The Freelance Ads Club Podcast

#13 How I generate leads for my business NOW

December 02, 2022 Aggie Meroni Season 1 Episode 13
The Freelance Ads Club Podcast
#13 How I generate leads for my business NOW
Show Notes Transcript

In today's episode, I'm going to be talking about how I generate leads for my business.  It's probably the thing I'm asked the most in my DMs.

Whilst there's no magic formula and everyone has different methods and personalities, it may spark some new ideas of things to try next.

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To join, you MUST have training in ads management - whether you work in-house for a brand or agency or are already freelancing. Whilst we are always sharing knowledge in the group, this is not for beginners looking for a career change or to make a quick buck.

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Aggie Meroni:

Welcome to the freelance Ads club podcast with me your host, Aggie Meroni. Whether you're a seasoned freelance ads manager, or just thinking about taking the leap in self employment, this podcast is for you. Every week, I'll be releasing a bite sized episode, I'll be sharing mistakes I've made and the lessons I've learned from my own freelance business. I'll be showcasing some of the amazingly talented freelancers in the freelance ads club. And I also will be speaking to some incredible guests, who generously be sharing their knowledge with us to help us keep updated with industry trends. And I really hope that after listening to this podcast, you will come away full of confidence on how to win great clients, how to charge correctly, and most importantly, retain those dream clients so that you build a successful and sustainable business. Hello, and welcome to episode 13 of the Freelance Ads Club Podcast. Today, I'm going to be talking about the easiest way that I generate leads for my business. Now, for me, there is no easy way per se, that works to generate leads, there is a lot of different things that contribute to it. But I think that there are some things that I do that help me generate leads for my business. So I wanted to talk through it today. And I also wanted to talk about the worst advice I've ever had. Because it ties into this, if I'd listened to that piece of advice, I would have missed out on so much work. Frst of all, I want to take a step back and go back to the very early, dark, dark days of my business - referring back to one of the first episodes about my story. And I just feel like so much of these things, you just kind of look back on and think, okay, that's how I've changed and tweaked and done different things, and that's why I'm referring back to this now. When I first found myself having to launch a business, which, if you haven't heard it already, I'm not gonna repeat myself in too much detail. I set myself up as a business, I think it was in February 2020. Because the dream was that I would contract in house at various businesses, agencies, doing digital marketing stuff, and that would give me the flexibility to work around my then two year old, he's now three and a half how time flies, well he was just one, he just turned one. So I set myself up as a limited company so that I could do all the boring stuff. Like in the UK, I could work through agencies and they'd be able to bill me and blah, blah, blah. So that admin side was set up, then obviously, the C word happens. And we were plunged into a pandemic. And I realised that no one was gonna hire me. And I had to start my own business. And I was like, shit, what am I gonna do? To be honest, I was massively naive. When I was like, okay, I had no choice at all, but I literally had no idea it was coming. And I learned very quickly that no one actually gives a shit about you. That's the truth. When you're more established, you understand how it feels when you get people messaging you, like, commenting, DMing, liking, outreach, that's what I should have been doing but not in a spammy way. But you know, I don't know, maybe I was a bit entitled, like, I thought why, and maybe too self confident. But you just assume, when I look back on it, you know, expecting people to just be like, Yeah, I need your services. I just didn't think there'd be that much resistance. I think a lot came down to people's kind of frame of mind at the time. It was a very panicky time. People obviously worried about their loved ones. And a lot of business owners were freaking out thinking oh my god, how am I going to survive this? A lot of freelancers as well didn't get any financial support during lockdowns if they were new, I was in that situation. I didn't get a penny from the government to support me as I launched my new business. So it was a very tricky time and there was little me on LinkedIn like Hi, this is what I do. In tumbleweed, I was like, oh, okay, I don't know what to do now, I don't know how I'm gonna make money. Even though I had a sales background, I had always worked in a corporate environment. So we had an established brand, we had marketing support, we had all our client relationships. When you're in sales in a big corporation, the name opens doors for you where you work. And you will develop a network, or your colleagues will have a network that they'll tap into for you, because you have team targets and stuff like that. So it's a very different type of sales. And I've learned that when you're a freelancer, the type of selling you need to do is very different. Now, having spoken to different freelancers, everyone has their own style of selling, and everyone has their own approach and what they're comfortable with. So I'm not saying that anything I'm showing you today is the only way to do it, I honestly think that you will have your own flair for different things. I mean, I've heard of freelancers, buying lists of leads, and winning work that way by cold calling, or not really cold calling the leads, because they're warm leads, but they pay someone to do lead generation for them. Other people have a massive network