Where are the Clients?
In an ever growing world of businesses what makes the difference isn’t always having the best products or services. While one may strive to have the best, heck even if you have the best, no one will know who you are if you are not able to get in front of your audience. Marketing is a must. Marketing is what will get you in front of your audience so they can go from your audience pool to your customer pool.
I have spent years helping entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground and heading towards success. Almost every one of them says their biggest struggle is marketing and finding clients. Good thing these topics are stuck together at the hip.
Some of you may have not put much thought into marketing. That is okay. Kick it up ladies. Other of you are saying, “I have been marketing, but I am not getting clients.” Whether you just getting in it or you have some things to fix here are 10 Reasons Why Your Marketing Is Not Bringing in Clients:
1. You are not Really Doing Any Marketing
This first one may seem kind of obvious. If you do not put in the time and effort marketing you will not bring in the clients. Businesses cannot stay afloat without clients. So if you do not market your business is not going to make it.
We would all love to believe that if we just had great content people will buy it. That is called Hope marketing. It does not work. The old cliché of, if you build it they will come doesn’t really work. Even if you have the most amazing product, the most amazing service, no one will buy unless you are able to get them in front of your audience.
Even if you have the most amazing website ever, no one is going to see it if you don’t drive traffic to it. You also can’t post a few things social media and call it good.
Strategy is key. Make marketing part of your day to day for your business. Budget for it. Block out time into your calendar. This is one of things that follow the Pareto Principe. 20% of the things you do in your business will result in 80% of your sales. Make this a priority. Don’t let anything else take its place. Spend time on your website, branding, marketing materials, networking, ect.
2. Marketing to Everyone
When you start out people are tempted to take on any job that comes their way just to get out there or just to get paid. Photographers may shoot anything they can get their hands in from weddings to newborns to family portraits. Doulas may take on clients that don’t want to pay them full price because they do not value what they do. Coaches may try to coach people on every subject under the sun.
It is hard to say no, but it just doesn’t work. When there are so many options on your website you may be trying to appeal to everyone but you fail to really appeal to anyone. You end up blending into the background with everyone else who may offer similar services. If you specialize in everything you really are not specializing in anything. You are just a generalist and generalist do not stand out from the crowd.
If someone is looking to hire someone for their birth photography do you think they are going to hire someone who dabbles in all kinds of photography or the person who is the expert on birth photography? You know the expert is going offer you a better experience and higher quality than the generalist photographer. The more you can be specifically appealing to your audience the higher the chances you have of getting those clients to hire you.
3.You Have Yet to Master Your Ideal Client
This one is so huge. It is part of the foundation of your business. If you are trying to be everything to everyone than you do not have a specific ideal client. Your ideal client is NOT anyone with money willing to pay your prices for your product or services. Your ideal client is very specific.
If you want effective marketing you have to get to know who your ideal client is very well. Your marketing will vary greatly based upon who you are marketing to. Women respond differently than men, people with children respond differently than those who do not, and younger individuals respond differently than older ones. You get the picture. If you do not know who your ideal client is, it is going to be near impossible to create effective marketing.
4. You Fail to Overcome the Noise
There is so much noise out there. People have become so used to being bombarded by advertisements and marketing everywhere they go, much of the time they tend to tune it out. You have to be remarkable in some way to stand out. Be different from what they would expect. Not in a weird way, but in a good way. There are most likely other people who offer the same products or services that you do. They might even have the same business model as you do. So how do you stand out in your market? What can you be different?
If you are in a saturated market with low cost competitors, be the high-end competitor who offers something your low cost competition can’t. The people who are looking to spend money are those looking for value not the cheapest discount. They value you what you do and why you do, it so they are going to be willing to pay the premium price for it. This is a great way to stand out.
Make your brand something that sticks out in their minds. Avoid using template for your website specific to your niche. It may be hard to do your own thing when it is so easy to just buy a template made for your market. When everyone uses the same template just with different colors and different photos things tend to start bending together for your potential clients. How can you be different on your first impression that will make you memorable over the others?
5. Your Trying to Give Too Much
People like simple. Your goal is to make is as easy as possible for people to hire you. Sometimes less can really get you more. More clients that is. Try to offer less products and packages. If you have too many options it will just overwhelm potential buyers. Don’t offer every product you can just because you can. You probably do not want more than 3-4 options. If you do, your potential clients will get what is called decision fatigue, they will just get too overwhelmed and give up. They are more likely to walk away and not hire you at all.
Try not to overload potential clients with lots of wordy things to read. Most people will not read what you have to say and too much words equals annoying in their mind. They will scan your content, but most often they won’t remember what is says. They also don’t want to navigate through your entire life story in order to find what they are looking for. Your story is important for branding, but you want to give them just the right amount of information.
Give them prices, but you might not want to send them your contract along with your price quote. You need to figure out what the minimum amount of information you can give them in order for them to make an informed decision to work with you. Don’t hide things, but know when the right time is to disclose things. Don’t talk about your cancellation policy when they inquire about your services. Unless of course they ask. This is something that you can save and provide after they have hired you.
6. You Are Not Giving Them What They Really Want
People do not buy things they do not want. They also do not usually buy what you are offering, they are buying your why. Don’t offer them things you think they want. Create offers that fit what your ideal client it looking for. Sometimes this means offering them what they want and sneaking in what they need. Say a guy is looking for how to get better dates. You get better dates by being a better person, but what they think they want is better pick-up lines. You may have to sell them pickup lines but also give them how to be a better person.
Do some research in your market. Ask some questions. Be specific. Don’t ask them what they want. They may not know what they want. Find out their why. Find out what their problems are. What keeps them awake at night? What are they struggling with?
