This year, it’s more important than ever for small business owners to increase their booking rates and secure more profits to make up for the losses of 2020. However, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, this could prove more difficult than previous years as we grapple with a volatile economy and a market that has been understandably shaken by months of fear and uncertainty.
To evaluate and adjust your booking strategies for maximum return, it is essential to shine a light on your current buyers’ journey to identify areas for improvement. Here are a few steps that will get you started.
Revisit Your Target Market’s Needs
The most successful businesses are those that have clearly defined their ideal client and set their sights on meeting all of their needs. Yet, markets evolve and people’s demands change, so this is not a one-and-done process. A strategic approach to outreach and client engagement involves near-constant assessment of what your audience wants and how your business can meet those needs.
This year, it will be particularly critical for small businesses to revisit their target market to pinpoint any shifts in expectations due to the pandemic. People’s priorities have changed in the past year as health and safety became a top priority and, for some, preconceived budgets were slashed due to economic hardships.
Even if you were laser-focused on your target market’s needs, take some time to perform a fresh market analysis to dig into the psychology of your ideal clients and ask:
- Have their priorities changed since the pandemic started?
- What are their greatest fears and objections that would hold them back from booking?
- How can you be the one to fulfill their needs?
Step into Your Ideal Client’s Shoes
Your market research should start to bring up some important questions that will help you to optimize your buyers’ journey and demonstrate that you are prepared to serve your prospects’ needs. Take a moment to step into an ideal client’s shoes and navigate your sales and marketing funnel, all the way through to closing the sale.
By doing this you can start to factor in your ideal client’s biggest hopes and fears and identify solutions. Ask yourself:
- Are they concerned about the prospect of rescheduling an event because of COVID-19? Make it clear in your message that you have a flexible postponement policy.
- Do they worry about the risk of having in-person meetings? Invite them to a virtual consultation to show them how much can be done online.
- Have they been concerned about deliveries due to delays in the mail system? Let them know about the shipping options available and what you are doing to ensure they get their products on time.
Pro Tip: If you want to make a great impression on potential clients, you must show up with the information and resources they need, even if they do not know it yet!
Get Involved in Your Network
Without a doubt, referrals are the most valuable source of new clients. You do not need to expend any time or resources on marketing; instead, your reputation speaks for itself and you can earn new business from industry peers, past clients, friends and family members who know and trust your brand.
Simply put, you already have an existing network from which you can earn new clients through word-of-mouth marketing. You just need to tap into it. If you’re new, it can feel nerve-wracking to refer to yourself as a “business owner” or “entrepreneur” but that’s exactly what you are! Don’t be afraid to tell everyone about your company and the products and services that you offer. Here’s how:
- Consider offering up some complimentary services to people who are in a position to refer your business.
- Donate your services to your friend’s nonprofit for a charity event.
- Offer to design some free marketing pieces for a colleague’s new side-hustle.
- Invite past clients to write reviews based on their experiences working with you.
When you are intentional about putting your products or services out into the world, you’ll earn more recognition for your work and potential clients will keep your brand top-of-mind. The true key to filling up your client list is committing to serving your client’s specific needs.