Archive for January, 2011
I’m watching one entrepreneur after another fail to become a master client communicator. I watch them start out strong (or not), and then I see their newsletters and blog posts and ezines and social media tweets become fewer and fewer and fewer. The gaps between spurts of communication become longer and longer and longer.
They become the entrepreneur who went quiet. And pretty soon after that, they become the entrepreneur who didn’t make it.
It makes me sad. It makes me especially sad because it doesn’t have to happen. It doesn’t take all that much to become a master client communicator. People do it all the time.
You know why they do it? Because they’ve figured out something. They’ve figured out that the first step to grow any business is communications.
When you communicate with someone, you begin to form a connection with that person. The more you communicate with that person, the more you deepen that connection. Eventually that connection becomes a relationship. The next thing you know, that relationship has turned into a client – maybe even a client who becomes a raving fan.
Guess what? Your raving fan then turns around and starts communicating about how terrific you are – communications that lead to more connections that lead to more relationships that lead to more clients. . . . . You get the idea.
So we’ve pretty much figured out that successful communication equals successful business. Now comes the tricky part. How the heck are you supposed to get all that communicating done and still find the time to – gee, I don’t know – do the work you get paid to do and maybe even have dinner with your family before they forget what you look like?
All master communicators have a Client Communications and Connections Plan. No, they probably don’t call it that, but they’ve got one. So let’s get you one of those, shall we?
Your 6 Steps to Becoming a Master Client Communicator
1. Determine Your Primary Communications Goals
This will probably depend on what stage your business is in and what your major goals are for your business. Do you want to build awareness of your business? Expand your mailing list? Increase your credibility? Build your know-like-trust factor? Land more clients? Increase revenues?
Get clear on your primary goal for your client communications plan (at least for right now) and you will increase your chances of actually accomplishing that goal. (By the way, what does “accomplish” look like? Spell your goal out in specifics so you will know when you’ve achieved it.)
2. Nail Your Core Message
Oh so much easier for me to type than for you to accomplish, but it’s important. Keep honing in on who you work with, what you do, what makes you unique, what makes your work unique, why you do what you do, your beliefs, your passions, your purpose. Keep focusing in tighter and tighter until you get that “Ah ha, I’ve got it!” feeling. That’s when you’ll know you’ve nailed your core message.
By the way, your core message will never be perfect, and it will never be set in stone. It is going to keep changing and evolving as you, your clients, and your business keep changing and evolving. Don’t wait until your core message is perfect before you start communicating. Get out there and start communicating today.
3. Get to Know Your Ideal Client
99.9% of the time you are going to be communicating to, for, and with your ideal client. Get to know her as well as you know yourself. (Well, maybe not quite that well.) This isn’t new advice, is it? The world is telling you to get to know your client – demographics, psychographics, etc.
I want you to take it one step further. Get to know how your ideal client communicates and how she likes to be communicated to. What’s her lingo? What are her frames of reference? Does she prefer the written word, audio, video, a combination? What are the compelling words that make her sit up and take action? You need to know not just who you’re talking to but how to talk to her (without sacrificing your own authentic voice of course).
4. Think Strategically
Think big picture, short term vs. long term, goals and objectives, action steps to achieve those goals and objectives. What do you want to accomplish in your business this week, this month, this quarter, this year? How are you going to get there? What role is communications going to play to help you get there? Which writing vehicle (blog post, ezine article, social media tweet) is best suited to get the job done?
This is the step most entrepreneurs don’t take. They don’t approach their communications in a strategic way, and that’s too bad. Because this is when you start communicating smarter, not harder. This is when you know what you want to say, why you want to say it, and when and how to say it. This is when you and your message start to stand out from the noisy crowd. This is when you start making those connections that turn into relationships that turn into clients that turn into a thriving business.
5. Figure Out Your Communications Timetable (also known as an editorial calendar). Now it’s time to take everything from Step 3 and plug it into your calendar. Figure out your various communications projects and activities and their corresponding lead times and deadlines. Schedule your communications work so it is consistent, steady and well timed.
This is not the step to wing. This is not the step to do in your head. Get it down on paper. (Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will send you information about my very simple, very easy-to-use, very low-tech way to produce your monthly communications calendar.) Your timetable is the tool that is going to help you avoid the hit or miss, chaotic, ineffective, and stressful communications effort that characterizes so many businesses.
6. Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose
This is the step when the magic starts to happen. Repurposing is how you’re going to get all those writing and communications projects done and maintain (1) your sanity, (2) a consistent presence in front of your market, and (3) a personal life. This is what writing smarter, not harder is all about. This how you squeeze the most juice out of every single piece of communications you create.
Here is how I plan to repurpose this guest blog post:
(1) Use it as an ezine article
(2) Submit it to the article directories
(3) Publish it on my own blog
(4) Turn it into two signature talks – one 30 minutes long, one 60 minutes long
(5) Use it as the basis for a free teleclass
(6) Expand it into a 2-day virtual retreat group coaching program
(7) Transform it into an information product
Of course I’ll need to tweak, expand, and reformat the post to be able to repurpose it in such a variety of ways and forms. But it will be worth it. Think of the time I’m saving by not having to sit down and reinvent the wheel each time. Repurposing. Utter magic.
So there you have it. The six steps to take to become a master communicator. Once you are a master communicator, then you’ll be making those connections and forging those relationships that will lead to more clients, more sales, and more revenues.
Don’t be the entrepreneur who went quiet and was never heard from again.
Carol Hess, the Coach’s Writing Partner, shows coaches how to harness the power of writing to gain clients, credibility, and confidence. How to write smarter, not harder for the coach who wants to write less, stress less, and coach more. Get Carol’s report, “15 Foolproof Ways to Bust Through Writer’s Block. Email her at email@example.com to get her quick and easy communications timetable system (no charge).