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I'm Dolly — a Nashville based family and branding photographer & a business systems educator for small biz owners who want to be more streamlined. I'm here to help you look awesome (for your photos) & feel great about business systems!
Regardless of where you are in your small business journey, you know it is essential to actually have clients to serve within your business because otherwise, you wouldn’t be in business (am I right?).
But how do you actually GET your dream clients to know you, like you, and trust you over time? (I know I know, that is a deep question with MANY answers) but, one of the best ways to start attracting the right clients to work with you is by actually KNOWING your ideal client’s journey (aka client mapping) and how they can work with you from start to finish.
I like to think of this as a type of client mapping as a “workflow” and in this blog post, I am going to be peeling back the process of how content creation PLUS the different stages of the customer journey can go hand in hand to create a smooth content creation workflow for you as a small biz owner!
*(This read will take about 15 minutes)*
Okay, if you’re not tracking along or if your brain is spinning with confusion, that’s okay, I’ll try to break it down with some examples throughout this blog post.
And because I like to present in bullet points, I am going to share 3 essential reasons why you should be mapping out your ideal client journey with content creation in mind. Let’s dive in!
Even though you are new and are building your business, don’t let the excuse of your new business be a hindrance to you creating content. Do any of these excuses sound familiar? “What will so and so think if I post this?” OR “I’m new and no one will listen to me” OR “Who am I to post this?” OR “I don’t even have any time to create content!” ➡️(These are all excuses I have fallen prey to and it’s all due to either imposter syndrome, or me being insecure about something very petty) 😲
One of my mantras within my own business is this: “Be intentional and stay in your own lane”
I try to stick to that mantra when it comes to content creation within my systems and workflow business of Dolly DeLong Education. Otherwise, there is so much temptation to compare my business with the bigger business gurus who are more established and are lightyears ahead of me, and also, there is a temptation to fall prey to the thoughts of “well I don’t’ have a big audience so who is actually going to listen?” AND the ultimate thought “well, I don’t have a big enough team to accomplish anything therefore, I don’t have any time to finish anything” (Yup, I know you all have these thoughts!)
If I had listened to those inner voices, and not pushed through the noise of my own insecurities, I never would have honed in on the fact that I love teaching other business owners how to better streamline and automate their own business using Pinterest as a small business owner and Dubsado (specifically as a family photographer). I would have given up YEARS ago and would not have discovered how much I love systems and workflow education (because it took me years to discover this passion to be better streamlined and automated) (ahhah, is that even a passion of anyone else’s? I hope so!)
✅So, I share that to swing back to the point of, you have to be consistent with your messaging and slowly over time you will establish your business and brand’s authority to start attracting the right audience. It will NOT happen overnight. Heck, it may take years, but if you are good at thinking long-term, your business will blossom and grow to reach and impact the RIGHT clients.
So while you are working to establish your business and brand’s voice, I would encourage you to create content that can speak to your client that you want to serve. This is why it’s important to know WHO you serve (because you literally cannot serve everyone unless you’re a magical fairy) (For example, in my systems education side of Dolly DeLong Education, I know I want to teach Family Photographers how to use the systems of Dubsado in their small business…note I said a specific group of business owners: Family Photographers).
You may have heard this already, but it’s important to write to ONE client when you’re creating content. You will always attract (and repel) clients with your content (I am almost certain that there are readers of my content who are repelled by my writing style OR even just how I teach systems and workflow education) but I do know who exactly I’m speaking to, and I know I am serving that audience because I have great feedback week after week and it’s been a slow (but steady) growth for me.
As you get to know your ideal client, you are going to know what type of content they are wanting (and needing) to hear, and in addition to that facet of content creation, you are always going to be learning within your own business and you will most likely develop content based off of your recent education as well.
It is going to be a very multifaceted content creation journey for you.
