Everyone is always trying to “grow their brand”, right? I’m certainly no different. As I’ve reached the point where my products are ready to put out in the world, I’ve had to turn to my marketing strategies with a serious eye.
Now, if you’re familiar with any of the work I do (here on my blog, or via my writing/editing/coaching career), you know that I come from a strong research background. In fact, I’d actually say that research is one of my top marketable skills. I’m dang good.
Naturally, I turned marketing into a big research project. It’s been a lot of trial and error.
Not all platforms are going to be equally effective for all businesses.
It’s important that you start doing some research about your customers before anything else. Where do they hang out? What sorts of things are they searching for or following? If you understand your ideal client well, then figuring out what platforms to focus on will make a lot of sense.
In my case, most of my clients are writers. This is a sub-category that can be broken down further (entrepreneurs writing books as products, creative writers coming up with novels, reflective writers doing memoirs), but since all of these types of writers are potential clients for me, I’m going to try to think of where writers in general hang out.
I want to connect with my potential clients on their own turf.
Most of the time, people don’t realise what they want or need until they see it. That’s just human nature. So meeting your potential clients in the spaces that they frequent is a fantastic way to get their attention and make them aware of what it is you do (and how you can make their lives better).
After doing my market research, I’ve identified x main places that I can locate potential clients. Here they are, and why they work for both of us:
You may think that this is counterintuitive: why would a photo-based platform be the best place to find word-oriented people? Well, the fact is that nearly everyone is on the gram these days…especially bloggers. Bloggers grow their presence on Instagram and are so frequently storytellers with the dream of writing a book. Seriously, ask them – you’ll see that I’m right.
In addition to bloggers, there is also a very strong #bookstagram community on IG. This is where people who love books hang out, post photos of what they’re reading, and look for suggestions on what to read next. This particular community is full of someday-writers, and is a great place to connect with people who may be interested in my coaching.
When it comes to Instagram, I’ll admit that I do have a different approach than most typical business owners. I’m not out there to hound people to use my services – my IG account is aimed at organically connecting with cool people. I’ve found that by taking this more relaxed approach, I end up forming deeper connections with my followers rather than simply herding in crowds of people (seriously, my engagement rate is insane).
How Instagram can work for you: start by figuring out what kinds of hashtags your ideal client’s communities use. Explore those areas and figure out what kind of content they’re looking for. Find ways to add this content in to what you’re already organically producing, and actually talk to people – comment on photos, send DMs if you have genuine messages. Don’t be sales-y.
When I first started using Pinterest way back in the day, I found it absolutely baffling. Since I heard it was a fantastic traffic driver, I spent (probably way too long) learning all the ins and outs and strategies that I could.
This has led me to launch a whole course on growing your Pinterest account for marketing purposes, and really understanding just how powerful this thing is.
How does my audience use Pinterest? I identified three key areas that the people I want to work with are browsing: writing tips/strategies, social media marketing, and small business development. Why these three? A huge number of the people I work with want to self-publish their books. And, as I always tell them, self-publishing is a side hustle. If you don’t treat it like an actual job, you’re not going to make any real money in it. Therefore all the marketing and business strategy content that I pin (and produce) is aimed at helping clients on this side of my business.
How Pinterest can work for you: start by identifying 3 pillars that describe your client’s needs. Create your own content to fit into these categories, and add in related content from other people. If you pin it, they will come.
Where to writers go to talk to other writers, find support and advice, and procrastinate writing the books that they are struggling with? Facebook, of course!
Back in the day, people used to flee to forums and noticeboards for these kind of niche support groups. But now, there are massive Facebook groups tailored to every type of interest. I guarantee your ideal client has a type of group they frequent, too.
I’ve joined around ten different Facebook groups for writers. Most of them have questions during the application process to join, and it’s always best to be completely honest here. I don’t want to get kicked out of any groups. Luckily for me, I’m also a writer (like, authentic published author) so I fit in to these groups very well. I get a lot out of them, too!
Rather than just spamming them with ads, though, I focus on making more of those genuine connections. I give advice and demonstrate my expertise when people ask questions. If someone asks for help with editing (and it happens pretty often), I’ll chime in with a non-aggressive comment. Above all, follow the rules of the group re: advertising and promotion.
How Facebook Groups can work for you: identify your ideal client’s pain point and where they go to get support from others. Join these communities with consideration and follow their rules. See what you can learn, as well as what you can offer (for example, more insights into your ideal client’s interests and needs).
There are other places where I’m not trying to connect with clients, too.
I’ve considered Twitter, which is perhaps intuitive for seeking writers. However, I’ve found that this platform doesn’t work for me personally – it requires a large amount of time and frequent updates, which doesn’t fit in to my schedule. For other people, though, it might be ideal.
I think there’s a separate category of activity that we should recognise here – the difference between looking to connect with clients and building your brand. Your brand will help attract clients to you, which is fantastic – that’s one of the many reasons it’s worth developing. Content from your brand (like blog posts and YouTube videos) can also be used to connect with clients in the kinds of spaces that I’ve mentioned above.
Both are equally important in terms of sustaining your business, so it’s important not to neglect one for the other.
Where are you connecting with your ideal clients?
Leave a comment below or DM me on Instagram @luckysprout to let me know!