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How To Build Your Own Client Acquisition Machine (And Make 2023 Your Best Year Ever)

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If you've ever felt like your freelance life has been a neverending feast-or-famine roller coaster, chances are you're missing one (or more) pieces of a full client acquisition machine.
You've likely “dabbled” with bits and pieces here and there, but you've never fully built each of the individual parts and refined them to the point where everything is working as a well-oiled machine bringing you high-quality clients every single month.
In this week's episode of the 6 Figure Creative Podcast, I break down each of the major parts of your Client Acquisition Machine, as well as what specific numbers you should be aiming for as a benchmark.
If you've ever wanted more stability and predictability in your business, and you want a clear roadmap for how to make 2023 your best year ever, this episode is for you.
In this episode you’ll discover:
  • How to solve a consistency issue in your business
  • Why dabbling is slowly destroying your income stream
  • The foundation of your Client Acquisition Machine
  • Creating a transformational outcome for your clients
  • Building your Marketing Mothership
  • Your responsibility to sell to those who need your service
  • The parallels between software and freelancing
  • Nurturing your leads for a long-term relationship
  • Fine-tuning your Client Acquisition Machine

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[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the six Figure Creative Podcast.

I am your host, Brian Hood. If this is your first time joining us on the show first of all, welcome. Thank you so much for giving this show a chance. typically we're talking all about how to make more from your creative skills so that you can earn a full-time living. Without selling your soul, without being stuck in a day job, without feeling icky about yourself but also without sitting around, waiting for people to come to you, which is the theme in the topic for today's show.

And it's something we've been talking about a lot lately. If you are a returning listener, thank you so much for giving this show your repeated attention. It means a lot to me And I'm excited for what we're gonna be talking about on the show today. Quick update. I'm still traveling right now.

For those of you who've been following along my travels, maybe you've been falling on Instagram. Me and my wife have been traveling like for the fall, if you've been saying, We were in Bali for about a month. about a week and a half ago, we. Traveled to Thailand. We're in an island called KO Samui.

Right now. If you've been following me on my Instagram stories uh, you might have seen some of the views we've seen or some of the beaches that we've seen here. Right now we're staying in resort, and this is one of the fun things about traveling in Southeast Asia is you get to find some really good deals.

So we're at a five star resort right now. If you're watching on YouTube, you can of see kinda the background of like what the room [00:01:00] looks like. It's a nice room. But r really is amazing is the view that I'm looking at right now, which I wish I could turn the camera around it. Show correctly, but it's like we're on the hilltop, like on a mountain overlooking the bay with some islands in the far distance.

It's like a completely, it's a very gorgeous view. But the big thing is this whole thing, we stayed here for a week. It's 55 bucks a night. It is an insane deal. And you just can't find like deals like that anywhere else really in the world that I've found. We love Southeast Asia. We love traveling here, and that's one of the reasons this show is if you're the, this is your first time joining us today.

This is a little different type of show than normal because typically I have a co-host or I have a guest on here. We're trying to get some insight from someone outside of maybe the world that you are in whatever niche you're part of, whether you're in photo or video or design or illustration or music production.

We have a lot of different listeners and a lot of different backgrounds, and we love to learn from each other because we're trying to avoid being just another copycat. Someone that's doing exactly what all the people in our surroundings are doing. And I say tongue in cheek. And I can say this cause I'm from Alabama, we want to avoid being an inbred business where all we're doing is learning from businesses in our immediate vicinity, our local area, or people just like us in our niche. We don't wanna be like [00:02:00] that. That's not what works in 20 22, 20 23 and beyond. And part of what I'm talking about today is things that I've learned and I've picked up over the years.

Building multiple businesses in multiple different niches and coaching different businesses in different niches through how to build a client acquisition machine. So if you are right now sitting around wishing you had more people on your calendar, wishing you had more clients, this episode is ab for you because we're gonna talk about how to build what I call a client acquisition machine.

This is the key to having consistency in your business, having repeatability in your business, and. Frankly getting what I call like higher level clients. Like so many of us, we settle, even if we have clients coming in the door, even if we are making money right now, even if we're maybe happy with what we're earning right now as creatives, we may not be fulfilled with the types of clients that we're working with.

So part of a client, acquisition machine, part of one that is working really well for us is one that's bringing in higher tier clients. So we're not just taking on what I call bill paying work. There's no shame in taking on bill paying work, but it's not something that we need to be doing for the rest of our lives.

Cause it's not really creatively fulfill.

So this is something that I've talked about quite a bit in the last, I'd [00:03:00] say, two or three months on the podcast. We've had an entire client acquisition series. We've had guests on the show who've talked about different elements of this. I really encourage you, if you're new to this podcast, go back, listen to the backlog, and listen to some of the shows.

Just pick and choose based on titles, which you think you might need right now. But this episode, I wanna talk about the big picture. How to build that client acquisition machine. Cause there's so many mistakes that I see people making as they're trying to, or at least attempting to do this or refusing to do this..

