Construct a Nurturing Journey

How Your Marketing Takes Stranger to Client to Brand Ambassador

Here’s something sad: I can count an entire lifetime of stellar customer or client experiences on one hand.

That’s less than FIVE amazing, will-never-forget-this, customer experiences in 33 years!!

Consultants, small business owners and solopreneurs have a lot on their to-do lists. That means they don’t often make room for what you might consider the “extra” stuff—gifts for their clients, updating their website menu or setting a welcome email

But it’s the “extra” stuff that actually makes your company stand out from the others.

Let’s face it. We all have competitors.

Even the “disrupters” pick up competitors as their businesses start to scale. What keeps your clients coming back to work with you again and again, and what prompts them to refer your services to others, is the extra stuff that only you can add to the process of working together.

So from cold introduction to project wrap-up, we should be taking every moment to be as attentive as we can.

How can you make your client’s experience as nurturing and excellent as possible? Consider these four steps of their journey:

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THE INTRODUCTION

You know when you Google for a restaurant near the theatre, and you find two places with good reviews? So you click on their websites, and you immediately dismiss the one that has an ancient one with zero menu and isn’t mobile friendly? 

That’s an example of a bad digital first impression.

There are many opportunities for you to make a great first impression with your potential client, and most of them have to do with what comes up when they do a Google search.

Go ahead, Google your company name right now. Are you proud of what you see? 

Chances are, you can probably improve upon a few things:
 

  • First, actually complete your profile information on social media. Fill out your About / Story section on your Facebook page. Make sure your Instagram bio says who you are, what you do and gives a call to action. 
  • Fill out the SEO of your site so the snippet on Google provides clear and complete information about what they’ll find there.
  • If you have a physical location, get set up on Google Maps. Update your information and images.
  • When people land on your website, make a site menu that gives them all they need to know.
  • Build a super easy path to contact you, set up a call or inquire about your services.

the kick-off

Now that you’ve made a great first impression, they’ve inquired about your services and booked you for a project! 

How can you make the start of the project as easy and fun as possible? 

 

  • If you have to schedule a first meeting, use Doodle, Calendly or another scheduling tool that gives them an easy way to find the most convenient time. 
  • Create a welcome packet that provides introductory information: timing, ways of working, what to expect…
  • What about a start-of-project gift? Be thoughtful. A soothing tea for a first-time life coaching client looking to ease anxiety at work? A coffeehouse gift card for the café near their office?

THE MIDDLE PART

Service providers tend to ignore their clients in the “middle part” of a project. I get that. Sometimes it’s a matter of focus. Your head’s down in the work, and you don’t think about checking in. Sometimes there’s nothing exciting to report. You’re in the middle of creative brainstorming or experimenting with designs or collecting survey responses or researching opportunities, and so there are no conclusions yet to share.

But there are ways to keep them in the loop:

 

  • Did you read an interesting article about entrepreneurship today? See something thought-provoking shared on LinkedIn or Facebook that you could share with your client? Tag them in something you think they’ll appreciate on social! 
  • Give your client a peek into the process. Share a weekly recap of what’s going on during this “gathering” phase. 
  • Is there something they can work on in the meantime that will keep things running smoothly once you’re done? Can you encourage them to get a new set of photos for their website? Start copywriting for that welcome email you’ll have them write? 

THE WRAP-UP

You’ve made it through the project, and it went great. How can you express your gratitude for your work together? 

 

  • Send a gift and/or a handwritten thank you.
  • Pre-plan ways to keep in touch. Write down a few check-ins you can have via email and social media through the year ahead. Are there additional resources that you can offer during these check-ins? Articles, book recommendations, advice, homework?
  • Make a big deal of the work you did together online. Add a case study to your website, share reflections on Instagram, dedicate an email series to the story of your work together.

When you think about the extras—how to surprise and delight your client with excellent care, and make their experience working with you as frictionless as possible—you ensure that they aren’t just happy with the work but they’re so happy with YOU that they’ll refer all their friends.

I strategize, consult and manage digital marketing and communications for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. I’m based in Brooklyn, because I have a thing for exposed brick, cozy, local coffee shops and the can’t stop, won’t stop energy of New York.

Because I work with small companies, I get the chance to really know my clients – what makes them tick and how and why they should stand out in a crowded marketplace. A lot of my clients have a smaller staff, a limited budget and are already stretched thin for time. This leads us to tailor marketing strategies and solutions to each company’s unique needs and actual capacity.

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