I bet the phrase, “free marketing team” hooked you right away.
Sounds impossible, right? We typically think of marketing teams as a robust (read: expensive) group of trained experts who…
→ analyze your current market
→ study the needs of your ideal audience
→ and create & implement a visibility plan
Their ultimate goal: to spread the word.
The good news is, you already HAVE a marketing team. They’ve been there all along, just waiting for you to leverage their potential. Plus, you can add more team members all the time!
Sounds expensive. But in reality, it’s more costly NOT to use this built-in marketing team.
This team is free because they are your current and past clients. Happy customers will keep coming back to you again and again if they have a positive experience.
Better yet, they’ll spread the word to their family, friends, colleagues, and business besties. As a result, your business will continue to grow because of the systems you’ve already put in place behind the scenes.
What would it feel like if…
…you never had to struggle through a tough sales call ever again…
…clients came to you without you seeking them out…
…you were able to keep 100% of your clients on long-term retainer contracts…
This is absolutely possible.
The way you craft your client experience influences the way your business can grow.
The problem is, most businesses don’t approach their lead source generation this way. Too often generating new leads looks like this:
Sound familiar? Well, you’re in the right place.
The hustle and grind approach to generating new leads may work for a time, but it is unsustainable. Eventually you will burn out. If this is how you are attracting new clients, you might feel like you’re gaining traction, but in reality you are limiting your business’ potential to grow.
Not to worry, I’ve got you covered! Instead of focusing on the clients that you don’t have, you can shift your attention to the clients that you DO have.
In this post, I’ll explain why client experience is so important to any sustainable business. We will dig into the nuts and bolts of creating an elevated client experience that WOWs so that you can continue to build your FREE marketing team. Plus, stick around to the end and I’ll get you started with the 3 tasks to improve your client experience THIS WEEK!
A good product or service isn’t enough. The “what” is only half of the equation. The “how” is everything.
You may be familiar with this quote from Maya Angelou,
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Client experience is all about the HOW. I shared this story in an interview with Authority Magazine and it drives the point home.
Imagine for a moment you did some online shopping (I’m guessing you don’t have to imagine too hard!) But in this scenario, let’s pretend you ordered two things — an item from Amazon and an item from an artisan who runs a small business.
Two days later, your Amazon box arrives, and you grab it off your doorstep. You’re happy to see it, but it’s nothing too out of the ordinary. You bring it in, but you don’t grab your phone. You unpack the box, throw it in the recycling bin, and move on with your day without a second thought.
The next day, another box arrives on your doorstep. This time it’s a white shipping box with your information handwritten across the top. It’s the box you ordered from the artisan.
You pick it up and head inside, where you grab your phone before you begin to open it.
As you open the box, you see the object has been lovingly wrapped in beautiful paper and tied off with a bow.
You snap a picture.
Under the bow, you pull out a handwritten thank you card addressed to you personally and signed by the maker. You read the beautifully designed insert they’ve included with instructions for care and usage. You see that they’ve included contact info so you can follow up with them directly if you have any questions.
You snap another picture.
You remove the item from the box and unwrap it, noticing how carefully wrapped it was. You admire it.
And snap the third picture.
Now you pop onto social media to post those pictures or even do a little unboxing video in your story. You share your excitement with your followers, and you tag the artisan to rave about how beautiful and special their work is.
And that is the power of a fantastic customer experience.
There is nothing wrong with the experience you had when you received your item from Amazon. It was serviceable but not overly noteworthy.
But the experience you had as you received your item from the artisan was special.
→ It made you pause and take notice.
→ It was well-curated.
→ It made you feel valued.
→ It made the item feel elevated.
→ And it conveyed the care that the artisan put into it.
You’ll remember this experience next time you’re back in the market for that item. Plus you’ll probably tell your friends about it and give them the artisan’s name, just like you did for all the people who view your stories.
Think of all the extra sales the artisan has the potential to make as a result of your good experience. Consider all the additional exposure they got, simply because they took the time and care to WOW you with their customer experience.
That is why customer experience matters.
That is why it is such a powerful tool to grow your business.
When you approach client experience the way this artisan did, you’re going to notice these results:
Creating a positive client experience seems pretty obvious…OF COURSE you want to take good care of your clients and make sure they enjoy the process of working with you.
So if it’s a “no-brainer” why is this piece so often overlooked in business?
Client experience isn’t a “set it and forget it” piece of your business and it doesn’t happen well if you never consider it at all. As business owners, we wear so many hats, and we tend to overlook this piece.
