When it comes to running your business there are a few daunting tasks that are always on the back of your mind. The one that tends to stay on the front burner is the most daunting of them all: getting clients.
Clients make our business world go ‘round. They’re how we turn our new business into an established one that’s profitable, sustainable, and fun to own.
These customers are the peanut butter and jelly inside of our business sandwich, and without them, there’s no sandwich or… business.
We’ve put together this guide so you end up with so much peanut butter and jelly that you don’t even know what to do with it. You’ll learn how to figure out who your ideal client is, create a lead generation strategy, and turn those leads into paying customers.
Here’s everything you need to know about getting clients, starting with figuring out who your ideal client is.
It might sound basic to figure out who your client is—but chances are you don’t really know who you’re going after.
When we talk about finding your ideal client, we want you to be such great friends with them that you could finish their sentence. You know what they spend their time reading, what podcast they subscribe to, and what conferences they’re buying tickets to every year.
This might sound like we’re getting into the minute details, but this is the foundation of getting clients. When you know their challenges, goals, values, where they spend their time, etc. you’re able to create an acquisition strategy that speaks their language so well—they wouldn’t imagine going to another business for your product or service.
You’ve officially hooked them in.
To do this, we’ll start with the Customer Avatar Worksheet. We created this worksheet so our Lab members would know exactly who their ideal clients were. With thousands of businesses around the world using this worksheet to narrow down who they’re selling to, we’re proud to share it with you here.
Every business has at least one customer avatar, aka ideal client. Some businesses have more than one. Since each of your customer avatars are going to have different goals, values, challenges, buying power, etc. you’ll fill out one of these worksheets for every customer avatar you have.
For example, if you have a marketing agency or a drop servicing business that helps local healthcare professionals get themselves more clients through Facebook ads, you’d create a customer avatar for each of these professionals.
For example, you’ll have a Customer Avatar Worksheet for:
Remember, there’s a reason this is the first thing we’re mentioning in this guide. Knowing who your customer avatar is will be the foundation that you build the rest of your lead generation strategy on—and how you’ll end up getting clients that are exactly who you were looking for.
In the next section, we’re going to talk about the best practices for lead generation so you can make sure you’re finding the right leads for your business.
Lead generation doesn’t have to be as daunting as you think. There are a lot of proven ways to get your ideal clients interested in your business: like meeting them where they are, appealing to their current situation, and showing them what their success story looks like with your business.
We’ll cover each of these best practices for lead generation below.
There’s a popular comparison of marketing to dating. If you ask somebody to marry you the moment you bump into them at a coffee shop, bar, etc. they’ll probably say no. This isn’t anything against you (we’re sure you’re great), it has to do with them not knowing that you’re great.
When you’re getting clients for your business, you want to be meeting your ideal client where they are in their relationship with you. For example, if this is their first time on your website and you’re asking them to buy your most expensive product, you’ll see lower conversion rates. This is like asking them to marry you the moment they met you—how are they to know that you’re the real deal and have gotten to know, like and trust you in such a short amount of time?
This is why you want to meet your ideal client where they are right now. To do this, we use the Customer Value Journey. This journey takes your ideal client from the moment they learn about your business’s existence to the day they choose to buy your most expensive product… all the way through to when they feel comfortable enough to promote your business on YOUR behalf.
You’ll see the 8 stages of the Customer Value Journey below, starting with Aware and ending with Promote.
The first 2 stages are focused on getting your ideal client to learn about your business and engage with it. They can engage by liking your posts on social media, searching directly for your content on Google, listening to an episode of your podcast, etc.
Think of this as your first few dates with someone when you’re looking for the goals and values that you both have in common and getting an idea of what a future with this person could look like.
The third stage is when you’re asking this ideal client for a little bit of commitment in the form of giving you their contact information. Chances are that you’ll pair this with a lead magnet related to your services or a discount code for a product. Just like when you’re dating someone, this is the stage when you start to hang out a little more than you would if you were just casually seeing each other—and you’re both considering making this exclusive.
