Funny story…for as long as I have been blogging and as much as I promote blogging as the best marketing tool today, I did not actually write a blog for my business when I started freelancing.
Oops . . .
I did have a blog and that is where most of my clients came from, but I was blogging about make-up and music and what I did on the weekend. It didn’t occur to me that I could use blogging to automate marketing because, like most long-time bloggers, I’d grown up with Diaryland and Live Journal and that’s exactly what I used blogging for – a journal.
Once I realized that I was in full control of how much I earned each year and I began to see that I did not have to subsist forever on a $30k/year salary, putting time into outfit photos and hair tutorials didn’t seem like such a wise choice anymore.
And surprise, surprise, my business didn’t start to REALLY grow until I scrapped the lifestyle blog, moved everything over to my digital portfolio, and got serious about sharing my expertise and creating content to attract potential clients. A year after beginning to blog for my business, not only did I double what I was earning, but I actually started making MORE money working for myself than I did at my corporate job.
More and more people are hiring service providers online (even those that provide in-person work) it’s increasingly important to have more than just a website with your resume and contact information.
Your website needs to tell potential clients why they should hire someone like you and then help them determine if you and they would be a good match. Your blog can help to make this process easier for potential clients and much faster.
For example, instead of sitting down for a consultation with multiple web designers, your clients could read a handful of blogs (if your competition even has a blog!) and find their perfect match on the first try.
Life coaches, personal trainers, dog sitters – anyone who works one-on-one with another person IRL or online can use a blog to attract their dream clients without spending loads of money or time promoting what they do.
Your blog should . . . explain why people need to hire you
How might a client benefit from hiring you over figuring it out on their own? If you’re a web designer, people may have considered investing in re-design, but aren’t 100 percent clear on the services available or exactly what they need. Explaining these in detail within a blog post can pique the interest of multiple people at once instead of relaying the information via phone or email one person at a time.
Your blog should be your #1 employee helping people find the info they need!
Share your process & values
What is it like to work with you? Are you a stickler for a strict process? Do you plan with vision boards? Are you into in-depth collaborating via Skype instead of email? To help potential clients determine if you’ll be a good match you can create blog content that spells out exactly how you work or let your writing voice give them an idea of your style. An easy way to include this is by sharing examples and stories within your posts.
Give potential clients a quick win
One way I turn readers into students and customers is by helping them learn or accomplish something via a blog post. I keep it fairly simple and walk new bloggers through the steps they’ll need to get started and so they’ll be more likely to move into my intermediate and advanced courses. The same is possible with clients. What small problem can you help them overcome or what questions can you help them figure out that would make them excited to work with you?
Position yourself as an expert
Creating content on a weekly basis (yes, that’s how often I recommend you publish) can make you the go-to person in your industry; especially if blogging isn’t very popular with your peers. (Plumbers…I see you ;) Instead of publishing articles in journals or hoping to be quoted in newspapers or magazines, you can use blogging as your own publicity machine.
I’m sure there are plenty of other people in your industry with the exact same credentials, experience, and prices. Showing off what you know prior to sending them over to your services + pricing can help potential customers make the decision between you and your competitors.
Drive the right kind of clients to your business
I learned this lesson from experience. When starting a business it’s tempting to take any client that crosses your path, but (especially if you’re forming long-term relationships) you’ll quickly find that not all clients are created equal.
Signing a contract with a client you don’t mesh with is the absolute worst. Some send two sentence emails and you have to drag information out of them every single time you ask a question. And some respond to emails with an entire books-worth of information so you spend an hour sifting through all of their ideas to find the answer to your initial question.
Since some people prefer the first option and other gravitate toward the second, it’s important that your online presences draws in those clients you’ll have the easiest time working with. I write the way I speak which means if you take one of my courses you’ll find that my lessons, videos, and live coaching sessions are also full of detail explanations, a dry sense of humor, and the occasional curse word. People that are into my writing style generally end up being great students to have in my courses and communities.
And most importantly…your blog will help promote your business without spending money on ads
For most of us, starting a business means DIY-ing as much as possible and being careful about what you invest money in, so often our advertising budgets are either minuscule or non-existent. Luckily, blogging can be your best and cheapest marketing tool. Advertisements run for a specific length of time, but blog posts are timeless. They can be shared over and over bringing in new readers every single day – I’m still getting traffic from posts I published years ago!
Creating new content also gives potential clients a reason to come back to your website and follow you on social media. Lots of business owners are pretty stumped on what to share on Instagram or Twitter, but sharing your blog posts provides you with new content every week! Plus Google likes websites that are updated on a regular basis more than those that are not, so publishing posts consistently can help your site climb the page ranks faster than your competitors that still haven’t figured out why blogging is a necessity.
If you haven’t set up a blog yet, head over to my FREE beginner blogging course to learn what you need to get started and what you should be writing to bring in the right clients for your business.