Why do people hire photographers? It is not because they want more stuff. It is all about preserving memories. Why do people seek marketing help in their business? It is not really because they love marketing. It is a deeper why. They want to be able to spend more time with their kids, they want a big vacation, they want more freedom in their day to day. This will help you create content, products, and services that are best for your ideal client.
7. You Only Use Free Social Media Platforms to Market Yourself
Social media can be a great way to get business, but it can’t be the only way you seek to get your clients from. With free platforms you cannot control who sees your posts. The algorithms keep changing. Often times, less than 1% of your audience sees the things you post on Facebook. These days even massive engagement does not ensure your social media posts will be seen. Having all your potential leads in one place is a risk. You risk losing those leads.
Think about Myspace for a moment. What kind of business would you have if your entire business had been based on potential clients that were only on Myspace? You wouldn’t have much of a business anymore. That is not to say that we think Facebook or Instagram will be going anywhere any time soon. You need to be in control.
Instead of using all the free stuff as your only option make sure you are able to get your potential clients email. Use an email service like Awber or Mail Chimp that puts you in control. It is really not as scary as it sounds. It is also good for just about ANY market. This includes online business, physical products, and even local businesses. This gives you the control to get in front of those who said they want to hear more of what you have to say. They want you to send them emails. You don’t have to pay to get yourself into peoples email. MailChimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers. Don’t wait to build your list.
8. You are Unwilling to Spend Money
Sometimes you have to spend some money. If you could make $1000 for every $50 you spent in advertising would you do it? Wouldn’t you put that $50 back into your business over and over again? There are things worth paying for. Figure out what is best for your business. You are not going to make any money if you are not willing to invest in yourself and your business. If you do not value what you do people will be able to tell you do not value your business and they won’t either.
Think about investing in things that appeal to your ideal clients. Are there complimentary services that go along with the business you have? Pregnant women have a multitude of them. Maternity care, chiropractic care, massage, photography, doula services, childbirth education, childcare, ect. Look into making strategic partnerships with businesses who relate to what you do. Maybe they have a directory they are willing to add you to for a small fee.
Invest in things that educate you on how to make more money several times over. Invest in learning how to do business better faster. Many entrepreneurs start out thinking they can do everything themselves all the time. While you can teach yourself to do anything these days it will cost you. It will cost you your most precious commodity, your time. Your time is worth a lot. So if you can invest in something that will save you time and increase your profits do it.
9. You’re Not Converting
You are driving traffic to your website, but nothing is happening. There are several common reasons. First, you may be using a free website domain. www.yourbusinessname.otherbusiness.com gives others the idea that you are amateur and not professional. First impressions add up. It is not expensive to get your own domain name and with all the information out there it is easy to find out how to build your own website. It can be the difference between getting clients and not getting clients. Having a hobby or having a business.
Second, your website does not appeal to your ideal clients. If a potential client comes to your website looking for something specific and is bombarded by things they don’t want they are likely to leave your website. If a client is looking for a childbirth education classes and they have to shift through your newborn photography stuff first, they are likely going to leave your page without you gaining anything. Make sure you are turning your website traffic into leads by making your sire appealing to your target audience.
Third, you don’t have any call to actions to tell them what to do next. Sometimes people just need you to tell them what to do. At the end of your blog post put a call to action. Click here to book a consult. Put an opt-in, in the first section of your website to collect their email. You don’t want to bombard them too many things to do, but studies have shown that if you ask someone to do something in a call to action they are far more likely to do it.
Fourth, your website is not optimized to show up in search results. So this one may not quiet count as not converting, but if people can’t find your website they will not be able to find you. Search engine optimization (SEO) may seem like a foreign language. It is really not that hard and not that time consuming. It would only take an extra 5-10 minutes per blog post to add SEO tags. This can be a great way to get more clients. How simple. People looking for your services converting into clients because they found you in their search.
Other problems included missing links, your contact form is not working, your site is missing information like your service area or multiple ways to contact you. If your ideal clients can’t find what they are looking for they will likely not take the time to contact you to find the information they are looking for. Make sure your website is working for you to get you clients.
10. You Get in Your Own Way
This is one of the biggest reasons why your marketing may not be getting you clients. Not because you are doing it all wrong, but because you have things going on in your own mindset the block you. For example, not following up with a lead because you feel like you would be annoying them. Follow up is crucial. It’s your business. It is your job to follow up. You are not annoying them. You are serving them. If they are not interested they will tell you.
Another way you may be getting in your own way is not using the phone. You may be doing this because you don’t like to talk on it. Big mistake. Get over yourself. Getting you on the phone makes you real, gets you a great first impression, and could give you competitive advantage. A huge portion of the businesses out there today are not getting on the phone. Maybe you will get hired right there on the spot because it was convenient. Potential clients didn’t have to go back and forth through email to get their questions answered. Maybe they would have never emailed you because they felt like they were going to annoy you. Don’t be afraid. It can give you a huge advantage.
Maybe you struggle with selling because you don’t want to come off as pushy or sleazy. You will only come off as these things if you are pushy or sleazy. You run a business. Without sales you don’t have a business. You are not trying to push people into buying something they don’t want or selling them something you know they will be unhappy with after they have bought it. More often than not people do not want to ask for the sale because of something deeper. They do not value themselves. They do not want to be rejected. Shift your mindset and remember you are helping them. If you really value what you have to offer and feel like you are the best fit why would you not try to sell to them? You are helping them. Just be genuine.
You are afraid your work is not good enough. Enough is good enough. If you are constantly afraid that something isn’t good enough or you are too much of a perfectionist to get yourself out there than you never will. No one is perfect. I will hold off on branding because I don’t want to take new head shots until I have lost a bit of weight. I don’t want to launch my course because I am still making adjustments to it. Don’t let fear hold you back.
