We had a great product, setup up a fast and efficient service and often received great feedback from clients. Why were more new clients not lining up at our small business door? We had focused our efforts on how to serve our clients but not enough on how to attract them in the first place. Random acts of marketing were not cutting it. We needed an “Attract Plan.”

“Many small businesses owners do not realize the importance of putting at least half of their efforts into getting new clients in the door.”

Although it isn’t rocket science, many fail to put in the necessary time and effort to create their “Attract Plan.”

Here are the 3 crucial steps to this plan:

1. Define your ideal client

Before you spend dollars and hours on advertising, you need to clearly define your ideal client, figure out where they hang out (online and offline) and what problems they are trying to solve right now.

Who is your ideal client?

The one that is easiest to convert and that spends the most money at your place. Paint their portrait in detail: who they are, what they do, what they like, etc. (called: personas).

We realized that our ideal clients were school caterers. They usually serve hundreds, if not thousands of meals every day and our eco-friendly trays and fast sealing equipment suited them perfectly.

Where do they hang out? 

With that definition in mind, find out where they come and go. Which locations, trade shows or malls do they visit? What do they watch and listen to? What about the online world? Which sites do they visit? What videos are they watching? What do they search on google?

Our school caterers visit trade shows but mostly are in their kitchens, so visits to their location was key. They visit food sites and watch cooking shows. They search for healthier yet cheaper recipes and eco-friendly options because their clients demand it.

What problem are they trying to solve right now?  

Potential clients are constantly looking to resolve the problem or opportunity of the moment. What are those problems right now? What’s trending in their industry?

In our case, clients are looking to grow their businesses. Eco-friendly packaging solutions and faster equipment as they grow are on their minds a lot.

2. Get their attention

Once you have a clearer sense of who your ideal client is, you need to get their attention. Decide what your problem-solving message will be, decide where you will be getting their attention in the real world, and where you will be found online by them. 

What will be your problem-solving message?

Create a problem-solving message that relates to your business. Copywriting is important, but if you use the words calling out their existing challenge, clients will notice your message, no matter what.

We have a line of pulped paper packaging that seals perfectly. They are compostable and recyclable and fit exactly what our clients request. Our ads online and offline talk about that a lot.

Where will you be getting their attention in their real world?  

From highway billboards to flyers dropped in client’s doors, get your message out in places where you have the best chance of getting noticed by your ideal client. This is key.

We exhibit at main restaurant shows as well as advertise in national food trade journals. Since caterers are in their kitchen a lot, we drop in to touch base.

Where will you be found online?

You need to exist online, period. You need to have a website, a page on Facebook or other relevant social platforms. Publish relevant articles and posts consistently, and advertise with google AdWords. Be relevant online to be found.

Early on, we had a full website as well as social media pages with relevant copywriting. School caterers searching for “eco-friendly paper tray” will find us first on google. Our weekly publications ensure we stay relevant for these keywords.

3. Get their intention

Congratulations, you got their attention, either online or offline. Now, how will you reaffirm your story, what freebie will you offer and how will you ask them to go to the next stage (i.e. engage)?

How will you reaffirm your story?  

In a previous article, I talk about the importance of “Storifying your business.” Once you have the attention of your prospects, you need to state your story in your Attract Plan at some point. If your ideal client pays attention and your business story talks to them, you will get their intention to engage.

Solpak helps its clients improve their meal packaging systems with eco-friendly options. It seems to reassure prospective clients as they discover our story.

What freebie will you offer?  

Let’s face it, a prospect will rarely notice you exist for the first time and buy whatever you sell thereafter. They need to know you by experiencing what you have to offer without spending any money. What can you offer to fulfill that need?

We offer a free sample kit and trial. Prospects are curious about our trays? Free samples. They are looking for sealing equipment? Free demo at their location.

How will you ask them to go to the next stage?  

This is probably the most overlooked element of getting their intention. Your ideal client now realizes you exist, pays attention to your message but there is not a specific call to action. Whether you attracted them to your website or started out with a conversation, you need to plan how you will engage them to go to the next stage.

In our case, visitors on our website can click on a link to order a free sample kit. Our advisors will offer free demos or needs analysis to get to the next stage.

In conclusion…

Setting up shop is half the battle. You need to also have an “Attract Plan” that is well thought out. That can be done by following these 3 crucial steps:

(1) Define your ideal client by figuring out who they are, where they hang out and what their current challenge is.

(2) Get their attention by formulating your problem-solving message and choosing your offline and online presence.

(3) Get their intention by reaffirming your business story, having a freebie so your prospects can experience your product and have a clear and actionable call to engage with you.

So, what is the “Attract Plan” in your small business?


If you liked this article, maybe you will like Sherpa’s Small Business Method we use at Solpak to stay organized in our efforts.  Download it here for free.