Have you ever checked your newsletter stats and got annoyed with the fact that running a business can often feel like a weird game of random numbers, opening rates and click throughs? When I did b-school in 2015 I already had a few years in online marketing as an employee under my belt, but I had SO MUCH to learn about the practical aspects of running a one woman show. I needed to make things work super fast and I knew that conversion rates were, at least for a while, the main thing I needed to focus on to pay the bills.
Over time though it was much more important to stay connected to the Big Why of starting a business, as let`s be real – that is what gets you through the late nights. As we grow we often make choices between engaging a cold audience by spending on Facebook ads or growing organically at a much slower rate. If I am honest I have always felt some resistance around spending on ads – I would much rather grow through word of mouth and by offering awesome free content, but that can only get me so far.
This summer I have chosen a middle path and I wanted to share what that experience was like. I am running a free DIY school with a ton if free interactive content and have put a lot of energy into spreading the word about this mainly through social media with a small budget for FB ads. My main focus was to see how I can grow a community, serve more people and make things more interactive without needing to spend a ton of cash. Here is what I have done:
- I had a pop up coaching session with Regina which really helped me clarify my ideas for the DIY summer school and ensured that I really, really had to press publish
- I made a list of everything I have learned and selected key topics that I think are most important to online entrepreneurs, then put together scripts for the webinars.
- I put together a sign up page, posted it on all my social media, started engaging my group more and learned about hosting webinars for free (meaning without expensive software) on Youtube live – will post about how this works soon
- I have worked with Delight to run a small Facebook ads campaign which was a great experience
Here are the cold hard facts on what I have achieved so far:
- I have almost doubled my newsletter list in three weeks
- I finally started doing Facebook lives in my group
- I have on average spend two dollars per lead through FB ads
- Almost 400 people are in my free DIY summer school learning about branding with Canva, opt ins and creating their first online course – it consists of six live webinars, work sheets, group supports and Q&As
- My Facebook group has grown to over 500 members
- My website traffic has increased by 58%
Here is what I have learned/would do differently next time:
- I wish I had started doing Facebook lives or other forms of live media much sooner – it really is scary when you start out, but it is now making me feel so much connected to my audience, it helps me understand their pain points and it has massively increased my visibility
- Facebook campaigns really need time – I gave it three weeks, but we could have done much more testing with different ad copy, images and target audiences had I started planning earlier
- For me personally running a free long term program over eight weeks works really well, but that might not be the case for everyone. I know engagement will eventually drop as people get distracted and we sadly have an attention span more suitable for the kind of quick five day challenges we now seem to be used to. I get that these long term gigs might be more commercially successful, but right now I want to prioritise getting to know my audience over time and slowly developing a group program for the autumn
- Mainly its really much easier than you would think – I could have totally done this last summer, but I was just way too shy and full of imposter syndrome
- This summer was the first time I joined a small master mind (Violet Crown Masterminds – can recommend them!)
- Asking people to answer a few questions before they can join my Facebook group has been extremely useful – I took the feedback on board and ended up adding some extra sessions to the summer school.
What are your plans and social media strategies? Is growing a community around your business a priority for you? Head to the Facebook group and let us know – we would love to support you!