Fishing For Clients
The worlds most popular sport is pure sales.
Fishing is far more than just going to the local fishing supplies store and throwing the hook into the water. Actually, I´ve done that for a few years now happy not to catch a single fish since I´m not sure how my kids would deal with success. While fishing is enjoyable as such even without any catch, selling without sales is just a waste of time and money.
What are you fishing for, i.e. who are your target clients?
When you are looking for clients, the best thing to do first is trying to define your ideal client. Who are you looking for? It could be a set of variables like age, gender, interests, backgrounds or the like. The more accurately you can describe your client, the better you will be able to find them. Know not just your enemy, but also your client.
Where do you go fishing, i.e. what´s your target market?
Once you know who you are looking for, find out where to look for them. When fishing, you can check where others fish, which in online marketing is definitely a good first step. However, to be a step ahead of the competition, you will want to think about the natural habitat of your ideal client and search for that environment. If you are lucky, you are the first to discover the territory and no one else is fishing in your waters.
If there is no fish where you want to fish or it´s not the fish you want, farming is an option. In Sales terms, this translates into educating potential clients in order to create demand. Especially for innovative or novel products or services, this could be the way to go. You can educate prospective clients online or offline, at trade fairs, conferences or through webinars. But you don´t necessarily have to go that far. Explanatory videos are a popular and cost-effective way to get your point across to a broad online audience.
What bait do you use, i.e. what´s your USP*?
Now that you know who you want to reach out to and where they are, you need to give them something tasty, something they want. I like to think of it as solving a problem of your target. In the case of fish, you usually solve hunger. There are fishing techniques that do not solve any of the fish´s problem, but that translates more into burglary than marketing, hence, it will not be subject of this article. If you want to attract and win clients for you, find out where they have an ache that you can solve. And solve it better than anyone else does.
*Unique Selling Proposition
Which tools do you use for fishing, i.e. which marketing channels do you use?
The missing piece of the puzzle is how to get the bait to the right place in order to catch the fish you are looking for.
There are hundreds of combinations of marketing channels and ways to use them. You need to find the optimal mix for your goals and possibilities.
Online as well as offline, you can pay for reach or walk from door to door. You can choose between salespeople, mouth-to-mouth propaganda to the classics like print, TV, and radio all the way to online channels such as search engine advertising (SEM), social media marketing (SMM), Affiliate marketing, etc. etc.. I´m not for or against any of these marketing techniques. But you really have to know your business model in order to choose the correct and viable channel. Weigh cost, reach and conversion against each other and compare to your goals.
*Important notice: “fishing” in online marketing refers to a not so fine marketing technique which I want to distance myself from explicitly!
How much fish can you eat, i.e. quantity, economic goals and market environment?
The best solution is only the best solution in the context of your overall goals of volume, initial investment and the market environment. If you´re fishing for leisure and home consumption, it´s obviously not viable to buy a ship and cross oceans to find that perfect spot and pray. Even if you want to fish professionally, it may or may not be worth the investment to go to that perfect spot. The second or third best solution may yield the higher return on investment.
My point is to know what you want before you throw the hook into the water.
Or: Know your business model before you start investing time and money in sales activities.