Some introverts consider marketing as the primary obstacle between them and building a successful freelance business. Our preference would be to achieve world domination from behind our laptop, one keystroke at a time. The good news is there is a proven path forward that doesn’t require us to get too far out of our comfort zone, and in fact, it plays to our strengths.
In 1999, the intelligent introvert’s Patron Saint, Seth Godin, published Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers.
This book changed how we viewed and approached marketing. Godin described permission marketing as the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them. Since he introduced the idea over 15 years ago, many of us have become familiar with content marketing —developing the type of content that draws your ideal client to your website in search of specific information. Godin compared permission to market to a dating strategy, inspire interest — engender trust — build the relationship into a mutually satisfying partnership.
Permission Marketing can be summarized as follows:
- Offer the site visitor an incentive to voluntarily share their email (giving you permission to contact them)
- Make sure that in exchange for the site visitor’s trust, your offer delivers value beyond expectation and familiarizes your prospect with your product or service
- Continue to enhance the bonus offerings to assure that the prospect maintains and even extends their level of permission based on the perceived value you offer
- Over time, your communications offering further incentives, build a trusted source relationship with the consumer who continues to grant access
- As your potential client becomes more familiar with your product or service, and you have made a favorable impression they are willing to become paying customers
Why Permission Marketing is a great approach to expanding your freelance practice
Permission Marketing is very affordable. Most of the market automation tools (email, social media, SEO etc.) are available for free or relatively inexpensive. The first and most important step in a permission marketing strategy is the investment of the time it takes to produce and optimize content so your ideal clients can not only find it easily but see the value of your offer. The marketing term used for this process is “Optimizing Content for Discovery and Conversion (OC/DC)”
The conversion part of this process is what is referred to as the Content Marketing Funnel. For this process, there are several auto-responder tools that will provide a drop-down modal that invites the visitor to signup for a valuable offer (newsletter, checklist eBook, video, etc.) in exchange for giving you ‘permission’ to notify the client of other valuable offers in the future. Content marketing has a high conversion rate as you are only targeting those who have expressed an interest in your product or service. With the Marketing Automation tools and processes currently available, permission marketing allows you to build ‘personalized’ campaigns, targeting specific audiences according to their age, gender, geographical location or any other factor that would relate to your specific offering.
Understand the difference between Subscription and Registration
A visitor agrees to ‘subscribes’ to a website based on their perception of the value of your offer — an eBook or other content based offer, in exchange for their giving you permission make them aware of subsequent offers via Consent/Confirmation eMails. Subscription is the beginning of a permission marketing relationship.
When a site visitor becomes a Registered Member on a website, they have access to the ‘Velvet-Rope user’s experience. These registered users get extra privileges, private classes, specialized content, webinars, access to forums, private special interest communities, Mastermind peer groups, etc. The velvet rope experience must deliver the “membership has privilege’ meme or the member will not renew or leave immediately and ask for a refund. Don’t offer registration until you are ready, or follow the Copyblogger process of offering Charter memberships at a greatly reduced price. This makes the early adopters “partners” in the development of the final product.
Studies have show that introverted Freelancers tend to build long-term business relationships. Having strong relationships and good communication lines with their customers is more comfortable for us than the more extroverted approach of marketing to the many. Personally, one of the best benefits of permission marketing is that it gives me the tools to establish long-term, supportive relationships with my customers.
Bombarding consumers with unasked for and unwanted messages — think junk mail that goes from your mailbox to the recoiling bin unopened or unread, is referred to as interruption marketing. As you are only sending information to those who are anticipating the information, permission marketing helps you maintain your brand’s reputation and your client’s good will.
In an interview, Seth Godin once said, “…you need humility and patience to do permission marketing right. Which is why so few companies do it properly. There are no short cuts. Real permission works like this: if you stop showing up, people complain, they ask where you went.” How do I know this is true? I have been subscribing to Copyblogger regularly since 2008. I will scan my email for them and read their information first. Why? because I have received value from every blog, every information product I have ever received from them. Because I receive so much value from their free offerings, I gladly became a paying customer and graduated to the ‘registered velvet rope’ Copyblogger membership. Seth is right if Copyblogger suddenly disappeared from my inbox as part of their tribe — I would start looking for them.
As an introverted freelance consultant, your task, should you accept it, is to build a loyal tribe of supporters that value your services so much, they consider sharing your information as a favor to a friend.