First things first
Why should you be looking to grow your own database? You don’t own your followers on social media, those platforms do, so if they crash overnight or your account gets hacked you loose your audience.
You also will know little about your social media followers other than what you can personally remember. Whether you have a product or service based business, you need a newsletter.
What does your audience need?
Having spent the best part of 2019 posting every single day on Instagram, I built my followers up. This hard work means I now have a user base that often asks me for what they need. It started with a few people asking me if I had a link or doc with all key calendar dates on.
I then tested it out on stories by asking my audience if they would like a PDF of this and created pricing options to get an idea of what they perceived as value.
Hint: if you have a less engaged or smaller audience FEAR not. Simply ask 2–5 of your ideal customers what they might find helpful, do some old-fashioned clipboard research or invite them for a virtual coffee. Prep some ideas of what you could put in a free download that your audience might like and see what they go for.
Curation & design
Once I knew what I wanted to create I took some time to outsource. I worked with a junior freelancer Katie Watson and paid her for a full day to assist me with pulling together the dates. I created a brief and sent examples of what I was looking for and she expertly put it into a spreadsheet.
I then looked for other “corporate” brochures that I did / didn’t like and talked them through with my creative director to show what style I was interested in. He played around with a few formats and then once we agreed on an overarching style he spent a full day (yes in fact it took over a day) designing the document.
Lastly, it went to my online business manager who created as a downloadable PDF on my freebies page and ensured it was linked up to a new tag on my MailChimp account. This means I can now see who are new subscribers based off this product.
Launching the product 180
As I had invested in team support, my initial feeling was the product should break even and I would be charging. However, due to personal reasons I was behind schedule and it was already February. It didn’t feel so good to be charging for something that was already a month old. And because of the way my creative brain works I didn’t want to revisit it create a new quarter just yet.
February is heart disease awareness month and I’ve been talking about having a bigger purpose for a long time. It seemed like a good sign from the universe to create the charitable fund and to request donations instead.
Lastly, I realised that whilst yes I could in theory make £4 per person if I continue to provide value and useful content for free these people might spend more money with me at a later time.
I have so far posted two grid posts and a few stories that show what the calendar looks like and the personal reasons why I’ve launched it.
I think because I showed vulnerability it has connected with my audience so either for that or the fact they were surprised at how big a document it is (it’s 35 pages of dates!) they have also been sharing on their stories so it’s generated organic word of mouth.
So to recap, if you want to build your own audience data and create a free download follow these steps.
– Pay attention to what your audience asks for or spend some time finding out what they need
– Invest time & money to create something that goes beyond their expectation when it comes to content and design. This is a real opportunity for surprise and delight
– Have a genuine motivation and time to launch. The biggest question is always why now? You can be open and honest. If you are just starting out, just tell them. Honesty is key.
I’m no Jerry Springer but here are just a few other things I wanted to bolt-on.
Building your database is your new business pipeline, in terms of team resource I’ve spent probably £650 to create this document. However, out of those 230 people if 2.3 of them buy 1 or 2 PR training lessons with me, I’ll have evened out.
Weirdly, I thought everyone would donate something even if it was just a £1. What actually ended happening was maybe less than 10% of those who downloaded did but they gave more (£10-£20).
230 subscribers in one weekend might sound impressive but really it’s the years of showing up consistently to create an engaged audience, outsourcing to experts to support me and a few months of ideation and creation to get it across the line. It’s never just as easy as the headline so be kind to yourself if you are starting out. It’s always little steps each day that long term make the difference.
If you would like a copy of our calendar click here.
If you would like to support my fund for #heartdiseaseawarenessmonth click here.