Proposals. Websites. Marketing collateral. Blog posts.
They all have one thing in common...they're all about you and your firm, right? Showcasing your expertise and your solutions and your longevity as a firm...it's your time to shine! And this will help you win more clients! Right? Hello...this is right, isn't it?
Why you're not the Hero of your client's story
As a marketer, I look at tons of marketing content to study what's working so I can use the information to help our clients. One simple concept embraced by author Donald Miller has successfully stood out to me for the last few years: story engages and compels people. And story is the best way to gain more clients.
But, we must know two things to gain more clients:
- Which story is the most important to tell, and
- What our role is in that story
According to Miller's book, "Building a Storybrand", the two key players in a story are the Hero and the Guide. The Hero is the one going through the problem while the Guide is the one walking alongside the Hero to help the Hero achieve their goal.
Look at your firm’s marketing collateral, proposals, and website. Transferring Miller's concept to your firm...if you're talking about yourself or your projects in your marketing, odds are high you're telling your story instead of your potential client's story. And if you're telling your story, you're showing up as the Hero.
Your potential client, however, always has their story in mind. If a potential client is looking into your firm, it's because they’re looking for a Guide to help bring them more success as the Hero rather than looking for another Hero.
“Wait…aren’t I supposed to show authority?”
Of course! But only AFTER you’ve stated your client’s story in your marketing collateral, clearly identifying their problem and what they want. THEN you can position yourself as a Guide who can help lead them to success.
Should this change your marketing plan?
The answer to this question is a resounding "yes".
Why does a potential client or teaming partner read your proposal or visit your website? To see how you fit into their story. Common marketing scenarios I see that don't consider the potential client's story and their role as the Hero:
- Proposals: your firm uses cut/paste text over and over (your potential clients want to feel special...not like all your other clients. It's super easy to spot cut/paste text, y'all)
- Email campaigns and blog posts: they're all about the big, cool project you worked on (were you really the Hero of your client's project?)
- Website, part 1: It's outdated or your firm doesn't have one at all (they want to see if you can enhance their story before they reach out to you, but you haven't made yourself available online)
- Website, part 2: It's super-pretty but it's all about you and not about the reader's needs (visitors don't actually care about you...they care about what you/your firm can do for them)
- Marketing collateral: It doesn't share what your previous client's problem was, and how you helped them solve it (how can they relate if you don't share the problems you helped previous Heroes solve?)
The scenarios I listed above reduce a potential client's interest in what you have to offer. The bottom line is this: if you'd like the greatest chance of securing more clients, change the focus of your marketing material to FIRST be about your prospective client.
When I send out informational emails to our industry, like you, I track open rates. The best email open rate I ever got was 53.6% (my average open rate is 34.89% while the average for the Professional Services industry is 21.02%).
After analyzing that campaign versus my other sent emails, it was clear that I got that great open rate because I knew the specific need for ALL of the people who received that email. My subject line and email content were laser-focused on identifying their specific problem and proactively offering myself as a Guide to get them a great solution.
The same applies to proposals. When our clients spend hours with their prospective client before a solicitation hits the streets to learn specific details about what their prospective client wants, their proposal submittals better highlight their prospective client first, so our client can then highlight their role as a Guide to lead the prospective client to a Hero’s triumph.
Stop Losing Business
Spend an hour in the next week or two and look at a past proposal, your firm’s website, a piece of marketing collateral, or your firm’s blog posts or email campaigns. Are they all about your firm and its story?
Next, learn how to highlight your prospective client’s story and how to make them the Hero. To do this, I highly suggest you read “Building A StoryBrand” by Donald Miller.
If doing this analysis or performing the work to change your marketing material feels overwhelming or extremely time-consuming, we’d love to help you using our “do it with you” approach.
Your success is our goal, always.
Karen Morgan, PE (TX)
Owner, Lead Strategist and TrainerContact Me