Sometimes people are so afraid of failing they will let it stop them from taking action. Remember that if you are not taking action you are already failing. Don’t let the fear of failure get in the way of your passion and your dreams. Shift your mindset. If you have something that people could benefit from than you are doing a disservice not offering what you have. It is not about you. It is about them.
We are all about helping make your business a success. You are the only thing standing in your way of success. If you are looking for more ways to bring success into your life be sure to sign up for our newsletter.
How to Start Your Dream Business
Building your dream business is so much fun. Getting your ideas out of your head and into the real world is incredibly rewarding.
Building your dream business also come with hard work and dedication. It is not a get rich quick type of thing. We all had to start somewhere. It usually comes with overwhelm and fear of the unknown.
Over here at B.A.B.E.S we are in the business of making sure you are successful. We want you to succeed in your business.
We’ve created a Business Checklist to give you an overview of what you need to do in order to create your dream business.
Every business is unique but the foundations of a successful business are the same. The main point of your business is to get your target market to buy your product.
This doesn’t mean that it is all about money and sales though. Most of you have become an entrepreneur for reasons much bigger than you just wanted to make some money.
Here is an example of how to get your business in front of your ideal clients:
Discovery: Your ideal client needs to discover you. You have to figure out how to get yourself in front of them.
The Hook: You get in front of your ideal client. They decide they want more from you. You have to find a way to communicate and engage your ideal client in order to give them more of you.
The Buy: You have to figure out how to turn your ideal client from a prospect to a buyer. Your Ideal client decides they want to buy your product/service.
After the Buy: After the buy you need to still deliver amazing value. Your new customers then become a raving fan to bring you more of your ideal client because you delivered so much value.
The unfortunate thing is there is no one path for an entrepreneur. Even for those who take an entrepreneurial degree. It does not give you one set path for every unique business. It is up to you to figure out what works for your business so you can create an unforgettable experience for your ideal clients. The what is the simple part. The how is where the hard work comes in. There are 3 crucial elements to any successful business. Foundation, Implementation, and Growth. Before you ever speak out to sell your product/service you have to know inside and out your why, your audience, and have the right mindset.
Your first step is to know that it is completely doable. So we created this step-by-step checklist to guide you into your new business. If you already have a business this might be a way to double check you have a good foundation before moving forward.
Feel free to print out this checklist for yourself. If you want more MAKERS Success be sure to sign up for our newsletter.
How do you become successful? While success has different meanings for everyone most people define success in terms like happy, financially sound, and fulfilled. Sometimes it helps to emulate what other people are doing in order to be more like them.
Success is more than just luck. Success is a skill that you learn and also a mindset. Many successful people have shared things that they do that contribute to their success. Here are a few habits you might want to try for yourself.
Keep a daily journal.
Use your journal to write out what you want your life to be like. Journaling empowers you to take your ideas and turn them into realities. Write down your vision for the future, your goals, and your dreams.
Surround yourself with positive people.
Don't let negative people hold you back. Negativity generally comes from unhappy people and those who envy you. Happy successful people don't tear other down.
Write down your gratitude.
Every day write down three things you are grateful for and one daily affirmation. At night you can also write down three amazing things that happened that day. The daily practice of writing down what you have to be grateful for, and reflecting upon who you want to become, can help you rewire your brain and improve your happiness.
Deprioritize opportunities which don't fit with your goals.
It is okay to delegate or even say no to tasks that do not support your goals. It is often tempting to say yes to every opportunity or task that comes your way but if it is not getting you to where you want to be then think about putting it on the back burner if there are other priority things to get done that do directly relate to your ultimate goals.
Work out for a strong body, which holds up a strong mind.
Having a healthy strong body will impact your mental fitness. Adopt daily lifestyle habits that are health and support a healthy body. Regular exercise, adequate hydration, limit/elimination of toxins, and healthy eating habits go a long way to making your body and mind a strong effective tool for you. Exercise also gives you energy and gives you feel good hormones to boost your day.
Make extra efforts to stay organized.
Making lists and setting daily goals helps you stay focused each day. Download a few apps like Evernote or Google Calendars to keep things organized.
Keep balance in your life.
Don't let your work consume you. Make sure you are able to make time for sacred time where you disconnect from your work life and enjoy life. Take time to meditate.
A huge majority of successful people read. They read a lot, devoting about 30 minutes a day. Thing is not reading posts on Facebook for 30 minutes, but actually reading nonfiction like biographies, history, or self-help books.
#1 – Build Mini Marketing Campaigns
Simple marketing funnels can help get you more potential leads. Focus on 4 key elements: (1) a well-targeted Facebook ad, (2) a landing page/ opt-in page, (3) a thank-you page, (4) a follow-up email sequence. (Lead Pages is a great way to get people into a mini funnel)
#2 – Showcase Your Work
When you offer your products or services and get a happy satisfied customer showcase their story or testimonial. It is a great way to gain awareness and collect leads for those who are looking for similar services/products in that same area. Simply run ads about the testimonial and target them to an audience within a specific zip code or codes. In doing so, you’re priming people to have you in mind for their birth needs and to contact you when they’re ready for additional information.
#3 – Choose a Niche and Dominated it
Set up a ‘Google My Business Page’ (Google Maps page) for the one niche that is most important to your business. Focus on a set of demographics that could set you apart in the market. For example, you might consider going after a particular niche such as VBAC, natural hospital birth, homebirth, teen mothers, etc. Ensure your Google reviews are from the same type of people that reflect that niche and build your website, or at least a portion of your website, on that premise.
#4 – Be Social
Whether or not you have a website, it’s an excellent idea to set up your Facebook Business Page – not only to start sharing high-value content but also to show your audience a more transparent side of the business (and highlight why they should work with you instead of your competitors).
