woman building her profitable business with consistent income

Secure Your Future: Easy Steps to Consistent Income

The question I get most from clients is how to create consistent income.

I get this from my clients, entrepreneurs, and creatives. The industry doesn't matter; the idea of having reliable income does.

Ready for the big secret?

The path to consistent income comes from consistent marketing.

Not so revolutionary.

Coca-Cola, Toyota, and Netflix spend tens of millions yearly on marketing. All day, every day, their message is spread across all mediums. They stay top of mind by marketing.

Small businesses don't have those same financial resources, but they can take a page from the big guy's playbook.

Sure, the big brands can outspend you all day. But as a small business, you have three big advantages:

  • Small businesses can be more nimble with their marketing - and double down on what is working.
  •  Small businesses can often capitalize on trends before the big guys.
  • Small businesses can focus on specific geographic or demographic information to micro-target their customers.

So, how do you create consistency in your marketing?

First: Messaging

Everyone serves a particular client. Really, you don't serve everyone.

  • Real Estate agents serve people in a small geographic area and may specialize in neighborhoods, types of properties, first-time home buyers, or empty nesters.
    While Real Estate agents may network and refer to agents in other areas, their business is specific to a small geographic area or type of buyer/seller.
  • A fitness expert serves people with weight issues or interest in cross-fit, parkour, or gymnastics. They may have a local gym serving a small geographic area or offer online coaching for postpartum women.
    While some of these customers may fit into more than one category (e.g., guys with weight issues who are into cross-fit), you typically want to narrow your focus on the most painful problems for your customers.
  • A spa serves people interested in health and wellness. They may specialize in certain types of massage, such as older women athletes or massage using organic products.
    Their clientele may be traveling to a destination spa or could serve locals. Maybe they sell a line of exclusive products.
    However, their messaging should speak to their primary client. For women athletes, the spa might want to focus on recovery treatments, sports massage, and wellness around diet and skin products.
    If their market is organic, the message might be around holistic health and wellness and the benefits of using natural organic ingredients.

The point is, you must know where your clients are, the problems they are trying to solve, and your unique ability to serve them.

These businesses all constantly need new leads and business. Some businesses, such as real estate, have a longer and more expensive sales cycle.

Some businesses, such as the spa, rely on small ongoing sales. The gym owner probably relies on a membership with an upsell around personal training or coaching services.

Once you know precisely who you serve, you need to tailor your message to speak directly to your client's problems and the solution you provide to solve those problems.

It's not enough for the gym owner to talk about how many treadmills he owns or the hours of the gym.

Instead, the gym should demonstrate success in solving the client's problem. For example, they have running clinics to prep for marathons, along with specialized services for people who are new to running or are running their 20th marathon.

They offer personal trainers who specialize in rehabbing sports injuries. They also have a child center where children can get fit while their dad works out alone.

Understand your client's pain, find a way to solve it, and then tell people about it.

Once you have your message, you need to work consistently to make your business the go-to source for solving the problem.

A gym that promotes sports conditioning challenges, marathon preparation, and ski season conditioning programs establishes its reputation as the place to go if you are an active athlete rather than just another place to jump on a treadmill.

Most importantly, stay on message.

Be consistent in what you tell clients and potential clients. If the gym owner who promotes sports conditioning challenges suddenly starts talking about barre, Zumba, and yoga classes, his target audience will begin to see him as a commodity, a gym that tries to attract everyone rather than a place that caters to their needs as athletes.

 

woman building a profitable business with consistent income

Second: Engagement

Once you know your audience, you must get in front of them. Consistently.

When I tell clients this, immediately they think I am talking about constantly spending a ton of money on ads. While ads are a marketing component, they are not the only piece of the puzzle.

Instead, you need to think laterally about where your client hangs out and their interests.

