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Email lists are crazy effective. In fact, I don't believe it's possible to grow your design business online without one.
Find out why email lists are soo much better than social media marketing and who the best providers are.
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Speaker 1: 00:00 Hey, what's up fools? This is Lauren with Lauren Lesley Studio and today we're going to be talking about why every designer needs an email list. Now you may be thinking, what is an email list and why does it matter? And if you're wondering that you are in the right place. Today we're going to go over why you need an email list in the first place. Why an email is different from social media, how to choose a provider and how to get subscribers on your list and how to craft your newsletter.
Speaker 1: 00:35 So the problem with social media, okay, so although social media is very important to growing your business online, you don't own it. So a few years ago, every business was trying to get as many people as possible to like their facebook page because then they would show up naturally in their facebook newsfeed. Well, facebook decided to change their algorithm because they own facebook, you don't. And now business page or pages are basically dead. So business has spent all this energy, all this money marketing, um, and everything trying to get people to like their facebook page. And then in the end, it didn't really make a whole lot of sense. It was totally useless because they didn't actually own all of these likes. I mean, facebook was, could just change it at any minute. Um, another reason why social media is a little bit harder than email is because it's difficult to contact your tribe directly if you're putting a ton of energy and a ton of money into social media, uh, especially a platform like facebook or instagram, you just Kinda have to cross your fingers and say a little prayer and hope people see your stuff in their feed.
Speaker 1: 01:55 Like what if they're not on their feed that day or they're, you're posting at the wrong time or you're posting at a time where there's too much competition. So it's difficult to contact your customers or get your leads directly.
Speaker 1: 02:12 Email lists, on the other hand, bomp bomp bomp allow you to contact your customers and leads directly in their inbox. So it's intimate. Um, you're contacting them directly on social. You're posting for the whole wide world. So that means something to your potential leads or customers. I'm a thoughtful email is a lot. It's just, it's more intimate, it's like chatting with a good friend and it's intentional, you know that someone sat down and crafted this email very intentionally where sometimes social just kind of looks like, Oh, here's a pretty picture. Hope you like it, you know? Cool. Also email subscribers are way more likely to become customers and existing customers are more likely to become repeat customers. Can I get a hell yeah?! Also with email lists, conversion rates are high. According to opt in monster article on May 29th, 2018. So this is very recently guys, there are 2.6 billion - billion with a b email - users versus 1.7 billion facebook users. So email is pretty much like double,
Speaker 2: 03:29 um,
Speaker 1: 03:31 the amount of facebook users are. So you just have a bigger audience to work with in the first place. Not everyone is on facebook. My cousin who's in his twenties is not on facebook. My fiance, who's, you know, 35 has a facebook account, but he literally never ever, ever, ever logs in. Unless I tell him, hey, you need to go contact this person or there's an event we're going to, you need to respond to. Some people just aren't that active on facebook, but everyone is on email for 58 percent of people email us their first check of the day so they may wake up and grab their phone and immediately what do they do? Look at their email or maybe they have breakfast, have their coffee drive to work, and then what do they do? They look at their email first thing,
Speaker 2: 04:20 um,
Speaker 1: 04:22 and only, I mean that's versus only 11 percent of people who look at facebook first part of the day. Um, and you also have to take into account different age groups, like what's your target audience? This and that. I'm someone checking facebook first thing in the day. They may be out on school break or may not have, you know, a huge to do list that day. So that kind of factors into also who you're trying to target. Okay. So 77 percent of people find promotional material acceptable in email. What that means, Hey, if you're sending a promotion, people aren't gonna be offended if you send them an email about it. They're like, yeah, that's cool. That's what email is for. This is where I want to look up sales and coupons and deals. Like I don't want to see it on my social media feed. I'm only four percent of people find it acceptable to see promotional material on facebook that's supposed to be this intimate time for their friends and family. That's what facebook was originally. It was supposed to be connecting with first your college friends. Um, and then it kind of extended and it's more of your family now and whatever, but that's opposed to be social. It's not supposed to be where you're shopping. Like you don't want to get on facebook to shop. Um, you want to get on facebook to see who had acute new baby or um, you know, who went to the beach last weekend.
Speaker 2: 05:51 Um,
Speaker 1: 05:53 so emails deliver an excellent Roi which is return on investment for those of you who might not know, um, which has 21 percent of the time versus a facebook and twitter ads are about 15 percent Roi. So get this guys, 66 percent of consumers have made a purchase because of a promo email. How cool is that? Sixty six percent. I think that's pretty good. Uh, versus only 20 percent has made a purchase based on a facebook promotion. So that Kinda shows you, hey, like people are kind of turned off by seeing, you know, promotions and ads on their facebook newsfeed. They're kind of like, Ugh, gross. Like I don't want to see that here. Um, but you know, in their email it's totally acceptable.
