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Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie teaches consultants, coaches and other professionals to attract and win their ideal clients by becoming seen as authorities in their field.


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Get Clients Online

The 9 Biggest Web Design Mistakes That Will Lose You Clients

Posted on 12th September 2016. 9 Biggest Web Design Mistakes

Ever been impressed with someone when you meet face to face, see them speak, or talk over the phone; only to visit their website and feel let down by their online presence?

Wonder if that might be happening when people first visit your site? It probably is if you're making some of these big web design mistakes.

Your website is the hub of your online marketing activity, and it's your clients' window in to your world. An effective “Client Winning Website” can have a big impact on your ability to attract and win clients. A bad one can put them off completely.

Problems SolutionsAnd it's not just the obvious things that can hurt you. Some of the most beautiful, professional looking websites can have huge problems when it comes to their effectiveness at getting you clients.

In this post we're going take a look at what, right now, are the biggest problems with most professional service websites and more importantly, what you can do to fix them.

Click here to discover the 9 big mistakes and how to fix them…

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How To Get More Clients Online: Part 2 – Build Relationships

Posted on 5th September 2010.

This is the second in a series of posts on how to get more clients via online approaches for your professional business. It's written specifically with small and independent consultants and coaches in mind – but the lessons are applicable to other professional businesses.

Relationship Building: The Missing Link

If you've been looking into internet marketing for any time you'll no doubt have heard the “secret formula” for success on the web – traffic x conversions.

It's a statement of the blindingly obvious really: to get business on the web you need to get visitors to your site and convert them into customers. In some ways it's about as insightful as telling an offline retailer that the secret of success is to get customers into their shops and persuade them to buy.

At least it's succinct and it helps to focus your activities.

But for getting consulting, coaching or other professional services clients online – it's not sufficient.

The trouble is that unlike buying a book on amazon or even a TV from an online electronics store, clients aren't going to buy complex, costly, intangible services after just one visit to your site.

Before clients have the confidence to hire you to perform a high value, high impact service for them they need to be convinced you understand their issues, you have the capabilities to help them, and that you'll be a good fit to work with them and their team.

That confidence isn't going to be built in one visit to your site.

You need multiple interactions. And the deeper those interactions are, the more the client's confidence will be built.

This is a big gap for most professionals. Visitors to their site passively consume the content, but there’s nothing to engage them and start up a relationship with them. Nothing for them to interact with – except perhaps a lonely contact form asking visitors to make contact if they need their services.

In fact, there are many ways to build relationships with website visitors. You can encourage comments and feedback on your blog. You can run surveys. You can create a forum for discussion around specific topics. You can encourage them to link up with you via social media. Anything that takes them beyond being passive consumers of the information on your site to being active participants.

Active participation and interaction is the key to taking your relationship to the next level. The more they feel they’re communicating directly with you – not just reading your material like they’d read a book from a distant author – the stronger your relationship will get.

For most professionals, the simplest way to get more interaction and more direct communication is via an email “newsletter”.

I put newsletter in quotes, because although that’s what they’re most often called – in fact their focus shouldn't be on news. Updates from professionals with news on what’s happening in their company, who’s moving departments, which clients they’re working with, and the latest services they’re offering are typically filed straight in the trash by clients.

But newsletters which share useful information about the area in which the consultant is an expert – and which the client needs ideas and support in – are read with enthusiasm and filed where they can be found.

Not by everyone, of course. Not everything you send out will be valued by all your subscribers. But keep producing valuable, insightful material and you’ll find you engage much more with your potential clients.

They’ll start emailing you. Thanking you for your material. Asking you questions. And eventually, contacting you about your services.

And, most importantly, since by signing up they've given you permission to pro-actively contact them – you're not reliant on them remembering to come back to your website and remembering how to find it. You can actively keep in touch and nurture your relationship with them – you're in control.

This was really brought home to me a few months after I started producing my own newsletter.

I noticed the number of emails and contact form submissions I was getting from potential clients had gone up. So I tracked back the communications from a few of the recent enquires which had eventually turned into clients.
Over half of the emails had come within a few hours of the person contacting me reading the latest edition of my newsletter.

