Question: “I am starting up my own social media management company. What is the quickest and most effective way to get my first client?”
– Colleen Lilly, Minneapolis, Minn.
Ali’s answer: Thanks for your question Colleen. These days, it’s easy to get caught up in your website and the latest online trends to market your business. With your expertise in social media, I’m sure you’re privy to these tools, and that’s great! But for the most part, getting immediate cash flow still comes down to good old fashioned referrals and word-of-mouth marketing.
The first exercise I recommend for you to get new clients is to ask your friends, community, former colleagues, etc. if they know of anyone looking for a social media expert. Even if your only network right now is your Yoga Booty Ballet dance class, I bet you’ll have several warm leads by simply announcing your new business! Don’t underestimate your immediate network—you’d be surprised who knows who, and just how happy people are to help.
Once you hit up your close-knit network, you can keep the referrals coming by actively pursuing word-of-mouth referrals. One great way to do this is to take on a beta client. Think of three people who you know—friends, colleagues, friends of friends, an old friend from high school—anyone you know who fits your target market. Reach out to these people and offer them your services at a discounted rate or even for free. The point is you want to get out there and have people experience what you do or offer, so more people can hear about you…
Before you contact any potential beta clients, make sure you take note, because there are 3 KEY pieces to making this work for you…
The first part of the deal you negotiate with your beta clients is that they will give you feedback over the phone for about 10 to 20 minutes on a regular basis. Getting feedback from a beta client can give you surprising insight into how your service is perceived on the outside.
Second, you also want to ask your clients for a testimonial. Let’s assume they were satisfied with your work. You can ask them to write up one with specific parameters—something results focused, that includes numbers, clear benefits, etc. You could even ask them to record an audio testimonial, or invite them to shoot a video testimonial.
Finally, what you want to make clear is that you’re giving them a discounted rate or free service at what we call the “referral price”. Obviously, this is assuming that that they are satisfied with what you have provided them. If they are, you both can agree on a set number of referrals. I recommend asking for three.
Following the steps above will get the ball rolling for you in your business. While you’re contacting referrals, fine-tuning your services, and generating new testimonials, you can work your social media marketing and those other online marketing tools. Just remember to mix up the online marketing with some live, relationship-building exercises, like the ones mentioned above. Good luck!
Love and success,
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