Besides trying to pass too fast through the relationship milestones that exist in business (like we talked about above) there’s another way to miss your ideal client—by not showing them you know what they’re going through.
We call this the Before and After States. In the before state, your ideal client hasn’t worked with you yet and hasn’t had their life or business changed by your product or service. They have challenges and problems that you haven’t solved yet, they feel negatively about it, and their average day isn’t what they want it to be.
In the after state, your clients have their challenges and problems solved, they feel great, and they love the way they spend their time (in relation to your product or service).
To appeal to your ideal client’s current situation you want your content and copy to talk about the before state that they’re experiencing. This shows them how much you know their problem… and how good you are at solving it.
You can fill out this Before and After Worksheet to know exactly where your ideal clients are and what you need to show them about working with you that will call them towards the after state you can create for them.
The last best practice for lead generation is to make sure that you’re showing why you’re a valuable asset to their life and business. You don’t want them to have to assume that you’re great to work with—you need them to see PROOF.
Your lead generation content and copy needs to do more than just explain what you do and who you do it for, it needs to show that you’ve done it in the past and you can replicate those results over and over again.
Products don’t convert clients, transformations do.
When your customer avatar sees that you took a past client’s before state and turned it into an after state, they get to see how well you do what you say you do. And, they get to have someone else tell them. What do you prefer, having a car salesman tell you the car that you’re about to buy runs perfectly, or have the past owner tell you that they loved this car and the only reason they had to get rid of it was because they were having another child and needed more room?
As much as you can, show your ideal clients your past happy customers who are the living, walking proof that your products and services do everything you say they do.
Can you see how finding your ideal clients is starting to come together? Knowing your customer avatar is a crucial foundational step that guides you to being able to figure out their before and after states. Using the Customer Value Journey, you can then track where people are in their relationship with you and give those warm leads the customer testimonials that show you’ve got the stuff that they’re looking for.
In the next section, we’re going to talk about your acquisition strategy for turning customer avatars into leads by motivating them to give you their contact information.
An acquisition strategy is a fancy way of saying “how you’re going to get the attention of your ideal client and turn them into a lead.” A lead is somebody who could be your ideal client, but you still need to build the relationship between yourself and them.
That’s where the acquisition strategy comes in. If you’ve heard of content marketing, email marketing, paid ads, etc. then you’re already familiar with an acquisition strategy. Each of these strategies grows the amount of leads you have that could be potential customers for your business. Generally speaking, the more leads the better. BUT, you want to make sure that these are qualified leads.
Qualified leads are people that fit the bill of your customer avatar. If you have a lot of leads but you only offer products or services that 10% of them are interested in, you’re wasting a lot of time, energy, and money on advertising something to somebody that doesn’t want it.
That’s why your acquisition strategy is going to funnel out the unqualified leads from the qualified leads, so you end up with a bunch of new clients that are perfect for your business.
We do this through Customer Value Optimization (CVO).
The first step in creating your acquisition strategy is to figure out how you’re going to get your ideal client to notice you. Your options are the different traffic sources above: social media, email marketing, SEO, blogging, or paid ads on social or Google.
Luckily for us, choosing which of these traffic sources we want to focus on is really easy because we already know where our customer avatar spends their time, and therefore where the best place to find them is.
Based on our Customer Avatar Worksheet, we’ll know if they spend a lot of time on Instagram, if they spend more time reading articles on a specific platform, or if they prefer to watch all of their content on YouTube.
Let’s say that our ideal customer is somebody looking for business coaching that runs an ecommerce company. After filling out the Customer Avatar Worksheet, you find that your customer avatar spends a lot of time searching for answers to their business problems on YouTube.
Our acquisition strategy is going to be to create YouTube videos that show our expertise on the business world. We’ll cover topics like, “How to Take Your Business From 6 To 7 Figures” and we’ll have a call to action at the end of each video to click the link in the description to get a free copy of our ebook: The Ultimate Business Growth Guide For Ecommerce Entrepreneurs.