Reframe your client experience. Instead of your client experience being an afterthought, it should become your priority. How you care for your clients at every touchpoint needs to be at the core of your business values.
Revisit your client experience goals and practices regularly. Take time to make sure the pieces of your client experience are serving your current client base. They should be consistent through all elements of your business, both customer-facing and not.
Everyone has a client experience. It’s up to you to make it a GOOD one.
Ready to curate your elevated client experience before and after your work together? Let’s jump in! I’m sharing the best ways to WOW your clients and develop a raving fan base for your business!
Business rhythms are recurring tasks and patterns in your business. They can happen daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, and annually. Rhythms include your finances, marketing, and onboarding/offboarding processes. Rhythms are anything in your business that happens on a cyclical basis. When we consciously systematize these rhythms it keeps everything moving along smoothly.
Just as you need to update your books each month to keep up with your financial goals, client experience should be a rhythm in your business so that you can keep up with outreach, maintain relationships, and continue to grow those relationships long after your time together.
Many businesses focus exclusively on client experience during their time with clients. While this is important, I think it is equally important to customize your client experience after your work together comes to a close.
Notice the rhythms in your own client interactions. Consider ways that you can over-deliver during and after your work with a client. Be sure to personalize the experience while also setting up automations that can make this a sustainable, low-lift practice with a high impact.
Your clients are people first and foremost. Get to know your clients as people, not just as a business. People do business with people. Sometimes it can feel like we have to be all business, all the time to appear “professional.” I get it! This balance can be challenging to navigate at times. But you can be personable, friendly, AND professional all at once. The genuine effort will help you develop your rapport with your client so that it feels more like a partnership and less like a transaction.
During your time together, be intentional about their experience with you. This can include small things like taking the time at the beginning of your work together to confirm their name preferences (this has saved me COUNTLESS times). Ask questions within reason about their hobbies, family, and interests. Genuinely connect so that they know you are invested in them AND their business.
Clear communication is the foundation of any strong client experience. Communicating early and often helps your client know what to expect of you and what you’re expecting of them.
Here are some of my favorite ways to prioritize strong communication as part of your client experience:
If you want to learn more about how to optimize your communication and improve your customer experience, I created this freebie that will walk you through the process. It offers tips, resource suggestions, and action-items to help you spend less time stressing about managing your clients and more time doing the creative work you love!
You may be familiar with the expression, “underpromise and overdeliver.” This absolutely applies to your client experience, but it doesn’t mean you should set the bar low. Make realistic promises and guarantees that you know without a doubt you can fulfill. Then, go above and beyond.
Some simple ways to go the extra mile include: sending deliverables a bit earlier than you planned, a recorded Loom video to walk them through a specific process, or throw in an additional call with you. These are all simple ways to surprise and delight your client.
Gift giving in business is all about making your client feel appreciated and valued. No matter your budget, you can find creative ways to be generous with your time OR money.
Being generous with your time can look like a simple social media shoutout or a thoughtful, handwritten note. These details can really go a long way and don’t require a lot of resources.
If you are in the position to be financially generous, you might include gift giving at a kickoff, midpoint, or closeout. They can be as elaborate as a gift basket, or as simple as a donation in your client’s name to a cause they love. My go-to is a Starbucks gift card.
No matter the gift, it is the gesture and sentiment that will make it memorable. If you’re looking for more gift ideas to fit your budget, this freebie is full of inspiration.
Walk a mile in their shoes. Get to know their business and industry inside and out. This is why niching down can be helpful. But even if you work with a diverse portfolio of clients, you can take the time to learn to “speak their language.”
Pay special attention to your client’s unique struggles, opportunities for growth, and areas where your skill sets and offerings align so you can serve them well beyond your current capacity.
This allows you to become a confident, strategic partner for them so that you can…
Once you’ve taken the time to understand their struggles and the needs of their audience, you can best serve your client. You can anticipate their needs and offer new ideas. This ensures that you are not only a service provider, but a strategic partner in their business who can help them achieve their goals.
Being a strategic partner can also look like knowing when your client’s needs fall outside of the scope of your work and expertise. Be ready to share your network with your client and recommend trusted experts outside of your zone of genius who can help them meet their goals. If you are a copywriter, for example, you might have a web designer who can support your client with the visual compliment to the words you crafted.
Furthermore, let your client know you have their best interest at heart by referring THEM to other businesses. If your client is excellent at what they do, spread the word! Afterall, nothing begets a referral like another referral!
