issues they face—whether it’s a lack of self-confidence or a fear of public speaking—you’ll instantly become a more valuable resource in your niche.
And when you incorporate those same pain points in your sales copy, your conversions will dramatically increase as well.

Copywriting 101: Features vs. Benefits in Sales Copy (And How to Know the Difference)

If there’s one thing that confuses and frustrates new (and even seasoned) copywriters when writing sales copy it’s the not-always-obvious features and benefits. (Are you thinking “I’m not a copywriter, so why should I care?” Trust me, if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re probably a copywriter.)
We want to share all the great things about our new coaching program, so we say things like:

  • 6-week self-study course
  • Includes workbooks and live training
  • Members’ only discounts

While these are all good points, they’re pretty bland. That’s because they’re features, not benefits. They tell us about the program but not why we should buy it.
Benefits, on the other hand, tell us the “so what” of features.
“6-week self-study course.” So what? Why should your reader care?

  • Because they’re busy and need to work on their own schedule, not yours.
  • Because they’ve already studied shorter, less comprehensive courses and need more in-depth information.
  • Because they prefer to learn on their own, not in a group.
    “Includes workbooks and live training.” So what? What are the benefits of workbooks and live training?

  • Your student can put what they learn into action with workbooks.
  • They can get their specific questions answered during live training.
  • They can work through complex issues with the help of the group.

As you can see, benefits go much further than simple attributes, such as length and format. They show your prospective client not only what’s in the program, but why the product is exactly right for them, at this specific moment in their life and career.

Use Features and Benefits to Compliment Each Other

Features and benefits work together in sales copy as two halves of a statement, like this:
“6-week self-study course so you can learn at your own pace when it’s convenient for you.”
In fact, this powerful feature/benefit combo is often the basis for the bullet points you see in sales copy, and the format of them makes them easy to write, too.

How to Write the Feature/Benefit Combo

Simply list all the features of your product, then for each one, ask yourself “Why?” Why should the reader care? But don’t stop there. Dig deeper to uncover “the why behind the why” and you’ll soon be crafting truly irresistible sales pages that convert far better than you expect. In the above example, the why behind the why might be, “so you don’t have to spend family time on webinars that have been scheduled to benefit someone else.”
Now not only is your prospective client working at their own pace but they’re also freeing up time to spend with her family. That’s a great benefit they won’t find with most courses.

It’s easy to list all the features of your product or coaching program, but far more difficult to uncover the benefits that will drive sales. When you truly understand the difference though, it will become easier, and your sales will reflect the change in your copy.

7 Surprising Places You’re Using Copywriting (And You Probably Don’t Realize It)

When you hear the word “copywriting” do you immediately think of long sales pages, squeeze pages, and unwanted bulk mail?
You’re not alone in that thinking, but the fact is, copywriting is more than just sales messages. In fact, as an online business owner, most of the content you produce could be called copywriting at least in some sense. After all, if you’re creating content with the ultimate goal of selling something, that is by definition copywriting.

  1. Facebook

    Sure we all like to hang out on Facebook and chat with friends, catch up on the latest funny videos, and enjoy a mindless “quiz” or two. But for business owners, Facebook is much more than that. It’s a place to connect with potential clients, and that means that when you’re sharing your latest blog post or program with your business friends, you have to keep good copywriting in mind.

  2. LinkedIn Profile

    What makes you stand out from the other business owners in your niche? Your LinkedIn profile is where you share what makes you the best person to solve your ideal client’s problems. It’s where you shout about your credentials and let your ego run the show. Think of your LinkedIn profile like a resume, and be sure to list your most impressive credentials.

  3. About Page

    Here’s your chance to have some fun while blowing your own horn. It’s important to know that the about page is often the most visited page on a website, so it’s a critical piece of your overall brand and message. The purpose of your about page is to entice people to want to learn more about your services, so be sure to include a call to action on the page. Have some fun with this page too. It’s the perfect place to let your personality shine!

  4. Blog Posts

    All blog posts have a job to do. Maybe they’re meant to lead your reader to a sales page. Perhaps you’re asking for readers to subscribe to your mailing list. Maybe your blog post is designed to start a conversation. Or maybe it’s just sharing great content and inviting readers to learn more by clicking on related posts. Whatever the job, it’s copywriting that entices your reader to take that next action.

