Having content is one thing. Knowing how to use that content to convert followers into paying clients is another.
At Market St. Creative, we love creating content for you to use in your sleep consulting business! We also know that if you aren’t utilizing your content effectively, then you are just leaving money on the table.
Last month I asked Social Media Business Coach, Allison Henderson, to share her expertise for how we, as sleep consultants, can use our content to convert followers into paying clients.
You can catch the full video here. But if reading is more your style, you can read Allison’s answers to my questions below!
Question: I’ve heard you use the phrase “post and pray”. Tell us why that strategy won’t lead to money in the bank.
The post and pray method, which if you're not familiar with, is just where we post on social media and we just sit there and we kind of just wait for clients to come to us. When you get to the point in your business where you have a ton of followers and you have had hundreds of clients you can kind of do that. I'm at that point in my business where I'm not constantly in the DM's, making connections and building a huge network. But when I first started, I was really just sitting there and waited. I had no audience. I was just sitting there like, “Oh my God, what do I do?”
And so that's one of the biggest mistakes that I see. When you are just starting out and you have no network, you don't really have a big following. There has to be something else that you do. I want you going to the clients, I want you building your own following and making those connections.
So this strategy can work when you get to a certain point in your business. But when you first start out and you're just like, “what do I do?” I don't recommend the post and pray method.
It does take time to build your confidence. It takes time for you to show up as that leader and authority and really find your unique voice. And that doesn’t just happen when you first start. It probably took me a few months, if not a year or so. Where I was like, this is who I want to be, this is who I am, and this is the type of coach I am. It takes a little bit of time to get to that point!
Question: What types of content do you suggest creating to warm up a cold audience?
There's a few different types of content. We have educational content, which sleep consultants are really, really good at because they have just finished their certification program, they have so much knowledge going on up here, so it's so easy for them to create educational content.
But the missing piece of content, which usually converts people into paying clients, is the personal content, the entertaining content, the content where we're actually selling. Those three are missed a lot and I see this almost every day where it's like we are teaching people how to do things (the educational piece), but we're not giving anyone a reason to fall in love with us. And that's the big thing - the know, like and trust factor is a real thing. We can't ignore that! If they don't know you or like you and trust you, they're not going to buy from you, right?
That's why staying consistent here on social media is so important and why I still try everyday to come on Instagram and give you a little piece of my life and tell you a little bit about who I am because I know my beliefs, my philosophy, and just how I live life or view life is going to be a lot of the reason why you end up working one-on-one with me.
Share with people things that they will connect with. How do you live your life? Why are you so amazing? What do you love? What do you hate? Do you have kids? Do not have kids. Do you have dogs? Do you not have dogs? I know this might seem so stupid. They're the things that we do habitually. The things that are our norm, our everyday norm, people like to know about. And these little teeny aspects of your life are going to be the reason why somebody's going to fall in love with you and think “I can't wait to work with her.”
What is your take on hashtags? Do you recommend using them in Instagram posts?
I think they're still effective. I just don't use hashtags in the way other people use hashtags. I will every so often throw some on a post if I have time but if you don't have a ton of extra time, then don't do it. I always think of my ideal client - is she using a hashtag searching for somebody like me? I don't think so.
Hashtags can get you on the Explore Page so I like to use hashtags in a way to find clients. That's one of my zones of genius. For me, I know what hashtags sleep consultants are using. So for you, you would be thinking… “if I'm looking for a sleep deprived mom, which hashtags would she be using?”
Switch around the way you think of hashtags - you need to look through hashtags to find your ideal client. And if you want to use hashtags on your post, great. I think it does help with reach and if you follow #sleepconsultant then you're likely going to see somebody else that uses that hashtag too.
How can we use content to build trust with new followers?
Brand new followers are on your page because they are either trying to figure out if they have a problem or they know they have a problem and they're looking for a solution to their problem. I'm going to repeat that because this is really important!
New followers, these cold needs, either they know they have a problem and are looking for a solution or they're trying to figure out if they have a problem.
We want to be getting on sales calls with people that actually know they have a problem and they're not like, “do I have a problem” on a sales call.
In order for us to build that trust with them, educational content is great. Educational content that's really pointing to the fact that you have the solution to their problem. Showcasing that you're an authority, showcasing that you're a leader, sharing those testimonials, showing that we call “proof of concept” is also important. Showcasing that you actually have a proven method that will get them results is what will get them to sign up with you. If you don't share that, if you don't sell and you're not actively talking about the methods then people won’t see you as the expert that you are.
And you don’t have to share your step by step method of “this is how you get your baby to fall asleep by themselves”. It's not like that - it’s sharing “this is how I got this client from here to here”. Sharing a story, sharing a case study. Those are the posts that build serious trust!
But also remember, they have to actually know you, right? So sharing those little tickets of your day that are going to get people to know you and like you and want to work with you. I think that's what gets somebody from a cold lead to a hot lead really, really fast.
It’s always nice when posts receive likes but likes aren’t adding to the bottom line. How can we use likes to build connections?