This ebook is our lead magnet and it’s a crucial part of our acquisition strategy. By giving this ebook away for free, we’re going to ask our ideal client for their contact information (email and/or phone number). This is going to be how we’ll stay in contact with them to talk more about our business coaching and how we can help them grow their ecommerce business.
This ebook is also going to filter out anyone who isn’t an ecommerce business owner and isn’t interested in growing their business. This will help make sure that the leads we’re bringing in through our acquisition strategy are qualified leads that will potentially become customers.
Thanks to our lead magnet—we’re growing our lead contact list and things are getting exciting!
But… now what?
The answer to this depends on your core product. In some cases, it makes sense to show that new lead a tripwire so they get used to buying things from you. In other cases, it makes sense to show them your product at a discounted price. Or, you might be trying to book them for a call with your sales team.
Let’s quickly cover different tools and tactics you can use to get leads.
Like we said in the last section, there are a lot (times 1,000) ways of getting leads. For every business this looks different, but we’ll cover some of those ways before so you can get some ideas so to what would work best for you.
You can use one of these tactics, some of them, or all of them—feel free to tailor this section to fit your business.
This is the strategy that we used in the above example of the business coach for ecommerce companies offering a free ebook, The Ultimate Business Growth Guide for Ecommerce Entrepreneurs. This ebook is a lead magnet and this business coach is using it as a way to exchange knowledge for the reader’s email and/or phone number. To get the ebook, somebody has to put their email address into the business coach’s form. This officially turns this person into a lead.
There are tons of different types of lead magnets that you can use. Here are a few ideas:
After you’ve created your lead magnet, you can use this audit to make sure that it’s ready to go. Ideally, you want to answer “Yes” on each of these questions:
If you’re a local business, the Chamber of Commerce can act as a place for you to meet potential clients. Based on the services you offer, splinter off a part of those services and then offer to teach it for free. When you give your presentation, make sure that it’s valuable and actionable and includes a checklist, audit, or other tool that attendees can walk away with.
As long as your presentation gives value, your attendees are going to be grateful that they met you and want to see how they can work with you more. They’ll see that you know your stuff and you’re already committed to helping them succeed.
To get this tactic started, just contact your local Chamber of Commerce and pitch your presentation idea to them. Let them know that you’re happy to hang out after and answer any questions that attendees have or have attendees drop their business cards if they want you to reach out to answer their questions later.
At the end of your presentation, you can get the contact information for the people who come and ask you questions and the ones that leave their business card.
A tactic a lot of business owners overlook when searching for leads is asking their friends and family if they know anyone that needs their service or product. From there, you can ask past clients if they need any more services or products from you and if they know anyone that may need your help. You can also ask any prospective clients that never officially became clients if they’re ready to work with you now.
Your contact list extends farther than that—you can then start utilizing Facebook Groups to talk to people who are looking for the solutions you have. You can find Facebook groups that are specific to your customer avatar. LinkedIn can also help you reach more potential leads.
Think of your friends, family, and social media accounts as platforms for helping get the word out about your business.
Other places to find leads:
When it comes to getting leads, get creative! You know where your leads are—do you need a billboard to let them know your business exists or do you need to give a presentation at your local co-working office? Test out several strategies, see what works, and then double down on it.
Now that you have an idea of where to find clients, we’ll talk more about the specifics of turning these leads into clients in the next section.
Bum, bada-bum! It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for—it’s time to talk about how to take leads and turn them into paying clients. Since we’ve done a ton of the foundational work already, like figuring out who our customer avatar is, where to find them, and how to speak to them in a way that makes them want to keep engaging with us we’re going to be able to easily cruise through this part of getting clients.
Turning leads into clients means that we’re going to take all of the people whose contact information we collected and get them to commit to buying our product or service. There are a ton of different ways to do this and we wouldn’t be able to cover every single strategy in this guide, BUT we can give you the 2 main ways to do so.
Let’s get into how you can email and call your leads to turn them into clients.