First being like, and this is probably the most common is as creatives, we tend to have an allergy towards anything to do with marketing or putting ourselves out there. You, I'm doing air quotes right now. If you can't see me, if you're not watching the video, you're listening to the podcast right now.

for those of us who chose this as our career, as something that we're gonna make a living from, it is our responsibility to learn these skills that are outside of just the creative realm, which is the reason I launched this show. And if you look at my normal podcast background behind me, I usually have a sign on the wall that says it takes more than passion, because that is the driving force behind everything I do on this show is to teach you those skills that you're maybe not passionate about, but you have to.[00:04:00]

Because the day you decided to take money as a freelancer or as a creative for the art you're creating, for the skills you developed as a creative, the minute you decided to take money, you have established yourself as a business owner. And part of being a business owner that we may not wanna face as creatives is we have a responsibility for getting clients.

Every business on Earth has to figure this out. It's called marketing And the mistake that so many creatives make is we rely on something called Hope Marketing. That is where we just sit. We hope, we pray. We're waiting for referrals to find us. And if that is working for you, great. This episode is not for you.

If your calendar is booked solid, a hundred percent full with your ideal clients just from referrals, good for you. That's a place that many creatives can make their way to eventually, as you've built your, your, what I call word of mouth snowball to a large enough point where that's a self-sustaining thing, but in most, a long and arduous path, and you can speed that path up for those of you who are just sitting around waiting for your clients if you take this into your hands instead of waiting around.

and the key to making this whole strategy work, which it is a strategy.

I'm gonna talk about the five different parts of [00:05:00] a client acquisition machine later on in this episode. But the key to making this work is you have to have full commit.

You can't dabble. You can't halfass this. We'll talk about dabbling in a second. You have to be fully committed. Because even one missing piece of your client acquisition machine, one thing that's wrong, that is a single point of failure and a single point of failure, it's just if you took five different things, five different numbers, multiply five times, five times, five times, five times zero, that one zero makes everything zero

So if you, if you look at it from the equation like that, we have to have every single part of this and it has to be well optimized in order for this to work. And that takes full commitment and it can't just be I work on the things that I wanna work on, the things that I feel like I wanna work on.

Again, we have to take full responsibility as business owners and make this stuff work, and build this stuff out and take initiative with us. And I want this episode to be the thing that helps you step closer to that.

now for those of you who have listened to this podcast for a while, I do wanna point out one other kind of pitfall or mistake that you have likely made as you've heard some of these episodes that we've talked about. This thing at great length. you're the dabbler, , and I'm calling some of [00:06:00] you out, like personally you are dabbling right now.

And what I mean is like you, you listen to an episode, right? This is the pitfall of what we call the advice buffet. Every single episode we're generally deep diving into a specific topic, like one narrow area. And so you think, Okay, that's the thing I'm missing. And so you say, I'm gonna go do that thing.

you either, hey, maybe you go all in, Maybe you're motivated right now and you wanna build that thing out. But then you lose focus on that thing and you just kinda let it with away and die. Or you start to focus on that one shiny object. And then you hear another episode next week and you start to focus on that shiny object.

And so now you have three or four irons in the fire and you're dabbling in all these different areas. Social media is a good example, a lot of people that I take on as a coaching client, when we start deep diving and doing an audited business, we look at their social media, I say we, it's me.

I look at their social media accounts and I start to put together what is their strategy in the past, What are they doing right now? What has worked, what has not worked? And most of the time, this is like probably eight outta 10 times they come to me and they're struggling to find clients. And we look at the social media, and this is just one example.

Social media doesn't have to be the strategy you take. I'm just using this as an example. They went through like a period. Where [00:07:00] they were consistently posting on social media and they were getting pretty good results, and then they, start fading off. And getting to the point where they have little fits and spurts and motivation and that's what I call like the dabbler approach to decline acquisition or that one piece.

And so the more you start dabbling in all these different areas and not having any sort of focus or strategy behind what you're doing, the less effective all of these things can.

So if you're experiencing a lack of consistency with the types of clients you're working with, maybe you were doing a lot of bill paying work or your lack of consistency in your month to month income, and you're ready to maybe admit to yourself that, Hey, you are a business owner, or, I am a business owner. I have to take responsibility for this. I have to do things that maybe I don't want to do, but I need to do as a business owner, as something that's better for my future, better for my family, better for my business.

Then I'm ready to dive into these five pieces with you. And just to go back to myself, if I'm talking to myself from 2009 when I was in my parents' basement starting my freelance career earning like $30,000 a year. Old Brian, 2009, Brian, I didn't really wanna face this stuff. All I wanted to do was like, I wanted to learn my craft.

I wanted to make a living, a small [00:08:00] living, like I was, I wanna say complacent because I eventually grew out of that, but I was definitely not open to this sort of conversation. Because I hadn't yet admitted to myself that I was a business owner and that required being a big boy . I mean, growing up that means taking on skills that are outside of something that I love to do, something I'm passionate about.

And as business owners, we sometimes have to face, there's a second side of our business that we are not naturally drawn towards. And 2009, Brian, me was not ready for that conversation yet, but 2011, 2000 12, 13, 14, Brian, as I grew as a business owner, as I became from just a simple freelancer to a more.

sophisticated entrepreneur. I started to make that mental change it changed everything for me. This is what has allowed me to just, I wouldn't say graduate from freelancing, but it's allowed me to step out of just freelancing into more scalable income with my software companies, with my coaching business now with real estate, with Airbnb Having these skill sets and just the mindset of being open to these new things, these new ideas, these new strategies and new methods [00:09:00] has been the difference for me and has created options. So even if you don't necessarily have the this grand scheme in life, To build your freelancing career to six figures or whatever the magic number is in your head.

