When it comes to getting your message in front of your ideal client, today’s resources provide a stream-lined way to spread the word, fast.
Whether you attend networking events, implement digital media strategies like blogging, videos, and podcasts, or write a book…it all boils down to one thing.
Is anybody going to listen to what you have to say?
Chances are, you rely on “word of mouth” referrals to help you spread the message of being the “go-to expert” in your industry. Networking events are a popular method of building a team of referral partners.
Once upon a time, I used to think, the only affordable way I was going to get my message out to the masses, was to flock to a ton of events.
While I was meeting interesting people, I was also getting burned out. At one point, I even considered ditching my networking activities because I was not seeing a return on my time investment.
Think about your own efforts, as it relates to getting your message in front of your ideal clients. Are you going to a ton of “events”? If so, which one of these scenarios best describes you? Do you:
See a ton of people you know and talk to them the whole time
Avoid strangers because you do not know how to approach them
Leave the event with too many business cards and wonder if you’ll ever connect with them again.
In any scenario, there’s a more productive way to connect with the people who are meant to hear your message. Here are some strategies to consider:
1. Be of service This will require you to always ask yourself: “How could I add more value?” or “How I can be supportive?”.
Those who are interested in what's happening in to the growth of their business in the next five days, five weeks, five months, or even five years from now, are not going to be able to sustain the growth results into their twenty-fifth year of business.
Being of service allows you to focus on building the foundation your legacy can stand on.
When you stop showing up like your mortgage and car payment depend on you “closing the deal”, opportunities to open more business relationships will come your way.
This doesn’t mean you do everything for free but it does mean that you set the intention for every conversation, every blog, every ad campaign, every presentation, every interview with “How can I add value?”.
Bonus: Identify at least 3 ways you can add more value to other peoples’ lives
2. Volunteering Volunteering allows you to align with influencers in the community. There is so much power in finding out what is going on in the world of your community’s “movers & shakers”.
Now, don't go into volunteering with the intent you are going to walk away with a ton of business. However, your probability to gain a new strategic partner or client is higher because there is a shared interest.
You’ll also want to ask these influencers “how can I support your current areas of focus?”. For one, it’s memorable (after all, when was the last time someone asked you that question?) and two, it sends the message that you care.
It also can create the opportunity for you to be recognized for the talents you get paid for. In fact, many of my “team consulting” projects came from a non-profit board member seeing me “in action”.
Bonus: Write down one volunteer commitment and how is this partnership going to create a win/win opportunity for you and the organization.
3. Masterminding Author Napoleon Hill, was a big fan of masterminding. (Side note: I highly recommend you go read Hill’s “Outwitting the Devil”). He thought every mind needed friendly connection with other minds for expansion and growth.
Let's think about that for a moment.
We live in a society where there is a ton of focus on competition and being the winner.
When you are in mastermind mode, there’s only room for connection and collaboration. Everyone wins!
My first introduction to a mastermind was when my husband and I joined a group of business owners in 2014.
Once a week, we hoped on a call with people, from all over the globe. Some weeks, we shared the projects we were working on and asked the group for support. Some weeks, we had guest speaker.
During the "support calls", I jumped in where I could to add relevant tips and "have you thought about this" suggestions. Since I led with my “being of service” hat first, I eventually got to be a guest speaker for our mastermind calls where I shared my expertise on mastering the art of productivity & partnerships..
I couldn’t even begin to teach everything they needed to know in our one hour call. However, I provided a ton of value in our time together.
At the end of our call, shared with them how they could get templates and more training to walk them through a process to: attract more quality clients, expand their presence (off and on-line), master the art of productivity, and boost confidence.
And that, my friends, is how I was able to begin coaching clients in Canada, New Zealand and Australia, within ten months of launching my business.
Bonus: Write down the steps would you take to form your own mini-mastermind group, in the next seven days?
4. Align with strategic partners If the name of the game is getting in front of your most ideal clients, one powerful way to do this is is to build a partnership with the people who are already talking to your ideal client.
Ken Courtright shares, in an episode of his podcast, Growing Business Today, a powerful story about forming win-win partnerships.
In the nineties, Ken had a chain of video stores in the Chicago area. In the summertime, business was super slow because everybody was out doing recreational things, instead of watching movies.
However, four stores down, in the same shopping plaza, he noticed that there's a line out the door for the pizza company.
Before this day, Ken had not had a conversation with the owner of the pizza company.
However, Ken got a brilliant idea! He walked back into his video store, grabbed a ton of coupons, and went into the pizza store. Ken requested to put the coupons on the pizza boxes. Before Ken was kicked out for making such bold request (during a huge dinner time rush), Ken asked the pizza owner to give him a stack of coupons to put on every movie jacket in Ken's store.
Talk about an dynamic partnership, pizza and a movie! Right?
Bonus: Write down the 3 to 5 industries who are already talking to your ideal client. Take it one step further: make a list of where people in these industries, hang out.
SUPER Bonus Strategy: If you don’t know where find people in those industries, search LinkedIn. When you find them on LinkedIn…find out if they are on Twitter. Why? If they are actively using LinkedIn to publish articles or tweeting/retweeting…chances are, they are building their “world domination” plan. There might be some opportunity to play/collaborate in a bigger space than you already are.
5. Be a great “interviewer” While we are talking about the partners who could potentially refer us business, there’s a good chance we want to return the favor, right?
Taking the time to “interview” people, by asking open ended questions, helps us understand their current areas of focus. It can also weed out those people who are misrepresenting themselves.
