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12 ways to improve your content marketing



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Content marketing is the secret art of persuading people through education and information, not smoke and mirrors. Customers educate themselves on the solutions to their own problems, and further educate themselves on why your solution is the one they need. Basically, you’re marketing to them with content that teaches, informs and inspires. So there’s no better time to improve your content marketing!

Your content usually appears in one of three forms: things you read, things you hear and things you see. That can be blog articles, web pages, whitepapers, ebooks, special reports, tweets,and so on. Email campaigns (87%) and educational content (77%) are the two of the most popular content marketing methods that B2B marketers use.

You also might use videos, photos, infographics and navigation schemes as 84% of people have decided to buy a product or service after watching a video. Or it could be podcasts, music, presentations or (again) videos. More than half of podcast listeners say they are more likely to consider brands advertised on podcasts.

When customers show up in your sales funnel, they’re already pre-qualified and just need to be shown how and why yours is the best possible product or service they need.

That doesn’t mean you can be boring and create mediocre content and just expect people to show up.

There are a lot of people out there who are creating interesting content and winning people over by being clever, humorous, and informative. They’re writing interesting copy, taking gorgeous photos, and producing high-quality video and audio content.

Improve your content marketing with a basic strategy

Person moving chess pieces

If you wanted to create a basic content strategy, you can follow these steps:

  1. Pick three to four frequent problems your product or service solves. Dedicate one topic per week for each month. You’ll cover all four topics in a month for blog articles and social media updates.
  2. Pick three to four themes for your strategy. Pick one theme per week of the month. For example, 1) how-to, 2) client case study, 3) typical client problem, 4) industry news analysis.
  3. Write one blog article per week about each theme. Post it to your blog as a way to boost your website’s SEO, but to also show your audience that you’re an expert in this field. (If you’d rather do videos or podcasts, do that too, but try to stick to the same schedule.)
  4. Build your social media audience. Do a search for people who are likely to buy from you and then follow them on Twitter and connect with them on LinkedIn and Instagram. Engage with them in regular conversations, don’t push out sales messages.
  5. Share industry news stories on your social channels. A great way to remind people of their pain points is to share news stories about them. If you sell a device that helps fleet drivers reduce fuel costs, share news stories about gas prices going up. And write blog articles that analyze the issue.
  6. Do NOT build a day-to-day or week-to-week calendar. I’ve known agencies that scripted out an entire year’s worth of tweets and social updates, plus blog articles, only to have the entire script collapse when something in the industry or company changed. Think guidelines, not schedules.
  7. Incorporate holidays and events. Be sure to take holidays or special events into consideration. Hotels should have themes for Valentine’s Day, conference schedules and so on. Accountants should talk about tax day a month in advance. And retailers should make plans for the major shopping holidays several months in advance.

I’m leaving out the basic, it-goes-without-saying elementary “secrets” to improve your content marketing that every other expert tells you, but they’re still things you should do anyway:

  • Understand your unique value proposition.
  • Define your audience and create personas.
  • Know your keywords.

Or my most-detested “secret.”

Write good stuff.

(Seriously? That’s not optional! And it’s certainly not a secret. That’s like your family telling you “Drive safely” when you drive to work. Boy, I’m sure glad you said something because I was just going to swerve all over the place. Basically, if being told “write good stuff” makes you decide to write good stuff, then you need to re-examine your life choices.)

But assuming you already plan on putting forth your best effort as the very foundation of your business’ existence, here are the other 12 steps to improve your content marketing.

1. Optimize your website’s SEO

Depending on how you’re doing your SEO, your website and blog may need a tune-up.

Run your site through tools like SEObility or Moz’s free SEO tools to check the overall SEO health of your website, and then make the necessary updates.

But it doesn’t stop there, because it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it process. This is an ongoing task that you will have to perform until you shut your business forever.

If you have WordPress, install the Yoast SEO plugin and you’ll be able to optimize every page and blog post on your website. Just follow the instructions to earn a “green light” for every page or post and you’ll know that you have covered the SEO basics for your site.

