Last month I chose a niché to focus on, I setup a website (Bridetraffic.com), and I decided to create “industry reports” with the intention of showing off my knowledge in my chosen industry as well as having a good excuse to email the involved wedding planners.
This month didn’t provide much change, as my focus for now primarily will be on marketing (creating industry reports + sending out emails) and communicating with responders.
In this month I’ve been able to create seven new industry reports which took me roughly 7 hours.
It’s a long and boring process creating these reports and emailing involved parties, so I also spent 15 minutes looking for a way to optimize my email process, which at the beginning of the month looked like this:
- Chose the right email address to send out from (I have 8 different email accounts connected in Gmail).
- Insert the subject line
- Paste in the email template
- Personalizing the template
- Past in the receiving email
It’s not that emailing took that long, but I hate doing the same thing over and over, so by spending 15 minutes online I found a Gmail expansion called “Mail Merger with Attachments” with which I can personalize and send out emails based on an email template and custom data from a Google Spreadsheet.
By using this tool I sent out close to 50 personalized emails in less than 3 minutes. Obviously, It required some time setting this up but we’re talking less than 15 minutes. Next time I need to send out emails to a larger group of people, it’ll only take me 2-5 minutes. It’s as simple as entering their name, email address, city, and a link to their specific industry report – Data I already have in a spreadsheet, so it’s just copy/paste.
The results of emailing wedding planners so far
I estimate that I’ve received around 30 replies from the involved wedding planners, all very happy to be mentioned and notified.
Out of these, I’ve had three wedding planners contact me, wanting to hear more about how I could help them.
I’ve only sent out two proposals so far, as two of the wedding planners were from the same area in which case I can only work with one of them. The last to contact me from that area is on a waiting list.
The first proposal I sent out was for a “website SEO audit” that I charge $750 to make. This is based on an hourly rate of $150. This is what I charge my existing clients in Denmark and ideally, I’d like to charge the same rate if not more. I will be testing this rate a lot though and I’m willing to start at a lower rate with the first few clients to build up a portfolio.
I decided to try out the software Bidsketch which is a proposal software. The software seemed well put together, but two days after I sent out the proposal I got an email from the wedding planner who was supposed to receive the proposal, asking when it would arrive.
I quickly logged onto Bidsketch to see if I had made a typo in her email address, but there were no errors and the status of my proposal showed that it hadn’t been opened by the receiver. Might have ended up in her SPAM folder but instead of asking her to look there, I chose to download the proposal as a .pdf and send it manually to her.
I haven’t been using Bidsketch since my trial expired.
After she received the proposal we scheduled a call as she had some follow up questions. I’ve mentioned it before on this blog, but I HATE talking on the phone. I’m literally scared of talking on the phone. I always get super nervous, and as this was my first scheduled call in English, I felt so much worse than usual.
Despite how bad I didn’t want to do the call, I did go through with it and we had a very pleasant chat that went well.
She loved the way I had approached her (industry report) instead of the usual cold emailing that she completely ignores, and she was very happy with the proposal. She just wanted to see some testimonials or talk with another client of mine to hear about their experience working with me, before she would sign…
As I have no relevant testimonials or relevant clients it kind of felt to the ground at that point, however, she’s eager to stay on the waiting list and chat with me again when I can show “social proof” of my expertise. (Not her words btw.)
The other proposal I sent out just a few days ago and I haven’t heard back yet.
This made me think, though.
Would it make more sense to:
- Keep publishing industry reports and contacting wedding planners without beeing able to show any social proof
- Spend some time and create social proof before publishing and contacting the remaining 89 cities on my list
I’ve come to believe that option 2 will provide me with a better result in the long run, so I’ll be making a slight change to my plans.
Trying to create a case study
I don’t normally recommend that you work for free unless it’s to build up a portfolio or social proof. In those cases, I believe it’s a brilliant way to get going as long as you clearly state that this is a one-time thing and that after this limited amount of work, you’re back at charging your normal rate of $x.
So that’s exactly what I’ve planned on doing.
My plan has been to seek out potential wedding planners that I know I can create substantial results for in less than 3 months and reach out to them personally.
I only just started doing this yesterday (Friday the 31st of March 2017) and I hope to have at least 1 wedding planner lined up within 1-2 weeks.
This will obviously take up some of my available time over the next couple of months but I believe that this could be very beneficial when it comes to selling my services at a later stage.
The backup plan
After having contacted wedding planners from four cities last month, I started thinking about another way to re-target the ones that chose to read the industry report but who decided not take any further action.
Ideally, I’d like to get in front of my audience again, without having to email them all separately, but I’m not going to build an email list as I don’t believe this is the right time for that.
Instead, I decided on installing a Facebook pixel and create a remarketing list through Google Adwords.
By having this installed, everyone who reads one of my industry reports will be saved on a list in both Facebook and Google Adwords.
This will enable me to create ads through Facebook or Google Adwords and only show them to wedding planners who have already been on my website. In other words, I won’t waste money showing ads to people outside of my audience. However, this is just preparation for a potential later stage.
This months numbers
- Time spent this month: 10 hours.
- Time spent in total: 20 hours.
- New clients this month: 0.
- Clients in total: 0.
- One-off income this month: $0.
- Ongoing income: $0.
- Total income so far: $0.
- Expenses in total: $30
Plan for the next month
I’ll continue working on industry reports and on finding at least one wedding planner to start working with in regards to making a case study.