Speaker 1: 06:45 Email reaches 79 percent of the people you send it to 'em and this is the average global inbox placement rate. Just Fyi, facebook's organic reach. Get this guys, this is crazy. It's declined to about one to six percent, one to six percent. How crazy is that? What does Mark Zuckerberg doing? I mean, really, really? So you put all this effort and energy into, you know, posting something on facebook or instagram and facebook's organic reach, like they're literally, they're trying to force people to buy ads so that your stuff even get seen, which is crazy. Like they should not, I mean in my opinion, and this is my opinion, but I don't think they, I understand they have to get paid. Okay? Like, yes, everyone has to get paid, totally get that, but it's just not fair. It's just not fair to, you know, basically fuck with the algorithm that much to try to force people into paying for ads just to be seen on facebook.
Speaker 1: 07:47 Like, Hey, facebook, guess what? You're not that important email as a way better. I'm a statistics than and reach and effectiveness than you do. And so you're only hurting yourself. You're only hurting yourself. Facebook declining the organic reach, you know, maybe you could say, oh, ads have a boost that organic reach doesn't, but don't fuck with it and make it, you know, totally obsolete. That's just not cool. Like, no one's going to be on a platform if they can't, um, you know, share the cool things that they're doing. Um, yeah, so that means if you're, your pays, blah, blah, blah, I can't talk. That means if you're posting on facebook, only one to six percent of your facebook fans will actually see your posts, which really totally blows. So the bottom line is email has far greater reach than social media if you couldn't figure that out already.
Speaker 1: 08:47 So you're probably thinking, how do I get started? Well, I'm glad you asked. I'm here to tell you. So the first thing you want to do is choose an email service provider and I'm going to recommend three different options for you guys. So the first one is convert kit. Now I can't personally recommend convertkit because I've never used it, but I hear people rave about it all the time. So it may be one that you want to look into. Some of the pros are that it allows you to tag customers so that you can target them more effectively. And bloggers love it. Um, it's really helpful for small businesses and um, and sending like a content upgrades for your blog posts. It's easy to send those downloads and that kind of thing. Uh, some of the cons are it's $29 a month for the bottom tier guys.
Speaker 1: 09:40 So they have zero freemium option. There's no free option for if you're just starting out and it's not the most user friendly in the beginning. Um, I've heard people complain that, you know, um, they had a little bit of a hard time figuring out at first it's not as intuitive starting out, uh, the next email service provider that you could work with is mailchimp. Now, some of the pros of mailchimp is it's free for your first 2000 subscribers. That's pretty cool. I mean, you got to get mail chimp credit for this. Um, it's only $10 a month after that and then the tiers kind of increased from there. And one of the reasons I like mailchimp is because it easily integrates with squarespace. So I use squarespace for my, um, my website. And so mailchimp really easily integrates with them. So it's just like smooth sailing to collect emails from using mailchimp.
Speaker 1: 10:40 Um, and one little other pro is, it's an Atlanta guy, so like come on, we have to support them a little bit. Um, okay. So some of the cons, I will be honest about the cons. Uh, it's, there's no tagging. They have like groups in segmentation, but honestly like it's, it's very hard to, for me at least to figure out, I don't find that very user friendly or easy to manage. And I have heart. I've heard other bloggers complain, um, and really not recommend mailchimp because once they have a really large list, the functionality is not great. So that's something that also think about. They're like, hey, if I could have started with convert kit and I would've saved myself this huge headache once my list kind of exploded because then they had to go back and fix everything and like Redo a lot of their sequences and whatnot.
Speaker 1: 11:32 So that is just word on the street. And then the other Ma, a mail service provider that I do very much recommend and I have used them is mailer lite. Um, they are also free for your first 1000 subscribers, so it's not as many as mailchimp, but it's still great, like your first 1000 subscribers totally free. Um, and then after that it's only $10 a month as you incrementally increased here. So like for the first 1001 to 2,500 subscribers, it's only an extra, it's only $10. And then the next tier is only $20, et cetera. Um, so just as your subscribers increase, your fees increase. Um, the really awesome thing about mailerlite as well is that you can tag your lists to send more targeted emails. So let's say for example, um, as a designer, I, I work with a lot of real estate agents and I also work with bloggers I work with, um, I worked with like financial advisors, et Cetera.