Finally, keep in mind that your blog is going to play a critical part in your SEO efforts. A site with a great blog that is only partly keyword optimized will outperform a site that is greatly optimized but doesn’t have a blog. That’s because Google wants to see lots of written content, and a blog is an excellent way to provide that.

2. Think about your searcher’s intent

Whiteboard planning session for webpage content

Very often, people will optimize their sites with Google’s search bots in mind. Make the bots happy, give the bots what they want and you’ll rank high for your keywords.

The problem is, the bots don’t buy from you. Also, you may not actually care about the keywords you rank for. And eventually, a bot-first strategy will fail because you forgot the people.

Some unscrupulous SEO pros will tell website owners they can get them a No. 1 ranking. The problem is, they’re ranking for really esoteric long-tail keywords — “finger exercises for big data practitioners with degrees from Big 10 universities” — that don’t actually do anything.

Think of why people come to you in the first place. Do they have a problem? What kinds of problems? People even ask their phones or Google that question:

“How can I redesign my house on a budget?” “What should I do after a car accident?” “How do I stop my faucet from dripping?”

Write blog posts and rewrite your web pages to answer those exact questions. You can also do comparisons and reviews of specific products or services, comparing yours to your competition. Or review products that your customers might use, but you would provide for them, such as a heating/AC company reviewing different AC units.

3. Optimize your website for mobile devices

Google now ranks websites based on how well they perform on mobile devices. It doesn’t matter whether your visitors are using mobile devices or not. Even someone looking at your site on a laptop and 30″ monitor will only find your website if it’s mobile-friendly.

Use WPTouch Mobile Plugin if you have WordPress, or better yet, make sure your website is designed with HTML5 elements. If you don’t have WordPress, you still need HTML5. As long as your website looks great on a mobile phone, you’ll improve your rankings.

That also means adding small file-size photos that are roughly 900 pixels wide and 100 dpi resolution. Those load faster on a phone, which also helps your mobile rating.

4. Create INTERESTING content

Think twice before you publish that how-to article or explainer video, said the guy writing a how-to article. They’re usually boring, lack emotion and cover the same material as 1,000 other articles. (Said the guy whose article has 12 WHOLE STEPS!)

  • If you really want to interest people, write cool stuff about cool topics.
  • Write the in-depth, advanced, 401-level material super-secret knowledge instead of that 101-level stuff everyone else does.
  • Tell us how to use the Hero’s Journey storytelling model in our case studies. Do an interview with a notable leader in your field.
  • Do a Q&A session with your staff and ask them things like, “What’s your favorite non-business book?” or “When did you first decide to get into this field?
  • Have everyone answer the Proust Questionnaire.
  • Or develop your own Proust-like questionnaire and ask your staff and partners to answer it.

5. Post photos and videos to your Google My Business listing

Camera view screen in focus

When people do searches for products or services, oftentimes, Google will often show several business listings. One way to make sure your listing appears near the top (which puts your website at the top) is to add photo and video content to your Google My Business (GMB) listing.

After you’ve claimed and optimized your GMB listing — you <em>have</em> done that, haven’t you? — you can start adding photo and video content to it to help your Google rank but to also show your customers, followers and fans that you’re keeping the listing up to date.

Post videos of commonly asked questions.

If anyone ever emails you with a “How do I …?” question, turn that into a two- to three-minute video, as well as a blog post.

Post the video to YouTube and then embed it on your GMB listing.

6. Develop a voice and a personality

Most people write in a very serious, business-like tone. It’s rather dry and uninspiring, and it doesn’t convey any emotion or pull people in. But if you adopt a distinct voice and personality for your content marketing, you’re more likely to win people over because you’ll touch them.

Emotionally. I mean touch them emotionally.

See, my voice/personality is often humorous and lighthearted. Other times, I’ll adopt a personality or teacher voice, or put some Dad energy into my writing.* And in a lot of cases, I’ll use first person so you feel more connected to me as a writer.

* Be sure to get your car serviced before winter sets in.

Your voice can be serious, proper, fun, friendly, confident, admiring or inspirational. Think about how you normally speak to your friends and customers and then start dictating your writing. If you need some help, dictate a possible blog article into your phone’s recorder as if you were explaining a concept to your friend, and then upload the audio file to  to transcribe that into text.