Emailing leads to follow up on potentially turning them into clients is something you want to get used to doing. You have to assume that people are busy and they may be totally interested in what you have to offer. But, your initial email might have gotten bogged down by something much more important at the time.
We’re going to cover the 7 parts of an email follow-up:
Your subject line is the first part of your email that a lead is going to read. You want it to catch their attention and make them excited to open your email and see what you’ve written inside.
Here are 4 ways to make your subject line interesting:
Use your introduction as a recap for the last interaction or conversation that you had with this lead. You can do this on a personalized level if you’re only reaching out to a small number of leads at a time, talking about the conversation you had previously. If you’re doing this at scale, you can talk about the last email that you sent them with your lead magnet.
The key here is to remind them of the value that you’ve already given them. Then, you want to introduce your company and tell them what you’re about.
If this doesn’t work for your lead acquisition strategy, you can use this introduction to talk about the problem your lead is dealing with. This is a good time to use your Before and After State Worksheet.
In the pivot, you’re going to shift your lead from thinking about their current state into thinking more broadly about their business. This is when you’re leading them towards the After State that your product or service creates for them.
The reason you start with talking about the Before State is to paint the picture of what their experience will stay if they don’t choose to work with you or buy your product. By smoothly transitioning into the After State, you’re showing them what their experience could be if they decide to buy your service or product.
In the case that you’re recapping a past conversation, you can remind them of the pain points they talked about during that conversation (Before State) and why they were so initially drawn to working with you (After State).
With your lead thinking about how great it would be to live in the After State, you’re going to show them how you can create that After State for them. You want to position your business as the authority that will help them solve their problems. Here’s where you want to be careful, you don’t want to be the hero of THEIR story. You want them to be the hero and you’re just the guide that helped them reach their After State.
You can build authority by talking about your past client success, showing them testimonials, showing key metrics, etc.
Alright it’s go time—this is when you’re going to talk about your services and your offer. Make sure that you’re showing them how your offer will benefit them in a clear and concise way. Avoid writing this in a long paragraph and instead using bullet points that are straightforward and to the point about the benefits they’ll get from taking your offer.
Using bullet points will also draw them to this part of your email in case they’re skimming the other parts. This will lay out exactly what you can do for them and how much it will cost so they can see why it’s so valuable to work with you or buy your product.
Your call to action is a very important part of this email because it’s going to tell your lead what you want them to do next. You want them to click on your call to action in the moment they’re reading that email, not feel like they need to think about it for a few days.
Since your core benefit already talked about your service or product, this call to action is just going to focus on what the lead needs to do to convert. For example, clicking on a button, replying to the email, scheduling a consultation, etc.
The last part of your follow-up email is going to be a P.S. statement. This is for everybody that’s skimming your emails and trying to see what you want from them without spending too much time on the content. We find time and time again that P.S. statements continually get a lot of attention in our emails.
Your P.S. statement can drive home an action, benefit, or re-emphasize the important information in your email. Just make sure that your P.S. statement doesn’t become more important than your call to action.
And that’s how you create an email follow-up that makes leads excited about the service you offer and interested in working with your or getting your product.
For some businesses, it makes more sense to be calling leads than to email them. For example, if you have a high-ticket offer (like a $25,000+ course), your prospects might want to talk to somebody before making that investment.
If your business would benefit from calling your leads to turn them into clients, and this is a good spend of time and resources, here are the 3 things you want to remember before you pick up the phone.
Just because you’re pitching them doesn’t mean you need to make the conversation pure business. Be personable and friendly and show them that you’re not just a voice on the other line, you’re a real person. You also want to make sure you’re being respectful of their time. Don’t make a grandiose pitch that takes up way too much of their time or else you’ll lose them.
By showing your gratitude to this lead for taking time out of their day to talk with you and pointing out to them how nice it was for them to do so, you use a technique called boxing. This tends to move the lead towards accepting your offer (assuming that it’s something that would help them) since you’ve “boxed” them into acting like someone that is nice, and someone that is nice is less likely to decline your offer.