Speaker 1: 12:37 So I might not want to send the same emails to my real estate agent customers as I do to my bloggers because they might have totally different needs and I might even be telling them about a product. Like I came out with this really awesome product. I'm God the real estate portrait Creator and it basically allows you to pick and choose some pre made options, literally over 70 faces and I'm adding more guys like if this is like a mega pack, awesome. 14 different houses and scenery. There's male realtors, there's female realtors on and on and on, different outfits. Um, and anyway, I would want to let my real estate customers know about that, but if I send an email to my entire list, then my, you know, blogger, customers are going to be like, I'm not a real estate agent. Why is she sending me this?
Speaker 1: 13:31 Like this is annoying. So like tagging your list is, is important. So that's the really awesome thing about mailer lite. I love them and I do use them in conjunction with mailchimp. The only con I can see so far is that it doesn't directly integrate with squarespace, which is the website I use, website hosting. I use and I think you can get around this with I'm doing a Zapier, a doing a zap, um, and it Kinda. Zapier basically connects different apps together. Um, and I tried to do that with mailer lite and I wasn't successful then I just kind of gave up because I didn't have time to spend hours trying to get it to work. So anyway, I'm still using mailchimp and as I'm a, I'm just in order to basically, uh, remember what customers are who are signing up for my email list. I'm just creating different lists in mail champs so I just have so many different lists in mailchimp. So eventually I can bring those over to mailer lite and just tag them. Um, and then I can target my audience really easily. Okay. So
Speaker 1: 14:42 after you choose a provider, convertkit, mailchimp, mailer lite, it's your choice. You have to decide what's best for you. I'm, you're gonna want to create a list for your email subscribers and you could just do like a basic one for now if you just have something very generic like a blog post that has, um, I dunno, organization tips or something that could be useful for anyone. Um, you could just make a subscriber's list will do for now. And then the next thing you want to do is you want to create newsletter signups all over your website. Now you want them to be strategically placed so that they're not too annoying, but at the same time like you want it to be seen. I feel like as as um, designers especially, but as any creative entrepreneur, we'd get a little bit nervous about, you know, annoying people, we don't want to annoy people, but I find that there's a healthy balance between pushing yourself a little bit out of your comfort zone and feel like you're being a little bit annoying.
Speaker 1: 15:44 That's probably the right amount because honestly guys, like people just get bombarded with everything. Email, social media, whatever everyday. So if you just send or you know, like anyway, you get the point, you do need them all over your website or nobody's going to see them and nobody's going to sign up. I'm so you're going to feel like slightly annoying probably if this is new to you, but don't worry about it, you're really not. And that's, you know, that's the way people are going to sign up if they want to. If they don't, they won't. Um, so you'll kind of be able to see if it's working or not. And so you may be thinking, well, okay, so I put these all over my website, but what if no one signs up? Okay, so sometimes you do have to entice people to give you their email address.
Speaker 1: 16:34 Why would they just, you know, people get bombarded with emails every day, so they're going to be a little bit hesitant, but what you can do, and this is a strategy that tons of people use and it's very highly effective. I'm offer a crazy, awesome freebie in exchange for their email address. Now, sometimes this feels like you're working for free, but if you can see the longterm picture, it's really totally worth it because you need leads coming into your business every single day. So you need to offer a really crazy, awesome Freebie, something that would probably you would normally charge for, but you just do the work once and people get to download it. It needs to be something downloadable. You don't want to sound like a hat because then you have to like pay for shipping every time someone gives you their email address, so you don't need to do that.
Speaker 1: 17:24 You just need to spend a few hours and create a really valuable pdf checklist. Um, she, she, um, as a designer I have offered for free real estate logos, so that's something that, uh, is really great for people that are just starting out and I hope I can help them out with that. Um, and then I hope they also see like maybe once they start earning some good money, they get some commissions, then maybe they want to come back and get kind of the full branding package, um, instead of just like a little house icon logo. Um, but that's a great starting point for my real estate agent customers. Okay. So you'll see here an example of my for, for your real estate logos, and the button says, give me for free logos and so they have to click on it and then enter in their name and email address.
Speaker 1: 19:46 Here is also an example of my landing page. So when you first go to my website, you'll see, um, what's up fool. I'm Lauren, Leslie, portrait, illustrator and designer. And then the very next thing you see at the bottom of the landing page is grab your free surprise and I'm asking for their first name and email address. So you know, people might not do that right away, but there is a little trick in sales that says people have to see things seven times before they buy. And I would be willing to bet the same thing is true with giving you their email address, so you just want to kind of make it very easy for them to sign up for your email address and put it all over your website. Okay. So the next thing you want to do is write a freaking email. It's gonna be weird.
