A few years ago I was in a really bad way. Severe illness had decimated my health and career. A disastrous relationship had gutted me emotionally. My life had gone up in flames (literally, my ex set the house on fire). I was living in my mum’s box room, flat broke, in tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt, and utterly devoid of hope.
Starting my own business was a revelation for me. Working on my terms, to my timetable. I could focus on what I love (writing), earn a living, and still have time to work on my health.
Entrepreneurship was a gift from the gods, truly, but it wasn’t half a lot of work…
How I Escaped The Eternal Hamster Wheel…
For the first couple of years I did okay. I paid down my debt. Everything ticked over. But I was nowhere near the income level needed to bust me out of the rut in which I was myred. I craved independence, freedom, an escape from the eternal hamster wheel of marketing (not to mention my mother’s box room). I’d done all the courses, watched all the vlogs, read all the blogs; I’d devoured everything I could find on digital marketing but something wasn’t quite clicking.
It was kind of working.
I had clients, money was coming in, I was steadily raising my profile, it just wasn’t enough…
Enter Angie Taffs: The Woman Who Changed My Business (And Life)…
Hustling my butt off for a couple of years had one tangible benefit: I had a lot of friends and contacts in the entrepreneurial world. One of those was Angie. I was a member of her Facebook group, and had been following her for a while, so when a webinar she was running popped up in my newsfeed, I jumped right on it.
Little did I know…
Angie’s webinar was a revelation. She shared one fairly simple tip for managing clients and it transformed my business. I honestly wouldn’t have believed how powerful it was until it actually happened.
The premise is really simple: give people a free sample of what you can do; leave them craving more.
Not a freebie, or a download, a cheat sheet, or a blog/vlog, an actual sample of your paid products or services.
I baulked at this to begin with. Badly. I’m a copywriter. Offering a free sample of my work meant a lot of work for me. Writing a whole blog post, in fact. But Angie’s explanation made a great deal of sense, and while I was going great guns building my tribe, I was really struggling to convert them.
Educating them on the benefits of hiring a copywriter to produce regular, awesome content was easy enough. Getting them to take that final leap was considerably harder.
Hiring a freelancer is scary.
What if they’re a bad fit? What if they can’t really write? What if they take your money and don’t deliver? What if, what if, what if…
Allaying Their Fears And Showing My Chops…
Much as it made me flinch, I had faith. I began offering a free blog post. No strings, no catch. An actual, bonafide, free version of a service that would usually set you back (at that time) £25.
This did two things: allayed my tribe’s fears and concerns about making that final leap; and allowed me to really show my writing chops. It’s one thing to say you’re a great copywriter, it’s quite another to hand over a shining, polished, perfect example of exactly what you can do for a person’s business, complete with all the bells and whistles (in my case, royalty free images, memes, and a week’s worth of Tweets…yes, still for free!).
The Results Of Angie’s One Super Powerful Trick…
The response was phenomenal.
In marketing, a 2% conversion rate is reasonably good. 5% is good. 10% is epic. Anything above 10% is magical wildfire of supernatural origin.
The free post I instigated using Angie’s method has…wait for it… a 75% conversion rate.
Yes, it’s a lot of work writing them, but it’s so worth it!
Here’s How You (More Than) Double Your Income…
You want serious numbers? I analysed the conversions on my free blog post, here’s what I found…
- Three out of four people who sign up for a free post become paying clients.
- Of those clients, one in three spend an average of £35 on a one-off service.
- One in three spend an average of £300 on either a one off service bundle, or repeat business in lower-ticket items.
- One in three spend an average of £3,500 on monthly blog packages (and that’s just how much they had spent in December 2016 – most are still monthly clients, so that figure gets higher every month!).
- One in three of these new clients recommend me to a friend, who sign up for their own free post, or simply buy a service outright, to the tune of £500 a piece (again, on average, again, growing each month!).
- The financial reward I receive is over £1,000 per free blog post I write (including those that don’t convert) and growing monthly.
