One way to look at the big pile of people out there who might become your clients is to divide them into two groups.

The first is the kind that already knows what you do, and is looking for it. This group is small. But they’re sooo close to being your client. They’re already searching–you just need to be found.

The second group needs to be educated. They don’t know what you do, or how it can help. This group is huge. But you have to find them, and convince them.

Finding takes work. It involves relationships and credibility and time and money and effort. But it’s critical. You need to be finding.

Being found takes some work, too, but the convincing part is a lot easier. That’s why we all like being found.

The trick is that being found doesn’t look quite like it used to.

Being found used to be straightforward. You did something easy like put an ad in the Yellow Pages. Anyone looking for “massage therapy” could find you in the list. Getting good at being found just meant that you called yourself “AAA Massage Therapy” to get to the top of the list, or you bought the biggest ad. For that small, but already-convinced slice of the pie, that was a simple way to play the game. And generally the game could be won with a big enough budget.

The new “found” looks different. It’s not about your Yellow Pages ad, or the big sign outside.

  • When someone searches for a massage therapist in their area, and your website comes up at the top of Google? That’s you being found.
  • When someone is looking for a solution for infertility and your acupuncture practice comes up in Google Adwords? Yep. You. Being found.
  • When someone searches for “Yourtown Chiropractor” and your Google Places listing comes up first because you took the time to claim it and complete it? That’s you being found again.

That’s just Google. You can add Facebook or Bing, or mobile search or whatever floats your boat. The difference? Not that it’s online, but that it’s cheaper. You can now be found by trying harder, instead of spending harder.

The new “found” rewards thinkers, adopters and triers. Not spenders. But the moral is the same: Spend plenty of time finding. But don’t forget to be found, too.

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