Try posting video testimonials and reviews whenever possible. Younger generations (particularly millennials) seek social validation, so try to capture video testimonials and reviews of your clients’ experiences to solidify your culture in social media. It’s no secret that people love photos and videos.
#5 – Create Blog Posts with a Hyper-Local Focus
Create strong, evergreen content that is local and beneficial to newcomers. Take pictures when you are ‘out and about’ so you have a library of images to use in these blog post. This will help make the article more unique and engaging.
Try creating a specific page or article that is geared specifically towards people looking to give birth in one the neighborhoods you specialize in. For example, “Your Ultimate Guide to Natural Hospital Birth in Chicago, Illinois.”
#6 – Embrace Video
Once upon a time, creating video was both expensive and time-consuming, but that’s no longer the case. You can easily record high-quality video from your phone, publish, and track views, clicks, and engagement (depending on where you post it). Leverage video content to increase your visibility, position yourself as a thought leader, and capture leads by displaying a more transparent look into your services.
#7 – Add Text Animations to Your Videos on Social Media
Try to make your ads stand out on social media by adding text animations to your social media videos. There are many free apps that allow you to add this extra layer to your content and enable you to animate text over an image and post it to your social media outlets in seconds.
#8 – Create a Free Downloadable Resource (Lead Magnet)
Turn web traffic into leads by creating highly valuable free resources that your target clients would be interested in downloading in exchange for their email address. For example, you might put together a PDF report entitled “The Ultimate Guide To Natural Birth in Chicago,” or “The 5 Most Expensive Newborn Items You Don’t Need.” The bottom line is that this free resource will give massive value to your target clients and address the pain points they are facing.
Use this free resource as a “lead magnet” to get the name and email address of your target clients. From there you can continue to send them more valuable tips to their email via an autoresponder (automated email). Not only does this tactic build trust and credibility, it also positions you as an authority. From there, through your emails, you can get them to schedule an appointment with you where you can then turn them into your clients.
#9 – Follow Up with Your Leads (After They’ve Downloaded Your Free Offer)
After visitors have opted-in to receive that piece of content on your website or on Facebook, step 2 is setting up a video retargeting campaign. “Don’t be intimidated!” Follow up with another piece of information. This could be a class, video, or email series.
Your leads now have downloaded or read a piece of content that you’ve produced, they have seen an additional piece of your content– that’s 2 high-quality impressions and you have their contact information! Now we go in to get them to convert into a phone call or a web lead on your website. Through email marketing campaign and continued retargeting on Facebook, you should run conversion campaigns to get them to giving you a call or filling out a form to discuss their birth needs.
#10 – Get Your Message to Truly POP with Pop Culture Infographics
Television-show-themed infographics are a great way to drive traffic and leads to your landing page. First, identify a hyper-local Facebook group (this will be the audience for your content). Then, researching trending topics (such as popular television shows, artists, musicians, or news events) and create value-add infographics geared towards these audiences, that incorporate a pop culture theme. You then post this content to the group and drive traffic and leads to your landing page.
#11 – Focus on Becoming a Thought Leader in Your Local Market
Establish your credibility and gain awareness by being attentive to the questions potential clients have and taking a proactive approach to answering them. Always try to answer people’s questions as an expert and find ways to turn your answers into valuable content that you can quickly and easily repurpose. For example, if you notice clients have similar inquiries, capture them and turn them into blog articles and take the time to ensure every article is search engine optimized with essential keywords.
Pro tip: Remember to add a call to action at the end of your article or in the right margin so that if the article is of interest to the user, he or she can click and be referred to your landing page or contact form to generate the lead.
#12 – Actively Gather Social Proof & Be Your Own Champion
While it may be difficult, as a birth professional, your success relies on building relationships and showcasing your credibility to prospective clients. That means you need to tell people all the great things you are doing for your clients. Get a message from a client who loved working with you? Make sure you share that on your social media (with their permission, of course). It’s a fine line to not be overly confident, but you need to always make sure you’re promoting yourself and sharing your success stories.
#13 – Find Facebook Groups & Be a Source of Valuable Help & Insight
Facebook groups are filled with people looking to create and exchange information about specific topics. By providing them with quality information and an expert perspective, you’ll have a powerful way to drive traffic to your blog or website. Try joining a few groups related to your niche, then establish a reputation as a thought leader in the space (by providing expert insight and advice). Once you’ve done that and have successfully warmed up the audience, you can post a few links in the group.
Try to actively engage with members who respond to your post. When Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm sees a high level of engagement, it considers the post “highly relevant” and will show the post to more members of the group.
# 14 – Know Your Audience
Know who your audience is and speak to them. Whether you are creating and running ads, posting on Facebook, or writing blog posts, understanding your audience is the key to reaching them. One of the primary difficulties is trying to be all things to all people, and it tends to be a message that passes by everyone without notice. People want to feel like you are speaking to them specifically. By knowing who your audience is for the particular message you want to send, you can get the leads you want to capture because it will resonate with the right audience.
# 15 – Write an eBook for sale on Amazon
Create a short, high-value eBook with tips for potential clients and publish it for sale on Amazon.com. Even if you’re not a professional writer or publisher, showcasing your eBook via Amazon’s KDP Select platform is free and relatively easy. Focus on identifying a frequent question your audience has and how you can answer that question (and solve their pain point). Include links to your primary website and social media accounts. If your eBook is well written, people will download it, especially if you offer it for free, and it’s a great way to advertise your business.
# 16 – Use Live Streaming & Stories
Facebook and Instagram both offer features that allow you to share live-streaming videos and short form videos (stories), which allow you to speak to followers in real-time and record interesting parts of your day. You could take your followers on an exclusive ‘behind the scenes’ insight of what you do.