Speaker 1: 20:33 At first it was weird for me. I didn't know what to say. I just was kind of blabbing on and then I was telling people about my new products and a few people on subscribed, which is always disappointing. But now I feel like I'm in a much better rhythm and I'm telling people that they actually want to hear about. Um, and I feel like I've really gotten comfortable with my own voice when I'm writing emails. Um, instead of sounding too quote unquote professional or Stoic, you know, you want to really put your personality in your emails, but the only way to get to that point is to start. So you just have to start somewhere. Don't worry about it, don't stress about it. And don't worry if people unsubscribe because new people are going to start subscribing everyday. Hopefully once you get that really awesome freebie up.
Speaker 1: 21:21 Okay? So your subscribers obviously signed up your email list for a reason. They love you and they want to hear from you and you don't want them to forget about you. So you know, if you, I mean, how many times have you gone to, you know, pinterest and then you ended up on some blog and it maybe it was a cool recipe or maybe it was something and you ended up subscribing for their email list, but then you never heard from them again and you totally forgot about them. But in contrast, maybe you did the same thing, but you hear from this person regularly and you were like, oh yeah, like if I need a recipe, I know I can go to this Vegan blog or whatever it is. Um, and it just like,
Speaker 1: 22:01 it just makes sure that you don't forget who they are. So you don't want your customers to forget about you. You spend a lot of time on this Freebie. Make sure that you are emailing them at least once a month. I would say like people say once a week, but at least once a month. I would email them when they first get their Freebie you want to send them, I would say three to four emails and you can space it out if you are scared about being annoying you, you could send the first email and then two to three days later a setup, a sequence where another email sends to them and then two to three days later another email sense to them and then you can kind of cool it and maybe email them once every week, two weeks, three weeks or once a month. But definitely keep emailing them because they're going to forget who you are if you don't and then you just wasted all this time and you know your potential lead is Kinda gone.
Speaker 1: 22:51 So you definitely want to do that. I'm not rules in next steps. I mean this is pretty obvious guys, but just don't spam people. I mean obviously that's probably the opposite of what you're thinking. You're probably scared to send an email in the first place because you don't want to seem spammy, but for those of you who are a little bit more ambitious, just, you know, don't spam the hell out of people like people hate that they're going to unsubscribe. Just bring value and be yourself and people will like getting your emails. That'll be fun. Oh, I'm going to be something they can kind of check when they're first getting out of bed or when they're sitting in a doctor's office kind of bored. Um, okay. So you. And then you want to set up an ongoing email sequence that's on autopilot so that way you're not having to like, scramble and Think, Oh my God, what am I going to email everyone this week?
Speaker 1: 23:43 You just want to set up a few at, I would say at least five to six initial emails just to get started. Um, and then you can tweak them later if you want to kind of change what they say or whatever. At first, do you want to thank them for signing up? Second, you want to give the full their freebie. They signed up for a reason, give them their Freebie, next, tell them your personal story. So we don't want to get personal all the time, like we don't want to be like, here's a picture of my dog today for like 30 days in a row because people are like, I don't, I don't get it. I don't care about your dog, like whatever. But if they are interested in something like getting a real estate logo from you or you're interested in their, um, recipes and maybe eventually you're going to buy their cookbook.
Speaker 1: 24:28 They want to know your personal story. They want to know who they're buying from and they want to really be able to connect with you. So share with them. Everyone has a story and everyone has been through something really shitty in their life but hopefully has a positive outlook on it. I mean, for me, like when I tell my personal story in my emails sequence, I want people to know, you know, that I'm not perfect and I'm not. I don't have this perfect life. Like my dad took his own life when I was six years old. And that really sucked, you know, and it still sucks, but I was really able to like dive into my art and in a way I think that my creativity kind of saved me. It was my strength, it gave me strength. Um, and then I kind of talk about, you know, my steps in my career, you know, how I was an art major in school.
Speaker 1: 25:17 And then I had my first job as a t shirt designer. I decided I wanted to do graphic design and not fine art full time. So that's what I did. And then, you know, that wasn't really a great fit. So I got my first or my second big girl job. I say my big girl job as a textile designer at a home decor company in Atlanta. And that's when I finally got to kind of say peace out Spartanburg, Spartanburg. It's my home. But I mean it just wasn't a good fit for me long term in terms if I want it to be a designer. Like I would have not been able to progress like I have in a big city like Atlanta. So that was just such a better fit for me and I'm so I really flourished here in Atlanta, so that's something that I tell my customers and they love it.
