I have noticed lots of business owners are spending on Facebook ads to get new clients. I’m not saying that this is a bad strategy. I myself use Facebook ads as one method for acquiring customers. But the main problem with using ads is that business owners who haven’t truly validated their concept often think the ads will solve their problem of finding clients to book.
Throughout my career of starting and growing business-to-business (B2B) companies, I’ve realized there are a few steps that every single entrepreneur must go through to get initial traction and scale their business.
1. Focus on an isolated market segment.
One of the biggest problems I notice that entrepreneurs, freelancers and consultants make is that they believe everyone is their ideal customer. They say something like, “I help companies with Google Ads or search engine optimization (SEO).”
When I hear this, I almost immediately know that they are having a hard time landing new clients. The reason is that, when you try to appeal to everyone, your business is perceived as a commodity. You should focus on a specific market segment because it is much easier to become the best in the world at something specific than something broad.
As the chief marketing officer at TSD Global, I was in a highly competitive market, selling outsourcing services to medium and large businesses, and we needed to find a way to differentiate. So, the way I solved this problem was by focusing on a market segment — quick-service and fast-casual restaurants.
When you’re picking a market segment, it should be a niche that you are passionate about or have experience in.
2. Identify a painful problem this segment faces.
After you’ve found your isolated market segment, it’s time to identify a specific problem it has. Now, the problem can be something obvious like Google Ads or SEO, but because you’re focused on that one market segment, you’re creating a huge differentiator from your competition.
Let me give you an example of how this works. If I owned a personal injury law firm and am wanting to win more cases for my firm, would I rather hire someone who is an expert in SEO or someone who is an expert in auto accident SEO? The person with specialized knowledge, of course.
3. Learn the ins and outs of your market segment.
Once you have found a market segment that has a problem, it’s time for you to become an industry expert.
Before I started getting traction with the restaurant industry, I researched the industry to learn about what the biggest pain points and risks were. I learned how to speak my prospects’ language and use the same buzzwords they did.
Every market segment has a certain lingo and it can be learned — not within decades, but in days. The shortcut that I use is to read annual reports of the players in my market segment and see how they speak about their industry. You can also use this strategy if you’re selling to private companies because they often share a lot of the same risks, concerns and pain points if they are in the same market segment.
4. Create a solution for your market segment.
Your solution should actually be the easiest part of your business. This is where we combine your scalable skill that solves a problem with your specialized knowledge of your market segment. The solution you should provide for your clients should take them from where they are now to achieving the goal they want.
5. Build your minimum viable credibility.
Minimum viable credibility is something that I don’t hear people talk about in the marketplace. It absolutely blows me away. I hear people say that you don’t need to have any credibility to sell something and I couldn’t disagree more. It’s not impossible to sell someone a high-ticket item without any credibility, but there is a much more efficient way to handle this and build credibility fast.
When I first started selling to restaurants, I was negotiating with the CEO of one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in the country and he kept asking who I was working with and for references. At the time, the service I was providing was a brand new concept and had zero clients in that market segment. So, the way we solved this problem was with a free trial. It ended up working great.
So, my advice is to identify the players in your market segment that could get the ball rolling for your business and give them your service for free in exchange for a case study and testimonial.
6. Leverage personalized direct marketing.
After you’ve established your credibility by getting case studies, you are ready to start generating high-ticket clients. When it comes to generating consulting clients, you can spend more time handpicking the dream clients who you can help in the beginning. Imagine what client logos you would like to put on your website and reach out to them instead of leaving it to chance with Facebook ads. I recommend writing personalized messages on Facebook, LinkedIn and in emails that explain the problem you can solve for their market segment.
7. Leverage automated personalized marketing.
This is my secret sauce, and most people have a hard time executing this properly because they don’t really understand their market segment. After I have validated my market segment by acquiring a few clients with personalized messages, I scale up massively with automated marketing.
I have used a software that allows me to send personalized emails, at scale, that are highly relevant to my market segment and look like I spend 30 minutes researching their company. I have used this strategy and still use this method to book meetings with some of the most powerful executives in America on autopilot.
Follow these steps to create more targeted services and personalized marketing for your prospects. The customer acquisition cost with direct marketing can be a fraction of the price compared to Facebook ads.