Editor’s note: Small-business guru LuAnn Nigara provides tell-it-like-it-is business education for tens of thousands of designers and creatives the world over via her popular podcast, A Well- Designed Business; books; and speaking engagements for the National Kitchen & Bath Association, High Point Market, ASID National, the Design Influencers Conference, and beyond. In her monthly column for AD PRO, Nigara shares actionable insights—gleaned from her twice-weekly conversations with design industry pros and her 35-plus years running a custom window treatment business, Window Works—on the most common small-business challenges members of the trade face today.
“How do you land the ideal client?” is a question I hear a lot. We all want that fantastic client, the one who is going to pay us what we’re worth without batting an eyelash–not to mention respect us as professionals. But how do we find them? The answer comes down to two big components: attracting them and keeping them! Follow along for four of my mandates when it comes to getting, and keeping, your ideal client.
Get Your Name in Front of Clients
You can’t just sit around hoping your ideal client is going to wander through the door. You have to build a consistent, strategic marketing plan that gets you in front of them.
Marketing has always been a major priority, both at my business Window Works and at A Well-Designed Business podcast, to the point where my husband, Vin, didn’t take a salary the first year we were in business—the same for me when I started the podcast. Instead, we invested the money in marketing, getting the business out there and known in the community.
Maybe you don’t have to give up your salary. But you do have to invest in marketing—it is a nonnegotiable. The Small Business Administration suggests that businesses of up to $5 million in revenue invest 5% to 8% of their gross revenue each year in marketing.
For years, we actually invested 10% to 12% each year in marketing. Regardless of whether business was busy or slow, we pressed on with that decision, because we knew that it would put us in front of the clients we wanted to serve.
The Rule of Seven
The Marketing Rule of Seven states that customers need to come across an offer at least seven times before they will make a purchase. If you aren’t putting your name out in front of the clients you want, they are never going to reach those seven touch points!
As a business owner, you need to make sure that you’re getting your name out there so your ideal clients can find you. You can do this through newsletters, social media, blog writing, paid ads (both digital and print), community initiatives, and charity events.
We ask every new client how they first heard of us. At this many years in, a common response is “Well, I just know you. I see your ads, I see your vans, I mean…you’re Window Works.” That’s marketing in action. The goal is to be so visible that clients feel like…
Read More: Four Hacks for Attracting—and Retaining!—Your Ideal Client