You do great work and you know that you provide excellent service – but how do you find enough people to show them how awesome you are? You started your service-based business because you’re amazing at what you do. Doing the job you love isn’t what makes being an entrepreneur difficult. It’s finding the clients to work with you and pay your rates.
The biggest trap that I see a lot of new business owners fall into is thinking that they’re going to find all of their clients through Instagram or other social media channels.
While it’s possible to build a decent base of clients that way, you’re running a lot of risks.
So how do you attract more clients to your business?
Don’t Build Your Business on Rented Ground
Let’s take a step back and cover this – why is social media not the only way you want to market your business? Because you can’t control it!
Remember in October 2021 when Facebook and Instagram went down for basically 24 hours? Were you part of the panicked crowd?
If you were trying to launch a new offer or even launch an online course during that time and did 90% of your business through social media, well, you were out of luck! You could turn to Twitter (like many did) or TikTok, but if your followers weren’t there it didn’t really matter.
There have been many other large digital companies who have had issues with downtime. The big problem with social media marketing is that you’re at the mercy of a corporation that is almost impossible to contact.
Attract More Clients By Meeting Them In-Person
People really like working with people they know. In fact, we really like working with people that we know, like, and trust. When you get mad because you have better skills than a competitor but they always seem to get the jobs you want? Well, the saying “it’s all about who you know” applies. People that get to know you are going to do more for your business than you could ever imagine. That’s why in-person networking can be so vital to the longevity of your business, especially in your local community.
Before you tell me, “But I’m an introvert,” I get it. Believe me. You certainly don’t have to do all of these, but letting people get to know you and your face does help your business.
I admit reluctantly, believe me.
Make all of these in-person options easier by grabbing a friend and having a battle-buddy with you.
Local Chamber of Commerce
Depending on where you live, there’s probably a local Chamber of Commerce that you can join. Memberships are optional (you don’t have to join if you’re a business), but chances are your Chamber can help you connect with other local business owners. Often they’ll offer different types of networking events to make it easier for you.
And pro tip: on your second, third, fourth, etc time, go find the people you’ve already met and catch up. This isn’t Pokemon where you’ve gotta catch them all. Forming a few good friendships instead of getting as many business cards as you can is the way to build the relationships that bring you business.
Have you ever heard of BNI? It, and other referral groups like it, are built as an organized referral network. You attend a weekly meeting where one of the business owners in the group presents their business, you talk about how your business helps your clients, and your fellow members are supposed to send you referrals.
BNI or a group like it does help you get used to networking in-person. You learn how to build those relationships and it becomes a lot more comfortable for you simply because you’re able to get “used to” meeting new people in a smaller, more controlled environment.
If you don’t love working from home, you may already be working in a co-working space. Many of these spaces offer events and other mixers that help you to get to know the people working in your space. But what they can do is to introduce you to other business owners that might need your help.
Take your headphones off and strike up a conversation in the kitchen. Get to know a few of the people in your space and attend those events. They can do a lot to help grow your business because chances are they know exactly how you feel and are eager to help.
Take Advantage of Virtual Networking
Virtual networking still involves you creating conversations and getting to know people, just online instead of in-person.
Don’t think of any of these as a way to post and push your business either. It’s more about building up the know/like/trust factor to get those people you’ve met to come back to you when they need you, too.
Want to know probably my biggest revenue earner in 2022? Facebook Groups.
I’m not even kidding!
I joined a few Facebook groups where my peers and my target market spend their time. Lend your expertise when other members ask questions, offer free advice, or simply engage. The members will get used to seeing your name so that when someone is looking for a service provider like you, you’ve already got some trust going.
If you’re spending any time in online Facebook groups or Discord communities, ask fellow members to create a virtual mastermind!
While they’re not intended to be a referral source by any means, the more someone in those groups gets to know you, the likelier they are to think of you and your business in the future when they need your service. After all, you already deeply know their business and what they’re trying to achieve.
Use Your Own Digital Marketing to Attract Clients
Obviously you can use your own digital marketing to attract new clients to your business. Yes, this can include social media, but you’ll also want to put emphasis on those pieces of your marketing that you can actually own.
This basically means that unlike social media, you control your message, how it’s shared, how it’s viewed, and even what it looks like.
What are some digital marketing pieces you actually own?
- Your website
- Email marketing
Don’t Neglect Third Party Marketing Channels
Sure, you want to have a good solid foundation for your digital marketing and online presence by creating marketing pieces where you own it all.
But that doesn’t mean you neglect third-party options, either.
Where are a few great places to start getting more eyeballs on your content and online marketing pieces?
Want to get the most of a piece of content that you create? YouTube is one of the best platforms for information that keeps giving.
YouTube is not only the second-largest search engine, but it’s a great place to build an audience with content that can be found over and over again. Making it a fantastic way to continuously attract new clients.
Be a Podcast Guest or Write an Article for Someone Else
Get in front of an entirely new audience by being a guest on someone else’s podcast or writing an article for their website. You can even focus on writing articles for bigger websites like Medium or other large publishers.
When a third-party showcases your expertise and content, it not only lends credibility to your message, but provides you a bigger platform to bring people back to you and your own marketing channels.
Get Out of Your Box to Attract Clients
Can you see a common thread here? To get clients for your business, chances are you need to get out of your box just a bit.
While it’s not the easiest thing for me, in-person networking has helped me gain long-term, recurring revenue clients and I even got the opportunity to teach Digital Marketing at Wichita State.
Getting on other’s channels and in Facebook groups has allowed me to meet people I never would have been able to before.
The biggest thing to remember through all of this? The best way to attract new clients to your service-based business is to diversify where people are seeing you.
You don’t have to be everywhere, but you do need to switch it up a bit and have a strong foundation for them to come back to.