The Bottom Line…
Since I started running this offer, my business has thrived. I soon had a gaggle of clients. I put my prices up, expecting to lose a fair few. I didn’t lose any. I kept on hustling, and before the year was out I was debt free, and living in a house of my own. I invested more in the tech needed to action Angie’s epic system, and experienced another big boom in my income.
I had more clients than I could handle.
After rebranding and refocusing entirely on copywriting, I put my prices up again.
The free posts I offer are now worth £55 a piece, and they are still available for free to all new clients. I’ve not done the maths on the offer since the end of 2016, but I can tell you that my monthly income has more than doubled since then. Angie’s offer isn’t the only thing affecting that; I launched a new vlog in January that had a massive impact. But content marketing can only get you so far. It builds you tribe, it grows your list, but you still need that ineffable magic charm that converts your audience into paying clients.
That gives them the final shove.
Of all the coaches I’ve worked with, watched, read and listened to, Angie is the only one who showed me exactly how to do this. For that reason alone, I refer to her as The Woman Who Changed My Business.
But she didn’t just change my business, she also transformed my life.
If you want your business to be the mechanism that enables you to live a happy, fulfilling life of freedom, doing what you love best, this girl can show you how…
Thanks, Angie, you’re an absolute superstar!
Many thanks to Hazel Butler from The Write Copy Girl for this wonderful guest post. Having feedback like this fills me with joy and makes all my work worthwhile.
It’s all very well using SEO and sales funnels to drive people to your website, but what is the point if once they get there, they don’t take any action?
Not a lot really.
So many small businesses market their websites to the nth degree but fail to look at their site from a viewer’s point of view as to what message it gives and how easy it is to navigate. I have found this recently with far too many websites that I have looked at. I have been intrigued by marketing messages and followed links to sites where I have been left confused and disappointed. I can’t find the information I was expecting, links didn’t work and my interest (and trust) was rapidly lost.
If you aren’t getting the results you want from your website, check out the following points. And then get someone else to check it out for you also as a visitor. Too often we know what we are looking for with our sites and so miss the blindingly obvious (been there, done that and got the tee-shirt!)
What you do
Is it clear exactly what your business does as soon as people come to your site? It’s amazing how many sites fail to get this point effectively.
And, as a simple rule I would suggest:
- Pre-head: What problem do your ideal clients have
- Headline: How can you solve this – what big promise are you giving them
- Sub-head: Why are you different, better and easier than whatever else they’ve tried. Include here a reason for them to believe you such as a strong testimonial.
Get your core information in the fold of the website home page (the top part of the page that people see first without having to scroll down.
Make it easy for people to be able to contact you. Don’t let readers have to search around for some tiny link that can be easily missed. Make your contact details such as email and phone number prominent and obvious. It can also be worth letting viewers how long it will take for you to respond or when your working hours are.
Up to date information
So often sites have links to information that is years out of date. This is simply lazy. Either update the information or get rid of it. If you don’t, you run the danger of visitors wondering if you are still actively in business or whether you have lost heart.
Look at the following when checking to links leading to information:
- Blog posts
- Latest news
- Social media links – So often I come across links to social media pages that haven’t had a post on them for years upon years. Either update your social media channel with relevant info or remove the link – it’s one of my top bug bears!!!!
- Offers – if an offer has expired, remove it!!! You don’t want to get a viewer all excited about something you are offering only for them to discover it isn’t available anymore.
Don’t overload your home page with so much information that people get lost and confused and don’t where to go first. Speak to your ideal and their problem. Lead them off to specific pages for more information. Keep your home page simple and uncluttered so readers can see what they want quickly and clearly.
Is your site easy to navigate? This again is an area where I strongly getting someone else to check your site out for you. You may know where all the key information is but do your readers.
I was recently taking part in a mini-course on a site where I got totally confused as to where I needed to go to access the key information. Links weren’t working and it simply wasn’t obvious where to go. When I flagged this up to the site owner, they gave me instructions which resulted in clicking on no more than 4 separate links to get where I needed to be.
Really? No! One click from grabbing someone’s attention to take them where they need to be. Hasten to say, I gave up on the mini-course and won’t be making any purchase from this business as it was simply too confusing and time-consuming trying to work the site out.