200,250 quarter million dollars a year. And then I want to move to a more scalable business, whether it's consulting or whether it's coaching, or whether it's courses, or whether it's software, or whether it's something completely different. Even if you don't have that mindset the mere fact that you are considering these skill sets and learning these skill sets opens up all sorts of options for you as a freelancer that you wouldn't otherwise have if you're just sitting around waiting for clients to find you.

So let's finally dive into these five parts of a client acquisition machine. And one thing I think I've failed to mention is there's a specific order to this. this process that you're getting right here. These five parts. This is literally what I work through with every single coaching client that I get.

I work through. All five of these parts in this specific order. And it's similar to like baking a cake like this, probably the best analogy I can find. Whereas you might have all the ingredients laid out in front of you, but if you don't know the right order to put things in, you're [00:10:00] probably gonna come out with a different type of cake than you might have wanted.

It's not gonna taste good. It might be flat, it might fall into this gross pile of mush. And doing things in this specific order that I'm laying out on this episode is part of what makes this. Because we've had past episodes where we talked about, I think episode 2 21.

Mark and I, my, my substitute co-host, we talked about four missing pieces of your marketing plan. And in that we just talked through it from like a funnel perspective, like top of funnel to bottom of funnel. If you're not familiar with those terms, don't worry about it.

It's not anything that's that important to, to know right this moment. But we talked through it in a fashion that actually isn't the way you would implement things, you actually would implement the complete opposite of that. So I wanna make sure you understand that the way I'm going through this is the order of operations that makes the most sense.

Giving people that already have an established freelance business. So if you are at the point where you have clients coming in, it's inconsistent. It may not be the number that you want it to be.

But you have some income already, then this is the better order to go through things because it helps us eliminate waste products or waste byproducts, for example, like if the first thing we ever did with you is just, Hey, we're gonna [00:11:00] go launch Facebook ad or YouTube ad or Google ad campaigns for your business.

That is usually the one, the biggest, most wasteful thing that you could possibly do because you don't have anything in the foundation. You don't have anything in place to capitalize on that. You're gonna waste money, first of all, and then you're gonna waste a lot of opportunity. So the order that I'm going through here and these five parts is the order that I go through with every client, and it has been proven time and time again to be the most effective way to get all your ducks in a row when it comes to a client acquisition machine.

So let's talk about the first part of this. The first part of your client acquisition machine is what I call setting the foundation. And the reason this is important is because you, without a good foundation, just like this is like the stupidest, most common example, but like if you build your house on sand, it's not a good foundation.

It's gonna fall apart as it rains, as water hits the shore or whatever, like the foundation. Has to be secure for the rest of this stuff to work. And there's a couple things that I look at with every person that I work with that is part of the foundation that most people either overlook or they skip past or they just fail to even consider.

The first is, what are [00:12:00] you offering people? everyone that I work with, I try my damnedest to help them create what I call a transformational outcome. If the service you're offering is nice to have, if it's a small and tiny improvement if it's a vitamin instead of a pain killer, then it is really hard to make that business work in any regard. So when you look at the service you're offering right now if you look at before they come to you and after they come to you, if it's, if it, if you wouldn't consider that a transformation, slight improvement, at best, you're gonna have a much harder time.

Because the bigger the transformation, the more you can typically charge.

And just to give you an example that I think everyone can understand is if, I hope you lose 300 pounds and keep that weight off, 300 pounds is a massive transformation for anybody that's two humans worth of weight lost. That is what I consider a transformation. Now, we're not talking fitness here, I'm not talking to fitness people, but you understand the concept of a transformation like that.

However, if I'm saying I can help you lose 10 pounds. It's not a transformation. That's a decent improvement. Like I'd love to lose 10 pounds. I'm sure a lot of [00:13:00] people listening right now might wanna lose 10 pounds, especially after what we went through collectively in 20 20, 20 21, and maybe even continuing to 2022.

But 10 pounds is not necessarily a transformation, at least not for most people, especially not somebody that's four or 500 pounds. 10 pounds isn't gonna really make, a difference. It's not a transformation. So just, I know this can be really hard to conceptualize, but just to give you a few examples.

When I work with people in audio, for example, People in music production. A good transformation is somebody who takes someone from a vague song idea that helps 'em fully produced helps 'em fully write the song record the song, mix the song, master the song, release the song like that is a full transformation cuz you went from a vague song idea to a fully realized vision and released track.

That is a big transformation and because of that you can charge a lot more than someone. For example, a mastering engineer for those who don't understand mastering, it is a small, tiny piece at the end of the puzzle. And truth be told, it is getting more and more diff difficult to stand out in that world because of it being basically a vitamin, not a painkiller.

