Nilé Livingston (she/they), Founder and CEO of Creative Repute, knows what they’re talking about in regards to digital marketing. Nilé’s professional recognition by the Philadelphia Business Journal, in addition to Creative Repute’s 2020 Silver Award in Branding from the Indigo Design Award, indicates just that. Creative Repute aims to design exclusively for transformative brands that actively make the world a better place. Not by accident, this directly aligns with Nilé’s personal values. Their goal is to help organizations reach their marketing goals. This achievement is especially rewarding when the organizations’ goals coincide with the betterment of the world. They sat down with me to discuss easy, free in and outbound client acquisition strategies that those growing a business can utilize.
Inbound Strategies for Client Acquisitions
The utilization of inbound strategies is a great way to improve an organization’s marketing strategy and attract new clients quickly. Nilé thoughtfully outlined a handful of ways to implement these client acquisition strategies, whether independently or through hiring a company like Creative Repute to assist.
Link Building in All Directories
“I post my company everywhere that I can online, with a description of my services, and link back to my website.” Nilé highly recommends link building, the practice of referencing you and your company on any relevant website – even the old and outdated ones. Try AnglesList, BBB, Yelp, YellowPages, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Fiverr, etc. This process is more of a long-term strategy, as it will take a while (4 to 6 months) for the search engine ‘spiders’ to crawl the content. Still, Nilé emphasizes, “the more websites that link to your site as a resource, the more credible you become in the algorithm of search engines.” They recommend adding your site’s URL to one directory a day when first getting your company out there. They advise pacing yourself, but warn never to spam! Only place links and a description of the company on websites that serve as service directories.
It’s not about who you are; it’s who you know! It is vital to be present for events, talks, and networking opportunities. Volunteer for panels, interviews, and speak at engagements when you know you have value to offer. Interviewing, speaking at events, offering consultation, and hosting workshops for the public are all ways to share your wealth of knowledge. Giving talks can be key to building a growing community and making new connections.
When building a name for yourself, the most important way to improve searchability and credibility is through reviews. Be sure to ask each and every client to leave a review. There has been a rise in reputation experience management in SEO (Search Engine Optimization). High-quality, positive customer reviews improve a company’s visibility and increase the likelihood of gaining new clients. Ratings and reviews are the top factors consumers use when choosing between local businesses. Statistics on BrightLocal’s Consumer Review Survey from 2022 reflect 79% of consumers find online reviews analogous to personal recommendations. More than half of consumers pass up locations with less than a 4-star rating.
Another way to achieve an expertise rating is to write guest posts/blogs/articles for other companies, especially your local newspaper. This is an opportunity that allows you to showcase your name and knowledge. Guest articles are mutually beneficial for both you and the company you write for. They convey valuable information and content to share with their network, and you get to position yourself as a thoughtful leader on a platform outside of your website. Make sure your writing doesn’t sound like you only want to gain clients. It should be more about offering people valuable information. Writing is also an excellent opportunity to research, learn, and grow.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is key to improving your digital marketing strategy. From using key phrases often and adequately, to adding accessibility measures such as alt text, meta descriptions, inbound and outbound links, building backlinks, adding your keyphrase to your headlines and URL, installing google search console, and analytics, etc.- there is no denying the importance of SEO. Nilé recommends anyone building their company website utilize the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress, which offers a checklist of essential items that should be considered for each page on your website. Don’t underestimate the usefulness of blogging! Putting information out on the internet will lead to users stumbling across your website and seeing that you have the answers to hard-to-find questions. The blog posts on your website should all have an underlying theme related to the products or services you offer. If you blog, you need to make sure the SEO is formatted accurately so that you show up at the top of Google Search Results. Additionally, Nilé recommends running your website through free tests like this SEO analyzer and Google’s speed test.
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses as a company is more valuable than you realize. If you’re a company that manufactures stone veneering but doesn’t install it, you have two choices. You could choose to be a lonely island as a company, or you could form a bridge to other companies that provide installation services for the product you manufacture. This mutually beneficial relationship could help your product and service become more accessible to the public.
Reactivate Former Clients and Customers
Their success is your success. Ask your former clients if they can offer you a review, if they’d be willing to refer you to their network, or if they have feedback for you that can improve the services you offer. Maintain connections and show genuine care. The people you know are the people who help you grow.
Outbound Client Acquisition Strategies
Outbound sales is the process of going out into the world to tell potential clients about your services as opposed to waiting for the opportunities to fall into your lap.
Pitch to Potential Customers or Clients
The name of the game is confidence and preparation, both in yourself and in the products and services you’re offering. A great way to form connections with other businesses and make a name for yourself is to pitch yourself and your services to companies in your community. A pitch could lead to genuine and meaningful connections. You can start by searching online for businesses that have issues you know you can resolve, then by reaching out to them via phone or email to introduce yourself, and ask if they are open to connecting to talk more about how you can help them.
Remember to go into this situation with the right attitude. Just as the saying goes that you catch more flies with honey, you can bet that you’re more likely to catch a client with kindness. To make sure you’re communicating as clearly as possible, you can create a pitch deck that visually outlines the services you provide and what your process looks likes. Pitch decks can be tailored to specific clients or customers. Bonus points if you include portfolio samples, past testimonials, statistics, market research, or case studies of your company’s success stories.
Including information about finances in a pitch deck has been deemed unnecessary per Slidebean, a company that helps startups present to investors. According to their statistics, 60% of successful pitch decks include in financials slides.
The most crucial factor for the pitch deck is to tailor it to the potential client or customer’s needs. Show them that you care enough to do research and form an initial audit of this particular opportunity. This shows you are well versed in both your industry and their company and have ideas on how to specifically help them. Focus more on the prospect and the client or customer in that pitch deck, rather than explaining who you are. Using the same generic pitch deck for all opportunities is low effort and low return. However, customizing each pitch deck can lead to more energy and risk, however, it generates the most significant impact and returns when you begin to land more prominent clients.
Make Connections Through Social Media
Don’t go into social media to overtly sell. You may be banned if you do. Instead, use your social media platforms to connect with others, share and learn useful information for your target audience, and develop familiarity with your network. The benefits of building a community on social media are varied. They include an increase in referrals, data on your target audience and decision-makers, a chance to learn more about companies so that you have more context when you email them, the opportunity to build mutually respectful relationships, and a chance to help your business grow.
Client Acquisition Strategies:
Growing your business doesn’t have to be complicated. A balanced application of inbound and outbound client acquisition strategies will surely help you grow and show off your full potential. SEO is the biggest standout for long-term inbound strategies that make a significant impact. Reviews are as good as gold, so if you’re looking for a quick(er) fix, be sure to reach out to former and current clients to ask them to rate you. Being proactive in searching for, and reaching out to potential clients to pitch how you can help them is the best outbound strategy. These client acquisition strategies serve to help you form genuine, long-term connections with others. Partnering with a company like Creative Repute can take the marketing weight off your shoulders. Nilé and their team are highly skilled in providing social media management, creating SEO content, writing optimized copy, and more. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to begin the discussion.