This, in turn, will make your business look more authentic, as well as setting you apart from the competition. When it’s time for your followers to get birthy you’re more likely to be at the top of their list!
Your mindset can take you so many place and it can also keep you from going anywhere. When you are getting into the nitty gritty of your birth-preneur business, sometimes you need to be reminded of what motivates you. I would like to share a bit about what keeps me going every day.
I recently had a conversation with someone about my journey to where I am today. They said, "Wow, what was it that kept you going through all of that?" The first answer that came out of my mouth was about my family. On my drive back home I sat and really thought about my answer. It wasn't the truth. Well it wasn't the whole truth. What is truly behind my motivation has evolved over the years. Just like my life has evolved.
My motivation for my business became about adding income to my family along side of helping women. After I finished my degree in business, I realized how little my doula training taught to help me make my business successful. I sought after every opportunity to educate families about their options, their choices and now lend a hand to other doulas in the area about the business side of birth work. I thought of the other birth workers in my community as a sister-hood and we all embraced it as such. Right down to the OB Midwife married couple who opened a birth center right across the street from the hospital. I watched a presentation they did about going to Hati and helping teach midwifery to the women in rural vilages so they could help save lives in their community. I thought, Wow I want to have a business that would some day allow me to give back like that and make a bigger impact around the world. It motivated me.
Through the years I took training after training to gain as much birth knowledge and skills as I could. Unfortunately, with training after training I saw such large holes in what was being taught. How were other birth workers supposed to support other women in need if they were not taught how to support themselves as well? I took this as an addition to my motivation. I was motivated to help other birth workers like me so they in turn could help more women and be successful themselves. Not just a helpful tip here and there to my fellow birth workers, but on a large scale to reach birth workers all over the world.
So the creation of Birthing a Business Education Services began. At first we mostly did local workshops, but we took things online and have begun to offer our workshops, trainings, and certifications online for both birth and business.
I spend hours every week coming up with new ways to build a community around making birth work more sustainable. Not in the pushy money grubbing way, but in a way that sparks a movement and a sister hood around it. Today BABES is ever growing and seeks to help birth-preneurs start, launch, and grow successful birth businesses with less stress, more freedom, and bigger impact.
So the question was, "What Motivates Me?"
Well big one of them is YOU! The birth workers out there striving to do what they are passionate about. The other is my amazing family whom I strive to make a better life for everyday. And my third piece of motivation is the drive to make a bigger impact in the world. My desire to make a difference in the dysfunctional maternity system and give back to my community.
And just to add to the mix we welcomed baby GIRL number four into the world. So we will have to see what bigger motivation and inspiration she will bring into the world.
So now I put the question back to you. What is it that motivates you? What are the driving forces that keep you going in your birth business every day even when things are hard? Let us know in the comments below. Or come join our Facebook community .
How to Rock Your Vendor Event
So since we are hosting annual Mommy and Baby Fairs I thought I would chime in with some tips on putting on a good vendor event.
Sign up early
If you can sign up for events early. Some events offer a price discount for those who sign up and pay early. You are more likely to get priority for special requests such as lighting or electricity, if you are signed up for the event early. If you have the choice of where you booth will be located being an early sign up for the event gives you a better choice of where you get to set up camp. Try picking a location with high traffic such as next to concessions or main isles.
Gather Supplies Early and Be Extra Prepared
It can be rather frustration to get to an event and realize there was something that you needed and now you don’t have it. Make sure to prepare and gather supplies for the event early. It may also help to set up a mock display prior to arriving at the event to make sure things look like you want them to. Think about what products you want to feature, what activities you may want to have and always have proper displays/signs. Here is a list of helpful items to remember to have other than those strictly related to your business:
Have eye catching media
You have to think about what is going to make people come your way. Make sure your displays and signs are clear and simple. Having at least one large banner is a good rule of thumb. It should clearly state your business name and what you are promoting. Be sure to keep the words to a minimum. People will not be inclined to do a lot of reading at these kinds of events. Some tips to consider are having your sign above the crowd height or having big photos of good looking people. These kinds of things catch peoples eye and they stop to look at the photos.
It is also important to have eye catching business cards. It says a lot about you and can be a vital part of your business to have interesting business cards that peak people’s attention.
Keep Track of Your Costs
This may sound simple but sometimes it can be easy to forget all the costs involved in participating in an event. It is something you will want to keep track of so you can compare it with your turn out and apply it for future events. Time is sometimes a hard one to factor into an event. Your time is precious and should be compensated properly.
Get People into Your Booth
There are those who tend to take a step back approach while at events and I do not recommend this. While you may not want to look like “that pushy sales person” you also want to engage with your audience. They are far more likely to step into your booth and check out what you have to offer if you get them to come into your booth rather than just letting them browse your items on their own. Some people may suggest that you take something with you to do while at an event. This is not something that I suggest to do either. From my experience working at a booth is like working at a job. You wouldn’t bring a crossword to do while at work and expect the job to get done on its own. I take the same stand point when working a booth. The products/services/information is not going to get to the audience properly on its own. It needs you to be the facilitator and get people engaged. Here are a few tips on how you can do this:
Make eye contact, be professional, smile, and be friendly. Engage in small inviting speech by asking one of the following simple things:
If someone says “no, thank you,” say something like:
*Talking Points brought to you via Calacanis
Good marketing techniques dive deep into the psychological aspects of the human mind and can then be used as persuasive techniques. Giving something away to someone (raffle/candy) uses the reciprocity theory of psychology, where if you do something for someone they feel the need to return the favor. Give them some candy or a chance to win something and they will listen to your product presentation or drop their information in for your raffle. Another big theory is that of scarcity. People tend to be more interested in things that they won’t have the chance to get again. Using terms like “limited time” or “limited quantity” peaks people interest.