Now, [00:14:00] mastering engineers around the world, cringing, maybe that's fine, but it, is really difficult to make that business work. Again, not impossible, but it's difficult because it's not a full transformation.

so once you have a transformational outcome that you provide, that's not the end. We still have to figure out the best and most effective way to price and package that so that you're earning at least 50 to $75 per hour as a freelancer And. The reason I say that is because 50 bucks an hour is the minimum you could charge and still bring in a hundred K a year, and that's working a lot.

75 an hour is a little more manageable. But we have to take into expenses that not all of our work hours are billable hours. so, if you're charging 50 to 75 an hour, that doesn't mean you are actually earning that all the time because there's different parts of your business that you're just not getting paid for.

Entering emails doing taxe. Creating new systems, building your client acquisition machine, nobody's directly paying you for that time you're spending on your business. So you have to be able to charge more than 50 to 75 an hour. And that's not the only thing that I look at. Like when we come up to your pricing and packaging, my goal is for every one of my coaching clients to be at an [00:15:00] average annual client value of $1,500 or more.

Now, convert this to your local currency, whatever you want it to be, whether it's Euros or Australian dollars, or Canadian dollars, or British. But around that $1,500 price point is where I see businesses are easier to scale. Because if you are only bringing in an average annual client value, meaning one client over the year will pay you $500, whether that's a hundred dollars, five times, or $500 one time in a year, that's a really tough business to scale.

I've talked about it multiple times with this podcast. Go listen to a backlog. But the higher your average annual client value, the easier your business is to run as a. so the closer that I can get you at the very start of your foundation to that $1,500 price point or higher, the easier everything else becomes.

That's why we start with this area, because there's no point in scaling or growing or getting clients in a business with a really low, average annual client value, especially if your hourly earnings are below that 50 to $75 per hour benchmark that I talked about.

So that's part one, setting the foundation. The goal again is to get an average [00:16:00] annual client value of $1,500 or more. So once we get that sorted out, we go to the second part of anyone that I work with is we do what I call, plug the leaks.

That means all of the potential opportunities you're getting right now that are just leaking through your funnel or being wasted. We have to find the way to capture those because again, before we start working on all these new ways to get leads in the door and get eyeballs and get yourself out there and get new opportunities for potential clients, we have to capture what's already there.

Because so many people have planted seeds, they've nurtured them. They have all this wonderful low hanging fruit all around them. They're doing nothing about. And so before we start doing all these, fun, I call them fun cuz I, I'm like a nerd with this stuff. And I love this whole world of marketing and client acquisition and making, it's a lot of problem solving is what this is.

I love doing all this, but before we do all these fun things, fun for me again, probably not fun for you. We have to capture the low hanging fruit. We have to harvest the low hanging fruit. And this is all part of what I call plugging the leaks. So there's a few parts of this. The first is what I call your marketing mother.

A lot of people, they have a [00:17:00] website. If they wanna have a website, we get them a website. But even if they have a website, it's usually not set up in a way to best communicate what it is you're offering. What's the transformation, what are you, how are you different from everyone else? And then pushing for what I call the call to action, which is, to connect with you.

It can be a quote request, it can be just a simple send a message. It can be book a call, whatever that call to action is. But it's taking the next step to go from a random stranger on the internet to what I call a lead. And not just a lead, it's a sales lead. Someone who's expressed specific interest in working together with you, most people's website.

Nothing more than like a glorified business card. Instead, I work with them to create what I call a marketing mothership. It is something that has all the messaging elements in place, good persuasive copywriting, and it has it's a conversion optimized approach. Meaning the goal is that around 5% of your website visitors turn into sales leads.

So if you are below five, meaning like if you have a hundred people that come to your website in a month, five of them are reaching out to you for pricing or for availability or specific interest in working with you. If that's not [00:18:00] the case for you, if it's not 5%, there's a lot of room to improve here.

But that's not all. Like when we talk about plugging the leaks, you can get these sales opportunities in the door, but if you're not able to close them, you don't have a good sales process into place. Then you have, again, squandered opportunities that have come in. So you might have five to 10 inquiries coming in every month, but if you can't close.

What's the point of doing any more work to get more opportunities for you? We have to, again, plug the leaks. We have to make sure you can close the few opportunities you're getting right now. So maybe you're only getting one or two or one every other month. We have to still make sure that you're able to capitalize on every single opportunity because if you can't capitalize on the few you're getting now, you don't deserve to get more.

I'm sorry. Part of being a creative, and this is a mindset shift that I think a lot of people have to make before they can make this stuff work. Part of being a creative is first owning the transformation that we provide to our clients. And when I say owning that, I mean we fully believe in the fact that we can help our clients.

Lose 400 pounds. Just for that example if you could genuinely help someone lose 400 pounds. [00:19:00] Just again, as a broad example here of something that is truly in transformation, if you could genuinely help someone lose 400 pounds, it changes their life forever. It eliminates health problems for them forever.

It changes their family tree because they can live long enough to see their kids and their grandkids again. That is a massive, amazing transformation. So if you fail to get a client, Because you don't have a good marketing or other ship in place and a good sales process in a place, you are denying those people the transformation that you can provide to them.

