Most of my clients and my audience have told me that they’re currently working with clients one-on-one and get most of their clients through word of mouth referrals, and I was there. That’s how I started and grew my business.
There’s a shift that happens, though, when you realize that you want to start working with more people. Whether that’s through creating an online course, membership site, or launching a group program – really any opportunity to scale your business and work with more people at once. This type of scaling allows you to work with more people at once and get out of that client-to-client hustle.
But, then you realize you need to start growing an online audience so you can fill your programs beyond just word of mouth referrals. This realizations drives the shift from you relying mostly on other people sending you clients to your putting in the effort of building your online audience through your email list and social media following.
There are five steps you need to take when you’re ready to start building your online audience – whether that’s from scratch or even if you just have a small audience right now. It doesn’t matter where you are in this journey, you can still take these five steps.
1. Declare a niche
The first step and one of the most important things that you need to do in your business is to declare a niche. Take what you’re doing with your one-on-one clients right now and focus in on one specific problem that you solve for them. Declare that this is what you help people do.
If you’re struggling to come up with what that problem is, take a look at what you’ve done recently for your clients and decide what is it that you most enjoy doing? What is it that people are already coming to you for? And how do you combine those two things together? What do you have fun doing and what are people actually coming to you for?
Declare that as your niche. This is who you help, and this is how you help them.
2. Create Your Offer
So you don’t have to actually create it yet, but you need to have a really good understanding of what it is that you’re selling.
Come up with a signature package that you can sell that helps your ideal customers solve that one problem that we just talked about. Create a signature package of how that looks. How do you actually help them solve that problem?
You can keep it as simple as outlining your package in Google Doc. I actually did that when I just launched my most recent service, which is Buy My Day, like a day rate design type of service. I still don’t have an official sales page for that, which is funny since I’m the person who talks about sales pages. I put everything into a Google Doc. People just want the details, right? You don’t have to have anything fancy, just get it down on paper so that you have a good idea of what you’re selling.
You can also send that to people who are interested in working with you to get more information about what it is and how you actually help them.
3. Create a freebie aligned with your offer
Next you’ll create an offer-aligned freebie that provides a quick win to that immediate problem that your ideal client needs help solving.
Think outside of the box for this. Instead of just doing a roadmap or an outline of what your process looks like, go more into solving a problem that your clients need you to meet to solve before they’re actually ready to work with you.
So what do they need to know, understand, or do before they’re ready to actually hire you for your signature package? Think about that. Think about that step that comes before they actually are ready to hire you.
Our ideal customers have so much going on in their lives. This one problem that we are helping them solve is not their only problem. They have other things that they need help with as well. So how can you grab them with one of those other problems? Draw them into your circle so that they know that you can help them solve this other bigger problem.
This type of freebie could be something like swipe files or templates. Quizzes are really hot right now. Consider what can you do to give people a really good understanding of how they can solve this problem so that they can then hire you to solve it for them?
4. Create a nurture sequence
After you’ve created your freebie, you’ll need a nurture sequence that educates, connects and converts your email subscriber.
This is not just your general welcome sequence. It can be your general welcome sequence, but you want to make sure that this welcome sequence is solely focused on guiding people towards the sale of your signature offer. This is a more in-depth sequence than one that just says, Hey, this is who I am, here’s my website, follow me on Instagram, check out my latest blog posts, stuff like that.
Instead, create a nurture sequence that is going to coach people into hiring. You do it all through writing without you needing to get on a sales call. Even if you do have to get it on a sales call before they’re hiring you, you’re getting a lot of the coaching out of the way before they’re actually ready to hire you.
The one type of sequence that I absolutely love for this, it’s called the Soap Opera Sequence, and Russell Brunson teaches about this. I don’t know if he actually created this, but he teaches about this and he outlines it all in his book DotCom Secrets, which is a really great online marketing book if you have not read it.
With each email inside of your nurture sequence, you’re including a cliffhanger that is enticing them to open up the next email that they’re going to receive, whether it’s the next day or two days from now, or so on. You’re enticing them to actually open up your emails because you are going to be nurturing them, getting them ready to actually hire you, inviting them to work with you, and showing them case studies of what you’ve been able to help other clients do.
Remember this entire nurture sequence is solely focused on the one problem that you’re helping people solve for the one ideal customer you have and then selling that one signature package that you are offering. That is what this nurture sequence is focused on.
Once someone opts in for your offer aligned freebie, they’re going to get this nurture sequence and be coached into hiring you for your signature package.
5. Send your audience to your offer-aligned freebie
Instead of trying to always sell your actual paid offer, your signature service, once you have your freebie and nurture sequence done, you can mostly focus on sending your audience to your offer-aligned freebie.
This means you could spend about 75% of your Instagram posts or other promotional efforts promoting this new freebie. This is really great for people who kind of shy away from sales and just kind of feel icky when they’re selling.
Instead of trying to always promote your paid offer, what you can do now is just send people to your freebie and allow your nurture sequence to actually sell the offer for you. That’s a really good alternative.
Don’t get me wrong here, you still need to be promoting your paid offer. You still have to be sharing that. You still need to be sharing testimonials and case studies, and the behind the scenes looks at what it’s like to actually work with you. That’s what gets people most excited.
However, your offer-aligned freebie is a really good opportunity to catch people before they’re ready to hire you – really before they even realize they have that problem.
Your offer-aligned freebie gets them to the place where they are ready to hire you, and then your nurture sequence does the job of slowly getting them ready to actually book the discovery call, pay for the coaching package, or whatever it is that your signature service or package is.
It really is as simple as this. You don’t need to overcomplicate things. Keep it really simple. Go back to the basics with this one and just focus on serving and solving that specific problem for your audience.
This episode is brought to you by ConvertKit.
What I love most about ConvertKit is that they are an all-in-one email marketing solution by providing everything you need to grow your list through their beautiful built-in landing pages and forms and to sell to your list through their easy-to-use visual automation funnel builders. If you want an easy way to grow your audience and sell your offers, ConvertKit has you covered. Click here to start your free account.
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