Distribution vs Conversion

Jun 09, 2024
Distribution vs Conversion

Find Your Superpower newsletter 060

Read time: 5 minutes

Topics covered: Brand awareness, conversion marketing, lead generation


Most people think that I coach others on LinkedIn branding and storytelling.

I suppose that’s true.

But my work goes much deeper than that—I help solopreneurs and small business owners attract clients, revenue and profits.

Today, I would like to treat all of my newsletter subscribers with content that is a little more advanced.

I’d like to identify the pain points in your business: are they related to distribution or conversion?

Please read on and let me know.


Distribution 101

Businesses that sell a product need to ensure that they can distribute it to their customers in an efficient manner. For example, a well-positioned cafe in a crowded office district is able to sell many cups of coffee to a lunchtime crowd.

For service providers like consultants, small business owners, solopreneurs, coaches and public speakers, it is crucial that potential clients can easily discover and book their services.

They often turn to “rented” platforms like LinkedIn to access a large number of potential buyers—today, LinkedIn has crossed the one billion user mark and is the de facto eBay for B2B and professional services.

Whenever I receive a new client enquiry (either corporate or individual), I quickly diagnose if it is a distribution or conversion problem that my client is dealing with.

In the majority of cases, they are stuck in distribution hell.

Very few people know that their service exists.

Level 1 distribution: We’ve never given any real thought to creating a personal brand or distributing our services. We have the mindset of “build and they will come.” Our market positioning is absent and we don’t own any particular niche in the minds of our potential clients. Our target market is cold and untested. As former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld would say, “There are unknown unknowns.”

Level 2 distribution: We have made sporadic or inconsistent attempts at building a brand and creating demand among our potential clients. Our overall traction remains low, with few to no comments and rare inbound leads in our DM inbox. Our target market is lukewarm and interest in our services is muted.

Level 3 distribution: We have built a strong professional brand and developed a long-term content strategy in which we use powerful storytelling techniques to create likability and trust among our potential clients. Our ideas have gained traction, and we receive regular inbound leads and enquiries in our DM inbox. Our target market is piping hot and ready to buy from us.


Conversion 101

A friendly LinkedIn coach (cough cough) once said: “Likes on LinkedIn don’t pay the bills.”

Wouldn’t it be great if we could channel all of this newfound attention into a discrete, well-packaged product or service that generates an income for us?

A friend of mine likens it to building a reservoir: “If you have lots of rain, you need to build a reservoir to catch all of it.”

In essence, conversion marketing is about taking the views generated in the distribution phase and turning them into leads, and finally into paying customers.

It is also about optimizing and increasing the number of leads that turn into paying customers (known as the conversion ratio). 

Level 1 conversion: We may be posting frequently and getting eyeballs, but these eyeballs don’t seem to convert into followers or clients. Perhaps our LinkedIn profile is incomplete or confusing, or perhaps our content is unfocused. Creating content feels like running on a hamster wheel because we are getting good engagement, but it doesn’t convert into paying clients and revenue. We are popular, but broke.

Level 2 conversion: We are seeing some conversion from our posts, such as signups for a webinar that we are organizing, or DMs enquiring about our consulting services. Our Calendly gets booked occasionally, but there are also dry spells. Income is inconsistent, and we end up taking any job that we can getafter all, beggars can’t be choosers. We are price takers, not price makers.

Level 3 conversion: We commit to an content strategy that not only rains eyeballs on us but also convinces potential clients beyond a shred of a doubt. Our brand is professional and focused, and our LinkedIn profile showcases a strong portfolio and excellent testimonials. Our clients hire us and DM us with enquiries. We set the price for our services, and our clients rarely protest.


Three common mistakes regarding distribution and conversion


1. Mistaking a distribution problem for a conversion problem:

I have seen this happen in post after post on LinkedIn, where coaches and consultants write: “Book my Calendly!” or “Hire me!” or “Work with me!” content, despite insufficient demand for their services. In most cases, their posts have little traction and garner low engagement. This is a red-alert for a distribution problem and the first step is to fix the distribution and cool off on the conversion messaging, at least for now.


2. Trying to increase distribution in an unfocused manner:

Thinking that distribution is just about making noise and getting likes on LinkedIn, the coach or consultant decides to post a slew of stream-of-consciousness posts, grumbling posts, shock-jock posts, meme posts, trendy posts. Basically, whatever pops into their head that day. Yes, these posts may get eyeballs, but from random people who have no intention to ever buy from them. This outcome may result in further confusion: why are none of my followers buying from me?


3. Thinking that conversion happens quickly:

Instead of slowly warming up their potential clients by gently nurturing a lead from icy cold to piping hot, or by carefully A/B testing what increases their conversion ratio, they abandon or change up their content strategy if it doesn’t convert into a paying client quickly. This ends up confusing potential clients as their brand persona and messaging keeps changing. Remember this adage: “A confused person never buys.”


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Thanks for reading issue 060 of my weekly Find Your Superpower newsletter.

For those of you who are new to my newsletter, Find Your Superpower is subscribed to by 37,000+ people, and discusses the following three goals: (1) Making a career transition, (2) Professional branding on LinkedIn, and (3) Reinventing ourselves for the future of work.

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