Speaker 1: 26:04 Like I've had people respond and be like, wow, thanks for telling me this like, and it hopefully makes them want to do business with me because they know that I'm a real person and I have struggles, but I also have successes and we're more alike than we are different. Um, so another idea for an email in your sequence is to share your best resources and tools. So if you use a program like a sauna or Trello, you can say how wonderful it is at project management. It helps you play in your blog posts or whatever your projects are in your business. You can talk about that. Um, you can talk about what kind of equipment you use, what books are you reading, if you have some cool business books that you're reading. I read entrepreneurial you by Dorie Clark who loved it, wrote a blog post about it. That's awesome. Um, recently read or I listened to the audio book, Anna Kendrick, scrappy little nobody. Oh my God, she's a freaking hilarious. You guys have to listen to her audio book. Don't read the book, listen to the audio book because she is so perfect in it and she's, her personality really comes through her voice and with her narrating the whole thing. It's just, it's pretty great. So that's another idea for your email list. Just share some cool resources and tools and like things that have inspired you in your business lately.
Speaker 1: 27:24 And then, um, at the end of your email sequence you can offer our prayer a, sorry, a paid product that is relevant to the Freebie that they wanted. So like my example of the real estate agents I'm giving for free real estate logos. But what I can do at the end of my sequence is say, hey, like I also have this paid product that's so much better than the four Fri logo. So like whenever you're interested, here it is. I hope you'll buy it
Speaker 3: 27:53 sometime at some point
Speaker 1: 27:56 and then you just want to make sure to remind them of how to find you on social. So I know this whole kind of videos about why email is so much better than social, but that's not to say that social isn't important. You still want to be able to connect with people on social. They want to be able to see your pictures. See that again, it's just another way for them to see that you are a real person for them to get inspired. It's just another point of contact. So while email is number one, you definitely also want to connect with your customers and leads on social, especially if they maybe a little hesitant to give you their email address. Maybe that's, you know, the second best thing you can do.
Speaker 3: 28:36 Um,
Speaker 1: 28:37 so, uh, I wanted to also let you guys know where to find me in case you ever want to work with me. My website is Lauren Leslie Dot Com a l a U R e n l e s l e y Dot Com. Lauren. Leslie Leslie as my middle name. I like the alliteration, that's why I chose it. Okay, so a click the link in the show notes to get the link to your email providers. And these are affiliate links guys. Um, but it's, that's great. It's a win win for you and me because with the affiliate links I can make a little bit of money, but still keep these videos totally free for you guys. So help us out.
Speaker 1: 29:19 Okay. So if you guys have any other ideas on why you love an email list or if you have any other email hosts, providers you want to recommend or any other ideas for an email sequence, please leave a comment in the notes below. And that way we can all share ideas. That'd be really great. And don't forget to subscribe to my youtube channel. Click the little button in the right hand lower corner and to get notified, click the little bell so that way you won't miss the next episode. And if you are on facebook, you can definitely join our facebook group. It's called the design tribe. So you can go to facebook.com/groups/design tribe. Lauren, Leslie, um, and I will also be live streaming videos in the facebook group, so that's a great place to find me. Thank you so much for watching. I'll see you next time. Bye guys.
I debated for nearly a year on whether or not I really needed a blog.
After all, I was focused on creating and wanted to spend the majority of my time and energy making things. If you're a designer, I'm sure you can totally relate.
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But I Don't Wanna Blog!
Designers are different. While most people think that bloggers lead a glamorous lifestyle popping around town drinking a vanilla latté, laughing with their friends, and dabbling around on their beautiful Mac for a few hours a day... Designers understand how much work goes into it.
We get it. Designers spend hours in the office researching for photoshoots: trends, the right colors, which props are perfect yet fit the budget - down to every last detail!
We've lugged around a car full of crap, multiple changes of outfits, make up supplies, and soo many 'just-in-case' props, trying to snag the perfect location with the perfect model in the right lighting and so on. It's definitely fun, but it can also be grueling.
On top of that, designers are used to being behind-the-scenes with the photographer giving direction and making their vision come to life. We don't want to be the center of attention!
But we love to create and obviously we want the whole wide world to know about our work. So do we realllllly have to blog?
Let me guess. You are a designer (or a creative with an entrepreneurial spirit) who got super pumped about kicking your side hustle idea into gear. You spent weeks developing your idea, designing your website, describing your services and publishing your creative products. You mayyyybe even posted about it on social media once or twice. And....? Crickets.
Ugh, that's the worst! And *hand raised* that's definitely been me. So what's the deal? Does your product totally suck? Is your website ugly? Do people not like you? I can pretty much guarantee that ZERO of those things are true. The RIGHT people just don't know about you or your awesome design services yet.
You've gotta somehow connect with your audience, your tribe, your future customers. But how?
It's all about SEO, honey.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Google Analytics is a great resource to first brainstorm all the keywords you need that are relevant to your products and services. The more you use the right keywords the more keyword density you'll have and the more you'll show up in search engines. Which brings.... DAH-dah-da-DAA... potential customers!
So what does that have to do with blogging?
