By Charlie Cook
Stop putting up walls to new clients and instead open many more doors for prospects to get to know you and see you as an expert.
Visualize your business as a building. Whether you are an
architect, lawyer, coach, graphic designer or accountant,
to bring in more clients, you need to make it easy for
them to enter. The more doors you create and open the
more prospects will come in and become clients. Too many
small businesses inadvertently put up walls instead of
opening doors to new business.
People buy products and services from firms they know and
trust. If you are trying to attract new business by
advertising, cold calling and direct mail you may be
creating barriers to communication instead of opening doors.
Networking and referrals are a couple of doors that let new
business in based on familiarity and trust. The problem with
these two approaches is that they are limited to the people
you've met or worked with.
If you want to increase the number of people interested
in your business you need to find a way to open many
more doors. One of the most effective and low cost ways
to do this is to position yourself as an expert and
demonstrate your expertise through an article or series
of articles. Chances are you've got dozens of ideas that
would be helpful to prospects. Each time you put one of
these ideas in writing and share it, you open a door to
Articles help you attract people who are interested in your
services, establish your firm as experts, and, if you give
them at least one idea they can use in each article, builds
trust. A handful of articles can attract hundreds of people
interested in your services each week. If you have a web
site, incoming links from your article placement are the
best way to boost your ranking when people search for you
site using Google, Yahoo, or AOL, bringing you even more
Of course your article needs to be well written and
effectively targeted and distributed to motivate prospects
to action. Use the following steps to build more doors to
let business in:
1. Target Your Market and Their Needs
Focus your article on the primary concerns and specific
needs of your market. To generate ideas for articles, jot
down your observations and reactions after every client
meeting or conversation. Cull your list of ideas and start
with the ones that will be of the most help to prospects.
If you can't come up with any ideas at all, use a survey
to ask questions that will generate more information for
2. Write Compelling Copy
No matter how helpful your ideas are, if you don't have a
headline that grabs your readers' attention, they won't read
it. Next, your lead sentence needs to capture their interest
so they'll read the rest of your article and let you
demonstrate the value you provide. Generally, you'll spend
50% of your time crafting your article title, then another
25% on your lead sentence, and the rest of the time writing
the body of the article.
Find someone to read your writing. Even great writing can
profit from editing. And don't count on the 'spell check' on
your computer to find all the errors.
3. Distribute Your Article Everywhere Your Prospects Read
Sending out a copy to your existing clients is a good idea
but to attract prospects you need to get as many of them
as possible to read your article. If your market is business
executives, placement in Forbes, Fortune or Harvard
Business Review would be ideal, but isn't realistic for
Send your article to the hundreds of ezines, newsletters,
and newspapers that are looking for fresh content they can
use to meet publishing deadlines and attract more readers.
Online placement has the advantage that with a link
included at the end of your article readers can easily be
connected to your web site.
4. Motivate Readers to Take the Next Step
Motivate your prospects to take the next step to learn more
about your business. At the end of your article, offer
something they will want for free, and tell them how to get
it. For example, a short report or tutorial that provides
inside advice or research will entice them to contact you.
Most small businesses mistakenly lock out many prospects
with their marketing. Instead you can turn your ideas
into articles and open doors to new business. Once you've
written and published a handful of articles you can use
the same content to become a featured speaker,
demonstrate your expertise in person, and open even more
doors to attract prospects and convert them to clients.
Building Solid Foundations
When it comes to
erecting a building, few people would dispute the importance of establishing a
strong foundation. It's no different in building a business, a family or a
life. We need to put strong foundations under our dreams, our businesses and our relationships.
Six Breakthrough Strategies for Your Business
Successful business people "break through"
existing boundaries and move their business and their lives to a higher level.
Here are six Breakthrough Strategies to achieve a quantum leap - extraordinary
breakthroughs - in your business and personal life.
When you are driving down the road, a quick glance at your car's dashboard
gives you a lot of information. In an instant, you know how fast you're going,
how much fuel you have remaining and whether the engine is overheating. Why not
have a business dashboard? You can drive your company by using the information
on your business dashboard. This article tells you how.