And I'm not gonna pretend that every one of you listen to me right now, has that large of a transformation. In most cases, it's not that large of a transformation like. Truly life changing, but in a lot of cases, you're still making a large impact on their lives. So if you offer a genuinely transformational outcome and you're helping change people's lives and affect their lives in a positive way, it's almost your duty to get the things in the place to turn them from a random stranger on the internet to a client or a customer of yours because you can truly help.

the issues come up when [00:20:00] you don't believe in what you're doing. The issues come up when you self sabotage because deep down the person down the street is better than you. If that's the case, go work on your skills, go work on your creative skills, come back to this podcast later on, when you know that your creative skills are not the bottleneck, but the second, your creative skills are no longer the bottleneck.

The second you can provide a better transformation than the freelancer down the road. The person who stiffs their clients, the person who ghosts their clients, the person. charges a lot and gives a little the second, you are better than that person. It is your duty and obligation to take the things that I'm talking about here, the marketing mothership, the sales roadmap, the sales process, how you turn someone from a stranger to client.

The second you are better than your competition. It is your duty to do this. And again, that is a subtle mindset shift that I think most people haven't really. And I want you to at least consider that mindset shift that you likely need to take right now.

So for part two, plugging the leaks, coming back to this client acquisition machine. The second part of this is making sure you're able to capitalize op opportunities that are already coming in so that when we open up the floodgates later [00:21:00] on, you're able to Make the most of every single opportunity that you get.

So the two benchmarks, or the two goals that I give all my clients is roughly 5% of your website visitors turn into sales leads, and you can close roughly 50% of those to clients. If you're closing more than 50%, a lot more than 50%, that's not actually a good thing. And you wanna listen to last week's episode where I talked about how a high sales conversion rate is actually a bad thing.

But 50%, around 50% is the sweet spot that I've found is the best. Where you know your pricing is right and you know you're reaching the right amount of people.

So in part one, you've set the foundation, you have Good foundation good pricing good transformation. Part two is you've plugged the leaks in your sales process, in your leads process, in your funnel, whatever you wanna call it, you've plugged those leaks. So now in part three, we can start worrying about attracting new leads.

And if you're a long time listening, you've probably heard me talk about this next thing a little bit, but I still want to dive in a little deeper here because again, this stuff, I want this to be as clear as possible for you of how to do these things. There are two types of [00:22:00] leads that every business has and you've heard me talk about this in the past episodes.

If you're new, then I'll explain this. There are sales leads and those are people that have directly said, I want to work with you, or Hey, how much would you be for X? Or, Hey, are you available for blank? that's somebody who has expressed interest in working with you directly. That is a sales lead.

That is one type of lead. And that is what I call like the low hanging fruit. The people that are. most ready to buy from you. But then there's a second type of lead that no one seems to focus on in the freelance world, but everyone else has figured out this is how you run your business.

It's called a marketing lead. And this has really come to light as I've learned more and more about scaling my SaaS companies software as a service. I have two companies. One is file pass.com, that is like a collaboration in file sharing software for the recording studio space. And the other one is Easy funnels.io.

That is a website and funnel builder for it's, right now it's positioned for the recording Studio World. Really, honestly, any freelancer can use that site. So go sign up for it. If you wanna go try it out. you don't have to have, for either one of those sites, you don't have to have a credit card to sign up for a trial so you can just try it out.

So your [00:23:00] heart's content play around with, either of But as I've learned to scale those companies the SaaS model software as a service model is actually incredibly similar to the freelance model because it is merely software as a service instead of freelance as a service. And when you look at how the software as a service industry has learned to scale to unicorn companies, billion dollar companies, we can take.

The best practice is from that directly into freelancing. And that's one of the concepts that I learned from SaaS or software as a service, is the idea of marketing leads and sales leads. They call them something slightly different. But the terminology's basically the same. A marketing lead is someone that you have the ability to follow up with, reach out to nurture.

But they haven't necessarily expressed specific interest in working directly with you. And the easiest way to do this, the easiest the thing I tell everyone to do, the thing I have everyone of my coaching clients do is build an email list. There are other ways to do this, but an email list is the fastest.

It is the best. It is the tried and true. It is the way. I think every freelancer should be doing moving [00:24:00] forward because of the limitations that social media has given us when it comes to actually reaching the audience that we've built on social media. It's getting harder and harder, especially as you try to get people off of the social platform onto your website or onto a funnel or onto something else, it can be really, really difficult to say the least.

So I'm not gonna really dive into the whole how do you build a mailing list conversation right now when it comes to attracting new leads. But if you go back to episode 222, me and my co-host, Mark, we did a full deep dive into how to do this from like start to finish making a lead magnet, promoting it, building a funnel even doing ads, we talked about a little bit there.

But my goal that I give all my clients is to bring in between 50 and a hundred marketing leads every single month, which is, it sounds daunting for a lot of you, but it's not as difficult as it might seem to be. over the last, I think six years I've averaged.

Something like 60 a day, something like that to my mailing list. I may be doing the math completely wrong, but it's like a really, it's a really high amount. Like it's, at least hundreds per month. And this is literally this is, this mailing list that I'm talking about for my business is what fuels everything that I have.