Allow me to tell you :) A blog is like an endless stream of keyword possibilities. Imagine you are a Graphic Designer designing logos for rock bands and you post 5 blog posts per week. All of those blog posts contain keywords such as "Band Logo," "Logos for Rock Stars," "Branding for Lead Singers," etc. After awhile those blog posts ADD UP to a ton of keywords. Your website becomes keyword dense and starts creeping up in the rankings to the first page of Google! That kind of exposure is insane for your business.
Check out Raney Day Design's post on how much blogging increased website traffic in their study. On average, they saw 47% more site visits, 46% more unique visitors, and 54% more page views.
Lauren Hooker, of Elle & Co, also gives a really in depth explanation of how much website traffic increased based on the number of times a business published a blog post. Check out her stats below!
The 2nd reason why blogging is important boils down to customers getting to know you. More and more, people want to buy from someone they feel a personal connection with. When you put yourself out there online it creates the space to gain raving fans!
Now, that doesn't mean you start blogging about your dog, your boyfriend, and how unfair your day job is. Nope! Call your mom for that. It DOES mean that you blog about relevant design topics that bring your audience free value via >> the vehicle of your own adorable personality. Be yourself, but stay on topic!
The really great thing about blogging is you can repurpose content across many different mediums. When you sit down to blog you have the opportunity to organize your thoughts around a design topic and share what you've learned.
For example, I wrote a blog post about Ultra Violet, the 2018 Pantone Color of the Year. After writing the blog post I knew exactly what I was talking about. I got my thoughts "onto paper" and was able to repurpose that topic as a Webinar Episode on FB Live & YouTube and as a Podcast Episode on iTunes & Spotify. I was also able to share my imagery on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook reaching a whole new range of audiences there.
Once you start gaining customers you can easily create a blog post template that shares your design process. For each new customer, plop in the specifics, change out the images, and voilá! You have scheduled blog posts for weeks.
Customers looove seeing your design process. Always keep this rhythmic method:
Here's an example of how I do it.
Thankfully, There Are Some Alternatives to Blogging
You absolutely need to be focused on sharing your design work and creating regular content. Otherwise, no one will know you exist! And if they don't know, how can they buy? Um, yeah.. they can't.
But if blogging just ain't your thing... here are some other ideas of how you can connect to your own unique design tribe.
See below for the complete checklist!
ALTERNATIVES TO BLOGGING
GET THE LIST OF IDEAS
Entrepreneurial You is a must-read for solopreneurs!
In Part One, Dorie Clark discusses the importance of building your brand and gaining trust with your audience. Having credible sources that can vouche for you is invaluable as a business owner - especially online!
Dorie reminds us that "In the world of politics, there's a saying that voters have to hear your name seven times before you'll remember it, and the same is true in business: repeat exposure is essential."
Only 30 pages in, Dorie doesn't wait to tell you *how important* it is to grow your email list.
Some folks prefer focusing on social media, but the main problem with that is algorithms are constantly changing. What if your main way to contact your customers was via [insert the next MySpace]. Agh! That would be terrible. Your email list, on the other hand, is yours. You own it and you can contact your customers/audience whenever you need to.
She shares some of her strategies for growing her list:
Part Two dives into all the ways to Monetize Your Expertise. She describes how by 2016 she was making six figures from her email list alone. She goes into detail in the following chapters:
Part Three talks about all the ways to Extend Your Reach and Impact Online. When Dorie interviewed Jeff Walker, a main takeaway from Jeff was, "The philosophy is that it's all about delivering big value before you ask for the sale."
Clark, Dorie. Entrepreneurial You: Monetize Your Expertise, Create Multiple Income Streams, and Thrive. Harvard Business Review Press, 2017.
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Click the button below to join the Design Tribe Facebook Group!
Y'all. I'm super excited to launch my very first Facebook Group, the Design Tribe by Lauren Lesley Studio. DUNH, duhn, dahh d-AH!
It's an exclusive community where artists, designers, freelancers, and creative entrepreneurs collaborate, support each other, offer useful feedback, and give actionable advice for how they are succeeding in their online business. Phew, I wish I had this 9 months ago!
Having a Facebook Group is the perfect complement to starting my live webinar series and podcast. After the live video is over... the conversation can continue for-EV-ahh - on Facebook!
I'm currently part of several amazing Facebook Groups and am just now catching on to how incredibly valuable they really are! I'm paying a monthly membership fee to be a part of Melyssa Griffin's Pursuit HQ masterclass and the FB group is super active. I looove it. She offers soo much insight to how to be successful in any online business.
Then there's the amazing Elle & Company Facebook Group that is totally free. Lauren Hooker, creator of Elle & Company, has been an incredible inspiration to me! As a designer aching to be successful online, she has truly set the stage with how to build a buzzing community, keep engaged fans drooling for more, and she still somehow continues to do design work as her creative outlet. Oh yeah, plus her design work is seriously pretty -and- smart.
