Don’t treat everyone the same

The client journey is so important when it comes to marketing, and it’s important to consider this and adapt your approach accordingly so you’re not treating everyone in exactly the same way.

It’s a common mistake to just categorise people into either ‘clients’ or ‘non-clients’, and to then market to all ‘non-clients’ in exactly the same way. In doing this, everyone is treated the same – everyone gets the same Facebook or Instagram posts, everyone gets the same emails etc.

The problem with this? These ‘non-clients’ you’re talking to are not all the same! They are all at different points in the client journey. Some will have only just come across you, some will have known you about you for years. Some won’t have even thought about buying from you yet, others might be really keen to do it soon. Some have questions, some don’t. Some have reservations, some don’t. Some people already like and trust you, some aren’t sure what to make of you yet. Some might have chatted to you already, some might never have interacted with you at all beyond pressing the ‘follow’ button. Plus there’s everyone in between. These people all need different things from you.


client journey


The solution? Start categorising your ‘non-clients’ into 4 different groups – cold, cool, warm and hot. Each one is a different stage of the client journey, and each has different needs. As I love an analogy, I’ll explain this as though your business is a physical shop in the high street.


People who don’t know about you and your business yet
ANALOGY: folk wandering around the neighbouring streets who have no idea your shop is there
WHAT THEY NEED FROM YOUlet them know you’re there!


People in your audience (i.e. follow you on social media, visit your website, on your mailing list) who don’t engage with you yet (no replies, comments, ‘likes’ etc)
ANALOGY: those who are just window shopping
WHAT THEY NEED FROM YOU: help them to get to know you better, show them what you have in common, why you’re ‘their kind of thing’, encourage them to interact with you so they can begin to know, like and trust you


People in your audience who show some interest in you (basic interaction, liking, commenting, replying etc)
ANALOGY: those who have come inside your shop to browse
WHAT THEY NEED FROM YOU: talk to them, listen to them, find out about them, understand them, provide solutions to their problems, help them see that you can give them what they want or need


People in your audience showing significant interest in you (enquiries and/or varied, frequent or enthusiastic interaction, especially relating to your paid services rather than your more generic posts)
ANALOGY: those who are in your shop and are actually picking things up off the shelves and looking like they might buy them
WHAT THEY NEED FROM YOU: understand what reservations they might have about buying from you, help allay concerns or worries, reassure them


client journey


Of course you should speak and market to all these groups, but in different ways.

Those in the cooler end (COLD and COOL) are fine with more generalised marketing such as collaborations, SEO, content marketing, lead magnets, social media, competitions, networking, email marketing and Facebook ads – where everyone gets ‘served’ the same thing and treated in the same way. As illustrated above, with these groups you need to focus on audience building and starting to nurture them, helping them to get to know you and your business a little better.

Those at the warmer end, (WARM and HOT) require a much more personalised, direct approach. In terms of the analogy, don’t ignore the people in your shop because you’re too busy focusing on trying to get the people on the street in through the door. Remember, these are the people most likely to become clients, and who are the easiest to convert into clients – so don’t neglect them! With the people at the warm end, it’s much less about generic ‘shouting into the void’ and more about personal conversations, direct contact, a more human approach. Find out about their own needs and concerns, respond to these personally and helpfully, don’t give them generic stuff, connect with them as a kind and helpful human, not just a ‘business owner’.


client journey


In The Shutterhood, there is a training on Hand-Raiser Marketing, which gives you loads of practical tools, tips and strategies on how to engage these ‘warm’ and ‘hot’ people if you’d like further support and advice with exactly how to do this.

Make it part of your weekly routine to create and update a list of warm/hot people in your audience, and to start proper, personalised conversations with them. They’ve taken the time to show more interest in you, so reward this by giving them more special treatment and take the time to get to know them more in return.

What are you going to do to connect more personally with your warm/hot non-clients this week?

Anna 🙂







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Manchester family photographer, for down-to-earth, adventurous, big-hearted families all across the North West, London and UK

Creative, documentary family photography in Manchester, Liverpool, Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire, London

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