16 February 2020
Have you ever looked up at the dark sky and noticed how the Moon changes shape each night?
Last night I stood that noticing this sliver of gold in a c shape hanging in the sky. And then I thought isn’t it just so magical that it gets its power from another source – Sun?
Once the face of the Moon is completely turned towards the Sun – we call it a Full Moon as the whole Moon shines in a big circle. But, as it moves around the Earth, the face pointing towards us moves away from the Sun until we can hardly see any of it – it becomes a New Moon.
Moon orbits around the Earth and goes through different stages as the Sun lights up different parts of it. Just like that from the time someone comes across you and your business, they go through various stages before they eventually decide to be your client.
However, most people wishfully want to or perhaps cosmically turn them into clients straight away. However, they end up burning the relationship in doing so.
So what are these phases to turn strangers into clients, and what role Instagram plays in this? Let’s look at those main stages.
The three stages are:
1. Attracting the customer
2. Staying a little longer
3. Turning into a client
Think of your ideal client as a stand-alone supernova star who can shine brighter with your help. Ok, spare the technical details and don’t judge me for my sci-fi knowledge and stay with the point here. But they are completely unaware of you or your business. So the first phase for them is to get to discover you.
1. Attracting the customer
Have you ever thought about the childbirth? Perhaps one of your own. The parents (and especially the mother) would prefer to avoid going through the labour completely and they simply get to the delivery part as painlessly as possible. They just want the baby. Your potential clients desire some results in their life. In this example, it was the baby.
Your clients might be dealing with some issues in their business or life, and they want some solutions. The client doesn’t care what method you use. They only care about the results. So I want to put this point forward because it trips up a lot of businesses.
Most businesses think that other people are making grand plans to hire them, and they are desperately looking for their business by typing out their names on google. While this can sometimes happen, mostly – this is not the case. People are thinking and scrolling about their problem.
So your potential people are on the internet, including Instagram. The first phase in the process is to get their attention and wave virtually and say hello to them.
You can do that by creating an impressive profile, telling them precisely what you do and if you are relevant for them or not. So the first thing is you need to get their attention instantly so that they might want to stay a little longer.
You do that with attention-grabbing visuals that communicate your story instantly.
A little side nerdy note: There is a part of the brain which detects “like me/not like me” when we come across someone new. When we think people are like us, that part of the brain lights up, and we connect easily. It’s a little bit like looking in the mirror and seeing more of ourselves — and we feel more comfortable. When your Instagram profile does an excellent job of communicating that – that person is likely to stay and hit follow.
We are so wrapped up in our product and business that person sitting next to us on the bus stop could be bleeding, and we wouldn’t notice. (Ok! I am exaggerating). This can be done by making it clear what’s it you offer, what are you about – don’t leave it for someone to guess. Maybe you work with a particular type of person – that needs to be communicated quickly in your visuals to reflect your personality. Maybe you serve only a specific type of company or brand – that needs to be clear.
After they have found you, they need to look you in the eye and have to spend some time to understand you, your ethos, philosophy, credibility, and see you are the one who can help them. But how do you do that? That takes us to phase 2
2. Stay with me a little longer
This is a slow marketing methodology where you are not pushing or rushing the relationship and instead of building in a way that creates trust and genuine likeability with someone. This kind of relationship pays off over time, as you are not coercing them to take out their money even before they have got a chance to know you; instead, they have willingly chosen you, they have found something of value and stayed back to interact more.
Now they have chosen to dedicate some of their precious time with you by following you on Instagram – you must treat it with utter respect and care.
In this phase, you can help them with tiny steps, leading them to their bigger goals. If they are struggling with a chronic illness, may be some recipes and daily tips would help. This would help you to create credibility and establish yourself as someone who they can trust for achieving thier goals. You can also use this phase to learn more about them. On Instagram, you can ask for ideas; you can do some research. You can ask what they like and what they don’t. You can listen to them and their preferences.
Share passions, dreams and aspirations. Ask them about theirs. It’s in this process of creating opportunities to be open and transparent with others about your passions. When we are open with others, we send messages that we trust them with things that are personal to us. We bring people into our private space or life perhaps and believe that they will not harm us or trick us.
You can also talk about the challenges with your people and open up your life a little bit. When you talk about our problems with others – your audience elevates you in our lives as trusted advisors. They listen to them differently. They’ll hold you in our minds and hearts as people you can talk with about everything. Plus, they will listen to you differently. They consider your ideas and take your feedback with a higher level of openness than usual.
Instagram offers a great environment to do it with your visuals and captions. When done right, it can speed up the process of building that trust and care factor in your audience’s minds.
All these conversations create a level of openness, trust as they get to see the real person behind the business and they learn to trust your expertise. Then from here on, the third phase is to turn them into customers.
3. Turn them into clients
After they have taken the time to understand you, see you as a person and developed trust, it is time to shine as their only choice. This is the time to make the offer and bring them in as a customer. Bring them into our world. It’s much harder to do it straight on Instagram but not impossible. Instagram is a social platform – we can express, showcase who we are, build and deepen our relationship with them, but eventually, we have to motivate them out of the platform to somewhere more intimate.
It’s usually the email list, where you have a chance to build the relationship further, make offers and ask for the sale. Again this is not to say to hurry up that relationship. My approach is to offer as much value for free or at low cost and help them move towards their goals, through helpful advice that helps them to move in their business and life. And eventually getting them to invest in you and your products or services.
Is this a big waste of time? Isn’t this too slow?
You may think this is such a slow process, and it is not a quick fix. It is not a 2 minutes noodle process. But the quality of customers you may attract will be much higher. Instagram is a free platform, and with a little bit of consistent effort and time, if you can create a community of people who want to buy from you and not just some vain significant number of followers who are not invested in you or your business. It’s worth the effort.
Also, let’s determine what is ONE new client worth to you in their lifetime. Let’s say you know that one new client who signs up with you for three months and ends up buying more of your services over time.
If you attracted 2 of those per month, would you say its worth it? That’s the time and energy you would have spent looking for the new customer instead of creating a system for them to come to you.
So, just like sunlight falling on the Moon makes it all so magical, If you understand these phases in your business and not try to rush the process too much – you will attract better clients, and the process will be less painful.
“The Dusty Tracks”
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They think you are crazy. Crazy enough to start this journey on the dusty tracks of freedom. To throw yourself into creating something from nothing. Some call it business. You call it Freedom. They say “This is a ridiculous plan. It will be exhausting.” You say “Some of us find normal …quite exhausting.”
You started the trek the dead centre of a seed of a crazy idea and now you know it will lead to the glorious ending of freedom and fulfilment. The winding road will be full of awkward, stumbling, messy points along the way. And very few people will be able to appreciate the beauty of trekking through this utterly barren land. That’s ok. As long as some people do.
I am one of those crazy adventurers too. Because I see your fire, and the daredevil inside you. I see that person who refuses to shrink and valiantly pursues the calling of her heart. I do too.
So join me, and others who scream that failure is normal, pursuit of purpose is liberating and dusty tracks are exciting.
I think we’d have a great time sharing our journeys, exchanging maps, sipping some tea around the fierce campfire along The Dusty Tracks.