Clean it up, get rid of the “umms” and “uhhs,” and make that your article. The tone of voice you used there is your website —and company’s — voice and personality.

7. Answer complex questions

I’ve said it elsewhere, but if you want your content marketing to stand out, avoid that 101-level of information. Stop writing lists about “10 reasons to hire an interior designer” or “5 ways to lower your taxes next year” because it’s the same boring nonsense that everyone else has posted.

Instead, dive deep into the weeds and esoterica of your field. Pick those questions that can’t be answered in just 500 words. If you take 2,000 words to deal with a topic, so be it.

Search marketers are finding that long content is actually performing better than short content.

This article is more than 2,000 words, and if you’ve read this far, then it’s clearly working.

8. Share personal stories and vulnerabilities

Book open on a desk

People buy from people they like and trust. One way to do that is to share stories about yourself that show you in something other than a heroic, gets-it-right-all-the-time light. Share stories where you learned tough lessons. Share stories of your mistakes. Share stories about your fear.

One of my favorite articles on my work blog deals with how, as a writer with more than 25 years of experience and four books under my belt, I still deal with imposter syndrome on a regular basis. It didn’t get me a lot of business, but I heard from other people with whom that article resonated because they also deal with imposter syndrome. I even had a couple of clients say something about it. It helped them understand me better and deepened the relationship.

You don’t have to uncover buried secrets that you’ve never told anyone. But it’s okay to share your feelings about certain topics if it will, as Simon Sinek says, help people understand your Why.

9. Start using TikTok and other short videos

I’ll confess, I’m not a big fan of TikTok. I see the point, I see why people like it and there are a few TikTokers I subscribe to (@bdylanhollis, @bmotheprince, @cheechandchong). I’ve even toyed with using it myself. But while I may not use it, I believe it will be the “Next Big Thing” in social media and content marketing.

There are already 1 billion people using TikTok worldwide and 100 million users in the United States, which makes it one of the largest social networks out there. TikTok is not an ideal B2B marketing tool.

I can’t imagine many manufacturers saying, “We need a new freight shipper! To the TikTok!”

But if you’re trying to reach Gen Z, you definitely want TikTok: 47.4% of active U.S. users are between 10 and 29, but the over-30 crowd grew 5.5 times from 2020 to 2021.

So if you’re in any kind of B2C market, TikTok and/or Instagram Reels need to be on your content marketing plan for 2022. If you don’t have a knack for video, then consider hiring some college students to produce some videos for you. Hire some kids from the film-making department or the theater department and ask them to produce some TikTok videos about your product.

10. Measure everything

You don’t know what to improve if you don’t know how well you’re doing. So you need to measure everything you do. Even a basic Google Analytics setup can tell you how well your website and blog are performing, and what you should do about it.

Do you receive more web visitors when you publish a blog article? Then publish more articles. Are your how-to articles outperforming your product review articles? Then write more how-to articles.

Similarly, take a look at your Twitter analytics, Instagram analytics (if you have Instagram Business), and even your LinkedIn and Facebook pages’ performance. See what kinds of content are seeing positive engagement from your visitors and fans, and do more of it. The things that are not performing well? Do less of those, or figure out how to make them better.

11. Hone your skills

This is important for anyone doing content marketing themselves. Whether you’re a professional content producer, or you have to write blog articles and shoot videos as a small part of your job, as you get better, you’ll improve your content marketing too.

(Honestly, this step should be No. 1 on the list, but it disrupted the flow of the whole piece.)

That means deliberately practicing new skills and techniques you want to improve.

Photographers and videographers, that means shooting content every day. A professional photographer friend told me that he didn’t get good enough to become a professional until he spent several months shooting photos every single day. He learned about framing, composition and point of focus, but only because he shot photos for two to three hours a day.

It’s the same for us writers. If you want to be a better writer, you need to read books and see what outstanding writers are able to do. Don’t read blog articles, because most of them aren’t that good. Read books from established and well-known authors.

