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Marketing / Business marketing

4 simple strategies to help creative businesses win more clients

Run a creative consulting or design business? Want to create more consistent opportunities? Create a simple ‘sample strategy’ for your business today!

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Selling creative services can be hard right?

You know you’re awesome and if you could just get more people to experience your services – you know you could win more clients.

But without physical products to see and touch, how are you supposed to get more of your potential clients to sample your offerings and win more clients?

The online world is full of free trials, demos, and even cut down versions of full products. But how can you, as a service provider, create a ‘sample strategy’ for your business?

Well, you just have to be a little creative…

"You know what you do is awesome, if only you could get more people to sample what you offer - you know you could win more clients."

In this article I’m going to share four ‘sample strategies’ you can start using today to help you win more clients.

1. Create a service product

One way to get more people to experience your processes and thinking is to turn your services, or at least part of them, into a product such as a self-study course or eBook.

As a consultant or coach you likely have unique processes you use in your business to help your clients. Can you turn those processes into educational tools or training programs that others can learn from?

For example, an industrial designer could teach their prospective clients how to run successful creative thinking workshops or research programs through a step-by-step guide with accompanying worksheets. A web design company could teach how to plan and launch a successful website redesign.

2. Free consultation

This one is possibly one of the simplest to offer, with one caveat: when giving away your time this way it’s important that you provide enough value without giving away too much. One way to overcome this is to provide a framework around a fixed time period with a specific set of questions that can be asked prior to the consultation.

And so you don’t give away even more time in travelling, your consultation could be a simple as holding the conversation over the phone, Skype or a Google Hangout.

3. Low cost offering

Whilst the idea of a sample suggests ‘free’, the idea is to really create what I like to call a ‘get your foot in the door’ offering.

There’s definitely value in charging at least a small fee for your offer as there can be a greater perception of value with cost. You may also find that clients take it more seriously if they’ve had to fork out for it.

As creatives you most likely already have some part of your service or offering that you could package up as an offer.

For instance, do you already run creative brainstorming sessions or workshops with clients? What about assessments, evaluations or audits?

These maybe services you typically offer at the start of a larger phased project but can offer tremendous value to your clients.

Instead of rolling it into part of an annual engagement, use it as a way of demonstrating your expertise, provide value to ‘get your foot in the door’.

An example of this I used with one branding agency client was to create and offer  a ‘brand audit’. They would offer to review a clients’ brand and assets and once agreed, would present a report face-to-face. That way the client got something of value and the agency got the opportunity to talk about how they could help.

4. Try before you buy

When I say ‘try before you buy’ I’m not talking about free pitching here (I know pitching (free and paid) is rife in advertising and other creative areas). I personally don’t like free pitching and don’t believe it provides the best outcome for either client or agency.

However offering a way for potential clients to experience working with you can be a great way to lower the barrier to entry.

If you typically provide a phased project arrangement try offering money back guarantees or opt-out clauses after the initial stage. This gives the client the option to opt-out of further engagement and potentially payment if they’re not happy with the outcome.

In summary

One of the biggest benefits of creating sample products or offerings in this way is the increased opportunity you have to market and promote that offering, through either paid or owned media such as email and social.

And over time you may find it appropriate to develop additional offerings that align better with other services you offer.

But whichever method you use to win more clients, make sure you’re providing value first and foremost. Don’t hold back or worry about giving up your ‘IP’; the above ideas are perfect examples of ways you can both demonstrate your expertise and create more opportunities for your business.

Are you a creative business? Have you come up with a ‘sample’ strategy that helps introduce your business to new clients?

Stephen Mayall

is a marketing consultant and coach at New Edge Marketing. He helps creative businesses generate more leads, create more opportunities and drive more sales through simple step-by-step solutions to grow their business.

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