Crafted in Glasgow, Tuesday, Mar 26, 2024, 12:02

You could be putting yourself at a disadvantage

In today’s competitive business landscape, it feels like every penny spent needs to be justified and each one earned, preserved.

Times are tough and with the current economic conditions not showing any signs of recovery, we need to be maximising our opportunities to generate income.

That’s why I’m such an advocate of freelancers using content marketing and email marketing in their businesses to give us the best chance of thriving in difficult times.

My business process is simple and can be broken down into 4 main elements;

  1. Get attention (using regularly posted content).
  2. Invite interested leads to join your email list.
  3. Consistently give value to your subscribers (i.e. help) via your emails.
  4. Sell helpful products to your email list, at the appropriate times.

These 4 parts of my business are all managed using content marketing, and dovetailing with email marketing – there’s a symbiotic relationship between them.

Let’s look at how I implement each of the 4 elements with real examples.

1. Getting attention for you and your business

It’s no secret that in today’s ‘social’ world, just to be at the start line, you have to have a social presence. As someone who dislikes social platforms, and dislikes even more the hassle of trying to engage with others on those platforms, I appreciate the power they yield when it comes to getting ‘attention’.

Whichever platform(s) you’re active on, only by interacting will you get ‘seen’ by potential clients.

I’m only active on one platform, LinkedIn. This is because I find it the least likely platform to drag me down the doom-scrolling path, wasting untold hours watching useless videos.

I use it purely to add value to my network; I’ll share content that I genuinely feel will benefit anyone who consumes or engages with it.

Below is a typical example of a post that I will add to LinkedIn;

These types of posts tend to capture the attention of those who match my ideal profile, i.e. freelancers.

I’m a freelancer and I know what challenges and frustrations other freelancers can face, so I create content that will overcome at least one of these, specifically about content or email marketing.

Commenting accelerates the outcome

With LinkedIn, it’s not just about posting content, it’s also important to engage in other people’s content – this gets you seen too, and in some cases, you’ll get a wider reach, depending on who’s content you engage with.

As a general guide, I would recommend you spend at least 20 minutes each day looking for others to engage with; make helpful comments that add to the conversation and don’t attempt to hijack their feed (which I see some do).

With a prolonged ‘commenting’ effort, you’ll begin to see other members making connection requests and ‘following’ you on the platform. This is a sign that they like or value your input and could be a precursor to them joining ‘your world’.

2. Invite interested leads to join your email list

At least once per week, you want to invite your audience to join your email list – this, for me, is the end game with ‘social’ platforms, moving interested ‘leads’ from LinkedIn to my email list.

But you have to do it in a non-pushy, non-salesy way – one that puts them in control.

Now, it can happen in multiple ways, some of which are listed below;

  • They check out your profile and see something of interest, normally in the ‘Featured‘ section – they click to access it and are invited to join your email list to get it.
  • They check out your website, as there’s a link to it in your profile – they like something they see there and join your email list.
  • They check out a post you make and want whatever you’re offering, and join your email list.

Here are real examples of each;

The ‘Featured’ section

The image below shows a couple of links that I have in the ‘Featured’ section of my LinkedIn profile which people can click to access.

The link to your website

The link below follows all my activity around LinkedIn, meaning people can click on it at any time and be taken directly to my website.

A post that piques interest

The image below shows an example of one of my posts that I place on LinkedIn, specifically to attract more subscribers to my email list.

3. Consistently give value to your subscribers via emails.

This is where the magic begins to happen. You’ve successfully moved your interested leads from a social platform and onto your email list.

Social platforms are great for creating ‘attention’ and becoming familiarised, but it’s in your email marketing that true trust can be built and value given.

It’s significantly easier to sell to an engaged email subscriber than it is to a social connection. There was a study done a while ago by Optin Monster (a lead-gen specialist) that found that for every sale made via social, there are 5 sales made via email – quite a stark contrast in numbers and I know which I prefer.

Adding value through your email content

When you’ve managed to get a subscriber to join your email list, the worst thing you can do (which I see a lot) is to ignore them! They’ve joined your list for a reason, so make sure you give them a reason to justify their decision to join, and more reasons to stay with you.

The first 3 email sequences to create:

  1. Your lead magnet sequence: this is a series of emails (3-10 emails) that supplements and supports your lead magnet (in other words, the ‘thing’ that first attracted your subscriber to your list).
  2. Your welcome (or orientation) sequence: this is a series of emails (3-5 emails) that help your subscriber learn a bit about you, your business, what you do and for whom, and what they can expect now, having joined your email list.
  3. Your evergreen sequence: this is a series of emails that are drip-fed to each subscriber as they join, providing value in a particular niche or topic; e.g. one of my evergreen topics is “ConvertKit” where I share a series of emails (25+ emails) to help freelancers get to grips with the platform.

Pro tip: At the end of every piece of content you share, add a link that encourages readers to join your email list – below is an example of one that I use at the end of my articles;

4. Sell helpful products to your email list, at the right times

You’re running a business, not a hobby – so you need to be making regular sales, and there’s no better place to do this than from your email list.

However, that said, it needs to be done methodically otherwise you’re in danger of losing your audience and coming across as ‘salesy’ – and nobody likes that!

The way I run my system is to make a relevant offer every 6 to 8 weeks, which works out about 6 times per year (roughly), but I nuance my offers (and their frequency) based on my subscribers’ activities and preferences.

If a subscriber shares with me that they’re struggling with a particular objective (e.g. growing their email list) then I may not try to sell anything at that time – instead, I’ll move them into a 12-email series that helps them grow their email list. Once that sequence is completed, then I’ll serve them a relevant offer.

Below is an example of an offer being made to join my 1-2-1 email marketing setup service, it’s one email from a series of 7 emails, drip-fed in a sequence;

So, there you have it – my simple 4-step process to take advantage of content marketing and email marketing – something that every freelancer can do, and should do (IMHO).

Summary

I walked you through the 4 steps I use in my business to get attention, attract email subscribers, provide them with valuable content, and sell a relevant product or service, just at the right time.

The 4 steps to the process are;

  1. Get attention (using regularly posted content).
  2. Invite interested leads to join your email list.
  3. Consistently give value to your subscribers (i.e. help) via your emails.
  4. Sell helpful products to your email list, at the appropriate times.

Is this a process you think you could use in your business?

Let me know if you do something different – I’m always up for learning!

John Bellingham
Email marketing strategist for aspirational freelancers.

If we haven’t already done so, let’s connect on LinkedIn.

The Thursday Email Club is a free group where freelancers level up their email marketing game with weekly ‘live’ webinars, workshops, and Q&As.

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John Bellingham
John Bellingham

Starting out as a software engineer over 30 years ago, I began working for large corporates before realising solopreneurship was my 'thing'. I've had many businesses over the years, which have taught me many lessons.

I now spend my time helping other solopreneurs to implement the strategies and tactics that worked for me, whilst avoiding all my expensive mistakes.

If you're a solopreneur who's either starting or running a business, then connect with me and let's have a chat.

I love Formula 1® so that's always a good conversation starter if you need one! 🏁 🏎

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