by Erica C. Boling, PhD
Northeast K9 Conditioning
One of the best ways to develop and expand your canine business is through building relationships. When potential clients have options when trying to decide where to go for help, they will turn to those individuals whom they know, trust and respect.
One of the challenges of owning a brick and mortar business is that once you have established your business in your community, your network of potential clients can become stagnant. If you want to expand and grow, you’ll need new strategies for reaching out to new people. Building trust and respect with these individuals is a vital component of building new relationships, and there are numerous ways to do this. One effective strategy for initiating and building these relationships is through social media and the use of “lead magnets.”
A “lead magnet” is usually a piece of digital content that a person can download in exchange for giving you their contact information. I frequently refer to lead magnets as my “freebie” content that I share with potential clients. I link my free content to an opt-in page so that people can immediately receive it once they have given me their email address. (You can also use a messenger bot program where people opt-in using their Facebook account, but that’s for another blog discussion.)
So how, exactly, does a “lead magnet” lead to building relationships and getting new clients? Here’s how it can work…
- Offer something for free that you know your audience will greatly value and want. Think of something more enticing than simply, “Sign up for my newsletter.” Examples include an eBook, free mini-course, video tutorial or PDF checklist that helps solve a common problem that your audience faces.
- Create an opt-in page that introduces your free content and how it will help your audience. Design the opt-in page so that once a person gives you his or her email address, they either get a direct link to the free content or it’s automatically sent to them via email.
- Share your opt-in page via social media, offer it through your website, and you can even turn it into an advertisement and distribute it through BabelBark’s app, which allows you to freely advertise to people within a 25 mile radius of your business.
- As people download your free content, start a campaign where you reach out to them a few times a month to share more tips, suggestions and free content that will help them in areas of need. Weekly, biweekly, or monthly communications can be via email. Include relevant information about yourself, your family, pets and business. Throw an occasional video into your email to make it even more personal, and now you are building and nurturing a potential long-term relationship with future clients.
- On occasion, reach out to your same followers and invite them to join an upcoming course, program or new service that you are offering. You might even give special promotions and offers to only those who regularly follow your online communications. Be sure, however, that every communication with them doesn’t become a sales pitch. The idea is to stay in touch with them, share useful information and continue to grow that relationship so that you are the first person who comes to mind when they need additional support or help.
Using lead magnets is a great way to grow your following, but some might still wonder, “How does this build trust and respect?” Trust and respect happen when you offer quality content that they greatly desire. By accessing this content, they begin to recognize that you have knowledge and information that they need. They begin to see you as an expert, especially when you share content that gives them results or clear answers to their questions. As you share more with them through ongoing communications, they see that you aren’t out there just to make money off of them. They see you as somebody who wants to support them and who truly cares. They will begin to connect with you on a personal level as their trust and respect for your grow.
When you are ready to invite people to join your programs and services, you now have an eager and willing audience. You have an audience that knows you, respects you and trusts you. Some will greatly adore you and be your biggest fans for life! These people who love you and follow you on a regular basis will most likely be your next clients. Some might join you now or wait until a later date. The key here is that when they are ready to seek help, you will be the first one that comes to mind.
The time investment is little, but the rewards can be great! All you need are a few key pieces of content that you know your audience will love. Share them in as many places as possible. Follow up with your audience at least once or twice a month as you continue to expand and grow these new relationships.