After watching her Ellechats, a weekly livestream, she inspired me to be brave enough to start my own webinar series! Ahhh, exciting and nerve-wracking! Hah.
The best part is that all of the content from my webinar series ends up becoming a loop of Recycle City. I can repurpose my webinar episodes as podcast episodes, blog posts, and, because I'm using Crowdcast, I can... wait for it...... MULTI-STREAM LIVE VIDEO to my YouTube channel, FB Live, and Periscope! That saves soooo much time!
I decided to only stream my webinar series to the Design Tribe Facebook Group rather than my business page or my personal page, and here's why.
I want to make sure that all the work I am putting into the webinar series is being received by truly engaged creative entrepreneurs who can benefit from the episodes and actually put my teachings into action. In return, I want to learn from them by discussing hot topics in our industry and find out how they have made waves. I want to be in an on-going conversation with Y'ALL. And yes ma'am, I said y'all. ;)
As a bonus, building a growing Facebook Group helps foster the #1 most important thing for your online business: repeat customers.
Even though Facebook ain't as cool as it used to be... *cough*, 2011 college days ... oh, the nostalgia... *cough*, they still have over 1 billion active users in a single given day and THAT was in 2015. Let your brain marinate in that stat juice for just a minute. There are a LOT of freaking people actively using Facebook. Every. Single. Day.
It's the perfect place to connect with your tribe. As much as I love Instagram, y'all... you have to admit it doesn't nurture a whole lot of meaningful conversation. I mean, you get a lot of this: "Nice!" "Omg, LOVE!" and "Seriously, cool." And as much as I love compliments (a girl's gotta get 'em somewhere), these comments are pretty much a dead end. Trap queen, anyone?
Facebook groups, on the other hand, send notifications to all members every time you post. Unlike the stupid newsfeed algorithm that totally killed business pages and muffled personal posts, Facebook Groups foster wayyy more organic reach and growth. And while it takes a lot of energy up front to get it off the ground, Facebook Groups will eventually run on autopilot because of the awesome crowd sourced content coming from active members. Be sure to check out Moz.com for more info.
If you've been building your online business for any time at all, you've probably heard allll the rage about growing your email list. Email lists are important, because no aforementioned stupid algorithms can totally wreck your reach that you've worked so hard for. If you are all up in somebody's inbox every week then there are still lots and lots of interested eyeballs on your shit. :)
This is important. I am doing everything I can to get folks to sign up for my email list without being too annoying. It's a no brainer.
But! According to Caitlin Bacher, Facebook Groups have a 20% conversion rate compared to the average 2% conversion rate from an email list. Shopify's blog writes Facebook ranks just underneath at 1.85% and Instagram is only 1.08%. Guys. Twenty percent is INSANE.
Now, I can't say this based on my own experience. I am hearing this from the social media gods. But I am putting it to the test and will report back in several months with my own unique findings.
Please check out my Facebook Group! I am just getting started, but I promise I am working my ass off to make this one of the best damn groups on the planet. Well, on the network. :)
If you are a creative entrepreneur, a designer, a freelancer, or you just wanna keep hanging out.. click on the button below.
Creating a brand for your online business isn't easy! Especially if you're like me and you love allll the fonts and colors. :)
But hey, you gotta start somewhere. See the 7 steps below for creating brand guidelines you can easily stick to!
The very first step should be a total brain dump scribbling out on paper all of the adjectives that describe you, your target audience, and what you will be offering.
Think of your brand as a visual representation of the marriage between you and your audience.
I've constantly hear the advice to be thinking about your audience and what they want. I've heard that you should wait to brand yourself until you have a following, because your once you know your followers you'll know how to brand yourself.
I have to kindly disagree. While YES, you should absolutely be seeking to serve your audience... it's also essential to preserve the essence of who you are. I believe that in the beginning, your brand should be somewhat flexible. But it should always reflect YOU.
If you don't like XYZ colors, then don't use them even if you think it will be a hit with your target audience. If you aren't excited about the way your brand looks and feels, then nobody else will either.
So research, brain storm, and write down descriptive words about you, your favorite colors/fonts/style, and about your target audience, their favorite colors/fonts/style. Where do they shop? Write down the retail stores. Are they male or female? What age range?
Start a board on Pinterest and collect color inspiration, pattern inspiration, fonts you like. Narrow down. See if it all looks good together on one page.
If you are a solopreneur just starting out it's a good idea to keep your brand flexible. One way to do that is by representing your business with your name and image. This allows you to try all the things without any major hurdles to your branding.