COO Tip: So many businesses look to their competitors first instead of looking to their clients and ideal audience. We often get “comparison syndrome” and think that the types of services and programs our peers are offering must be the “right” solutions for our common audience. Don’t make this mistake! Instead, do your own market research to hone in on the genuine troubles and needs of your clients. Taking the time to understand where they need the most support will make sure you’re offering cutting-edge services, setting you apart from the pack.
Ask for feedback at KEY points in your time together. This will provide you with testimonials and positive feedback to share and will also draw your attention to any parts of your client experience you could improve.
Reach out for feedback. Be specific about what types of information you want. Most clients will prefer if you send questions for them to respond to as a prompt. Guide them to share what your future clients will wonder and want to know from someone who has actually experienced the process and transformation with you firsthand.
In addition, you can consider offering referral programs. These programs incentivize your clients to actively connect you with new prospects in their network.
This is the most overlooked part of any business’ client experience. Client experience doesn’t end after the off-boarding process. It is up to you to be intentional about what your relationship with your clients will look like after the work is done. Not only will this increase the likelihood of them working with you again in the future, but it will also keep you top of mind increasing the potential for new referrals.
Carefully craft your client experience after your work together. Just because the project wraps up doesn’t mean the relationship should. I love using automation to help maintain client relationships. Automatic follow-ups can help you to continue engaging with past clients without becoming a heavy lift. Ongoing check-ins and email nurture sequences can be pre-scheduled through your CRM at strategic, intentional times. You might consider 3 or 6-month check-ins, annual updates, or another timeline that feels right to you and your business.
During and after working with a client, you’ll want to continue to keep them up to date with what is new with you and your business. You can do this by asking to add them to your email newsletter. This will keep them up to date about special offers or promotions you have throughout the year.
Not only does this offer them an opportunity to reconnect with you if your new product or service fills a need, but it keeps you top of mind. When speaking with a colleague who would benefit from your services, they’ll be able to reference you right away.
Remember birthdays and milestone celebrations. If you’ve followed along with my business journey, you KNOW I am all about systems and processes that keep everything running smoothly behind the scenes. This is a simple way to make sure your client feels SEEN and appreciated.
Be sure to capture birthdays and schedule an automated email birthday card in your CRM (Client Relationship Management) system like Dubsado or Honeybook. You can also commemorate anniversaries in their business and in your work together.
During your time together you’ve already asked for feedback. Most business owners stop there for fear of sounding needy or being a bother. But remember, feedback can come in many shapes and sizes. If you’ve given your client a great experience, they are naturally going to want to help you. Don’t be shy!
If they completed a survey during your time together, you might request a different type of testimonial. Consider offering multiple ways to give feedback. You can suggest testimonials, surveys, videos, or referral programs so that there are multiple access points for your clients to share their experiences honestly, openly, and conveniently.
In addition, this is a great opportunity to assess the long-term impact of your work together. Maybe the transformation didn’t truly kick in until 3 or 6 months later. If you don’t reach out and ask, they may never think to share the wonderful results they’ve seen since you last connected.
All of these pieces can be woven throughout your business to essentially create your in-house marketing team. Prioritizing customer experience costs you absolutely nothing to create or maintain while helping you build a full-blown sales team that continues to grow.
You will have nurtured a sales team of people who…
Plus, you’ll expand the impact you can have in your industry. You didn’t create your business to make tiny ripples. You want to make WAVES. When you have a team of people spreading the word, your reach can expand far and wide, making a huge, positive impact.
You want to make sure your clients feel seen, heard, valued, and understood every step of the way. In order to achieve this, an intentional client experience should be woven into every touchpoint of your business, during and after your work together.
It can feel overwhelming to put systems and processes in place to support these rhythms in your business. But, skipping this essential piece of your business is a huge opportunity missed. Intentionally taking action, and prioritizing this aspect of your business will make a difference slowly but surely.
I am all about giving you actionable steps to help you move the needle forward in your business. Are you ready to tap into the potential of your FREE marketing team? I challenge you to put these 3 pieces in place this week! Up for it?
Once you’ve put these items into action, I would love to hear how it went. Reach out to share how the data you collected elevated your client relationships and experience.
These three steps are a great start to building your free marketing team. But there is more work to do! Looking for support as you curate your custom client experience? I would love to help you from start to finish. Book a free 30-minute strategy call with me, and let’s put a plan together!