If you want to make prospective buyers feel confident enough to part with their hard-earned cash and buy from you, you need to have some basics in place. It is crucial to have terms and condition on your site to inspire trust and avoid future conflicts.
These terms and conditions should include as a bare minimum:
- A clear definition of what products or services will be provided
- Payment terms – how to pay, when payment is due
- Any guarantees or warranties offered
- Delivery times and any additional delivery costs
- Returns/refund policy
- Cancellation policy
It still amazes me how many sites are missing this key information. I was going to make a purchase a while ago of a product for a present, but no matter how hard I tried, I could not find any information on how long the delivery time would be. As I needed the item for a specific date, I didn’t place the order.
As mentioned previously, once you have checked your website for all these points, go get someone else to check for you also. I offer this service to members of my Small Business Kit and give feedback as to how to improve their sites so come join up and I’ll check your site for you.
I do my best to support small independent traders, so just recently I made several purchases from members of my Facebook group along with a few from promotions I had seen in other groups, all of whom were small business owners.
I made a point of letting people know I had purchased in order to help boost their posts and help promote their business.
The response I got was quite varied.
The first lady I purchased off and left a comment for, saying how excited I was to have placed my order and was looking forward to receiving my goods, completely ignored my comment. Not even a like even though I had tagged her! However, a comment below mine got an instant response from someone who was obviously a friend as she said she would drop the order over when they went out for drinks later.
How did that make me feel?
Ignored (obviously) and that my purchase was insignificant and not of any value to her.
A few days later I received my product and that was that.
The second purchase that I left a comment for did manage to get a ‘like’ but no reply or further interaction with me.
How did this leave me feeling? That she wasn’t really bothered by my purchase either. Another example of how not to create raving fans for her business.
Again, product received but this time with a card asking me to rate the business on social media. Hmm! Now then. As I had been ignored previously, would I take time out to do this. Maybe, maybe not.
How to create raving fans
Now take a moment to compare this was another purchase further along the line.
Here I did exactly the same. Completed the purchase and left a comment on their promo post whilst tagging them so they couldn’t miss it.
The difference in the response I got here was so far removed from the first couple.
Hallelujah!! Someone cares!
I had a reply to my comment thanking me so much for my support and that she was as excited as I was about sending my purchase to me as I was in receiving it as she knew I would love it.
Between my order and my receipt of the same, the lady kept me fully updated via email. Again, I received an email thanking me for my order and with an expected dispatch date. I then received a lovely email saying how my order had just been lovingly wrapped and taken to the post office so would be with me soon.
When the order arrived, it was beautifully packed in tissue paper and tied with a piece of ribbon along with a business card that had a handwritten message on.
How did this purchase make me feel? It made me feel valued and warm and fuzzy inside that I had supported a small business that really appreciated my support.
Out of these three businesses, who do you think I will return to when I go to make future purchases? Which ones are creating raving fans and which ones aren’t? I’ll give you one guess.
The moral of the story here is that if you are going to promote your business on social media, then get social! If someone takes the time to make a purchase and flag up your business to try and support you, then at least have the courtesy to respond to them. It only takes a few seconds to say thank you.
Remember, it’s now what you say or what you do, it’s how you make people feel that matters and will determine if they return to you to buy from you again or not.
Does this resonate with you? Yes or no? Leave a comment and let me know below.
Have you been breaking promises just lately?
“What?” I hear you exclaim! Me? Break promises? Never!
Well good on you if you don’t because I have discovered there are far too many out there who do. And I bet they are losing numerous sales because of it without even realising.
Over the past couple of months, I have been promised numerous things from thank you gifts for completing surveys, to information sheets following up treatments to trial samples of products. And these have failed to be delivered.
At first, I wondered if it was just me. But then I started to notice a few times on social media where someone had run a promotion, promised to send the prize to the winner, but had failed to do so. The winner had turned from being delighted to being somewhat narky having to ask when they were going to receive their prize.
And I have to be honest, when someone promises me something that I haven’t asked for I am delighted and excited. But when said item fails to materialise, I feel a little narked. Why did they bother offering anything in the first place.