For example, when I opened my first Etsy shop I thought about naming my shop Lauren Poole Invitations. I ended up just using my name which was a life saver! While I started out doing invitations, I almost never do them now. Based on customer requests and feedback, I was able to tailor my offerings to something customers wanted that was also in line with enjoyable work on my end!
I have now changed my business name to "Lauren Lesley Studio." Lesley is my middle name and I loved the alliteration it created. Studio is a broad term, but it indicates the creative aspect I am offering. The "Lauren Lesley" portion of my logo is my actual handwriting so it feels very personal.
My logo is a vector icon of me drinking a cafe latte, wearing aviator sunglasses, and wearing heart earrings. This feels very "me" and also represents a key element of my business: vector illustration. So I'm advertising my own service with my logo.
Your logo should be easily represented as a small icon. This absolutely comes in handy for all the profile pictures you have to upload or when you want to subtly include your branding on materials.
If you need a designer to help you with your logo please email me at LaurenLesleyStudio@gmail.com. I would love to work with you! :)
It's true. So, so true. Professional photography goes a LONG way. There was once a time where I thought I could get my boyfriend to snap a few photos of me on my smart phone. Nope. He was super sweet for trying, but he knows literally nothing about photography.
Once I worked with a real photographer it was like I could hear the angels in heaven singing, Hallelujah! The angles were right, the coloring was amazing, and there were lots to choose from.
Back in the early days of Instagram, you could get away with snapping a quick photo on your phone and using one of the built-in filters. With the limited technology at the time, it looked incredible! Those days are long over. Using an unprofessional photo sends the message to your audience that you are lazy, cheap, or not serious.
Also, if you are a solopreneur, your following wants to see YOU. They want that personal touch of seeing your face and feeling like they are friends with you.
Hint: If you are on a budget I recommend seeking out a photography student in your area. See if they are willing to do a photoshoot with you for free or for a very low cost in exchange for allowing them to use the photos in their portfolio.
One of the very first lessons taught in any Graphic Design class is how to choose fonts. What is the difference between serif and sans serif? What rules should you apply? When is it okay to use cursive or script fonts?
The #1 rule is that the body of your copy is 100% legible. This is not the time to get fancy. Most websites are already pre-formatted this way, but you'll want to make sure to use a very basic sans serif print font (like I'm using in this blog post). Your copy should be smooth, quick, and easy-to-read.
Next, I recommend choosing at least 1 print font for your header, navigation, titles, etc. This font should stand out on the page. You'll see my print font is HALIS GR BOLD. I use this font all the time. It's clean, bold, and modern.
I also recommend choosing at least 1 script font. I chose 2 script fonts: Blacktear Script and Madgue. It's also nice to have a bold cursive script font as a title or as your signature. You can see I'm using Blacktear Script for my signature name.
I added in Madgue, because it was feeling super fresh and seemed to fit better with my new 2018 product release of 80s Memphis Printables. I can get away with it for now, but in general you should stick to the same 2-3 fonts for EVERYTHING.
A great place to research fonts is DaFont.com. You can download any font for free although some may have licensing restrictions for personal use only. Another great place to look is Creative Market. Lots of incredible hand letterers are constantly listing fresh new fonts for sale.
Narrowing down a key color palette can be a bit daunting. This is a major STRUGGLE BUS for me, because I love pretty much all the colors. So sue me. :)
A great way to do some research is to look at some new arrivals at retail stores you like. Visit their website and see if any new color combinations inspire you! Start collecting color inspirations and pin them to a Pinterest Board.
I'd narrow down to 2 main colors to use for your website or blog. My 2 major colors are pink and yellow. This ties into everything including the color change when you hover over a link. I also try to keep my designs and digital products in this same vein.
Once you have your color palette, you should select some patterns that fit with your brand. It is key to keep your style in mind. Is your brand whimsical, preppy, nautical, coastal, bohemian, sophisticated, or rustic? Once you choose your patterns, your color palette can be applied.
Your patterns are awesome to use as a backdrop, on a letter head, on your website, and even on digital products to sell! There are a million ways to use your patterns and it helps further establish your brand as a well thought out professional authority.
A good place to look for pattern is Pattern Bank, but keep in mind that other buyers can also buy the same pattern. If you are interested in having an original pattern made please email me at LaurenLesleyStudio@gmail.com. I'd love to work with you. :)
Now that you have a badass looking brand, it's imperative to stay focused on these brand guidelines. Consistency is key! With so many online businesses, it is really difficult to stand out. The repetitive nature of branding helps your followers recognize you anywhere.
The combination of your logo, key fonts, limited color palette, and patterns that express your style will absolutely set you apart.
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The template is a Photoshop file so if you don't already have Photoshop, click the pink button to install your free trial!