  5. Twitter

    Two hundred and eighty characters is precious little space for creating compelling content, yet that’s exactly what you must do if you hope to use Twitter as part of your overall marketing strategy. Think of tweets like email subject lines, and craft them to convey as much information as possible while still enticing readers to take action.

  • Email

    Whether you’re sending an email about a new product or service or simply letting readers know you have a new blog post up, your email definitely qualifies as copywriting. In fact, even the personal emails you send to prospective clients contain what we would call copywriting.

  • The fact is, copywriting is everywhere in your business, from your sales pages to your invoices. Whenever you ask a reader to take some action, you’re writing copy, and the more comfortable with the idea of it, the better (and more natural) you’ll become.

    How to Start a Conversation in (almost) Any Situation (Infographic)

    A big part of being a business owner is in-person communication. Actually, that’s a big part of just being human – it’s something we all face. If you’re anything like some of us here at Steady Radiance Design, the thought of the conversations at networking events or conferences might make you shudder. First you have the awkward small talk about everything and nothing. Then you have extended periods of silence that go on for ages. It’s all enough to make even the biggest social butterfly uncomfortable.

    Enter, this list of easy-to-remember conversations starters (what we consider to be the “best of” the options we’ve found). Having an arsenal of good, thought-provoking conversation starters can turn any event into an interesting and even entertaining experience. Keep this infographic handy on your phone or tablet for a quick idea at your next social event! (click here to go straight to the infographic)

    Start a Conversation at a Conference

    Conferences are generally a fairly easy place to start a conversation because of the multiple sessions and speakers. Above all, we’ve found that the most memorable conversations happen when the conversation is a bit unique. Therefore, we suggest a little variation on the standard conference conversation theme.

    • If you could have your everyone in your company watch a single session from this event, which would it be?
    • What have you learned that you find to be the most surprising? (add “so far” if it’s not over yet)
    • Is there any conference (real or imaginary) that you would love to attend?
    • Do you think that [industry] would benefit from more or less conferences?

    Start a Conversation at a Social Event

    Social events can be a challenge with conversations. A social event could be anything from a retirement party for a coworker to a birthday party for your niece. So not only is the event itself obscure, the people who attend will be equally so. Because of the varied nature of these events, having some tricks up your “conversationalist sleeve” can be just what you need. Here are some conversation starters that can get you going in this environment.

    • If you had to switch outfits with one person here, who would it be?
    • I’ve really itching to go on a trip. Have you traveled anywhere interesting lately?
    • What do you think are the top three ingredients for a successful party?
    • Do you have a signature drink? (gesture to their glass)

    Start a Conversation at an Industry Event

    Industry events are generally more specific and thus provide a good idea of what you might be able to talk about. However, like conferences, that conversation can tend to get a bit tedious. To help prevent that, here are some suggestions for more interesting conversation starters at an industry event.

    • By any chance, have you read anything good about [theme of event/forum]?
    • If you could spend an entire day talking to any expert in our industry, who would it be?
    • Is [theme of event/forum] a major professional focus of yours?
    • Why did you decide to come to this event/forum?

    Start a Conversation at a Happy Hour Networking Event

    Happy hour networking events are more casual than many other professional events, which broadens the topics available to you. They also tend to be filled with other locals so you can talk about the city/state you’re in, local venues, and other similar topics. In addition to that, you can talk about topics that are a bit more casual.

    • At this time on a typical [day of the week], what would you be doing?
    • What’s your favorite part about living in [city]? Least favorite?
    • If you could only attend one type of networking function for the rest of your life, would you choose breakfasts or happy hours?
    • I read an article claiming nowadays everyone has a side hustle (or four). Do you agree? Are you working on anything on the side?

     

    Check out the conversation starter infographic below. We welcome you to use this infographic on your website or other marketing materials, provided you include a link back to our website (www.steadyradiancedesign.com).

    Conversation Starters Infographic

    We welcome you to use this infographic on your website or in other marketing materials, provided you include a link back to our website (www.steadyradiancedesign.com).

    What are your go-to conversation starters? What types of events do you find the most difficult to strike up a conversation?

    Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter.