You’ve got enough work. You don’t really need any more clients right now, and in fact you’re pretty overwhelmed dealing with the ones you have. You’ve got *plenty* of business. So how is marketing going to help you? Isn’t the purpose of marketing to bring you new leads? That feels like the *last* thing you want to do right now.
Marketing, the right kind that’s done consistently, will probably bring you more leads, yes. And if it’s too many for you to handle, then set up a waiting list.
But marketing isn’t only about getting new clients, and it’s not a standalone activity you can turn on and off.
Marketing is about building relationships, sharing value, and ultimately making it easier to run your business. When you think of your marketing as integrated with everything you do to help your clients, your marketing can actually help you accomplish your most important business goals, even if your goals have nothing to do with getting more clients and are more focused on keeping the clients you love to work with, increasing your monthly revenue, or hiring the best fits.
Use marketing to keep current clients.
Even if you don’t want new clients, I imagine you want to keep most, if not all, of the ones you have. (If you don’t, it’s time to do a serious review of the clients you have and decide whether you actually want them, and what you do about the ones you don’t. This is a whole different topic which we’ll write more on another time!)
Holding onto your current clients has a lot of financial benefits. The time and energy of qualifying, creating a proposal, and onboarding a new client is far more significant than the time and energy it takes to simply keep a client you already have. Getting to know a new clients’ story is time-consuming.
Plus, helping people you love working with is just nice work if you can get it. And once you’ve got it, marketing can help you keep it.
So how can you use marketing to keep your current clients who you love?
Write emails for a particular industry which some of your clients are in. Or even create a newsletter for each niche industry you serve. Provide helpful tips for running a business in their niche and show your expertise to build trust.
Run live events, workshops, or info sessions only for clients. Provide a little extra knowledge or walk them through problems. Show how being a client of yours has above-and-beyond value.
All those resources you give to your clients? Make them a library. The cash flow templates, budget templates, Xero chart of accounts – make sure all of those items match your brand and then make them easy for your clients to access.
Meet up with your clients and take them to lunch, dinner, or a fun event. This kind of get together with them shows you care about them as a person and not just a client and helps you get to know their needs in a casual, low-pressure environment.
Create a community group, channel, or forum for your clients. You could use Facebook, Slack, or really any app which is convenient for your audience and one they’d be using anyway. They’ll be able to talk with each other to get encouragement and accountability. Everybody wants to be a part of a community. Invest in connecting your clients to each other and they’ll feel more connected to you.
Phone calls or texts
Ring your clients up and ask how they’re doing. Really listen to the answer they give, and take action afterwards.
If your client is more likely to respond to a series of texts, message them to see how they’re going and chat back and forth for a while. Ask good questions to draw out what they’re really working through and whether there are ways you could help.
Develop end-of-year (and other) reports which are easy to read and showcase your brand. Use terms that your clients will understand, record videos, or relate your presentation to the KPIs they care about. Figure out ways to make them incredibly relevant for your clients and showcase your value.
Marketing doesn’t stop when your client signs up.
Throughout onboarding and ongoing services, you’re still building a relationship with your clients. This is your opportunity to show your clients everything you promised them in the sales process. They need to be able to see those promises throughout their relationship with you. You’re still showing how you can provide value to them through the lifetime of their partnership with you.
Use marketing to increase your monthly revenue.
You have clients you know are under paying for what you’re providing.
When you started working with them, they only needed the basics because they’d just started up. But over time they’ve grown, your services have increased ever so slightly ever so many times, and now you’re doing a lot of advisory work you aren’t billing for. This is scope creep.
Marketing can help you increase your monthly revenue by charging for *all* the services you’re providing. When you’ve built and proven your relationship, clients sign on for more services and a higher monthly invoice.
How can you use marketing to increase your monthly revenue?
Build regular check-ins regarding service needs into your regular client work processes. Sometimes it’s having a system to remind you to step back and re-evaluate the work you’re doing and the needs the client has.
Develop campaigns around new service offerings – emails for current clients, social media posts, video announcements on Insta stories, and landing pages to coordinate a clear message about what problem your new service solves for your clients.
Invest in proposal tools like GoProposal, which will support pricing conversations and limit scope creep.
An accountant we are working with used marketing to increase her monthly revenue. She had clients who were way over on the time she wanted to commit to them. They needed too much hand-holding. But it’s hard to say no to work when you have team members to support. It’s so hard to sack a client when you are keeping an eye on the bottom line. And, when everyone is so busy it’s difficult to really spend time evaluating clients. You know the ones you have trouble with but who has time to think about why they are such trouble?
Then, she lost one of her team members. Now she was faced with these decisions of whether she pushes hiring quickly, and how she’s going to manage all these clients who already needed a lot of hand-holding.
So her marketing tasks for the past few months included changing her questionnaire on her contact page to include questions to help her firm qualify clients before they even speak with them, a video intro & outro to add onto videos the team could record to make the videos feel more polished, and website content rewritten to target a niche. She also looked at a series of other marketing tasks to support her personal and life goals. As of July, Cindy increased her per client revenue by 25% and reduced her number of clients, as well as selling all her QuickBooks desktop clients. Now her firm is serving only the kind of clients she wants to work with, no one is overloaded and she can hire when she’s ready. She’s only working with clients she loves working with and all her content is now geared toward a niche in the construction industry.
Use marketing to get the best hires.
Attracting a team member with content around position descriptions and team culture is very similar to the process of attracting the type of clients you want to work with, and both are marketing!
Approaching the task of hiring from a marketing mindset helps you identify your audience and target your message for them, so you can get people applying for your job who are a great fit for your team and will help your business grow.
Show potential applicants what it would actually be like to work for your firm. Be honest and transparent about it, otherwise you’ll attract unsuitable candidates and that wastes both their time and yours.
So how can you use marketing to get the best hires?
Create content around your company values and share it on social media. Talk about how each member practices your values in the workplace.
Create and document a multi-step hiring process to help you check both skills and values.
Build a landing page for hiring including information about your hiring process as well as the positions you’re looking to fill.
Organize a team retreat (online, offline, or hybrid) so team members can bond with each other. The social posts around this can show new hires how much your team enjoys working together.
Most importantly, a strong brand supports your hiring. Your brand helps both clients and team members know who you are and get a taste of what it would be like to work with you. Any and all of your marketing efforts need to be built off of a strong brand.
Use marketing to build business assets.
Our team recently read the book “24 Assets” together. In it, author Daniel Priestly talks about how small business valuation has changed in the online world. Now, instead of major business assets being buildings and vehicles, a business’ major assets are its processes, its brand, and its people.
When you invest time and effort into your systems, you begin to spend less and less of your time and attention on tasks other team members could be doing, or which could be happening automatically.
Involve your team in your processes, too. Don’t just show them how to do something: help them understand why you’re doing it the way you are and the impact it has on them, their job, and their clients.
Your marketing efforts can support any of your business goals, even if you don’t want to bring on new clients. Identify and document your business and personal goals and then build your marketing plan to achieve those goals. For help documenting your goals and identifying marketing actions and a timeline to help you reach those goals, sign up for a Foundations Workshop.