Why you need to build a community of clients.

They are so many benefits to building a community of your clients and customers.

When I set up the CWI I wanted to create a place for women to come together, share ideas, help and inspire each other. We have members from over 27 countries that are generous with their advice and support. It is this type of community that I want to talk about today.

When we work as freelancers we have to continually innovate and find new customers and clients to sell our work to. It is important to understand how the climate has changed in terms of customer service and need.

Gone are the days when we met our prospective clients and customers for the first time during an interview. We now use the power of Google to check out who wants to hire us, or whom we can sell to.

I like to think that we have gone back 100 years in terms of customer service. Our ancestors would have shopped in the corner store before super markets were invented. The owner would have known what you bought last week, what you might like from the new stock, how your mother is and whether you need to pay on credit or can pay the full bill this week.

They knew your name, your family and neighbours; they were part of your community. This is how it is now that social media and on-line selling has arrived. We want to know whom we are buying from and if they share the same values as us. We want to know if there is a story behind the work, which makes it all the more valuable by knowing it.

Why you need to build a community of clients

Whether you sell face-to-face, online, with one client or many customers, to make a success you must now create your own community. A community will spread the word, be your biggest cheerleaders and fans.

In this week’s podcast I talk about the benefits of thinking this way. How you can make people value what you sell to them, and how they can become your biggest fans and part of your marketing strategy. I also talk about how they can make or break your business, and must be handled with care. I talk about a FREE workbook that you can get access to if you sign up to the mailing list at the bottom of this page.

When you begin to build your community here are a few points you need to think about:

• Who are your audience? Be clear on what they do, value and why they want to work or buy from you.

• How are you going to communicate with them? Are they online, via the telephone, leaflets or can you find them by offering free samples and demonstrations?

• When are you going to communicate with them? If they are online, when are they online? If you are going to use leaflets and postcards, how can you guarantee they will read them and not recycle them immediately?

• How will you fix things if they go wrong? What systems do you have in place to deal with a difficult customer? What can you do if you deliver late? How can you repair the relationship if something fails?

Think about when you have had a bad time at a restaurant. Did you complain? Did they handle it well? Did they give you your money back and ask you to come again? Did this mean that you did, or did they treat you terribly and you told all of your friends?

Think how you behave when you are a customer and something goes wrong. What makes it better for you, so that you buy again?

• If it takes 7 times more work to find new clients and customers, what can you do to make the clients and customers you have now buy from/ hire you again?

• How can you make your clients and customers feel a valued member of your community?

These other posts I wrote about marketing might help you as well.

Tame the social media beast

Guerrilla guide to marketing for your career. 

In the comments below let me know what is your biggest struggle to attract new clients and customers at the moment?

Let’s see if we can help you to figure it out.