[00:25:00] It fuels this podcast. It feels my software companies, it feels my coaching business. It feels my old courses that I've, I used to really push a lot more, which I've moved away from now for several reasons we to talk about maybe later on. But it is the thing that fuel everything that I have in my business.

And I had a conversation last night with someone else in kinda my recording space who is crushing it as a lance. But has now hit this plateau that he's trying to get past. And we talked for two hours last night because he is like, a peer that's been in my world for a long time. He's kind of from the heavy metal space that I come from when it comes to heavy metal music production.

But he's hit this plateau. And the longer we talk, the more and more we both realized that the missing piece in his business is the fact that he doesn't have a mailing list. And the reason a mailing list is so great is because you. can nurture a relationship for very long amount of time, which I'll talk about next until that person's ready to buy something from you.

And it may not be the thing that you have right now, it could be something that you have later on, but it gives you that opportunity. So again, the goal is 50 to a hundred per month. There's multiple ways to do [00:26:00] that. If you wanna go to episode 222 we, we talk more about how to do that.

But that leads us to part four of the client acquisition machine, is that, and that is nurturing those existing leads. And so when I talk about my friend that I talked to and how you can nurture those people for a year that get on the mailing list or a year plus, this is the key to making this work.

The benchmark that I give all my clients is I want to see about 10% of your marketing leads, meaning your mailing list. I wanna see about 10% of those marketing leads, people that sign up to your mailing list for a lead magnet. Or for a newsletter or whatever it is that you're offering, hopefully a lead magnet, not a newsletter.

But I wanna see about 10% of those turn into sales leads. And remember I talked about the difference between a marketing lead and a sales lead. A sales lead is someone who's directly expressed interest. Marketing leads to someone who might have signed up for a checklist that you created, a cheat sheet, you created a video workshop or a template that you give away.

So if you get a hundred people in a. to sign up for that template you have that you're giving away, I wanna see about 10 of those eventually turn into a sales lead. But this is really where I think people mess this up a lot because they don't understand something called the [00:27:00] 3% rule.

And the 3% rule basically says of all the people that sign up to your email, Only about 3% of them are actually ready for whatever it is you offer right now, and that number can vary. It could be anywhere from the smallest 1% up to five to 8%, maybe 10%, but usually not. I'll just say about 3% is kinda what I see.

3% of people are actually ready for the thing you offer, meaning 97% aren't. So you're missing out on a huge chunk if you fail to keep that relationship alive. So think.

Think about it. Like any relationship, when you meet somebody, they don't really know you, they don't trust you, and even if they're ready for your thing, they may not like or trust you enough to actually hire you. So what are you doing to build that relationship over time? And I'm talking like a long term approach, 12 months or longer.

So many people just look at the. immediate ROI on something, the immediate return on something, and they fail to see the long term big picture as someone who's been in the online space now for almost a decade now, is when I launched my very first like blog article with a mailing list.

Ever since then, I have learned more and more [00:28:00] time and time again. I am my future self's best friend when I take the long term approach to everyth. And so if you wanna talk about how to turn marketing leads into sales leads, which is the thing that I tell everyone to do, I walk through with everyone to do that.

I coach. There's a few ingredients you can take to keep that relationship and build that relationship over 12 months or more. First is social media. That's the obvious thing. I don't personally utilize social media. I just haven't seen, it hasn't been a massive part I'll say of any of the growth that I've done in any of my business.

For some people, that is the key, main thing, and it's different for everybody, but that's one ingredient. It's a potential ingredient, but it's a good one. The second is a simple newsletter. Just emailing the people that are on your mailing list every single week or every couple weeks, or at least once a month, to remind them of who you are to add value to them, to build that relationship Again.

Think about it like a genuine friend that you have just met. Someone you've just met for the first time you're trying to turn into a real friend. Would you just send 'em a text message one time and they never talk to him? That wouldn't work very well. You would be intentionally reaching out to them, connecting with them [00:29:00] nurturing that relationship, trying to have more like touch points, for lack of a better term, until that relationship grows and blossoms into something better than just an acquaintance.

Something that goes more to a friendship, and then maybe even a best friend. We have to take the same approach. A newsletter can be a great thing. My favorite method and the method that I try to get most of my clients to do, not everyone is bought into this specific approach, but it's content creation.

So this podcast you're watching right now, that's a piece of content that I put out. I do this every single week. It helps build the relationship, it helps build trust, it gets genuine value to you. And then later on, if you want to purchase anything that I offer, go for it. But you're more apt to purchase something from me in the future if I have genuinely added value to your life.

And you know that I am the person to help you with the thing that you're struggling with. If not, there's plenty of great people out there to help with this sort of stuff. But I just know that this specific process has worked time and time again for the last three years. We've had this podcast, and it will continue to work for the next three years that I had this podcast, But there's two different approaches to content creation that I think people fail to understand.

The first is the expert is what most people think a content creator is. That's what I'm doing right now. I have expertise [00:30:00] in client acquisition. That's something that I specialize in, something I know a lot about, something I've learned and utilized over the years, but, The expert is not the only approach.

There's also the approach of something called the seeker of knowledge. Someone and this is really important for those of you who work with what I call like bigger clients. If you work with corporate clients or you work with clients that are like higher on the totem pole or the pecking order than you are it can be really good to be the seeker.