This leads me to the next point, as you continue to get to know your ideal client…
So again, what do the various stages of a client journey and content creation have in common? Well, in this case when you know your ideal client and their journey with your business you can create content that helps them along the way because their journey is not just from point A to Point B, it’s Point A to Point Z with so many stopping points in-between.
When you intimately know ALL the stages of your ideal client’s journey, you can create content to hit all the major points of their journey and meet them where they are, and again, going back to point one, it will show you as the established authority.
So let’s get into an example of what this looks like.
So a client’s journey, again, is several layers
The first layer is the UNAWARE stage. A person is unaware of your brand and so they may stumble upon your brand/business via Instagram, Social Media, word-of-mouth, Pinterest, just about anywhere. They go from being unaware to aware in a variety of ways.
Which leads them to the next stage of AWARENESS. They are aware of your business, but they don’t really know you. So in this stage, you are creating content that helps them get to know you, to like you and over overtime, trust you.
The next stage I like to refer to as the “NURTURE STAGE” and now that they are aware of your brand (they have subscribed to your podcast or subscribed to your blog, or they follow your Youtube channel, or they love your Instagram feed, etc) they are truly getting to know you and your content is nurturing them along the way, your content is helping solve problems for them along the way of this nurturing sequence. In a way, you are sowing seeds of helpful tips and wisdom into their lives.
The next stage could be a BOOKING STAGE. You have established yourself as an authority figure in their life and have made a great impression on them. So they want to work with you in some capacity. In the booking stage, you are bringing an elevated amount of content that is only available at the paid level either through services, 1:1 services, an online course, a paid program, just content that is super ELEVATED & PURPOSEFUL.
Another stage after that is a more loyal FAN stage, they have already worked with you, they already know you, like you and trust you, and they already consume your content and now they are bringing in others to get to know you, like you and trust you too (like they are putting new customers in your awareness stage, even though they themselves are at the FAN stage)
So, even though this can be daunting to think about, you most likely as a business owner have clients at ALL of these levels in some way, shape, or form (you just haven’t really stopped to think about it). That’s why it’s important to try to create some sort of content that can serve your clients and audience at the specific stage they are in. Here is how I do this within my own business (Dolly DeLong Education) where I serve business owners with systems and workflow education tips on how to better automate their businesses using the powerful platforms of Pinterest and Dubsado.
–Unaware Phase: I always try to be mindful of the fact that I may have new faces on my main platforms so I try to do an introduction post at least once every other week. I introduce myself, who I am, who I serve, and a fun fact about me (an example is an Instagram post here)
–Awareness Phase: This content is geared mostly towards my newer followers who may have just been introduced to me and have been following me for a little while. I really try to create content that is easily consumable on Instagram and Pinterest (where I know my traffic is coming to thanks to Google Analytics). I’m always sharing tips and information about what I do, and in this awareness phase I am sharing free downloads and free resources that the viewer can read later and apply to their own business
In the awareness phase, I am also very present on my blog posts because that is how I share my main content and then from there I am stretching it out to social media. I go into depth about that process in my Batching Masterclass.
–The Nurture Phase: A viewer may have been following me for a while and they decided to subscribe to one of my freebies all about systems and workflow education because they are curious how to apply it to their business. Because they have subscribed to a freebie, they are now getting content from me on a weekly basis in newsletter form (not just blog form) and they are getting even more education on all things systems and workflows (specifically centered around Pinterest for small business owners and Dubsado for Family Photographers).
–The Booking Phase: The viewer is finally at the point where they know me, like me, and trust me and they purchase a template, a mini-course, or a 1:1 VIP day all centered around systems and workflow education because they understand what I do, who I serve, and how I can help them solve a systems or workflow related problem in their business. The content I share in this stage is at the highest level because it is paid and they walk away with more knowledge of how to use Pinterest or Dubsado (or some systems + workflow-related education) in their own business because they have worked with me in some capacity.