Make sure you have a Demo of Your Product/Service
Be sure to have a quick simple presentation on what your company is and what they have to offer. Keep it short and simple. Try something like:
Have a raffle
People like FREE stuff. Have a simple prize for people to win. Have them fill out a small form with name, number, email or let them drop in a business card. Your raffle prize also does not have to be one of your products. If you choose something that is hot in the market today like an iPhone than you may have a line for your booth just to put in for your raffle.
Be sure to follow up with those who put in for your raffle even if they didn’t win. Email them with a thank you for participating your raffle. Be courteous when letting them know they did not win but then offer them something else (invitation to a presentation, an opportunity to save % on an order, a consolation prize like a download or bumper sticker). It shouldn’t include “hard sales tactics” but something of value that the customers will care about.
Dress for Success
It is something that we have all heard of but seldom think about on a day to day basis. A sad fact of life is that humans are judgmental. When selecting what you will be wearing for the day you should have two things in mind; professional and comfort. Sometimes it is hard to put these two together but they are equally important when you are going to be standing at a booth all day. You will want to take the weather into account and keep in mind that indoor shows tend to get quiet hot. Be prepared to shed some layers if needed. You may also want to wear a name tag. A professional one looks better than one of those Hello My Name Is, but any name tag is better than none. Shoes is also something that you may want to pay close attention to. While those heels or dress shoes may look good, will you be able to stand in them comfortably for 4,6, or 8 hours?
Keep your Booth Neat and Clean
It is human nature to be attracted to things of beauty and symmetry. When hosting a booth make sure that it is pleasing to the eye. Try to have a multi-level table rather than having everything laid flat. Make sure items that are not part of the booth (your jacket, storage boxes, extra products, ect) stay well hidden. During the event make sure to pick up any garbage that may be left around. After the event, always make sure that you have cleaned up after yourself and left the space just the way you received it.
Over all have FUN!! Make it something memorable.
I am sure most people are not jumping with excitement at the thought of writing contracts for their business. The truth is that contracts are a must in any business, including small businesses.
Here are 5 Common Mistakes Small Business Make and How You Can Avoid Them:
1. Not Having a Contract
The number one mistake is not having a written contract at all. At the very least contracts outline expectations to avoid misunderstandings. People often say things and then don’t remember exactly what was said later. Contracts minimize your risk as a business. How much did you say you were charging? What exactly was included in your package? A contract serves to protect both parties involved.
2. Using a Contract You Don’t Understand
Many people are tempted to use quick fill in the blank forms generated online or someone else’s contract they supplemented their own information in. While our expertise may not be in legal contracts we need to be aware that contracts impose legal obligations. These apply not only to you and your business, but may create situations where you may get caught off guard. This is not a key strategy for success in your business.
You should be very clear on all aspects of any contract you agree to. If there are any questions you may have don’t hesitate to ask a professional. You should have basic understanding of general, local, and industry related laws. Contract like a boss, because Hey You’re the BOSS!
3. Incorrectly Identifying the Parties in the Contract
Opps. A common mistake is to use the name of a person rather than their business name when entering into a contract. If you have an LLC your contract should state the name of your business not your personal name on your contract. If you sign a contract in your individual capacity, rather than as the authorized representative of the entity, you are personally liable under the contract.
4. Not Anticipating What Happens After the Contract Ends
Sometimes relationships do not end in the way you thought they would. Maybe your client was a nightmare or they were unhappy with your product or services. What happens in these situations? What happens if you were unable to perform your end of the contract? Your contract needs to define what will happen in these situations. Does the contract require written request to terminate the contract? Will refunds be given in any situation?
5.Not Clearly Defining Terms or Including Ambiguous Language
After terms are defined they should be consistently used throughout the rest of the contract. If there are internal conflicts between terms there will be confusion and could affect interpretation of the contract. You do not want ambiguous language that offers interpretation in your contract. Things should be stated simply and clearly.
Did you find that you may have made some of these common mistakes? Take action now. If you do not have a contract for your business get one. If you do have contracts make sure you read through them to ensure you know the in’s and out’s of what they really say. Do your contracts reflect your brand, your business and your current policies? Check out our ecourse on contracts for a step by step guide to contracts for your small business.
This information is for educational and informational purposes only; it is not intended as and does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the author. You should not act, or refrain from acting, on the basis of information provided here without first consulting legal counsel in your jurisdiction.
Networking is an important part of any business. Some people think that this is just a suit and tie tactic for big business, but it can take you places you never knew in your small business. Opportunity awaits around every conversation.
When I first started my birth business I went out to network with everyone. I knew knowing other people in my community would give me more opportunities. I started with the typical ones they tell you to in all those birth trainings, but then I went outside the box and started to get creative. You never know where you might find that one person that is going to change your business forever. You never know when you might talk to someone who get you another client. This is something I still do today and you would be surprised at the connections I have made in the most unlikely places.
Here are 5 Professional Connections you can make right now to help you get more clients:
1. Other Birth Professionals
Connecting with other birth professionals may seem counter intuitive, because they are the competition right? Yes and No. They may be competing with you for business, but 1) There is enough business to go around for everyone, 2) Not every client is a perfect fit for every birth worker, and 3) They may offer a completely service than they do.
Other birth professionals understand what you do and many of them offer complementary services to yours.
Think about who your ideal client may want services from along with yours. This can include doula, naturopathic doctor, chiropractor, massage therapist, yoga instructor, birth photographer, midwife, childbirth educator, herbalist, or any other birth professional you can think of.
Referrals work both ways. Think about it in terms of what can I do for you and not always what can you do for me. Refer people and they will be more likely to refer clients back to you in the future. Ask them for their business cards or information on their business so you can give it to your clients.