And so the way this works is, and this is really good for podcasting especially is you just interview the people you're trying to learn. You talk about topics that are appealing to more of these types of people. An example is if you have a podcast production company, which is some of my coaching clients, they do podcast production.

If they're creating content, they can't necessarily, especially if they're working with like corporate clients, they can't necessarily create expert content for corporate clients cause they don't know anything of really about the corporate world. But they can ask questions to corporate clients. That appeals to other corporate clients.

And if you wanna see a really good example of someone who does this better than anyone else, go look up the business called Sweet Fish Media. Sweet Fish Media. They're [00:31:00] a podcast production company. They're one of the biggest that I've seen. They bring in three to 5 million a. Which to put into more manageable perspective is somewhere around 250 to $415,000 per month. so you know they are doing something right. they do everything that I teach, everything that I'm talking about, they have actually implemented in their business as well to wonderful results.

And by the way, this is not a coaching client of mine, so don't, I don't want to misconstrue and say this is like a coaching client. This is just someone that I've studied learned from by watching exactly what they do. But they build their mailing list. That's one thing that they do. They have lead magnets.

They give things away in order to get you on a mailing list They follow up with emails and then they send you content that they've created every single week with their podcast where they seek information from other businesses and they attract businesses , to their content.

And so it's a wonderful virtuous cycle where they can interview their ideal clients and they can attract. Their ideal clients as listeners, and they can do what I call double dip. They're able to connect with ideal clients as an interview seeking knowledge, and the [00:32:00] byproduct of that conversation is attracting their ideal clients as listeners, because the people want to learn from the people that are being interviewed.

Again, just go study that business. Part of being a business owner is learning from others, and part of learning from others is studying what others are doing. Go look up, I think it's called the B2B podcast, something like that. but that's, that's the strategy and they absolutely crush it.

It is a top business podcast and it is the thing that fuels all of that 300,000, $400,000 per month.

So the goal here, just to bring this back to simple terms that I think most people can understand, is to turn 10% of your marketing leads into sales leads. So if you get 100 marketing leads in a month, a hundred people on your email list eventually over the next year or so, it'll be a trickle.

10 of those will turn into sales opportunities for you. And then going back to the last benchmark I gave you, about 50% of those should be turned into clients. So those are the four main parts of the client acquisition machine. But there's a hidden fifth part that no one talks about. I see no one teaching.

And this is arguably the most important [00:33:00] part, and that is optimizing. Or you can look at it if you're talking like an engine terms, it's tuning and optimizing. So you have the basic pieces in a place. But when you build these parts out, when you have your foundation in place, when you have your.

leaks plugged up you're attracting new leads and you're nurturing and growing those leads and building a relationship with people, there is going to be a bottleneck somewhere. You always have a bottleneck, always. You always have that one piece. Of those parts that is holding you back.

If you're not attracting enough leads, maybe not enough of those leads are turning into sales opportunities. Maybe you're not turning enough of those sales opportunities into clients. Something there is going to be the bottleneck and part of optimizing is spotting the bottleneck and then fixing the bottleneck.

And that's a huge part of making this entire machine run. So for you audio nerds listening right now, I look at it like a single, a signal chain. So if you have a really expensive microphone and a really expensive mic cable, which you have a really terrible mic preamp, then you've wasted everything else in the order like, Or a better example would be [00:34:00] if your mic cable is not working, but you have a $5,000 microphone and a $5,000 preamp and a really expensive converter, but your cable doesn't work.

None of it works. It is a single point of failure is a bottleneck. For my not audio nerds listening to the show who don't have any audio background look at it like this. If you build a machine or you have a car, ex is a really good example. You have a car that's getting one mile per gallon. It's a really inefficient machine.

So if you have to drive from New York to la that's an arduous process. I think every 20 miles you would've to stop for gas to fill up, assuming you could even find a gas station. But if you optimized the machine, the car, if you optimized it and you put all the things into place to where now it is getting a hundred miles per gallon, that is a really efficient machine.

Much easier to get from New York to LA because you only have to stop for gas one or two times. That is what I'm talking about.

If you take the time to do this, to look at the numbers and how they shake out a zoom out big picture scale, this makes your entire machine run. And this is where we get the consistency portion of a client acquisition machine. And this is why a lot of you are inconsistent cause you don't look at these numbers.

I'm gonna give you some actual examples that I'm mapped out here. To give you [00:35:00] like benchmarks so you can kind of understand what I would do with a client and what you can do in your own business, whether or not you ever hire me as a coach. Here's some benchmarks to look at. So I'm gonna give you actually two examples and we're gonna talk through which business is actually healthier.

But I want you to understand and conceptualize this. Cause this is really important. you have a business, you're generating 50 new marketing leads. That means 50 people are on your mailing list every single month. Five of those. Become sales leads, meaning, Hey, I want to work with you.

How much should you cost for blah? That's five sales leads. You turn that into three clients and you have a $2,000 average annual client value. That means you're making $6,000 off of those three clients this year, $6,000, and new clients, by the way. All right, so that's one example. $6,000 of income.