The gym owner who wants to attract marathoners could:

  • run specialized clinics in partnership with local shops that sell running shoes and gear
  • promote on social sites around running
  • offer couch-to-marathon training program at the gym, pairing new runners with experienced trainers
  • fundraise for a local charity supported by the marathon
  • partner with nutritionists to create healthy diets for both weight maintenance and peak performance
  • offer specialized branded running gear
  • Run an online webinar around planning your training schedule
  • Do an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on her Facebook Group and answer questions online.
  • Track her own progress on Instagram with posts around your marathon training.

These are all ways to think about marketing.

It is not just advertising.

It is being everywhere that your audience hangs out so that you become the obvious choice when they need to solve their problem.

Advertising will let you reach a vertical audience—in a general or very segmented way. But unless your audience already has some awareness that they have a problem AND that you are an ideal solution, it can be a more expensive way to attract your ideal customer.

Instead, think about all the places your audience is and how you can most effectively reach them.

You need to consider your client's fears, concerns, and worries. What keeps your client up at night? Are they worried about injury, embarrassment, or failure? Engage them in the pain and solve it for them.

Pitfalls to avoid:

#1 Don't forget: you are selling to and trying to attract customers. Don't try to sell to your peers.

This is a big one that businesses sometimes forget. They tailor their messaging and engagement to their peers.

The gym owner might listen to "industry experts" rather than their clients. They may not focus their marketing on attracting ideal clients rather than just filling their space with bodies.

Real Estate agents might be worried about discount brokers, increasing mortgage rates, or slowing market trends and create content about overcoming these issues.

Your fellow agents might be interested, but clients don't care. Instead, do a deep dive into the neighborhoods you serve - and provide excellent advice and service to your clients.

Spa owners might be chasing the latest trendy thing because "everyone else in their space is doing this."

Instead, they should understand the needs of their local clients. By listening and focusing on your clients, you might uncover a missing service that other spas are not providing.

#2 To get consistent clients, you need to build awareness.

Awareness is the first rung on the customer ladder. The climb happens one rung at a time.

Rung One: Awareness that they have a problem. 

While this might feel obvious, sometimes clients have been living with their pain or aggravation for so long that it becomes noise in their life that they think they have to live with.

Your job is to make them aware that what they are experiencing is a problem so you can nudge them up the ladder to the next rung.

Rung Two: Awareness that there is a solution.

Now that you have made them aware that they have a problem, you must tell them there is a way to solve it. There are solutions.

This is where your business begins to edge into their consciousness.

What to avoid: pushing YOUR solution as the only solution. The client is still in the discovery process, and it is highly unlikely that they are ready to buy.

Just like you don't get married on the first date, they are still getting to know you and are likely not ready to buy.

Rung Three: Awareness of you as a business. 

You have now educated them that they have a problem and that there are solutions to it. Now, it's time to begin introducing your ability to fix it.

Create awareness that you can uniquely solve their problem.

This is where you demonstrate your skills, abilities, and unique connection to their needs and desires.

At this point, you can begin to offer solutions, but again, the buyer probably is not quite ready to buy yet.

Rung Four: Comparison shopping.

The customer is problem-aware and solution-aware and is now trying to decide between you and the other guy.

This is where you clearly differentiate what you do.

  • If you have clear competitors, you might set up a comparison table on your site that clearly shows your superiority.
  • You might offer specific free offers—a training session at your gym, a mini-spa treatment or YouTube video instructions around self-care, a free home value walkthrough, or new homebuyer seminars—that demonstrate your skills AND give potential clients a reason to consider your business.
  • You might invite the potential client to a webinar or discovery call.
  • You might send information (or maybe a sales rep) to talk with the client.
Once you have potential clients who have shown interest, you have entered the selling phase.

You know you've succeeded when your client says, "I needed this, and you were the first business I thought of."

How can you become the "first person they think of" when a potential client needs marketing?

How can you become the partner that every business needs?

 

Patricia Browne

Patricia Browne

Patricia Browne is the author of seven books that help businesses grow and profit.

Read about The Profit-ize system and what it can do for your business

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