Borrow their techniques and tricks, and then practice them in your normal everyday writing: emails, reports, even your social media updates. If you want to learn how to cut adverbs, do that everywhere. If you want to learn to write short sentences, practice it constantly. Soon, those things will become a habit and you can move on to the next technique.

12. Hire a professional

Artist working on tablet

If you just don’t have the time to improve your content marketing skills, but you want to improve your actual content marketing, then hire a professional. There’s no reason to muddle through it and try to make slow improvements, even while you’re putting out less-than-stellar content. That doesn’t help you in the short or long run.

Think of it this way: If you were to offload all the stuff from your job that isn’t the stuff your business actually does, how much more money could you make?

If you’re an attorney who bills by the hour, how many hours do you lose when you’re doing the books? If you’re a building contractor, how many projects could you do in a week if you didn’t have to do your own estimating or get supplies from the lumber yard? If you have a technology startup, how much time do you want to spend dealing with HR issues or managing payroll?

In these instances, it’s going to save you a lot of time and even make you a lot of money if you outsource those tasks to a trained professional who can do it faster and better than you. That not only frees up some additional time for you, but it can also even give you time to make some extra money to pay for that person’s work.

This is true for content marketing, too. If you hate writing or don’t have the time or expertise to do video editing, then hire someone to do it for you.

Just like every other skill you learned, improving your content marketing is an ongoing process. Some of these things can be done a few times a year, but others need to be done on a constant basis (i.e. practice every day).

Editor’s note: If you need help with SEO, social media,  and more, the experts at GoDaddy are here for you! GoDaddy Social, SEO Services, Website Design Services and Logo Design Services can help save you time so you can do what matters for your business.

Concluding thoughts

Even if you do just a few of these steps in 2022, you’ll see a major difference in the quality of your content marketing, which will lead to increased web traffic, which can only lead to more sales. Pick the two or three that are easiest to tackle and start on those. As you get them under control, pick another one or two and work on them.

And in all cases, if you need help, call in a pro. Don’t spend many hours mucking around with a solution that doesn’t quite do the job for you. This is your company, so make sure you do it right the first time and then reap the benefits that come from it.

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Let the Urgency of Your Customers’ Needs Guide Your Sales Strategy



When companies are creating profiles of possible target customers, there is a dimension they often overlook: the urgency of the need for the offering. This article provides a process for segmenting prospective customers in this fashion and creating a sales strategy.

Many business leaders believe that they fully understand their best target customers. They’ve developed clear profiles (a.k.a. personas) that are richly detailed with well-researched parameters, such as standard characteristics (e.g., age, education level, years at the company, role) or firmographic (e.g., annual revenues, number of employees, industry, geography, years in business). While such characteristics are important, they ignore another crucial characteristic: urgency of need.

A company that offers a software-as-a-service billing solution for small and mid-sized private dental practices may focus on classic demographics, such as the size of the practice (number of employees or number of dentists), the age of the practice (since older practices may more likely have outdated systems), or the amount of insurance billing the practice does each year.

These variables are useful in helping to produce a list of prospects, but they don’t determine which of these dental practices the sales team should call on first. If, however, the company added data that reflects which of these practices’ needs is most urgent — say, those that have advertised for billing and claims administration help more than twice in the past year (suggesting that they are struggling to keep up with billing) — salespeople would be able to prioritize their attention on these prospects.

The Four Segments

This needs-based approach entails segmenting potential customers into four segments:

  1. Urgent. The customer recognizes that it has an immediate need. (We just had another billing person quit!)
  2. Non-urgent. The customer recognizes the need, but it isn’t a high priority at this time. (We realize that our billing needs are changing and our current system will need to be revamped. We plan to start looking into this in the next year.)
  3. Currently met. The customer believes it already has an adequate solution to address the need at this time but recognizes it may not be a long-term solution. (We have an older billing system in place that still does the trick for now.)
  4. None. The customer simply has no need nor expects such need anytime soon. (Our small practice has a limited number of patients who pay out of pocket. Since all payments are made at the time of service, we simply don’t need a complex new billing system.)

