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The "Getting Attention" Lesson is part of the full, Finding Clients as a Freelancer course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Paul talks through different strategies for growing an audience without the messaging coming across as a sales pitch. Making a connection while asking for help opens a two-way line of communication where the potential client provides data points, and in return, receives a report or summary of industry-related information.


Transcript from the "Getting Attention" Lesson

>> Okay, so we have identified our audience, we've worked out the sector that we want to speak to and we've got all of their contact details. Now how do we get their attention without it becoming sleazy and awkward, and salesy and nasty? Well, let's start by looking at the strategy that I'm proposing that we use, all right?

The first thing to say is we will not be selling at people, right, people can smell spam a mile away, okay? So the moment that we have in our heads, it'd be great if this turned into a lead, or I'd love to work for these people. Or the minute it becomes anything other than an honest, sincere interest in who they are, what they do, how their job works, challenges they face, and turns into a sales thing, forget it.

You will get nowhere. And also, even if you did write them a sales email, the chance of contacting them at the exact moment where they're willing to buy is pretty unlikely. However, what will we do? Well, we will ask for their help, right? Spam wants you to buy something or do something.

Spam doesn't seek your opinion, and it doesn't want to hear from you, so instead, we're going to ask people to share their experience and their wisdom, and we're gonna make people feel valued and listened to, okay? And in return, we're gonna provide value, right? We're going for for them, sharing their experiences, telling us their pain points, their challenges, their goals for the insight that they're giving us into the sector and their job.

We're gonna actually, give them something back. Okay, so what does this look like in practice? What are our deliverables here, what are we going to be sending them, what we gonna be providing them? Well first of all, we're probably, and I say probably and you'll see why in a minute gonna write the report.

So, in return for their feedback and their involvement, and sharing their experiences with us, in return for signing up for our emails, we're gonna provide them with an industry report. That gives them insights into their sector and the kind of challenges that other people face, and some advice and best practice about how to deal with that.

That could be something different, but we'll come to that in a minute. Secondly, we're gonna offer to give them a review of their site. Right, so, and this works may be more if you're involved in things like performance or accessibility, or user interface stuff that can be seen from the front end I guess.

But we're going to say to them look, thank you so much for giving up a little bit of your time to share your experiences with us. In return for that, if you want us to do a quick first impressions review of your website and return for your participation, then we would happily do that as a thank you.

Alright, so we're about giving value. And then third, we're going to be offering them regular email advice. So, we're going to provide them with ongoing value and keep people engaged by sending them regular advice via email, to help them overcome the challenges that they've shared with us and identify with us.

So how are we actually going to engage with our audience, what are the different touchpoints and interactions that are going to go on here? Well, first of all is going to be an introduction. Now, we're just going to email people or reach out to them on Linkedin. And we're going to introduce ourselves and explain that we're doing some research into the sector, and we want to help overcome some of the challenges in the sector, and that kind of thing.

And we're gonna ask them whether they would find that help useful, whether there are challenges that we can help with. To be honest I'm not expecting you to get a reply to that one, right, the aim is not to get a reply, the aim is to say, hey, we're here, we're working on this, right, and that's it.

Then we're gonna follow up afterwards with a survey, okay? And in the survey, we're gonna say, welI, I said we wanted to understand the sector a little bit, so we've put together a survey that's gonna help inform what we produce for example, the report that I mentioned. We'll offer that to give them the report for free if they're willing to take part in completing the survey, and we'll probably say we're willing to do it that first impression review as well.

And then the final time we're gonna reach out to them, okay? Because we don't want to abuse this initial relationship is just to say, we've produced that report, whatever it ends up being, and they can go and check it out here. They can get access to it, and they can sign up for more email advice if they want to, but they're not obliged to.

Okay, so those are the three touch points as the only time we're going to contact people cold without their permission. Okay, so this report I keep banging on about what is it, and why are we talking about doing it. The aim of the report is to give them something of value, in return for their interaction, okay, return for acknowledging that you exist and engaging with you.

And a report is often a really good way of doing that. It's not the only way and I'll touch on other options in just a minute. So this is your equivalent of a lead magnet, right. If you come and sign up to our emails, you'll get this report, this thing of value, so what you include in that report will be dependent on where your expertise lies right?

So if you're someone that specializes in performance the report is obviously going to talk about performance related issues, if you're a data scientist it's going to talk about data visualization issues, and that kind of stuff if you're a UX designer, user experience and so on. Right, and it should also focus on the kind of work within that area that you want to win more of.

So, if you work in user experience design and you're frustrated that you don't get to do enough testing, your report might be how testing can help the higher education sector, something like that, right? So, you're tying it back to the products and services that you offer, and it's also can be really useful way of drawing attention to different problems within a sector, and offering solutions to a problem within a sector.

So for example, if in your research you discover one of the biggest problems is that there is not enough time and budget to enable proper usability testing on a website within that sector, your report can focus on how to get that time. Right, how to make that happen, how to bring about that change.

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