Now, more than ever, there are so many amazing opportunities to connect with consumers online and use technology in your business, especially as a creative entrepreneur.
One of the best ways to reach your potential clients is through digital marketing. Implementing a digital marketing system into my business is one of the coolest things I’ve done for myself, and it’s making me a lot of money! If you don’t know what digital marketing is, don’t worry—it’s basically marketing your services through email and your website.
I love being an entrepreneur, and I love thinking about how I can make money even while I sleep. There’s a lot of resistance, especially in the interior design industry, about taking your business online, but it was the biggest game-changer I’ve experienced in my business in the last 10 years, and I’m breaking down everything you need to know about this business model to get you on board.
For me, creating an online business with digital marketing means having the freedom to have more time off work and creating more balance while making more money than ever, if you do it right. And doing it right means having the core foundation in place, and offering content, courses, and classes that organize our intellectual property in a way that hundreds, thousands, or even millions can benefit from! It’s not like you can just have nothing of value to give to the world. You’ve got to have valuable products and services to start.
Getting your message out into the world, to your audience, connecting with the people that really want what you’re selling, that is where digital marketing really makes a difference. Because you’re meeting clients where they are, including with digital assets like pdfs, guides, ebooks or other things that they can download and print off and learn from. You can even offer things that you can sell like courses, coaching and membership programs.
The opportunities are endless once you take your business online. It’s so cool because you can create something once and sell it many times by offering it to your audience right where they are.
The purpose of this digital approach is to meet customers where they are geographically and financially and really where they are physically at their computer, and offering them a range of options from free advice to inexpensive offerings to mid-range offerings, to filling all of the gaps all the way up to your highest end 1-to-1 custom services.
So, let’s explore just exactly what digital marketing looks like for a creative entrepreneur…
Set Up a Website
This may sound like an obvious place to start, but your website is really like your digital business card and your online store these days. It’s where you will invite people to come to learn more about you, interact with all your offerings and have them sign up for your email list in order to get all your fabulous digital freebies.
Depending on what kind of creative entrepreneur you are, you want your website to reflect what you are uniquely offering to the world. If your site could represent anyone, or worse everyone, in your industry, it’s not really unique and your services may not be either. The copy should be written in a way that lays out all the benefits of why someone would want to work with you over all the other choices out there.
But be sure that your website is more about them than you. Meaning, it’s more about what they will get if they choose you to solve their problems.
Once someone visits your website, you want to stay in touch with them. And the best way to do that is through your email list.
Why You Need an Email List
Today’s consumer is online and you need to be online to reach them. The best way to do that is through your email list. You can share free resources with them and market directly to your ideal client instead of just hoping they will find you and connect with you on social media.
An engaged email list of qualified leads is the #1 thing every creative entrepreneur needs in order to grow their business online…heck, to grow your business period.
Before I had an email list, the way I got clients was by sending at least 10 emails per week to prospects, mostly to someone I sorta knew. I’d sit down at my computer every Friday and take lots of time crafting individual emails to these prospects, some of which would never even respond!
After painfully crafting these emails for years, I was introduced to the idea of an email list, and promptly started building one. This level of connection and automation with my tribe meant I was able to connect with my potential customers more regularly, without having to spend half a day writing individual emails!
Maybe you’re thinking: But I just use social media to connect with my people? Well, you don’t own that. If Instagram goes away, so does your following. With your email list, it’s yours and you can always connect with your audience when you feel like it or have something to offer or sell.
Even if you don’t have a list yet, don’t panic—you have to start somewhere. Start now building your list, because your list is where even the most successful online entrepreneurs say that most of their sales conversions still happen.
You need consistent growth to your list so you can get new eyes on your offerings regularly and not just fatigue your same group of people over and over with sales offers. Plus with so much competition in the online space, if someone is going to hire you, it doesn’t just happen,It requires you to convince them to take that step, and one of the best ways to do that is to help them know you, like you and ultimately trust you with the value you are sending them by email. The right emails and freebies give your customers real results for free before you even start working together. Talk about building trust!
The digital marketing process is really about building a true connection with your people. Marketing is not just about promoting your business. It’s about building relationships. And, it’s always been that way. In a service-based business, your potential clients and future prospects must be able to see you, not just your interior design or other creative work. Now, more than ever, they need to look into your eyes, feel a connection, and know that you are their “person” before investing.
You want to nurture them to buy your products, you want to get to know them, and you want them to know, like and trust you. The way you do that? By consistently contacting them through email with valuable, meaningful or fun emails.
Once you’ve started to build your list, you can then put some automation around it, meaning batching and scheduling emails that will go out over a period of time. Setting up automation of any type in your business can seem scary, and like we’re losing control over every little detail. But, handing off control by automating is freeing, and it’s what allows you to grow and scale your business while creating a life that you love too.
You’ll still be showing up for your audience, working in your own zone of genius, and keeping your finger on the pulse of your business; without being weighed down by the technical logistics and recurring tasks that don’t have to be done by you.
To automate, you use a system, a CRM (Customer Resource Management) software, that allows you to send mass emails and content to your list week after week after week. Psst…I recommend the best CRMs in my free e-course, Digital Marketing Primer. Sign up here and I’ll guide you step-by-step through choosing the right one for your business.
And while you’re busy serving customers, your list will be converting clients—so you can say farewell to the feast or famine nature of business. Your email list will now have your back!
Lead Magnet: How to Attract Your People
In order to grow your list, you must draw your ideal clients off social media and onto your own email list. In order to convert your ideal clients into buyers, you will need to nurture them over a period of weeks or months and ask for a sale. This is most effectively done through email.
One of the best ways to get people to join your email list is with a lead magnet. A high-quality lead magnet is the key to building a list of potential customers that want more from you. A lead magnet attracts your ideal client from your broader audience and gives them an incentive to share their email with you in exchange for a solution to one of their problems, typically in the form of a downloadable piece of content or a series of video trainings or emails.
This is why listening to and engaging with your audience on social media and then aligning that with who you want to serve is SO important. Without that step, how would you know what to deliver as your lead magnet? Oh, and sorry, but “join my newsletter” or a list of your favorite paint colors isn’t good enough anymore!
As your online business emerges, you’ll create more freebies and lead magnets and you can tailor them as the entryway to various digital product offerings or consulting services that you have for sale. It’s the doorway to your sales path.
Most commonly, a lead magnet is something that is delivered via email (automatically as soon as someone opts-in to receive it on your website by giving you their email address) and shares something of value that helps them in solving a problem. Creating the right lead magnet to start this process is going to take work, and you may have to go through a few concepts in order to nail it.
Because your lead magnet is the doorway to making money online, it’s important that it’s specific in nature, built ONLY for your ideal client, and gives them something they want and need. We discuss lead magnets at length in DesignYou. In fact, there is a whole section of the DesignYou program dedicated to posting your lead magnet ideas and getting feedback as you develop them.
Ready to dive even deeper? I created a free e-course that will get you primed and ready to start growing your profits and your influence with digital marketing in your business. Sign up for my free e-course, Digital Marketing Primer and learn about building an email nurture sequence, creating your fan base, and more.