What are some other benefits “interviewing” people? Well, you begin to find out their challenges and what is keeping them up at night. You may also get the inside scoop to upcoming events or opportunities to spread your branding message.
It can also help you strike up conversations with influencers or people who have created billion dollar, iconic brands…anyone ever hear of Ugg Boots?
I had the opportunity to connect with the founder, Brian Smith, at a conference I attended in Philadelphia.
A few weeks later, Brian shared a story about how he got on the “Oprah’s Favorite Things” Christmas show, while he was a guest on my podcast.
This opportunity would have never happened if I spent the meeting talking about me, instead of engaging in conversation to learn more about him.
It’s better to be “fascinated” than fascinating. Remember this always.
Bonus: Come up with six to eight sample “getting to know you better” questions you can ask people in your professional network
6. Guest blogging It’s one thing to write content for your own blog. However, it can get pretty magical when you can write content for other blogs.
Now, I understand, the thought of creating something for other blog can seem counter-intuitive. After all, if you are putting meaningful content out there, it would make sense to write it for your own website to increase the chances of more eyeballs coming to your site, right?
However, when you produce content for other blogs and website, you dramatically increase your visibility in the land of search engines because there is a high probability the person writing for the blog or website will link back to your website, as the source.
I know what you’re probably thinking, “Erica, where the heck would I even start? I mean, how do I know which blog or resource to write for?”
If the thought of writing all those extra pieces for someone’s blog seems overwhelming to you, consider this.
Connect with people who were already visible (i.e. creating and sharing content).
Engage with them.
Share their content with your followers.
Once you’ve done this for a while, ask them, “how I can support you and your current areas of focus?” Most important part of this process, follow through on supporting them.
Does this take a little while to build “know, like and trust factor” with influencers? YES!
Does it guarantee that you’ll become “besties” with said influencers? No. But, it will build your reputation as a credible source in your field…and beyond, if you are consistent.
Bonus: Write down three ideas on how you are going to improve your B2B influencer relationships in the next 30 days?
7. Podcasting In 2012, John Lee Dumas set out to do something no other podcast host had consistently done before. Interview successful entrepreneurs, seven days a week.
Today, he has over 1,700 shows in the bag and is THE authority in the podcasting realm. He teaches thousand of people who want to create, grow, and monetize a podcast.
So, what if you do not have the desire to host your own podcast? Can you still take advantage of this audio platform to deliver your message? Of course, you can.
I have known business owners and heads of organizations who have built a successful strategy around being a guest on multiple podcasts which serve their ideal audience.
The best place to start is to make a lists of podcasts that might attract a similar audience to yours. You can easily search iTunes (under podcast) for keyword topics related to your business.
Once you’ve gathered your list, take time to digest a few episodes of these podcasts, before you reach out to the host. Make note of details like:
Whether or not they interview guests
Do they use adult language?
Are they controversial?
Is their mission in line with your mission?
To save you some time, you might want to consult with a podcast booking service to help you get booked on the shows that truly make sense for your goals.
Like with guest blogging, it is important for you to build credibility and rapport with podcast hosts. After all, the more popular shows get pitched a bajillion times a month. Stand out. Be of service to the podcast host before you even ask, “Are you looking for guests?”.
Bonus: Identify at ten podcasts that attract your ideal audience. You can easily search iTunes (under podcast) for keyword topics related to your business.
8. Speaking at local, state, and national events/conferences I could go on and on about this one strategy. Speaking about your “topic of expertise” is one of the most leveraged ways to get your message out to your ideal clients. For instance, many of my lengthy blog posts are reincarnated from my keynote presentations.
Ever watch one of my short tip of the day videos? You can guarantee those tips came right from the script of my presentations.
I’ll go over my word count if I told you all my “repurposing” content secrets. My point is: when you land a speaking opportunity, you can potentially produce enough content and digital media assets to keep you “top of mind” with prospects, referral partners, and even people who may want you to speak at their event.
Another thing about speaking, when you are first starting out, promise me you will not charge a flat fee, up front. There are so many strategic benefits to providing a complimentary, twenty minute presentation on your topic.
For starters, conference organizers are more likely to give you a "green light" to share how the audience can work with you in the future. Giving complimentary presentations on a frequent basis, will also allow you to test new content and topic ideas, relevant to your audience.
Bonus: If you have not done this, make a list of potential topics you could speak about. Under each topic idea, write down three bullet points that you would want to cover about the main point.
SUPER Bonus Strategy: If you already have topics you speak on but would like more opportunities to speak, make a list of local organizations who might need a speaker for your topic. Here’s a running start: Chamber of Commerce, trade associations, private leagues or societies, non-profit organizations, etc.
At the end of the day, ask yourself “WHO is my message for and what am I doing to get it in front of THOSE people?”. This will help you create more success in getting your branding message in front of your ideal client.
Everything I have shared with you today is meant to make you more productive in elevating your presence and partnerships in your field.
I gave you some things to consider but, do you still need a little more direction? Let’s connect. I would love to learn about your current areas of focus and how I may be able to support you.
About Erica Castner:
Focused on the art of productivity and partnerships, Erica Castner is a business and breakthrough coach with a successful track record of helping thousands of businesses and entrepreneurs turn ideas and goals into results and accomplishments.
Castner offers workshops, as well as one-on-one coaching services, that are designed to help business professionals influence a group of ideal clients and ultimately enhance productivity, presence and partnerships. For more, visit www.thequeenofresults.com.