That's example one. Example two is you are bringing in a hundred monthly marketing leads. That's double as the other one, right? You bring in 10 sales leads from that. That's double to the other comparison. The other example, you bring in six clients. Again, that's double, but you [00:36:00] only bring in a thousand dollars of average annual client value.

So that's. Your income in this example is still $6,000. So the exact same thing when it comes to the bottom line or the income you're getting from this example, but which one is healthier and what can we do to optimize the unhealthy one? Well, If you are paying attention, what I'm talking about here, the unhealthy business is example too, where your average annual client value is only a thousand dollars.

If we were able to, if we may be like an easy blanket solution for this is just double your rates . If you're closing 50% of your clients and you double your rates, what do you think your conversion rate would fall to? In, in most cases, it might fall to 30, 35%. So if we doubled that, you might only get.

Four clients from this, but you're earning $2,000 per client, meaning you earn $8,000 a month. These are just like some of the ways that these numbers It can be tweaked and could be optimized. It might be that you're not bringing enough marketing leads. It may that mean that you're not bringing enough sales leads or enough clients.

Every single one of these numbers that I just mapped out there, it's hard to, it's hard to follow if you don't have the visual. Like I'm looking at literally [00:37:00] my notes and an outline. And part of this is kinda what I would send a client when I'm working with them on coming up with a marketing roadmap.

But when you look at these numbers, There was almost always one of these numbers that is too low and there are specific actionable steps we can take to get that number up until it is no longer the bottleneck. And if we go through this cycle two to three times in a relatively short amount of time, one to two months, we can generally get things into a really good rhythm to where you have a consistent amount of lease every month, a consistent amount of sales opportunities.

Every month you're closing a consistent amount of clients. At a high enough monthly rate at a high enough value to where you actually have a sustainable business. And here's the big kicker to this that I don't think people realize is, let's just say you brought $6,000 in new clients this month.

The way you scale your business to really high levels is when you have a really good retention rate, meaning your client comes back to you next year and the year after that and the year after that. That's where we get into the conversation of something called lifetime value, and that's another point to look at, but that's so long term that it's outside of the scope of this conversation.

[00:38:00] But the key is if you are the benchmarking gift people is about 70% of your clients should come back to you the next year. So in a year, if you were to get 50 new clients this year, then we would like to see.

Around 30 to 35 of those clients come back to you again next year. So what happens when you have 37 clients come back to you next year, plus 50 new clients next year? That's 85 clients in a year. And if all those clients are worth. $2,000 to you, that's 160 something thousand, $170,000 of income. And that's just from year two.

And that continues to scale until obviously the big bottleneck that you'll eventually hit is fulfillment, meaning you will have no more time to take on clients. Wonderful place to be, but beyond the scope of this conversation. So that is the five parts of a client acquisition machine. There's a lot that goes into.

And if you are ready to build this yourself and you want my personal help, I just wanna make sure that you know that I have a coaching program where I'm actually offering you my personal help. I'm offering you, I give you unlimited feedback, personal accountability. [00:39:00] There's a ton more that goes into this.

But the end goal of this is just to make sure you are building and optimizing each of these five parts of your client acquisition machine so that you have greater consistency, you're working with bigger and better clients. And you're able to have some sort of peace of mind that you have a real business here.

So if it's ready to make that leap, it's not for everybody. I can tell you that right now. But opening up 15 spots for this false coaching cohort. If your listens episode, the day it came out, I opened them up yesterday. So I don't know how many spots have less as of right now, but I will be taking applications for the next week or so, probably until next Wednesday.

And so if you want to apply to that, it is by application. I will not accept your application unless I am confident that you will get a really good ROI on this coaching program.

But if you want to learn more I have a video on a landing page that gives you more information about this, but the link to that landing page will be in the show notes. If you just go to six figure creative.com/ 2 25. That's the show notes for this page. Or if you just open up your podcast app, or if you're on YouTube, just open up the description. And the link will be in the description to the actual page where you can apply for this coaching [00:40:00] program.

But I'm also going to take the video from that page and just put it at the end of this. That way you can just hear me talk through the entire coaching program and just see if it's a good fit for you. Again, I promise this is not a good fit for everybody, but if you were at the point where you've hit a plateau, you want some personalized help, and you think that this is something that you are ready to take the next step forward and you're willing to be fully committed and not dabble.

Then this is something to at least consider, stick around. Listen to the rest of this episode for the full explanation of what comes with this coaching program how it works, all the unique attributes that come with this. And you'll want to apply, at least apply if you're interested in some way, shape or form.

And we can talk about whether this would be a good fit for you. So before I suit you that video, just wanna thank you for listening to this whole episode. wanna thank you for giving this podcast a chance or continuing listen to this podcast if you are a regular listener. But here's the video for the coaching program that I call clients by designs where we build and design your client acquisition machine.

We implement all the things I talk about from this episode. If this episode was something that was interesting to you, that you know you need help with, this is absolutely something you're gonna wanna pay attention to. So here's the video.

[00:41:00] [00:42:00] [00:43:00] [00:44:00] [00:45:00] [00:46:00] [00:47:00] [00:48:00] [00:49:00] [00:50:00] [00:51:00]

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