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3 ways to keep a stream of clients during a recession



If you follow me on social media, or are subscribed to my #MarketingMagicMondays email list (join me here) then you will have been expecting me to go live on YouTube on Saturday.

But tech and the Universe had other plans! I ended up going live on my Facebook page as a plan B, but the sound was terrible – so don’t watch that!

Instead, as promised, I’m writing this post for you, so you get the same tips I was sharing on the video.

So without further ado, here are 3 remarkably simple things you can be doing to keep the clients coming as we head into a recession.

1. It’s all about referrals

I’m going to tell you HOW I get referrals. But first, I want to make sure you understand WHY they are my number 1 tip.

In a nutshell, getting a referred client almost completely bypasses the normal ‘sales funnel’ process of content marketing. You need to do very little convincing to get somebody who has been referred to you by a trusted friend or colleague of theirs, to actually book in a session.

The point of marketing, or course, is to show people why you are the right coach or therapist for them. But when a person is referred to you, whoever did that referring has already sung your praises. For this reason, referrals are very low effort for you, and cost very little in terms of time and effort.

Usually, to bring a new person down your sales funnel, from being a cold lead, to a warm lead, to converting them into a paying customer is quiet a long journey.

If you aren’t totally sure what I’m talking about when I say “marketing funnel”, “warm leads” or “journey”, then watch my simple explanation here on YouTube.

So that’s WHY referrals are number one for me. Now let’s cover the HOW.

When I first went freelance I needed more clients, and fast. I had bills stacking up and to be honest, I was still a bit unsure if I could manage in the world of self-employment. So I had to fill my weeks with paying work, and fast. So here’s what I did…

I opened a Word doc, and I wrote a really honest letter, explaining that I had gone freelance and was actively seeking clients. I wrapped up the email by offering to return the favour for the reader – if they were looking for referrals for their own business then to let me know.

I then copied and pasted from that Word doc, and sent an email to every freelance or self-employed contact I had.

Not to brag, but it totally worked! So if you do the same, I’d be surprised if you didn’t get some interest at the very least. Even in a recession, there are still clients out there for you – but in a small business you don’t have tons of time and budget to try other forms of marketing like Facebook ads or creating a ton of content (create some, of course). So you need to focus on getting a fast return on investment. Referrals are King for this!

It is most definitely worth a good old try!

2. Re-engage your old customers

The only thing that really rivals the power of the referral, is the power of the repeat customer! Now as for which one comes higher up the list, this will vary depending on your business.

What do I mean? Just this…

If you are a massage therapist, or something equally addictive (I love getting a massage) then you might focus more on repeat customers than referrals – it might just be easier for you, especially if you have an email list of past clients who you can re-engage with a nice discount from time to time.

But if you are a life coach or psychotherapist, then it’s the case that you don’t want the same customer back time and time again – they should be moving on an feeling better after working with you.

So in that case, I would place referrals above repeat customers.

But if you are going for re-engaging your old customers, then sending out a tempting offer via email is the most direct and cost-effective thing you can do.

If you don’t yet have a decent email list and want to learn how – head straight to the bottom of this post – I have training on offer right now, and it’s half price!

Right, back to it…

3. Focus in your warm audience

So as with point 1, you need a basic understanding of the content marketing sales funnel in order to know what the heck I’m referring to here.

If you need it, here’s my simple video explanation again.

Assuming you’re with me on what a warm audience is, I’m going to tell you that this is where you should be focusing more of your time and energy during tough financial times.

Along the journey from cold audience to warm, there is a lot of ‘proving yourself’ to be done, through sharing your story, writing or recording great content, and generally showing up. And to your cold audience, all of this is done while fighting your way upstream through the social media algorithms.

While you don’t want to drop this work entirely, I’d say it’s not where to focus so much right now. It is always worth staying in front of your cold audience by doing the basics (i.e. keep up some social media activity so you don’t disappear) and just keep in mind that your cold audience are like seeds in your garden.

You need to keep popping out to water those seeds, but don’t expect to be harvesting any fruit from them for about 6 months. The ‘seeds’ you are growing in your cold audience now are next season’s customers!

But while we are feeling the initial financial shockwave of the pandemic, you will get a faster ‘harvest’ from nurturing your warm audience. These are the people who know and trust you already, so they are further along that ‘journey’ to becoming your paying customer.


So if you need to get new paying clients in the next few weeks in order to keep the lights on, then referrals, repeat clients, and your warm audience are where to put your focus right now.

I hope that helps. Over the coming weeks I am going to be going into more depth on each of these 3 tips, with specific examples. So keep an eye out, or subscribe to either my email list or my YouTube channel so you don’t miss out.

Email List Building Help

So above I mentioned my new training, which is currently on offer. My Email Marketing Training Bundle is a package of simple, easy-to-follow how-to videos, plus a template to make writing your newsletters easy and effective. I really love a template!

The videos cover everything from setting up your first opt-in page in Mailchimp, to nurturing your list (warm audience), pitching your offers to them, and promoting your list to new subscribers on social media.

As I’m in my launch party period, it is currently half price until the end of May! Head here to see more.

As always, if you have any questions then drop me a line: hello@sarahkbrandis.com.

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