How To Attract High-Value Clients

by Michelle Hunter

Wondering how YOU can draw more high-value clients to your creative or professional service business? Here’s my advice.

Two people shaking hands at a business meeting

There’s an obstacle on the journey to building a successful business. It’s not discussed much in the online marketing world, but it is one of the more difficult challenges to overcome. See if this sounds familiar…

You offer a proven service and have achieved a comfortable level of success. While you’re not fully booked all the time, you have clients you enjoy and are hitting modest revenue goals consistently.

But, you’re not yet truly profitable. You’re providing a high level of value for a relatively small investment. In short, everyone is getting a great deal while you’re getting burned out.

The problem? Your business seems to consistently attract clients with limited budgets and lengthy expectations. This is an indication that you are positioned at the top of your price bracket- meaning your fees are near the limit of your marketing ability. You are positioned to attract the clients you’re getting… and those clients aren’t ready to make the type of investment you need to be profitable.

Does all this sound familiar? I thought so.

The obstacle is a plateau created by your marketing strategy (or lack of one).

If you want to attract a higher level of client, you must upgrade your marketing approach.

Don’t trick yourself into a strategy that combines expanded scope with increased pricing. This is simply a cash flow game, not a strategy for creating true profitability- trading additional deliverables for more dollars without actually expanding the real value of your work.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking the market simply won’t allow you to increase your fees. Instead, open a browser window and check out your competition. Others in your marketplace charge more for similar services and seem to attract higher-value clients.

Then, take a close look at the competition. Identify one or two businesses in your industry that you respect and admire and deconstruct the marketing strategy they use. How are they positioned? What is their core message? How are they generating leads?

The goal is not to try and copy anyone. That won’t shake things up in your market. Rather, your mission here is observation and analysis. As you consume the content you see, ask yourself how it compares to your approach. Does the strategy you see appear intentional and consistent? What can you learn from what you discover?

Want to increase your profitability? Use what you learn to refine your marketing approach and shift your focus to the high-value clients you crave.

Not sure where to start? Here’s what I recommend.  

Refine your core message.

As your ideal client shifts, you need to shift your core message appropriately.  High-value clients come to your business with a set of concerns, needs, and priorities that are likely quite different from those of your current client base. Even if the needs are similar, the language used to describe those needs is often quite different.

While your current client base might speak of a desire for increased sales or a bigger audience, high value clients may speak instead of sustainable revenues and greater market share. The thought is similar, but the language is different. Intentionally observe the language of those in your new target market with a goal of bringing that language into your messaging.

While your current client base might prioritize authenticity and how it feels to work with you, high value clients in your market might be more concerned with collaboration and solving problems strategically. Evaluating the messaging of competitors at this level can give you clues about what resonates with your new target clients. Dig deeply and identify themes in this messaging that align with the strengths and mission of your business.

The work you do here will significantly increase your ability to attract high-value clients. Shifting your core messaging in this way allows you to increase the effectiveness of your copy, demonstrate a higher level of value, and generate higher quality leads for your business.

Improve your website design and functionality.

Your website creates a powerful first impression. Potential clients form an idea of the quality of your services and the overall customer experience you provide based on their experience of your website.

Poorly executed design or poor user experience is an indication of a lower quality client experience. Potential clients will find it difficult to trust the marketing promises made by a business whose website is glitchy, poorly designed, or difficult to use.

Similarly, a well-executed design creates an impression of the quality and professionalism you bring to your work.  Aesthetics are only a part of the mix. Clean, simple designs can be just as effective as bold, edgy ones. The key is the overall feeling the site creates. You can display a sarcastic wit, an ultra-professional agency feel, or a warm and casual atmosphere with equal effectiveness. You just have to execute on these design elements in a professional way.

And… there’s no excuse for a lack of functionality or a broken process on your site. If your contact form doesn’t work, for instance, a high-value client will likely move to one of your competitors rather than email you directly.

Focus your marketing efforts.

Look, I totally understand… marketing is often about experimentation, especially when you’re first establishing your business. You try a variety of tactics until you find one that works reasonably well. Here’s the problem- the experimental approach that got you to your current level of success isn’t a very effective system for upleveling.

In order to consistently attract a high-value clients to your business and build sustainable revenue, you need a focused marketing approach that is aligned with the needs and buying behavior of your ideal clients. This means getting crystal clear on the needs, concerns, and buying behavior of your clients. In other words, you need to dial in your marketing strategy.

The research I recommend when refining your message applies here as well. Observe how others in your industry engage potential clients. Ask yourself why a particular tactic works for one of your competitors. Is it aligned with their core values or a key differentiator? Is it engaging the audience at a point of need? Which one?

Now turn to a bit of self-analysis. What sets your business apart in your market? What do you do better than others you see? What do you do differently? Is there a gap in the market (an unsolved problem, an ignored need) that you can fill to set yourself apart?

Effective marketing strategy exists at the intersection of your strengths/values/abilities and your potential client’s felt need.

Identifying this intersection is the foundation of building a focused marketing strategy.

Notice I’m not talking about tactics at this point. I recommend selecting a primary marketing channel for your business (tactics) after you understand your clients’ buying behavior and how you can best position your business to stand out in a high value market. The channel you select (content marketing, social media, public speaking, advertising) is less important than the strategy that you use to leverage that channel. You can create lots of blog posts, for example, without generating a single high-value lead for your business… taking action inside the channel without dialing in the strategy will create much more noise than leads.

Focused marketing strategy is developed using an intentional process.

In my work with clients, I combine a deep dive into the needs and buying behavior of their target clients with an understanding of their available resources and brand personality. Together we create and implement sustainable marketing strategy designed to engage high-value clients, build trust, and draw them into the sales process. Sound interesting? You can learn more here.

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