–The Fan Phase: The viewer continues to work with me and is a fan for life and in this phase, I am creating content that highlights my past clients (them) and showcases how their business was transformed by working with me. Even if I only have gotten to serve them one time, they are still sticking around and letting me know what type of content to create that could potentially help tweak my current mini-courses OR they give me fresh ideas on future items to create.
Now, it’s not so cut and dry in every business, and to be honest, I am creating content that is meeting viewer’s where they are in their client journey along the way so that’s why it is VERY important to know your ideal client’s customer journey with you and how your content can meet them where THEY ARE AT in the journey.
(Here is a very bad drawing of this process, but I wanted to give you a visual representation of how I see this journey! Note: I’m not a graphic designer…so don’t judge me)
Yes, you CAN do this without giving away everything and the kitchen sink and you can STILL establish your brand and expertise by providing valuable FREE content that leads into your services and offers.
A way to feature your content for FREE is by showing up on platforms you “own” such as blogging, podcasting, and creating videos for Youtube (not just promoting your content on social media = which is a platform you do not own).
You know your business and your audience the best (or you are growing to know your business, who you serve, and who you are talking to) so you will learn how to promote your business on a platform that works for you!
If you are interested in learning how I do this (how I created content/freebies that lead into my paid services) I teach this in my mini-course: The Lead Magnet Mini-Course which you can learn about here
Overall, if you are at the beginning stages of your own business journey, don’t beat yourself up if you feel an overwhelming burst of imposter syndrome. We all have started, so it’s up to you if you want to show up and continue to show up (or if you are just going to sink back and give up because it all just “feels overwhelming”).
A great starting point is by actually taking the time to map out your ideal client’s journey and create what you think their roadmap would be like to work with you, and then at every “point” of that roadmap attach different content pieces that would “speak” to that stage.
This part takes time. (Read that again…THIS PART TAKES TIME). You are always going to be ebbing and flowing with your business, but if you continue to push on and truly be patient with yourself, you are going to learn how to speak to your customer at every point and part of their journey which, in turn, will help you better hone in on knowing what their workflows are going to look like when they work with you (see, I told you that content creation and workflows CAN go hand in hand)!
So if you are at a point where you want to learn how to create content that is in alignment with your business BUT you have a limited amount of time due to various life circumstances, I have created a mini-course called “The Content Creation Batching Masterclass” where I show you how to create 30 days of Intentional content that is in alignment with your business (to stretch it out on various platforms) in 4 days and I peel back the curtain of what it looks like for my own business HINT: I do this process for my own business EVERY single month, so this is a tried and true method that works for me!
You can check it out here:
And if you are not ready to invest in the Batching Masterclass, I have a FREE download that will help you dip your toes in the world of content creation. Check it out here
Thanks for reading! I hope this inspires you to truly dive into your own client journey and to see how you can incorporate content into each of the stages! When you have it all mapped out (which again, may take several years, and that’s okay because I know you are in it for the long haul) you are going to know how to beautifully attach workflows to go with each of these stages!
Dolly DeLong is a Nashville-based family & branding photographer and a creative business owner who educates other family photographers on how to best streamline their family photography business by using powerful automation tools in order to find the JOY in workflows and systems. Dolly loves serving families, and business owners with her timeless, radiant photography. And, she also loves educating other business owners on how to set up systems and workflows that will ultimately help them save time in their business.
She has a heart for serving the larger business community. Dolly shares her knowledge of tools like Dubsado, Email Marketing, and Business Systems with new creative business owners & family photographers in an encouraging and supportive way because she believes that anyone can find joy in automation! Plus BONUS: Systems is where the MAGIC happens!
Dolly’s faith and love for her family motivate her to help other business owners find the joy and freedom she’s found in running a successful small business.
Whenever she has a spare moment, she enjoys watching TV (i.e. Survivor), loves eating way too many sweets, and listens to podcasts while running or walking. To work with Dolly DeLong Photography LLC, fill out her contact form here.
Interested in learning how to best automate a part of your business but you have no clue where to begin? Check out www.dollydelongphotography.com/automate to begin your automation journey today!