Unless your pitch works fabulously every time you hop on a call—don’t be afraid to make changes to it. You want to always be updating your pitch as you take on more calls with leads and learn about what works and what doesn’t. In marketing we always support testing new copy and the same rules apply when you’re talking to your leads on the phone.
Here are 2 winning phrases you can use for starting your calls and making the close.
Starting the Call:
“Hey [Prospect Name] My name [Your Name] from [Your Agency/ Business Name]. I was looking at your reviews online, and I saw that [Reviewer’s Name] said you helped them [Snippet from Review] and I just thought that was so cool that I just had to call you up and hear more about it.”
Making the Close:
“I don’t want to take up any more of your time today, cause I know I called you up out of the blue and I want to be respectful of your time, so would there be a better day or time that I can call you to talk about how we at [Insert Agency Name] are …”
Like we said at the start of this section, there are a ton of different ways to turn leads into clients. We’ve highlighted the 2 most popular ways that can work for every business, email and calling.
In the next section, we’re going to look at the metrics that you should be measuring to see how well your client acquisition strategy is working.
Getting clients should be an efficient and effective process and like good marketers—we know the answers are in the metrics. When you’re landing clients, you’ll want to figure out what metrics can tell you how well you’re landing them. For example, if you’ve gone to 5 conferences this year to land new clients and only landed two, that might not be the most efficient and effective way to get new clients for your business. OR, this could mean that your acquisition strategy is off or your follow-up email isn’t working.
That’s why we want to look at the metrics.
When it comes to choosing what metrics to look at there is one metric that all businesses can use and then we’ve added a few more that might pertain to your business. Choose the metrics that work best for your business and tell you how well you’re doing at getting clients.
This is the metric that every business can use regardless of the product or service they are selling. This is the overarching customer acquisition cost that simply says, how much did we send on marketing and how many customers did it get us?
The formula for figuring out your customer acquisition cost is:
Customer Acquisition Cost = Marketing Costs divided by # of Customer Acquired
Your marketing costs are everything you spent on marketing totaled together. For example, if you went to 5 conferences that totaled $10,000, spent $5,000 in social media paid ads, and bought a $1,000/month email marketing software to help you with follow-ups then your marketing cost would be $16,000 for this month.
Divide $16,000 by the number of new clients you landed, and you’ll be able to see how much it cost you to acquire each of these clients. This metric is so important to focus on because you don’t want your customer acquisition cost to be so high that you’re not profitable. Compare how much net profit you make from clients to your customer acquisition cost and make sure that your marketing strategies are a viable source of lead generation.
You can also use this formula for the specific marketing strategies you’re running. For example, you can find out the customer acquisition cost of getting new clients at conferences, landing new clients through social media paid ads, and how many leads convert into customers after going reading your follow-up email.
Customer Acquisition Cost = Social Media Paid Ads Costs divided # of Customer Acquired on Social Media
Using these customer acquisition costs, you can see what marketing strategies are landing you new clients at the cheapest price and which strategy is your most expensive.
This might not be applicable to every client acquisition strategy that you’re running, but if it is, here’s how it works. Your conversion rate is the number of people who take the action that you requested of them. In this case, we’re looking at the number of leads that took action to become our client.
Like in the above example, you can figure out the conversion rate of your specific client acquisition strategies (like paid ads and email follow-ups). You could also determine the conversion rate from calls you have with leads.
Your conversion rate follows this formula:
Conversion Rate = # of Conversions divided by # of Interactions
Interactions can be the number of leads that bought your product after seeing a paid ad, the number of leads that signed up to be your client after opening your follow-up email, the number of leads who agreed to work with you after your call with them, etc.
Just like in the customer acquisition cost formula, you can figure out your conversion rate for every acquisition strategy you have. The pro of doing this is that you’ll see which strategies are working really well and getting you a great conversion rate and which aren’t performing.
Based on how well an acquisition strategy is converting, you can choose to put more money or less money behind it, making your strategy more efficient and effective.
