There’s a lot of hype at the moment around passive income. But many of us would prefer passive marketing. Not to have to endlessly feed the social media animal.
Wouldn’t it be great if our website did all the work? If it attracted and booked clients? Then we could concentrate on the parts of the business most of us enjoy – working with clients.
And it can. I had a client this week who found me on Google, booked a call (on my website), spoke to me, signed a contract and paid his deposit – all within 48 hours. You can’t book a bespoke website design and build on my website, but my website does bring leads like this that are keen to book.
I’m not suggesting for a moment that you abandon social media – the greatest power is in using social media, PR, personal recommendations, Pinterest etc together with your website. With your website at the heart.
Here’s how you can set up your website to attract and book clients.
1. Understand who you are targeting
The first thing is to understand who you are targeting. Many of my potential clients tell me “anyone and everyone”. Whilst you might be willing to work for anyone and everyone (and who am I to stop you?), this doesn’t work for marketing.
Because what resonates with one person won’t with another. It is very very difficult to pitch to everyone without failing to pitch to anyone.
Think about when you’re looking to buy a product or service. What appeals to you is different to what appeals to other people. It’s really difficult to appeal to everyone – even the likes of Marks and Spencers are finding that!
So in order to get a website that attracts and books you need to know WHO you’re trying to attract and book – your Ideal Client
Note this doesn’t stop you answering queries from or booking others, we’re talking about who you’re targeting.
2. What message do you want to tell?
What is your Ideal Client looking for? This will be different for different businesses.
We built a website for a client, Chris, who runs a wedding chauffeur service in a smallish town in Australia. Chris told us it was all about the party for his clients. So that is the message we are showing across the website – in the images and in the copy.
Another client whose website we built is a make up artist based in the West Country – like Chris targeting wedding couples. Her clients are often more mature brides. For her the message is about making them look and feel confident – again this is reflected in the images and copy. If we had tried to use the “party” message with her it would have fallen flat – because this isn’t what her clients are looking for.
How do you work out the message?
Think about the common themes that unite your Ideal Clients. What “problem” are you solving or what outcome do you give them that others in your industry don’t?
And it isn’t usually about price. Unless you’re selling the EXACT same thing as someone else. So if you’re selling say a brand of printer, an Apple iPhone, or a tin of Heinz beans then price may be the key factor – unless there is something else you bring that differentiates you. Like delivery in 1 hour. Or the printer set up for you. In which case your message would be around convenience rather than price.
There are lots of people who build websites. We’re not going to be the cheapest. Our message is based on our user friendliness and our business and marketing knowledge. We’ll hold your hand, won’t talk tech speak and deliver you a website that has been strategically designed to attract and book you clients.
What’s your message?
3. Understand what might be searching for on Google and write for each
Now we know who we’re trying to attract and what message we’re giving we can really start working on the website.
So what are they typing into Google to find a business like yours?
It’s really important that this is what the people you’re targeting are typing in. It doesn’t need to be something that gets lots of hits. Just enough to work for you.
Small and niche usually works best.
In [link] I talked about SEO and used the example of a wedding photographer. People searching for a wedding photographer are likely to be searching for one covering their wedding venue, or the area of their wedding. Or possibly the style of their wedding. So it is “wedding photographer Penshurst Place” or “wedding photographer Tunbridge Wells” or “vintage wedding photography”. There aren’t going to be hundreds of weddings at Penshurst Place each year so it is not likely to be a term that gets lots of hits. But if you’re a wedding photographer covering that area it is going to be one that some of your Ideal Clients will be using.
Once you know what your Ideal Clients are searching for then you need to make sure you’re writing about that. In [ ] I talked about the importance of having a page of your website that is written specifically for that term. Not just mentioning Penshurst Place in a list of places where you photograph.
Because we want you on page 1. Ideally at or near the top. Not languishing down on page 5 where no-one goes.
4. Google My Business
As well as coming up in organic search, depending upon the service you offer, you may want to come up on the map.
The map is at the top of the organic search results (they’re the ones you don’t pay for – not the ads that are at the top and bottom of the results page).
So how do you get there?
You need to have a Google My Business account. It’s free to set one up. You just need to add a physical address to register. Google will send a postcard to that address to verify that it belongs to your business.
Once you have an account start asking people for reviews.
If you don’t have a Google My Business account, the best thing you can do TODAY is to get one. And if you do, then go and ask for some reviews
What else can you do to ensure your website attracts clients?
One of the best things you can do to both attract and book clients is to write a blog.
Probably not what you want to hear I know. You were probably hoping I’d say blogging is dead. Because I know they take time and effort to write. And you’re busy – I get that.
I have fallen off the blogging bandwagon more times that I would like. And that’s fine. Whilst it is good to be consistent I’ll let you into a secret – writing blog posts sporadically. When you feel like it. Is much better than not writing any.