from a career that they've left. And those people refer them. Oher people's are ninjas on social media, so they are able to build up their following and generate leads that way, whatever your poison, or whatever your tactics are, and it works for you. I'm not gonna poopoo those, I love that phrase. I'm not gonna say they don't work because they do work for you. But the thing that I did, when I was getting knocked back, and I was getting a bit panicky, to be honest, I was thinking, I literally don't know how I'm gonna get leads, or how can I make money, I did have a very strong belief that it would work out eventually, I knew I was gonna be okay. It was just really exhausting. Because you just feel like every door you knock on, it's a no. So I was looking around people around me who were more established, I was like, okay, so what are they doing? Like, what can I learn from them? I knew from my sales days that your network is your net worth, okay? It's probably the biggest cliche ever, but the more people you know, and more importantly, know of you. So the more people know you're there, the more money you're gonna make. And I've seen it in my old career and in my current career. I've heard people you know, making comments, but other people that are doing really well, but they don't believe justify, because they're not very good at what they do. But they are all very visible. And that is what it comes down to. So I was like, right, I need to decide what I'm gonna do to make myself stand out. So there's the know, like, and trust factor, right? So I need people to know me. So I started dabbling in LinkedIn, but I was honestly terrified of doing that. And being a career changer, I was so scared of what other people think of me and wild networks. It's like very established financial people thinking, Who does she think she is. And so that was a massive mindset thing, which I have overcome now, as I've become more confident in what I do. But that massively held me back from LinkedIn. So it's like, I'm gonna go and hide on Instagram. I'm gonna go and hide on Facebook. So that's why I hung out for like, the first year, well, maybe more like 18 months. If you look at my Instagram feed, and you see what I was posting in early days, oh my god, if you listen to my previous episode about niching, about all the different things that I have said I do in the last two and a half years, you can pretty much track that on my Instagram feed, because I've not deleted anything that I've posted. So if you want to see me before I had branding, before I was an ad specialist, all those things, go and have a laugh over there. Sounds like right and needs to be consistent on social media. And the fact that I was passionate about social media helped. So I was like, I need to lead with Instagram. I had literally never used Instagram before then because I've never had say I just thought it was a faff before. I'm not one of these people that uses it for personal use, because I never remember to take photos. Which is funny now that I think about it. So I had to teach myself Instagram, but you know, I was using it for my work anyway. So it's like two birds in one stone. I'm using this for my clients and for myself. And a lot of people say, I don't have time to post on social media. I'm reluctant to agree. I mean, everyone's got busy times, like really busy times and they have stuff that goes on outside of their business so things can get busy and you can drop the ball. I would say You know, if you dropped the ball for a week or so, because something happens, your business won't collapse. But I massively notice a difference in the amount of leads I get when I'm less active on social media. Now in the early days, and this has changed now, so I'm happy to show what I do now. Or maybe I'll save that for another episode. I don't want to ramble on too long today. But I would be in bed, knocking together a Canva graphic, putting a quick post together. And I had saved hashtags on my phone, I just copy and paste. And that'd be my post. And I tried to do that every day for at least six months. And when I started posting consistently, I landed my first client within like, a month or so. And the comment was, I found you on Instagram, and I was really impressed with your profile. Can you do that for me? And I was like, Okay, this is starting to work. This is good. Now I work with someone to produce graphics for me, and I write 12 posts on a Trello board that they create the graphics for. And then I have a VA who schedules it for me, that keeps me consistent. And that makes me kind of think about what I'm going to be talking about. But I honestly think getting branding done helps with this because it made it easier to create graphics, because I knew what colours I was using my fonts and the feel of what I wanted to share. And that saves me loads of time and indecision, because like, right, I've got six colours to choose from, I've got two fonts, and I like bold, simple things. So as long as it's in the colours and the fonts, and it's got some kind of message, it's going to be fine. Like I wasn't too worried, or I didn't overthink it too much. And the thing about posting on the fly, which I know that every social media manager is going to be like don't do that is you can literally just pull out something that happened to you that day. So my clients are my best inspiration, as soon as I get a question, I'm like, Okay, that's good content, or if something annoys me, which happens quite frequently, that's content. Or if I notice over one month that the same thing comes up again and again, I write something about it. So that is how I started getting visible on Instagram. I also started hanging out in different memberships on Facebook, and different groups in Facebook, I find my organic reach is awful on Facebook so don't tend to post in there. But I've made loads of great connections, in memberships and with membership owners, as well. Particularly I did loads of training membership groups. That's something I