The last metric we’ll talk about is customer lifetime value. This is the metric that tells you on average, how much revenue you can expect from clients. Depending on your business, this might be a very important metric or something that isn’t as big of a deal.
Here’s how to figure out your average customer lifetime value use this formula:
Customer Lifetime Value = (Average Amount of $ Per Purchase x Purchase Frequency) x Average Customer Lifespan
For example, let’s say you run a marketing agency and the average client spends $10,000 on your services per month. You also find that on average, clients extend their work with you for a total of 6 months. This means that your client’s average amount of $ per purchase is $10,000 and their purchase frequency is 6, since they’re buying your $10,000 service every month for 6 months.
Now, you’re going to multiply $10,000 x 6, and then multiply that number by the average customer lifespan. In this case, that’s 6 months.
Just remember that customer lifetime value doesn’t include your expenses. These are your gross profits from each customer. You can also find the average amount of expenses you have per client to figure out your net profit from each client.
Using these metrics, you can figure out how to make your client acquisition strategy effective and efficient. As marketers, we love metrics because they can tell us so much about the success of our acquisition strategies, where we should spend more money, and where we should cut our budget.
In the last section, we’ll talk about how to improve your outreach and sales when you see your metrics aren’t as high as you want them to be.
You know who your ideal client is, how to create an acquisition strategy to find more leads, and what to do to turn those leads into clients. You even know what metrics to look at to make sure that your strategy is a good use of your time and resources.
But what happens if you find that it isn’t? What if your cost per acquisition is way too high, your conversion rates are super low, and your customer lifetime value isn’t even close to what you’d hoped?
First off—there’s no need to stress. You can easily improve your outreach and sales and improve your lead generation and conversion of those leads into clients. All you need to do is remember one word:
The best way to improve your acquisition strategy is to always be testing different variations of it. For example, you can be testing the copy in your follow-up email, your script in your calls, or how you present your business when you meet a potential lead.
Here are 3 quick ways to better your outreach and sales.
Copy lives everywhere when you have a business. It’s on your website, in your emails, your social media posts, and even in the things that you say when you talk about your business. You can improve your copy by using the Customer Avatar Worksheet and the Before and After State Worksheet that we talked about in the first few sections of this guide.
Using these resources, create copy that resonates with your customer’s pain point, goal, before, and after state. Then, use different variations of that copy in your marketing materials, A/B testing variations against each other to see what’s working best on what platform.
One of the best parts of being a business owner is being able to lean into your creative side. If you’re finding that your acquisition strategies aren’t giving you the ROI you’d hoped for, figure out new acquisition strategies that you could test out.
A great place to start is to see where your ideal client is spending time (by referring to your Customer Avatar Worksheet) and figuring out how you can put your business there. For example, if your ideal client is subscribed to a newsletter, you can reach out the newsletter and ask them if you could place an ad in the next one. Using a bit.ly link you can test how many clicks you got to your landing page and then you can even see your conversion rate based off of the number of people who came to your landing page and the number of leads that signed up for your lead magnet.
Unless your lead magnet is performing miracles on your conversion rate and customer acquisition cost, there is always room to add more lead magnet to your strategy. Since lead magnets can speak directly to a pain point of your ideal client, you can create lead magnets for all of the pain points they’re struggling with.
Another major pro of having lead magnets on different topics is that you can see what challenge a lead has right now and curate an email follow-up or a call that talks about the after state of solving that specific challenge. You can see which lead magnets perform best and then curate more content around that topic and even change your copy to highlight that topic as a priority.
Holy cow…you did it. You just read an entire guide on getting clients and we’re here to say—you know a lot about getting clients now.
Chances are that you’re a little dazed right now (that was intense, we know) but there are a few key points that are really sticking out to you. Write those points down so you can come back to them when you’re re-energized and ready to show your team what you’ve learned and how you can start applying it.
And feel free to refer back to this guide as you need to, we’ll keep it right here so you can come back as you take action on the sections that make the most sense for your business right now.
Like parents dropping off their kid on the first day of college, we’re proud of you, we’re excited for you, and we know you’re going to do a great job.