Starting a new business, especially when your under the age of 25 can be a bit overwhelming, but very exhilarating at the same time. While I've been fortunate enough for my first clients to have faith in my marketing skills, preparing for new clients can be more nerve-wracking. When I begin to prepare for a new client, I have a step by step process I try to follow, so that I don't get overwhelmed.

Just Like School Projects...Kinda

Getting to know a new client and their industry is obviously the first step in preparing for a new client,. However, there are several other steps to ensure you cover all the angles and come prepared to "wow" them with your marketing skills. Building your own strategies for marketing has taken time and a lot of energy so be sure to present that to your clients the clearest way possible. Remember you want them to see what you can do to help them accomplish their marketing goals.

Homework:

Doing your homework when you were in school was annoying, but it really did make a difference in helping you develop your skills independently from the classroom. The same goes for when preparing for a new client. 

After initial contact and consultation with them, it is a good idea to go home or back to the office and do some homework on the wants and needs they presented for the project.

  • Are the requests that are reasonable for their business?
    • If they are in the funeral business, would it really make sense for them to have a YouTube channel?
  • What is the value in the requests they are making?
    • If they are looking to reach out to new clients through social media, will this be a strong direction to expect real results?
  • Can these requests be fulfilled with your services?
    • If they are looking to have a new, extensive website built, do you have the necessary coding skills to accomplish their goals.

Once you've done some work on your own it is good to catch up with your client with any questions, comments, or ideas you found. This will ensure that you are both on the right track for the project before you really start to spend more time on the details.

Study:

Once you have received feedback on your homework and initial contact, be sure to start diving into the best practices for this particular project. Do some research on similar projects that may have been completed by your company in the past or see if there are any articles online about similar projects.

Now you are ready to apply more specific details to your generic research of the project. Start to get to know your client a bit more within their industry.

  • Do they have competitors? If so, what makes your client different?
    • For service companies like electricians, there are always going to be competitors, find what makes them different. Family owned? Fast service?
  • What is your client currently doing right? What are they doing wrong?
    • Their social media pages are very strong, however their SEO strategies are really hurting.
  • Is there something that your client has that you can build off of?
    • They have a good looking website, how can that be used to continue to reach new customers?

Get to know your client a bit more for who they are, not what they are. Remember a company is an entity and should reflect the personality of the owner, employees, and staff. Find out what makes them unique and creates them into the living, breathing company that they are.

Presentation:

Now that you have done your homework and you have studied your client and their marketing advantages, it is time to present the project proposal to them and get them on board with you. It is always a good idea to meet in person with them, so that you show them that you are willing to go out of your way to really spend quality time explaining the great services you can offer.

Meeting in person also allows you to see their office and their workplace, so you can get a better sense of how they operate. It also allows your client to meet you and have a deeper connection with you and your company. Meeting in person, instantly creates a stronger bond, something emails lack.

Sometimes when you are meeting in person this allows you to demonstrate some ideas live on the computer or go over some important statistics that you found through your homework and studying. You have the ability to get on the same page for the project easier, without chasing down emails or playing phone tag.

Test:

After you have presented your client with your solution for their project, it is time to put it to the test. Assuming that you both agreed on the solutions for the project, it is important to explore the ideas and options to get the most out of your marketing project.

During new projects you have to plan ahead for problems to occur. Remember to have the answers for problems that can come up.

  • Their Facebook page isn't really taking off and no one is interacting.
  • The SEO pages I created didn't work out the way I thought they would.
  • The are receiving very low clicks for that campaign.

If you aren't sure of the right answer for a problem, consult your client, perhaps they have a spin to your idea that can be applied to the problem. Have different options that you know will be able to help you get the job complete. Consult with fellow co-workers or others in the marketing industry.

Report Card:

Now that you are in full project mode and you have been able to test you marketing solutions and skills, keep track of what you find. What worked and didn't work? Let's face it, when your changing someone's marketing strategies, you are going to come across new options. Keeping track of the changes and alterations you are making during the project is important.

Once you are finished with the project, be sure to fill your client in about your findings and the results. What did you do that allowed you to get the job done successfully? 

Especially with marketing, clients want to "see" results, so perhaps providing them with statistics of before and after can be a good idea. You may also want to have your own personal report card that helps you keep track of what you can change or do different next time on similar projects.

What Works For One Person, Doesn't Work For Another

Everyone's preparation for a new client can be different and your own preparation may alter depending on your client's project. So take time to get yourself organized and on the right page before taking on a new client and their marketing requests. You don't want to be caught with your pants down, I don't think that won't leave a very good impression. What are some of your own strategies to preparing for a new client?