This focus on the urgency of target customers’ needs may sound like common sense, but we have found in our work with B2B companies — from mid-sized firms to Fortune 50 giants in an array of industries such as financial services, enterprise information technology, utilities, industrial solutions, and health care technology — that they often fail to consider this dimension. Here is a process a firm can employ to apply this approach.

Identify new customers.

To identify prospects outside of your existing customer base, you can use available information. One is a source we mentioned: help-wanted ads that reflect a particular need.

But there are plenty of others. For instance, if a company sells inventory management solutions, a source of valuable data might be manufacturing industry merger-and-acquisition data, which could reveal companies with an urgent need to change or merge systems such as those for managing inventories. If a company sells quality-management solutions, a source of valuable data could be companies that are getting hammered for poor quality on social media.

Gather the necessary information.

Identifying your customers’ true urgency of needs requires looking beyond your typical demographic and firmographic profiling. This starts with an outreach initiative to talk to customers and prospects. The purpose is to ask questions to identify new target customer parameters that may be impacting the customer’s urgency of needs:

  • Frustrations. How urgent is the need to resolve these frustrations? Which frustration would best accelerate success if resolved?
  • Goals. Are your goals clear, consistent, reasonable, and measurable? Have your goals shifted recently?
  • Roadblocks. What keeps you from reaching your goals? (i.e., What keeps you up at night?) What is the magnitude of the impact of these roadblocks?
  • Environmental and situational factors. Are you experiencing any industry consolidation, organizational or executive management changes or instability, competitive changes, regulatory changes, and so on? What is the magnitude of the impact of these factors?
  • Technology factors. Are there new or changing technologies that will impact your ability to achieve your goals? Are you at risk due to technology end-of-life issues or incompatibility?

Assess your firm’s ability to serve lower-level segments.

Once a company has performed its needs-based segmentation effort, it should seek to answer the following questions about each of the four levels. The findings will dictate the sales and marketing strategy, level of investment and resource allocations.

Level 1. Urgent need

How quickly can we meet their need? How can we best serve them? Is the market opportunity large enough to focus only on these prospective customers? Given the customer’s urgency, how do we price our products to optimize margins without damaging relationships by appearing exploitive?

Level 2. Non-urgent need

Can we convince them that their need is more urgent than they currently believe? How do we effectively stay in touch with them so we remain top of mind when they perceive that their need has become urgent?

Level 3. Need currently met

Should we walk away from these prospects? If so, when and how do we touch base with them to see if their needs have changed? Or is there an opportunity to continue to work to convince them that their need is either more significant than they realize or could be much better addressed? If so, what’s the best approach to get them to reconsider their current situation and recognize their true need and its urgency?

Level 4. No need

Should we completely remove these contacts as any potential prospect? Is there some other need we may be able to address for them — perhaps with another product? Should we be in contact on a planned basis to see if their situation has changed? How do we best do that?

The ideal customers are those who clearly understand and recognize they have an urgent need for your offering. However, if that opportunity is not enough to meet the company’s sales volume target, it may be necessary to extend efforts beyond Level 1. Gaining the attention of these additional target customers, challenging their perceptions of their needs, and educating them on how your offering could benefit them will require resources. Consequently, a critical assessment is required to determine whether the opportunity outweighs the investment necessary to address customers in these other levels.

Test your new targets.

Before committing to a complete revamp of how your salespeople are prioritizing opportunities, select one or two experienced salespeople to help you test your new target customer parameters. Identify a few prospects that align to your revamped target profiles, and see how the selected salespeople are able to penetrate them.

Revamp your sales messaging and training.

Include prospective customers’ level of need in your sales messaging — the language that the sales team uses in its interactions with customers. Revamp your sales tools (materials such as brochures, technical papers, and customer testimonials used in the selling process) to include the urgency of need. And teach salespeople how to read and react to the prospective customer’s level of need and adapt their language appropriately.

By adding urgency of need to target customers’ profiles, companies can do more than differentiate their offerings more effectively. They can also identify new growth opportunities and successfully pivot away from slowing or tightening markets. They can accelerate the sales of new products. Last but not least, they can turn underachieving sales teams into strong performers.