2. Local Business Whom Your Ideal Client Use
Local businesses are where your ideal client is already at. They may have nothing to do with your business or your industry but they likely also serve your target market. Seek to offer value to their customers in trade for collaboration. Ask if you can leave some coupons for your services at their place of business. Think coffee shop, laundry mat, grocery store.
This is a great place to build strategic relationships. For example, if you are a doula think about stores that sell baby goods such as Babies R Us. You might offer to teach some workshop their relating to newborn care or breastfeeding. Don’t try to sell them anything or get them to promote your services. Just seek to provide value.
3. Local Go-To’s
There are always going to be those in the community who others seek advice. This can be the local community or the industry community. There might be a popular natural parenting blogger or the owner of a local birth page you should look into connecting with. Some of the more popular businesses are used to other people trying to use their platform to get attention so be respectful and tactful when and how you approach them. Is there a podcast you can get a guest interview on? Is there a local event you can get a spotlight at?
Use this as a mentorship opportunity for yourself as well. Use these connections that you make in order to learn more about what your ideal clients really want. Always be trying to add value to the community and not just seek promotion.
4. Local Events
Look for local events that cater to your ideal client. Look into who is hosting these events and make a connection with them. If it is an event you are interested in see if you can help. If it is a local professional who offers the same services as you be careful. You don’t want to try to take business away from them.
Even if you are not a part of the event you can still get on the ground floor if those hosting these events know who you are and trust you. You never know how many people they may send your way.
5. Medical Professionals
This is the one they always tell you to go check out in those training workshops. It can be a good resource if you find the right people. Not all medical professionals will want to build a relationship with you. They may have different beliefs about the type of professional you are. Unfortunately, some medical professionals have a negative view on alternative birth professionals who are not in the medical field.
OBs, Midwives, Nurse Practitioners, and other birth related medical professionals are only able to spend a limited amount of time with their patients. You may be able to help bridge that gap with the right professional and offer training, education, or support to their patients to help their birth experience.
Share resources about the benefits you offer with a medical provider that has similar views on birth, whom you admire, and whom you are interested in building a relationship with. This can not only turn into a great place for referrals, but may also create awareness for your services that others may not even know existed.
Step out of your comfort zone and go seek some connections this week. You never know what opportunities it may bring your way. All it takes is one phone call, one email, or one face-to-face to begin a relationship that can change everything.
I listened to a great productivity talk by Scott Hanselman the other day. While this speaker is more on the tech end of his profession the ideas that he talks about cross over the barrier to the birth industry. Here is an overview of the ideas he had and how they relate to those in the birth field. This includes those just starting out and those who have already been working in the birth field. Here are a few tips to get you on the way to a more productive space.
Start Now and Go All the Way
According to a survey from AtTask, employees only spend 45% of their time doing primary job tasks. Wow! That means less than half of your day is spent doing unproductive things. Some of the things that take up this time include checking emails, interruptions, talking with other employees, sitting in meetings, and tending to personal tasks. Who really wants to run their birth business this way?
Less can be More
Many of those who have a birth business are not working for someone else. This makes it even more important to not fall into bad habits like staying up late to “catch up.” It can be hard to set aside time to work when you are not heading into the office from 9-5.
Effective Vs. Efficient
Sort Your Incoming Information
Incoming information needs to be sorted. This includes e-mails, invoices, newsletters, bills, phone calls, blogs, instant messenger, phone alerts, ect. We sometimes find ourselves so wrapped up in details that are not important. It is like we are trying to put a band aid on a hemorrhaging mom while in the other room there is a mom that needs help deciding what evidence based practices she wants to include in her birth plan. We need to focus on the things that are within are ability and are important to us. The hemorrhaging mother may be something we want to help with but unless we are a midwife we are not trained or capable of helping. While the above example is a bit extreme it gets the point across. If we are too busy trying to answer questions on the homebirth Facebook group that we missed an message from a women wanting to know if today is a good day to come for an interview, then we are focusing on the wrong details.
It is Okay to Drop the Ball
There are three different kinds of work; work that has been scheduled, work that just appeared, and defining work (where you sit down and think about what you are going to work on). We should be spending more time on the last type and plan what our work time will look like.
Hansleman mentions David Allen’s practice of using the “Four D’s”:
Example # 2 You get a pop of survey to find out what kind of personality you have. It will take more than a few minutes to complete. In order to be productive you need to pick an option. Will you drop it and not come back to it because it is not important? Will you delegate it for one of your partners? Will you save the link and do it later because it is something that truly will help you understand yourself and how you run your business?
According to Hanselman, we should be “dropping as many good things as you can.” Dropping the ball is sometimes the right answer. Many of us, including myself, fall into the overachiever section. This makes saying “No” incredibly difficult. You must remember that the guilt of saying “Yes” is often more difficult than if you just say no in the beginning. If something is important enough it will come back.
Get that Weight Off Your Back
Another big productivity downer is what is known as psychic weight. This is the intangible feeling of weight from our list of to-dos in our life. Get as many of these to-do’s off your list if they are not important to your goals. Those 15 hours of back seasons of Lost or Breaking Bad will still be there when you have time to get to them. They should not be scratching at the back of your mind as you are trying to work.
This is when you will reflect on the things you were able to accomplish and if there were things that you were not able to accomplish than you should think of ways to better set yourself up for next week. It should not be a day to beat yourself up for not meeting your goals. Set yourself up for success. Don’t set up “guilt systems.” Guilt systems are that huge list of things you want to get done or read for the week that is really not feasible.
Schedule Your Pomdoro
Identify your incoming data streams: Twitter, Facebook, Google, E-mail, direct mail, texts, Skype, comments, contact forms, Instagram, live video streams, DVR, live TV shows, voicemail, ect. Sort through these data streams and choose which ones need to be turned off in order to be productive.
