Flashback to July 2020, when I first started my content consulting business — my biggest concern: Consistent income. I am not alone here. How to book out your service-based business is a top challenge for even the most seasoned pro.
When you’re eager to keep your calendar full (and money in the bank), it can be tempting to start marketing a “launch.” The launch model is a trendy method for online businesses. It essentially boils down to creating a big push around a product or service before being taken to market. Typically, the offer has a time limit to join, such as a group program that starts and ends on specific dates.
There are benefits to the model — namely, a short-lived but potentially substantial cash injection. Yet the truth is that this isn’t always necessary (or even ideal). While launches can be effective for some entrepreneurs, they’re not for everyone. And a quick Google will show you that falling short is the norm when it comes to launches.
The good news is there are other ways to stay fully booked without launching — and it’s honestly less stressful. It’s nice to not be stressing about where my next project is coming from. And it tells me I’m doing something right—both with the results I get for my clients and with my content marketing strategy.
First thing’s first. What does it mean to be fully booked? This is going to depend on your goals.
Working 24/7 is not the goal of running a business for most owners. Here’s how to determine what fully booked means for your business.
I credit value-led content marketing with my ability to stay fully booked in 2021 — and beyond — plus two other simple methods for consistently finding the right clients.
Building brand awareness through valuable blogs, newsletters, social media, and media interviews shouldn’t stop — even if you’re fully booked out. Content marketing is an effective strategy for attracting clients long-term, not just when you need to fill an opening. It’s also inexpensive and doesn’t require a considerable investment to get started.
But why does content marketing work so well? And why is it so effective at helping you attract clients?
Because content marketing is all about building relationships, once you have that trust and goodwill, getting them to become your client becomes a lot easier.
You can build relationships with your prospects by providing them with helpful information that solves their problems or helps them somehow. By doing this, they will come to regard you as an expert in your field and will want to do business with you when they need your services or products.
Here are some of my most popular content marketing tips:
To keep your business afloat, you need to keep people coming back. This is doubly true for the service industry: if you don’t have repeat customers, you don’t have a business.
Customer retention is crucial to any business’ success. That’s why it’s important to build a customer retention strategy that encourages customers to return time and time again.
It’s much easier — and less expensive — to retain a customer than it is to acquire a new one. In fact, some studies show that it can cost up to 25 times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one happy.
That is why scalable monthly retainers have been my bread-and-butter. Offering a range of complimentary services that generate recurring business helps me reach my consistent income goals.
Referral programs are one of the most effective ways to expand your business. In fact, a Nielsen study found that 92% of people trust referrals from friends and family more than any other form of advertising. This is doubly true for local businesses. People are much more likely to trust the word of their neighbors than to trust brands advertising on their feeds.
So how does that translate into the online business world?
One way is by incentivizing your existing customers. That’s why so many companies offer rewards for spreading the word about their products or services: If a customer refers a friend, they both get some reward (a discount or bonus). It’s an easy win-win situation.
I don’t just get referrals from existing clients. I also get referrals from peers within my professional network. This works both ways! I often refer potential clients to others in my network.
Do you use any of these methods? I’d love to know in the comments.