Hey hey there!
We’re back at it this week continuing our series on “Services + ______.” Last week we dove into supplementing your services with products, which brings us to this week’s survey topic — Services + Education.
Educating our clients is typically already a part of our process. Whether it’s through educating on how to provide feedback, why the concept works for their brand or how to strategically market their business… we’re already equipped to educate.
So how can you leverage your marketing and diversify your income through education?
The most direct answer to this is through content marketing. If you aren’t familiar with the term, here’s how Copyblogger defines it:
“Content marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.”
There are a few key concepts from this description we’ll dive into: products related to what you sell, free content, and educational offerings.
Let’s dive in!
WHY IT WORKS
Have you ever been on Pinterest or Google, seeking an answer to a question and later found yourself knee deep in the site and suddenly a loyal fan? Me too.
When we were starting to introduce solid foods to my son, Hank, I remember having so many questions. What foods do we try? What should we avoid? What if he doesn’t eat it? Will I be nursing forever?!?! So of course I took to Pinterest and stumbled upon a site I still reference a year later. That one question I had led to a loyal following, and the blog I still refer back to for any baby/toddler related questions.
Point being — it works. The blog I clicked through to had several posts specific to raising kiddos. Tons of practical advice and educational tips.
The same can be said for our potential clients. They’re at a point in their business where they’re considering reaching out to you for your services. What if you had the answers to their questions publicly posted so it attracted them to your brand? After reading through your educational content, they would begin to trust you and become loyal to your brand.
The trick is — your content needs to be related to your offering. I’ve recognized this as I have a split audience (designers + potential branding clients). Not ideal, but I’m sorting through some strategies for marketing behind the scenes. Be careful what you provide education about… you want to attract your ideal customers rather than industry peers, or readers who won’t book.
The first phase of providing educational offerings as a diverse income strategy is to create free content. This could be in the form of blogging, newsletters, podcasts, YouTube or guest contributions. The goal should be to provide valuable and relatable content that appeals to your target customer.
I know this can seem overwhelming and frankly, possibly a saturated market. But don’t overcomplicate it! Create a few guides or posts, and develop a strategy to attract more traffic to your free content.
This topic could be an entire book, so I’ll keep it to the main points to get you started :).
Once you have free content created, next up you’ll create a few educational offerings to go a step further than the content and possibly lead to your one-on-one services. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
Strategy sessions: A great way to supplement your existing services. Offer a lower-priced hour call to strategize with a potential client. This could take the form of brand strategy, marketing plan, website audit or something else that leads into your main package.
Mentorships: You could offer quarterly mentorships, working with a group or one-on-one to mentor potential clients. You could walk through a curriculum you’ve created, or keep it more informal. It’s a great way for prospects to take the next step to booking your primary services package.
E-books: A more passive approach is to offer an educational e-book. Your potential clients could download a guide to creating a brand strategy, marketing plan, website content, or anything else as a great lead in to your services. These are great to attract a larger group of interested customers while also gathering their email address ;).
Workshops: Another low barrier entry level for potential clients to get to know your brand. You could offer monthly in-person or online workshops relating directly to your services. This technique works!
E-courses: A great way to present your perspective and allow potential clients to gain trust in your brand as an authority in your field. Your e-course could be as simple or as comprehensive as you’d like.
IS THIS THE RIGHT PATH FOR YOU?
I’m never going to be the gal that pushes you into selling e-courses, leaving your 9–5 or stop selling services. Simply put — everyone is unique, has different giftings and is in various situations.
What I can say for sure is that educational free content and products are a huge part of Spruce Rd. Both in marketing and income. I’ve always enjoyed writing, considered being a design professor at one point (but ironically didn’t want to go back and get my masters!), and it works with my lifestyle. I’m able to write content, record workshops or e-courses ahead of time, and schedule them later which is great for this work-at-home mama.
But not everyone needs to have an e-course or offer content marketing. I just feel like that needs to be said, and maybe you needed that affirmation yourself.
While it’s been a successful method for Spruce Rd., it does take time and dedication to create content weekly.
My hope is that through this series you’ll hone in on the method of diversification that works best for your skill-set and lifestyle. It should be something you enjoy, can get behind 100% and is sustainable for your situation.
Up next week we’re going to chat about “Services + support,” in the form of retainer programs, tech/site support and coaching. Excited for next week!