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11 Ways Tech Adoption Impacts your Small Biz Growth



Small businesses rely heavily on technology to drive development and innovation. Adopting the correct technological solutions can help to streamline processes, increase efficiency, improve client experiences, and create a competitive advantage in the market.

In this post, we will look at how technology contributes to the growth and success of small enterprises.

photo credit: Ali Pazani / Pexels

1. Streamlining Operations

Implementing small business technology solutions can automate and streamline various aspects of small business operations. This includes using project management software, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, inventory management tools, and accounting software. Streamlining operations not only saves time and reduces manual errors but also allows small businesses to allocate resources more efficiently.

Tip: Regularly assess your business processes and identify areas that can be automated or improved with technology. This continuous evaluation ensures that your technology solutions remain aligned with your evolving business needs.

2. Enhancing Customer Engagement

Technology enables small businesses to engage and connect with their customers more effectively. Social media platforms, email marketing software, and customer service tools allow businesses to communicate and build relationships with their target audience. Customer relationship management systems help businesses track customer interactions and preferences, providing insights to deliver personalized experiences and improve customer satisfaction.

Tip: Leverage data from customer interactions to create targeted marketing campaigns and personalized offers. Use automation tools to send timely and relevant messages to your customers, enhancing their engagement and loyalty.

3. Expanding Market Reach

The internet and digital marketing platforms provide small businesses with the opportunity to reach a broader audience beyond their local market. Creating a professional website, utilizing search engine optimization (SEO), and leveraging online advertising channels allow small businesses to attract and engage customers from different regions or even globally. E-commerce platforms enable businesses to sell products or services online, further expanding their market reach.

Tip: Continuously monitor and optimize your online presence to ensure your website is discoverable and user-friendly. Leverage analytics tools to track website traffic, visitor behavior, and conversion rates to make data-driven improvements.

Analyzing big data for decision making process

4. Improving Decision-Making with Data

Technology provides small businesses with access to valuable data and analytics, enabling informed decision-making. Through data analysis, businesses can gain insights into customer behavior, market trends, and operational performance. This data-driven approach allows small businesses to make strategic decisions, optimize processes, and identify growth opportunities more effectively.

Tip: Invest in data analytics tools and dashboards that can consolidate and visualize your business data. Regularly review and analyze the data to uncover patterns, identify bottlenecks, and make data-backed decisions to drive growth.

5. Facilitating Remote Work and Collaboration

Advancements in technology have made remote work and collaboration more feasible for small businesses. Cloud-based tools, project management software, and communication platforms enable teams to work together efficiently, regardless of geographical location. This flexibility opens up opportunities to access talent from anywhere, increase productivity, and reduce overhead costs.

Tip: Establish clear communication protocols and project management workflows to ensure effective collaboration among remote teams. Use video conferencing tools for virtual meetings and foster a culture of transparency and accountability to maintain productivity and engagement.

6. Embracing Emerging Technologies

Small businesses should stay informed about emerging technologies that have the potential to transform their industries. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, and the Internet of Things can offer new opportunities for growth and innovation. Being open to adopting and integrating these technologies into your business strategy can give you a competitive advantage.

7. Data Security and Privacy

Data security and privacy are critical considerations when using technology in small businesses. Implement robust cybersecurity measures, such as firewalls, encryption, and secure data storage, to protect sensitive customer information and intellectual property. Regularly update software and educate employees on best practices for data security to minimize the risk of data breaches.

Work with CRM system

8. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems

A dedicated CRM system can help small businesses manage customer relationships more efficiently. It allows businesses to track customer interactions, store contact information, and monitor sales pipelines. Utilize CRM software to streamline sales and marketing processes, personalize customer interactions, and nurture long-term customer loyalty.

9. Continuous Learning and Skill Development

Encourage continuous learning and skill development among employees to keep up with technological advancements. Provide access to online courses, training resources, and workshops to enhance digital literacy and proficiency. Embrace a culture of learning and innovation to ensure your small business remains adaptable and competitive in the digital age.

10. Scalable and Flexible Technology Solutions

Choose technology solutions that are scalable and flexible to accommodate your growing business needs. Consider cloud-based software and platforms that allow you to easily scale up or down as your business evolves. This scalability enables small businesses to adapt to changing demands and seize new opportunities without significant disruptions.