talk about in another episode about how to charge for things. And I kind of started building up my network there because the one thing I appreciated early on, is that I was starting from scratch, I literally had no connections in marketing or with business owners that would be my potential clients. I didn't know anyone that was doing the same thing as me, except for a couple of people I've done various pieces of training with, I literally had zero to start with. Okay, so I was like, right, I need to make connections, I need to make myself known. So I did the cliche thing and started observing in groups, what people talking about, if people were looking for support with things, I would throw my hat in the ring. And by helping people for free in groups just by answering questions, people started remembering me that I was the Ads person. So that takes time. And it's not an easy win. And it's something that you do have to be committed to being present in. So pick a couple of groups where you know your ideal clients hang out, do not start spamming in there and promoting yourself because you'll get kicked out of the group, but be a valued member of that group and add value and be helpful. And you are your brand if you're a freelance so be likeable, and people will remember you. And as soon as they hear someone that needs the thing that you provide, they will recommend you that's just the way it is. I landed my biggest client that I'm still working with after two years now. No, just over a year. I've been working with them now from a Facebook group, and I'm still in touch with the person that recommended me to them. And we've referred each other work ever since. So it's really important not to overlook that you really need to be thinking about, how can I help others and how am I making myself known to as many people as possible. On LinkedIn, I finally got over it. I had a power hour with someone last summer who's reviewed my profiles which probably I do need to redo them. I haven't done them yet. Even though committed to doing that, during that how to recession proof your business episode it's still on my to do list. But it gave me more of a sense of like, what features to use, and I need an update really as so much has changed in a year. But at the beginning, at the end of the summer, the year I decided to commit to posting on LinkedIn. At first it was every day. Now it's a lot more sporadic. I tried to do it every day. But yesterday, I posted twice, which is quite rare. But you know, three times a week on LinkedIn, I found is fine. And I don't just post about ads. If you follow me on LinkedIn or connect with me on LinkedIn, you probably noticed that. So I talk about things that are ecommerce relevant. So not necessarily ad specific, but things that my audience will be struggling with or trends in e Commerce Industry. That was actually a really good tip I got about my own content strategy to help create the halo effect for your content. So remember, who you're talking to, and its content to support them, which is like the golden rule of content strategy, but you get lost in your own business sometimes, don't you? Testimonials, so people trust you and results, how you react to people's comments on your posts is really important as well, because that's an extension of your brand. One thing I do, and I'm happy to extend this to anyone else who's feeling nervous about posting on LinkedIn, because they have a fear of trolls. I've been trolled, I think twice on LinkedIn. And I have had I'd say, very misogynistic comments on my posts and some chauvinistic comments, definitely patronising comments, and a few mansplaining comments. But they get to me, and I am really sensitive, so it's literally like, death by 1000 cuts. When you get negative stuff on your social media posts. I tell my ads manager friends, and they go and back me up in my comments. Now, that is what you call having a loyal gang behind you that have your back on social media. Now, I'm not saying should have engagement polls where you go like each other's posts, because we don't do that. But sometimes you just need someone to have your corner and to feel supported. So if you ever get trolled on LinkedIn, let me know. And I'll come support, you probably shouldn't share that. I need a backup on LinkedIn, shouldn't admit that but that's the truth. I'm just like a complete wuss. So being visually visible on social media, for me is an absolutely no brainer. And lots of people say to me, how do you do it? Like how are you always visible on social media. So with Instagram, my graphics, copy I have a deadline every month. So I have to have those 12 posts written so that my VA and my content creator, I can get everything ready. And then on LinkedIn, it is all on the fly. And I think that is why it's easier in a way on LinkedIn because you can literally be in the queue and Sainsbury's and think I need two lines to write on LinkedIn. It doesn't have to be war and peace and it doesn't particularly need to be about ads. It can even be the fact that you're standing queue in Sainsbury's, I've seen loads of different things on there. I also think I can't remember who I was talking to now. I think it was one of my consultancy clients. And she was saying, Oh, I just started like doing some archery and I'm like you know, post it. I mean, people would love to know about that. It's something different, isn't it? Because LinkedIn can get a bit dry and a bit intense sometimes. So if you've got something that is not intense or dry, it can really make you noticed. Also adding imagery, like photos of yourself, which I know lots people cringe about, but it does get people to know you. videos of yourself just speaking to your camera. So that's good. Another thing that I have started doing as well, it was only the show last year, I started to build an email list. And I think at the moment I've got about 600 people on it, that are my ideal clients and ecommerce brands, and I try and email them every week. It doesn't always work. Be as