Before you go making quick off the cuff promises to impress, think carefully if you can actually deliver on your promise. And if you can, get organised!! Carry a notebook or diary at all times and write down what you have promised to do. And then do it!
If you don’t keep your promise, you could well lose future sales.
I purchased from a lady recently and was fully prepared to buy again. When chatting to her she promised to send me a free gift to try first. When it failed to arrive, I felt that she didn’t really care about my custom and didn’t really care if I went back and purchased again or not. So, I didn’t. And I am sourcing someone else to buy from.
If you don’t keep up your end of the bargain, buyers will lose trust in you. They won’t believe that you will able to deliver in the future and so may take their hard earned money elsewhere.
Go back and look through past prospects and clients. Did you promise anything that you failed to deliver? If so, see if it’s not too late to rectify the situation and gain that trust back.
How do you feel when planning your social media posts?
When it is time to post out on social media do you feel relaxed and happy that you have great content ready to go. Or, do you feel that sinking feeling in your stomach and you instantly get a mental block and can’t even think of how to write a birthday message to your bestie, let alone come up with some creative writing to attract people to interact with you?
I am happy to say that I am now in the first category, although it wasn’t always that way. I have literally thousands of social media posts all pre-prepared that I can tap into at any time I need.
When I sit down with clients and talk to them about creating banks of posts, I invariably get asked how I think of so much content and how I can prepare so many posts in advance.
Many women I talk to feel they simply cannot think of so much content and feel overwhelmed at the thought of preparing just one month of posts in advance and struggle to get in the creative mood.
I used to be the same until I found a way that simplified the whole process for me and saved me hours (if not days) of struggling to come up with ideas of what to write.
And I am now going to share with you how to do it.
Create the social media posts
Firstly, I come up with a topic to cover and focus on for each month.
I then sit down and offload all my thoughts on each subject onto paper (or rather my laptop). I start off with headings, subheading and then bullet points. I then split this into 4 separate sections and flesh out the content, creating 4 blog posts (one for each week and all linking to each other). If you can write 2000 words on each subject matter, these can easily be split down into 4 x 500 word blogs.
Personally, I find blocking out one day each month and writing in this way keeps the creative juices flowing and by breaking one long subject down into 4 gives me enough content each month.
I then take each individual blog post and from this come up with numerous social media posts that can be used again and again.
From each blog post, I will usually extract:
- 2 top tips
- 2 quotes
- 1 bitesize video (approx. 2 minutes)
- 1 video tutorial or Facebook Live broadcast
- 1 key question to pose to readers to gain their interest
You can immediately see from the above that I now have 8 instant posts for social media each week by using the initial long blog post, breaking down ad creating the extra content types from it.
Have a read of my post on how to create content from one blog post as this will give you some more ideas. http://www.thesmallbusinesskit.com/blog/repurpose-blog-content/
Finally, for each main subject, I then create a freebie giveaway
Planning to use your social media posts
Using this system, I can easily create 33 posts for each month. I record all of these in a spreadsheet and make a note of when and where I post them so that I don’t duplicate the same post across 2 channels on the same day.
On day 1, I may post the blog post in my Facebook group and post a question on my Facebook page. I may also post a top tip in another group.
If you are really organised, you could plan a longer series each quarter.
If you are in the weight loss industry you might choose a 3-month series on the lines of:
- Getting in the right mindset to lose weight
- Choosing the right diet for you
- Losing the first stone
You can then create 12 individual blog posts from these main subjects, with a further 74 individual posts (are you still with me?).
Record all your posts into a spreadsheet which you then simply copy and paste from when you need to post out on your chosen social media channels. Over time you will create a huge bank of posts that can be used time and time again with your chosen audience.
If you use a social media scheduler, you can pre-plan your posts for the month ahead. All you have to then do is to make sure you check in each day to see what interaction you are getting, respond to comments and tweak if necessary.
Using this system, I now spend no more than half an hour on social media each day. It’s so liberating!!
If you would like a done for you spreadsheet and planner to download and use along with a full video tutorial on how to create and schedule your social media posts, come join my member’s club for immediate access.