11. Regular Technology Assessments

Regularly assess your technology infrastructure to ensure it aligns with your business goals and remains up to date. Conduct technology audits to identify areas for improvement, eliminate outdated systems, and explore new technologies that can drive growth. Stay proactive in evaluating and optimizing your technology stack to maximize its impact on your small business.

Businessman using biz tech solutions


Technology serves as a catalyst for small business growth. By leveraging technology effectively and staying agile in an ever-evolving digital landscape, small businesses can unlock their full potential, adapt to changing customer expectations, and drive sustainable growth.

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Nine Reasons Why Turning Down a Client Is the Best Option for Your Business



While your business may not be right for every client, every client may not be right for your business. To that end, what’s one sign you should turn down a client, and why?

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at

1. The Client Has Unrealistic Expectations

Sometimes you’ll meet clients with unrealistic expectations — even when those expectations are incompatible with your products and services. They might demand services that you may not be able to deliver. Trying to keep such clients can often damage your relationship with them, encourage them to spread bad word-of-mouth, and hamper your reputation. Identifying such clients in time can prevent that.

Andrew Munro, AffiliateWP

s2. They’re Unresponsive

The number one way to tell if a client isn’t right for your business is if they are unresponsive. For client-business relationships to work, mutual understanding, communication, and respect are essential. If a client keeps pushing you aside when you need to clarify something for a project you’re working on for them, it may be time to move on at the end of the assignment.

Daman Jeet Singh, FunnelKit

3. They Complain During Every Step

An obvious sign that a client isn’t a good fit for your business is when they complain about your work every step of the way. I’ve encountered clients who complain because they think they will get a better price or free work. If they are truly unhappy, try to correct the mistake once or twice, and if that doesn’t work, give them a refund. Catering to toxic clients will not help you grow or succeed.

Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

Meeting with a client

4. You’re Unable to Meet Their Needs

One should turn down a client whose expectations are hard to meet. They may not be in the wrong in the situation, and they have the right to expect certain things since they will be paying for the solutions offered. However, you should assess whether it will be possible for you to keep up with those expectations considering your current scale of operations or resources available.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

5. They Exhibit a ‘Blame-Oriented’ Mindset

Watch for a “blame-oriented mindset” in your prospecting and sales conversations. Ask a question like, “What solutions or service providers have you tried before to solve this problem, and why didn’t they work?” Observe if the prospect takes any ownership for past failures or solely blames previous providers. Such an attitude is a clear sign of a lack of accountability and collaboration. Turn down such prospects!

Devesh Dwivedi, Higher Valuation

6. They Constantly Dismiss Your Advice

Picture this: a client who insists on guiding you through uncharted territory while you hold the compass of expertise. When faced with a client who consistently dismisses your professional advice and insists on going against best practices, it’s time to question the compatibility of your collaboration. Remember: You’re the expert for a reason, and your recommendations should be valued.

Abhijeet Kaldate, Astra WordPress Theme

Talking with a big client
photo credit: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

7. They Aren’t Engaging in the Project

When a client consistently fails to provide the necessary resources, feedback or engagement required for a successful partnership, it’s time to hit pause. A one-sided relationship will leave you feeling like a solo artist in a duet. Seek clients who actively participate, collaborate and invest in the success of the projects you undertake together.

Adam Preiser, WPCrafter

8. There Is Value or Goal Misalignment

Turn down clients if their values or goals are not aligned with your business. This can lead to conflicts and dissatisfaction and even damage your reputation. Focus on clients who share similar values and goals to maintain your brand’s integrity and benefit from the work you do for them.

Nic DeAngelo, Saint Investment – Real Estate Funds

9. They’re Always Adding ‘One More Thing’

You can tell a client is not right for your business, especially if you’re a freelancer, if they keep adding “one more thing” to the project. For instance, if you’re a writer and a client asks you to edit some of their other work “as a friend,” it may be time to end the partnership. This situation will lead to you doing tons of work and extra assignments for free, which was not the arrangement. 

John Turner, SeedProd LLC

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