While in your Pomodoro be aware of your internal interruptions. This is all the times you hear your Facebook messenger go off and you pop over to see who it was or you just pop over to check on your e-mail. The first objective is to be aware of the number and type of internal interruptions you have. Observe them, accept them, and schedule them or delete them. Just being aware of these interruptions will help you participate in them less frequently. You may have a note on your internal interruptions that looks like, “I had 10 internal interruptions during my two Pomodoro session on Monday,” and then “I had 3 internal interruptions during my two Pomodoro session on Friday.”
Establish E-Mail Habits
Do not check your email in the morning. If you respond, they will respond back. Tending to e-mails first thing in the day can promptly take over your work time. Your behaviors teach other people how to treat you. If you want to spend your mornings responding back and forth to messages than go ahead but if your do not want that to happen don’t do it. Don’t put energy into things you don’t want more of. Schedule a time to check email. Put it on your calendar. Then be done with it. When responding to e-mails try to match them to the length of the sender. If they wrote a few lines, then respond in a few lines. If they wrote a few paragraphs consider making it a longer e-mail.
You could also go with the five sentences approach. This is when you make it your personal policy to only write five sentences as a response to an email regardless of recipient or subject. If you are using email as a chat you are using email wrong. Unless you are doing an e-mail campaign. E-mail is not where business happens. Meetings is where business happens. Email is where you start to establish plans and then you build upon them in meetings.
Don’t Multitask Unless you are Doubling-up
Get Tools to Help
Get some tools to help you get on track. We live in time where there is an app for everything. Get some. Evernote is a great app to take notes and make lists that is available in the cloud so you can access it where ever you go. OneNote is also a great app to organize notes, to-dos, and other things you need to keep organized. Instapaper is a program that takes all the things you want to save and read for later into your own personal digital newspaper to read when you have time. Bookmark things. Don’t keep 20 tabs of things you are going to come back to later. You won’t and it is distracting.
Think about what you can downsize and what interruptions you can throw out.
If it is not helping me to make money, if it’s not improving my life in some way, it’s mental clutter and it’s out.” _Christopher Hawkins
Let someone else be your expert. We live in a very DYI culture. You do not need to be an expert on everything. Let other people be an expert for you. Know what you need to know and let other people know things for you.
It is no secret that you need to be on the internet to be a successful small business. Facebook is the largest social network available with millions of users logging in everyday. This is where you want to be. Here are 9 reasons you need to have a FB business page.
1. Increase Awareness
If you are in business just to make money, unfortunately that will only take you so far. People want to know the why behind your business. Most birth workers are truly aimed at helping women through the birthing process whether that means getting business or not. We would rather you have the information you need rather than withholding information just to get money. Much about the natural birth world is that women are unaware that a problem even exists. This means a lot of what birth workers do is educate. Having a business page on FB allows you to create awareness of the maternity crisis here in the U.S. and a allows you a platform to not only educate the masses but give them a place to receive solutions to their problem (Your Services) once they are aware that they may need some help.
2. Drive Traffic
A FB business page is a great way to drive traffic to your business. Women tend to share stories, products, and services they like with each other and on other groups. This makes it more likely that their friends and other potential clients you may not have access to will get to check out your FB page and even your website. FB also has great features like a Check in button that allows people to say that they were at your business. This allows other people to know that you are a trusted place and will continue to drive traffic to your business.
3. Do Research
We all need to do research on our potential clients, our marketing efforts, and what is trending. A FB business page allows you to gather insights on these things. FB insights allows you to gather loads of information on your fan base such as their age, location, and interests. It lets you know how many people saw and liked a post. This allows you to track which of your posts are more popular and what kind of posts drive more traffic. You can also track how many likes you get and engagement of the page.
4. Get to More of Your Potential Customers
This plays on driving more traffic. By having a FB business page you are getting in front of more of your potential customers. You are able to be found by potential clients who are looking for you rather than those who you are just trying to find. People need to be able to easily find you. With millions of users checking their feed an average of 11 times a day you have the opportunity to get in front of a lot of eyes.
5. Build Relationships
The birth business is a bit different than other small businesses. Most businesses count on repeat business but other than subsequent children a birth worker is unlikely to receive repeat business any more than a few year apart. Women need to build a relationship with someone they may let into their birth space or help plan their birth. Women who are thinking about hiring someone or are learning about natural birth need to have a way to build a trusted relationship with you. A FB business page gives you a platform to do this. It also allows you a space to build relationships with others who may in turn refer their friends and family to a business they have been following that provides continuous quality content to them.
Your network is a huge part of your business. The more people you are able to network with and build professional relationship the better you will do. Knowing the right people will give you opportunities you never knew you had. Like other birth professionals pages and they will like yours so you have a space to share content and work with one another to provide women with great information.
7. It's Free
Who doesn't like FREE stuff? Creating a FB business page costs you nothing. Using free marketing where you can will save you money. FB is not only a free tool but it is an effective free tool.
8. Boost SEO
SEO stands for search engine optimization. This boils down to how easy it is for people to find your website when they are searching keywords. Google ranks your website. If people are able to find your FB business page by searching for keywords in Google that is a big win for your business.
9. You need to be mobile
We have turned into a mobile society. Everyone is on their mobile devices and you need to be able to get in front of them. One great thing about FB is that is converts your page for both desktop and mobile devices. People are able to check out your FB business page and locate your hours of operation, address, reviews, services, and call you directly from your FB page.
Hopefully these tips have helped you decided to create a FB business page for your birth worker business. If you are looking for more information on business tips for your birth worker business check out our Business Skills for Birth Workers E-course.
MAKE YOUR OWN SUCCESS
Today is your day. You are the only thing standing in your way.