It wasn’t the first newsletter they’d had from me. In most cases they’d signed up a few months previously. They’d read a few issues of the newsletter and clicked through to a number of other articles.

But reading the latest issue of the newsletter in each case had “tipped them over the edge”. They’d been convinced I knew what I was talking about and had contacted me with details of a particular issue they wanted me to help with.

And notice – in each case they contacted me. I wasn’t pushing anything at them. Over time the articles on the website and the newsletter had convinced them I was the right person to help them.

As you can imagine – that makes the sales conversations with these potential clients an awful lot easier than if I’m pushing and promoting, or up against other equally well positioned competitors.

There’s a saying in the world of online marketing that “the money is in the list”.

I hate the saying. I hate calling valued potential clients who’ve chosen to receive communications from you a “list”.

But the meaning behind the saying is absolutely true. Your valued subscribers are your greatest asset online.

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How To Get More Clients Online: Part 1 – The Power of a Content Rich Website

Posted on 29th August 2010.

This is the first in a series of posts on how to get more clients via online approaches for your professional business. It's written specifically with small and independent consultants and coaches in mind – but the lessons are applicable to other professional businesses.

The Power of Content: My Story

About three years ago I first started out trying to do more online with my consulting and coaching business. Back then, few consultants or coaches were getting any sort of business online – but I was convinced from my experience wih other service sectors that it could work.

And I knew that if I could make it work for me it would pay huge dividends. It would free me up from having to invest a ton of my time into going out, networking, having meetings, making presentations, schmoozing and other time consuming business development activities.

And I also believed strongly that if I could attract leads for my business via the web, they could be more qualified. Rather than me having to knock on doors to persuade people I was the right person to work with, I wanted people coming to me already predisposed to hire me.

But my early attempts weren't a huge success.

I paid big bucks for a fancy website. It wasn't bad either – it followed what was considered best practice at the time. It talked about who my clients were, the problems I helped them solve and the results they got from working with me. It described my services in benefit oriented terms and showcased testimonials and case studies.

It had pretty much everything.

Well, everything except clients.

Almost no one came to my site (despite paying for some search engine optimisation work). And those that did come didn't hang around for long.

Now being a bit of a geek at heart, this annoyed me.

I wanted to know why not. I wanted to know why some websites could get thousands of visitors and could convert many of those visitors into paying clients when mine couldn't.

My first clue came when I created this blog.

I started it for fun really, and as a creative outlet for my ideas on business development. But within a few months it was getting more traffic than my official “corporate” website.

And people were emailing me. Leaving comments on the blog telling me how helpful the articles were. I emailed them back and we began to build relationships. That had never happened with my “corporate” site.

Soon, other bloggers were linking to my blog and recommending it.

As more and more sites linked to my articles and blog posts, my blog rose up the search engine rankings. It got more and more traffic – both directly, and via searches. Visitors kept engaging. When I started a newsletter they engaged even more.

And then I started getting emails from people asking me about how I could help them in their business. In other words, clients were coming to me. Not because of my fancy corporate website. But because of my simple, content-rich blog.

And that's the lesson here: the most important factor in the success of a website for a consultant, coach or other professional is the quality and depth of the content on that website.

Now most professionals' websites are simply “brochure sites”. They describe what the professional does, who they work for, the benefits they bring to clients, etc. And that's fine – if the potential client is coming to your website explicitly to check you out and see whether you're a good fit for them.

But the truth is that the vast majority of people aren't out on the web looking for us specifically. They're out looking for ideas, solutions and resources. In other words: content.

High quality content helps us get clients in three key ways.

Content drives traffic. Other sites are more than happy to link to high quality content on your site as it adds value to their readers. Whereas they have no motivation to link to your site if all it has is descriptions of you and your services – no matter how well written.

Content drives engagement. Visitors to your site stick around and explore if they find useful content. If all there is is a sales pitch for your services they click away pretty quickly.

And content drives credibility. As a professional, clients need to know you have the expertise and experience to help them before they'll consider hiring you. Sharing valuable content which gives them insight and helps them improve their business proves your capabilities infinitely more than any claims you make or even any testimonials you might have.

In short, having the passion and energy to consistently create valuable content for your website is THE biggest driver of online success for professionals.