I always say, “pay attention to who's paying attention to you”. But also I want you having this idea and this thought in your head that for every five clients that you have, there's also five clients that are silent lurkers and that you won't even know that they're going to hire you tomorrow. So have that belief as well!
We can obviously look to see how many likes on a post but then you need to consider what to do with those likes. Of course you always want them to message you but when you are first starting your business, I want you starting that conversation. I want you actually going to the clients as much as possible.
It's much easier starting a conversation with somebody who is liking your post, watching your stories. You see their name pop up here and there so it’s a little easier. For somebody who's super, super cold, who isn't following you it’s a little harder. Not saying you can't start conversations with them, there's definitely methods that I teach and you can do that as well. But man oh man is so much easier starting a conversation with somebody that is already following you and you can kind of maybe see that they might be having an issue right now. They probably wouldn't be following you or liking your post or commenting on your post if they didn't know, they had some sort of issue or problem.
Start those conversations, pay attention to who's paying attention to you and just see how you can help them. We're here to give value, we're here to help. That has to be your number one reason why you show up on Instagram.
Tell us about how we can use our stories to convert followers into paying clients. What type of content works best to accomplish this?
Content works best in story! It's really similar to what I said earlier about just being personal. Your stories have such a brilliant way to build intimacy. Let them fall in love with you! But if followers don't even know the face behind the brand, the likelihood of them actually messaging you or engaging with you is really low.
The coaches that are the most successful in this business are the coaches who smashed together that they're an influencer and they're also really good at coaching. And so I and I'm not saying this in a way like you need to be a super influencer. I'm saying this as you are actually coming out here and being a leader and sharing your thoughts. Sharing your opinions and not being afraid and just really being confident.
We can't ignore that we buy from confident people, right? You won’t be confident overnight - it’s a slow build. So if you're not feeling super confident in yourself or in your business right now, it's totally fine. It's a slow build. Go listen to my newest podcast because I talked about this.
It's important that we are letting people in and the easiest way for a story to convert into a paying client is us showing our personal day-to-day lives and also incorporating that we sell and are really, really good at this one thing - you're a specialist and you're a leader!
So maybe you can share a mini training, this could be less than two minutes (not a mini master class) sharing how to do something or your take on something and at the end saying “hey if this is something that you are struggling with, is this something you are looking for help with, something you need support with click this box.
Put up poles - poles are amazing! Someone clicks it and you can go, “I have a lead”. And then you start the conversation. But I think so many times we don't even do that. Don't even sell.
If I get on a sales call and I get asked, “how do I get a client? What should I do?” I'm always wondering when the last time was that you actually sold in your stories or sold in one of your posts and the answers I get are “I haven't ever”, or “maybe last week”. That might be the reason why you're not getting consistent clients - you're not consistently sharing the amazingness that you have to offer!
What do you think is the biggest mistake that sleep consultants make when it comes to not being able to convert followers into paying clients.
I have mentioned a few but this is the one thing that we haven't talked about yet and I think that's really important - your headlines for your content.
That is my biggest pet peeve is a post that starts with something like: “Happy Friday”. Don't get me wrong, the content is probably really really great but give your audience a reason to click it!
I always like to think about my content like magazine type headlines. When you open up a magazine you want them to sit there and go, “I want to read this article”. It’s the same thing when you come on social media. We have to have a scroll stopping headlines. We're moving very fast on Instagram. We're stuck in the scroll, we have kids that give us a lot of distractions. Give people a reason to sit there and go “I'm going to save this post” or “I'm going to watch this now” or “I'm going to read this right now”. You want them to sit there and remember that this was really important. We want them to read it. And if they don't read it, that’s such a shame because you just spent like an hour creating that post, 30 minutes creating that post and no one watched it, no one read it.
So work on that headline - spend 5 to 10 minutes to think “does my ideal client want to read this thing?”
I see sleep consultants use a lot of industry jargon words. Use terminology that your ideal client actually understands. Somebody who needs your help doesn't know what a false start is, they don't know what a wake window is, and you guys use these words a lot.
It's great to talk about it in the post, but for a headline, no, because they don't get it! It has to be something where she literally just thought that - it happened to her right now. So something like, “constantly drinking coffee because your kid doesn't sleep?” That’s the type of stuff that makes people stop their scroll and think “I need to read this”.
Sometimes when we're overly educational, we need to sit there and go “how can I just get really clear about what this means and why it's even important for her?”
If sleep consultants are interested in learning more about how to effectively sell through Instagram, how can they get in touch with you?
So first it in my bio, right now I have a free workshop that I recently did. It was called the Content Creation Workshop where I give you much more detail on how to create highly converting content. I go over more about headlines, what is a call the action, what is a hashtag, and what kind of post to create for different levels of consciousness that we are in when we are in the buying phase.
Go check out the link in my bio if you are like “Allison, I just really want more from you overall”. I do have a full three-month coaching container where I have two different courses in there that run you through the full foundations of building your online business and creating consistent clients for yourself. I really want you to learn how to create content, but also how to conduct a sales call, and how to have a sales page that's highly converting.
There are a lot of different elements to an actual online business that is a little bit more than just content. So you can have a full three-month coaching container with me. If you want to apply, the link is in my bio.