We work with many different business owners. What makes it interesting is that we get to learn how business owners reach new clients in various industries.
The strategies can be different from vertical to vertical, but the tactics are surprisingly similar. There is a divide or say a river between customers and business when a business is not yet thriving.
On one side of the river, you have your customers. They want what you have; they are hungry for your products or services. There are thousands if not millions of them, but they don’t know who you are or how to find you. They have all needs and desires, and no way to satisfy them, they have limited choices or no good way to choose.
On the other side of the river, you are at your business, delivering value to your existing customers, and wishing you were able to find and connect to the hungry customers on the other side of the river, but you don’t know where to start.
The scenario I’m describing is real for almost all of the businesses we help. This is relevant for any business with a service or product that people already know about and seek it out. For example, getting their teeth fixed, getting a mortgage, or having their house painted. In all of these cases, the customer has an intention (“My tooth hurts and I need a dentist”) which they then take action on.
For well-established businesses this is rarely a problem. But for many companies, customers simply aren’t finding your services or products when they are actively searching..
How can we solve this frustrating problem? So MANY customers are hungry for what you have to offer. You know that your skills, products, and services would make their lives better. But you just can’t get them to cross the river.
What many try to do first, is start Shouting for customers. In fact, they start shouting at EVERYONE, not just their customer.
Our COO lives in Medellin, Colombia, and the vegetable guys roam the neighborhoods with their carts and a PA system blasting at full volume, AVOCADO’S! Not exactly an efficient way to sell things. 🙂
The vegetable guy is thinking: “If they just hear me, I could really help them! Plus, I’ve always done it this way, so why change?
Unfortunately, what the customers are hearing is: #LOUD NOISE HURT MY EARS# “Yikes! Your scared me. Why are you shouting at me? I don’t know you, and I’m not listening. Go away!”
What this looks like for most of us is
“YOU NEED THIS, COME GET IT NOW!”
Building Bridges instead of Shouting
What you really want to do instead, is to build bridges over the river, between your business and your customers.
Once you’ve done your homework and determined where your customers live on the other side of the river, build bridges with a good signage near them that lets them know what’s waiting on the other side. Your products and services! Something magical will start happening. Customers are going to be curious, and start crossing to the other side by themselves. People that need what you have will cross the bridge to find you if you placed your signs well.
Now customers are going to come to you, and ASK YOU for your products and services.
Quite the difference right?
What does building a Bridge look like online?
While this idea of a bridge is true for every customer interaction, our focus is on building “Online Bridges” between you and your customers.
Your online bridge is your presence on the internet. your social media presence and your website. Customers are always “walking around” the internet, with their smartphones and from their laptops, searching for what you have to offer. The question is, are they going to find YOU when they are searching?
You have two objectives:
1) Build a Well-Built Online Bridge. A well-built bridge will portray you as a legitimate and reliable business. Most people won’t cross a shabby rusted out bridge. Your customers need to feel confident that your bridge isn’t going to crumble beneath their feet.
Your Online Bridge needs to highlight your offerings and establish their value. It should show the folks on the other side of the river that people they know or can relate to, have given you their trust.
It needs to look up to date and have fresh, relevant content. If you do these things, customers will cross one your bridge, i.e., call, email, fill out a contact form, sign up for a mailing list show up on your doorstep, or place an order.
If your bridge looks like it is old and crumbly, an old design, not showing up well on mobile, slow to load, old content, etc. Customers are just not going to cross your bridge, they’ll see a more modern and study bridge to cross.
2) Have Good Signage On Your Bridge. You have to know where the folks who need your products and services can be found and build your bridge to those places. Some people will cross a bridge without a sign, just out of curiosity. But you want the right people crossing your bridge. Good signage is essential. If you place small signs near the bridges you build, it will help get the right people across the bridge. This is crucial.
You can build a fantastic bridge, but if your customers don’t know what’s on the other side, it won’t matter how beautiful it is. You need signage.
Online, this means showing up on Google or social media sites like Facebook, Yelp, Tripadvisor or LinkedIn. Having great Search Engine Optimization (SEO), search engine ranking, and having excellent reviews and testimonials.
Putting it all together
So now you understand how you can build bridges and put up good signage for your customers to find you, no matter your industry or profession. The principles are simple:
1) There are MANY hungry clients that desire what you have to offer but they don’t know you exist.
2) You want to build a well-built bridge that will inspire confidence in your business. It needs to portray your business in the best possible light. Then customers will use it to build relationships and do business.
3) To help your customers find your bridge, you want to put up well-crafted signs in the vicinity of your bridge with instructions on how to find it.
Once you build a fantastic bridge and put up well high-quality signage, the magic starts happening, and customers begin showing up at your doorstep. We’ve seen this happen with businesses that we help launch from scratch. Going from NOTHING to tens or hundreds of new clients every week just by building a solid bridge, and placing signs around it.
Don’t be the vegetable guy!