Finding Clients as a Freelancer Growing Your Audience
Transcript from the "Growing Your Audience" Lesson
>> We should have, by this stage, a small but growing mailing list. That's the hope, and don't despise those small beginnings when you've only got 50 people on your mailing list. That's a good start, you're doing well. And it does take time for these mailing lists to grow, but they tend to grow exponentially after a certain length of time.
[00:00:26] I remember from very long time, I felt like I was stuck at a certain ceiling and then suddenly an event happened, something happened, I can't even remember what. And the growth started, and things became much better over time. So don't give up too early. I think the message there is I see people giving up way too early on this kind of thing, when they don't see the results that they want straight away.
[00:00:54] So we've got our small core that we're starting with, how do we grow from there? How do we maintain and look after, nurture that audience over time. Well, a lot of this will come down to the planning of our regular emails. So once we get past that email course where people are on-boarded effectively, then you're beginning to get into the kind of regular emails that you send out.
[00:01:22] Now, I think there's something that I need to say at this point as well, that over time you may decide to target multiple sectors. So you might initially have done like no charities and whatever. And you went through and you did the report and the survey and everything, and you got that up and running, you got an email course for that up and running.
[00:01:41] And then you decide you wanna target higher education. And that doesn't mean that you get rid of the charities one. So you've got some people that will be still coming in via that route, and now you're gonna basically copy and paste for a different sector. Now you probably can keep a lot of the report, a lot of the emails, a lot of everything, and reuse it for a different sector with some changes.
[00:02:08] But what this ultimately means is you've got some people coming in from one sector and some people coming in from another. They're going through two separate email courses, and then they're merging into one overall list. So, what that effectively means is that our regular emails that go out are gonna have to be not as sector specific.
[00:02:31] Unless we want to tag users which we can do, based on which sector they've come from, which campaign they've come from, and then do separately tailored emails for each audience. Now personally, I think in most cases that's overkill. So on my own mailing list for example, I know whether people come from a particular background, or they work in a particular sector or whatever else based on where they signed up.
[00:03:00] But most of the time they will get the same email irrespective of what sector they came from, in terms of the regular ongoing email. Now, there are occasionally, I will write a topic where I wanna say slightly different things to different audiences, and that's fine, I can do that.
[00:03:17] But most of the time I wanna keep the work level manageable and not have to write double or triple the number of emails in any one particular week. So don't worry about overly worried about that, think more about writing generic emails and we'll get into how to write those emails in a minute, and how to go about organizing yourself.
[00:03:38] But before we do that, I wanna talk about how your different channels fit together. Because you've got different channels that you will be using. You've got email, you've got your blog probably and you've got social, and the relationship between all of those is quite important to get right.
[00:03:58] Because if you get those right then they reinforce one another, and don't involve a lot of extra work the whole time. So, let's look at the role of each. Social, the role of social is to grab people's attention and encourage them to share your content and to drive traffic to a blog post on a related subject.
[00:04:20] Normally speaking that's what they are. Your blog has two roles. First is to attract traffic through SEO-targeted posts. So as I said before, if you can't write guest posts for other people, you can write posts on your own site that are targeted with their SEO. But they should also drive people to your landing page as well.
[00:04:48] So, social grabs our attention, blog hopefully is a kind of intermedia to drive them to the landing page that gets them on to email. And once on your mailing list, email will keep them front of mind, slowly building your credibility until they're ready to buy. So that's their separate roles, but you can do a lot of doubling up.
[00:05:15] So, for example, in my situation I released an email this morning that went out. That email was also replicated as a blog post. Same content, just I released it as a blog post at the same time, okay? And I took bits out of that email and used those to create the social media updates that drove people to the blog post, that had a sign-up form for the email.
[00:05:46] You got me? So that same email gets reused three times in three places. Now actually, because I'm a sucker for punishment or I don't know why, I also do a video version of that. That video version appears in the blog post and is posted to YouTube. I then also extract the audio from that and release it as a podcast.
[00:06:11] So from that one email, I've got a blog post, social media updates, video and podcast, okay? From one single email. And that's what you're looking to do, to reach people in whatever channel they're using with the same content. So let's look where all of that starts with email, right?
[00:06:31] The email that you're gonna be sending out every other week, every month, whatever you decide. So what do you want to include in those emails, right? Well, the first thing to say is they have to be personal, right? These emails mustn't read like a marketing material. They need to be as if you were talking to someone.
[00:06:52] Well, the British answer to this is, if you were talking to someone in a pub, in your case maybe a coffee shop, but we won't quibble, whatever fits with your culture. But in an informal atmosphere, you're just chatting over a subject and you're trying to keep it as informal, and friendly and personal as you possibly can.
[00:07:10] Like you would write any other email really. The majority of emails that we write to colleagues, they don't read like a marketing email and neither should yours. What I find helps me, is if I think of somebody I know and I actually write my emails for that person, right?
[00:07:29] And I even start, Hi Sarah or whatever, the beginning, just to get me in that mindset, then I do have to remember to go up and remove their name afterwards. Otherwise that ends up getting published, which did happen once, but anyway. So they should be personal, they should also be helpful.
[00:07:50] So every email should provide value to the reader, right? So that could be in the form of advice, but it might be just about demonstrating empathy over their challenge. Some of my emails are nothing more than me moaning about something, right? And not necessarily even giving the answers to how to overcome that.
[00:08:11] But it's amazing how grateful people are to receive an email that says effectively you're not alone, I face those problems too, right? So be helpful, be empathetic. And then the final thing is just even now, even all the way through this process that we've got, you still don't need to sell.
[00:08:33] You don't need to mention your services, you don't need to sell them. It's okay to say something like, as I was preparing a workshop that I'll be giving on finding clients, that's fine, right? It occurred to me that, [SOUND] that's about as sales-y as you get, right? Because, effectively the knowledge and expertise that you are sharing will be you're selling, right?
[00:09:00] That's how you demonstrate your expertise and knowledge. So that's what should be included in emails, but there are some common mistakes that I see people make with these kinds of ongoing, well, it applies to blogging as well. Anything, emails and your blog, there things I see again and again, and it's why so often these kinds of attempts fail.
[00:09:25] The first one is inconsistencies, right? So what do I mean by that? You got to decide on a release schedule and then stick to it. The same time, the same day, every single time, right? Set aside time to work on these emails. They matter as much as your client work does, right?
[00:09:47] Building your own business is as important as building other people's businesses in the services that you provide. So you've really got to be incredibly regimented about these things. People have got to come to expect your emails. So I had some technical problems a few weeks ago where my email didn't send out.
[00:10:09] And obviously I'd scheduled it and presumed had gone out, and within an hour people started dropping me emails going, you got a problem? I got your email this week, right? That's a really great sign. Secondly is infrequent, right? Readers cannot be allowed to forget about you, if you only email them a couple of times a year they'll forget you exist.
[00:10:34] So I recommend at least once a month. And so, if you're in that mindset of I'll send an email out when I've got a gap between client work, you're gonna fail, right? Simple as that. Either, it's not gonna be regular enough and so people are gonna forget about you, or you're gonna forget to do it, or it's gonna be totally infrequent.
[00:10:57] So people aren't gonna expect your emails, they're not gonna look forward to them or anything like that. And then the final mistake I see is promotional again. I know I keep saying don't sell and I really mean that. Your advice is gonna establish your expertise and the topics you write about will show your readers the kind of services you offer.
[00:11:17] I don't need to say I provide conversion rate optimization services, I just need to talk about conversion rate optimization.