consistent as you can is my advice on that one. I literally have my link to join my newsletter on my email signature. If people apply to work with me or they apply to have consultations with me, there's an option on this opt-in to my email list. It's on my Instagram. I sometimes push it on my LinkedIn but probably not enough. And I have run ads to my lead magnet and that's built my email list as well. and I have made money from my email lists, not, not the amount that people say, Oh, you'll make, you know,$40 For every dollar you spend, or whatever, I haven't made that much, I probably should run the numbers. Having an engaged audience really is the key to generating money when you're having a quiet month, thinking about what you can run as an offer, and all that kind of stuff. I think the thing that is really unsexy to say is, for me, lead generation is not a tap, I know that there's loads of ads, people that run out saying, oh, you know, we have this automated pipeline, and we can sign as many clients as we want, and all that kind of thing. I actually don't think you should be signing as many clients as you want, I think you should be signing the right clients. And I think the ones when you're looking to attract the right clients, it's not that you're going to be inundated with them, like but you want, the good quality ones to come when they're ready, and you want to be ready for them when they come. And you don't want to have a situation where your pipeline is dry. So I have a Trello that I keep track of people that get in touch with me, I understand that they don't always sign straightaway. I mean, one business I'm working with now, she contacted me on the Wednesday, and she was signed and paid up by Friday. And that is so rare, like 48 hours inquiry to sign up. I mean, there's other brands that have been kind of dancing around me for months. And I know they'll eventually come on board. But they're bigger accounts, and they've got more hoops to jump through. And it's kind of not having that desperation that you need to have that person sign up with you. So you can pay your mortgage that month. That's the pipeline that you're kind of aiming for. And I know that's really difficult at the moment, because lots of people are terminating contracts, lots of people are bringing the ads in house, which I honestly think will be a temporary measure. But that doesn't help in the short term. So this is just my take on it, try and be on social media every day, because that is how people are gonna get to remember you, especially now that you have to be more visible now. Because there will be less people looking for what we do. And it's the people that are visible that will win the work. So for me just to summarise, make connections, and make connections with the people that aren't just your ideal client as well. And this is the advice I had, which is the worst advice ever. Don't connect with people that do the same as you. Why that advice? It's the worst advice ever. I've had so many referrals from people that are Ads managers, they don't like E One thing that I'm developing now, and I'm sure I'll talk about this more in the future as well is an offer because people's budgets are smaller sometimes. And they just need a commerce, they don't like the business, there's all sorts of quick solution rather than or management or a really long course sometimes they just need a tiny thing just to help them with one specific issue. So I would just have a review of all your offers as well and maybe how your messaging might need to reasons- or capacity, there's so many reasons why people pass change to reflect those new offers. I feel like I've been like jabbering about how I generate leads. But it's never a quick thing for me a lot of it's a slow burn. And it's because on work. But if people don't know about you and what you do, someone's clocked me. And then they come to me when they need me. And I find that something that's really like different about ads. You can't really force someone to do ads because they'd be a nightmare client because they won't understand they'll never think of you when they need someone that sometimes what they've signed up for. They usually expect instant results, they're just going to be pain. So in my experience, the best ads clients, the ones that know the value of the ads, and they they just need to tag team for them. The account is too big, I know it takes time and that they trust you without micromanaging something they don't understand. Let's face it. It is a highly skilled job. And unless you're doing it 24/7, you're really not need to bring someone else on to help me that kind of thing. So up to speed on what is required. So good luck out there, everyone in generating leads, I am thinking of running a short programme on how to make sales for your business in Q1. So keep your ears to the ground on that build your network in an authentic way. Make friends one, I'll keep you posted as that becomes more of a firm plan. And also let me know in the slack or send me a DM or however you want to contact me and let me know if you'd be basically, and be visible on social media. Building an email interested in sales programmes like that. And I will share what I'm thinking. And we can tailor it to exactly what we think is needed. And I can bring in some external people to support us on list. Go to face to face networking, if it's relevant for that as well. So I'm going to wrap up today. If you're trained ads manager and you're looking for a community to help build your network and to support you, as you grow your business, then you can apply to join us in the what you do. But I just think that don't just rely on one shownotes. There's the link. And if you're an agency owner or brands and you're looking for support for your projects and to grow your business, there's a link for you guys to apply as thing to get leads for your business. well. And we can match make you with the best fit for your business. So that's all for today. I will speak to you next time.