Blog posts are great ways to write about topics that you wouldn’t want to necessarily have as a static page on your website. You can write about all sorts of subjects that your Ideal Client is interested in. That they’re searching for.
I’ve written blog posts on all sorts of subject I know my Ideal Client is interested in. Like SEO, branding photography, what to write on your homepage, about page etc. One of my blog posts is responsible for about 20 – 30% of the traffic to my website. One post. Written more than a year ago. Crazy!
One post that took a couple of hours is responsible for hundreds, thousands of people finding my website. They’re not all my Ideal Client. But some of them are. And they never would have found my website if I hadn’t written that blog post.
Blog posts have a double benefit. Not only do they help your SEO (that’s getting found on Google – this is a jargon free podcast) but they also show your authority to people who do find your website.
Let’s take the example of a wedding photographer. If you’re a couple getting married at a particular venue and you’re searching for a wedding photographer, maybe you haven’t searched on Google but you’ve got some recommendations or taken a list from a directory. You go on to their website and there is a blog post all about wedding photography at that venue. The best places for shoots, angles, what it is like at different times of year, examples of photos taken there etc. Wow – this photographer really knows their stuff. So much more impressive than one who is just showing a gallery of images.
Now that your Ideal Client has found your website you need to convert them into a lead (or client if they can buy on your website)
You have a fraction of a second to grab someone’s attention and show they have come to the right place.
And images are vitally important in that impression
Use photos taken by a professional photographer, especially for you. Stock photos are fine for filler images and a blog but you need good quality images throughout your website.
One of the best investments you can make is in professional branding photography.
Good images matter. More than a logo. They give an “impression” of you and your business. What’s that message you’re trying to get across? A picture speaks a thousand words as they say!
You also need to use images to show what is possible for your clients. I use a lot of images of websites I have built. If you’re a product based business have some photos of your products in a lifestyle setting – you’re selling a dream. If you’re a wedding florist show a set up that appeals to your Ideal Client. One they would want!
This isn’t going to be the same for every potential client. That’s why it is important to understand your Ideal Client before you start.
7. Lead them on the right path
We’ve grabbed their attention. Next you need to lead them down a path to their booking or buying.
What do they need to know to take that next step? It’s important to give them that information, but not much more. You don’t want to bombard them and them leave because they’re bored with things that are irrelevant or are overwhelmed. Or they get distracted and don’t come back.
What do they need to know? Do they need to know price (or at least an indication of price)? What they’re going to get – both the benefit and the features.
8. Testimonials/Case Studies
One of the best ways to convince your Ideal Client that you’re the right person for them is to show what you have done for others.
You can use case studies, a gallery or portfolio to show them. We do this on our website. Our portfolio page is one of the most visited (you can see it here).
We show websites that appeal to our Ideal Client. Not every website we have ever built is shown.
This is not a case of being snooty or hiding rubbish work. We know the full range of our work would confuse our Ideal Client because that’s not the kind of website they’re looking for. So we show the kind of work that appeals to them.
In the case studies we give some background too. This also helps our Ideal Clients to see themselves working with us. So we might talk about the fact a particular client had built their own website but wanted to reposition themselves – either in the nature of the work they do or the clients they work with – and knew they needed to uplevel their website to do this. Because many of our Ideal Clients do that.
Testimonials help too because this is your clients talking about how you helped them. It is “social proof”.
Using both case studies and testimonials shows your Ideal Client that you have helped people just like them get to where they want to be. And therefore you can help them achieve that too.
9. Ask for the booking or sale
Don’t leave your Ideal Client hanging. Once you have given them the information they need to take the next step you need to make that next step obvious. Tell them what to do.
If you’re booking appointments let them do that online. Use a tool like Calendly, Acuity Scheduling or the one I use, Dubsado, to book. If you start to have a back and forward on email – you know the kind. I can do Tuesday. Does 10am work? What about 2pm. Yes that works. Oh now got another booking then. You’ll waste time and potentially lose them.
You want to automate the process as much as possible. Make it easy for them.
Don’t assume if they want to work with you or buy from you they’ll find a way. Doesn’t work like that. People are busy, get distracted and just don’t have time to waste. I’m sure I’m not the only one to have put something in my basket, gone to got my credit card, had to deal with a child and then lost the momentum and not bought…
Ok, that’s it. 9 steps to attract and book clients using your website.
Let’s quickly run through them again
- Know who you’re trying to attract – your IC (which can’t be anyone)
- Think about the message you’re trying to convey
- What is that IC who is looking for a service like yours typing into Google – write a page on each search term
- Use Google My Business – if you don’t have an account, get one. Otherwise get some reviews
- Have good quality images taken by a pro for you – and use them to tell the story of working with you
- Lead them through the right path of information they need to book
- Use case studies and testimonials to show how you have helped others like them
- Ask for the booking!