How Do Freelancers Digitally Convert Prospects?

In this special interview, Mike Volkin talks with conversion expert Austin Church on how freelancers can convert prospects digitally. We talk about lead magnets, “snacks”, and other important conversion items to help you get your prospects further down the sales funnel.

He has a special offer for all our listeners, check it out:


How Do Freelancers Digitally Convert Prospects?

Get ready for freelancing strategies, hacks and tactics to help you skyrocket your success. Brought to you by Freelancer you’re listening to freelancing school with your instructor Mike Vulcan.

All right, everybody. Welcome to another episode of Freelancer school. I am Mike Vulcan with lead instructor Freelancer masterclass. And today we are lucky to have with us Austin church. He’s a writer and brand strategist, and he and his wife live with their three professional mistake makers in Knoxville, Tennessee near the Great Smoky Mountains. After getting laid off during the recession back in 2009, Austin accidentally started his own freelancing business, which led to selling a variety of Creative Services developing iOS apps, even co founded a startup which is very interesting and started a brand and marketing studio called elearning. And I’ll put that in the show notes so you can go check out his site and

Today he’s going to share with us what he learns. And, and you can see a little bit about what he’s going to talk about today. Actually a lot at his website, Austin l church calm. Was that a good intro there? leave anything out.

I hope to live up to that intro. All right. Thank you so much, Mike. Welcome to the show. We’re happy to have you. So at this point, since you’re a brand strategist, I want to talk about lead magnets, if you don’t mind, and many freelancers and consultants have heard about lead magnets. It’s such a buzzword nowadays. But can you give us a quick rundown of what a lead magnet is and why they’re even really a thing why they exist? Sure. So we all kind of understand that in order to get people’s contact information we made may need to swap a little bit of value. So a lead magnet is an offer. That offer is really only limited by your creativity. So a software company might offer a free demo. A photographer might offer a swipe

file of free photos. So a lead magnet is something that you offer to persuade someone else to give you their contact and it gets them to the next step down this this funnel that we’re building for them, right basically and is it doesn’t always have to be free, right? It doesn’t have to be free and the most common, it’s the most common if only because free is always attractive. People love free stuff. You will see like a $7 promo. I think it’s $7 for seven days that href does. So they don’t offer a free trial. They don’t have the freemium model. I think that one’s really smart for them because you do have to plug in your credit card information, but it is still a lead magnet. Yeah. So that’s a lead magnet for a tech company. And since our audience is freelancers what are some of the biggest mistakes, you see freelancers, making with lead magnets, giving away too much and I don’t mean like too much of their knowledge or too much of their

expertise. I mean, and I’ve made this mistake myself, you put everything you can think of you stuff it into like a guide. And that guide is 60 pages long, 100 pages long, whatever. The challenge is, all of those really long, meaty, and yes, very valuable lead magnets ended up in the folder of doom on people’s desktops. They’re like, Oh, I didn’t realize this was like 55 pages long. I’ll get back to that. So I think that’s one of the biggest mistakes is you’re giving away too much if people don’t use it and they don’t experience the value, and then you haven’t really started a relationship with them. Another big mistake is giving away the lead magnet without actually getting a way to contact that person in the future. So there was no true exchange, hey, download this thing from my site. And it’s awesome that people have downloaded the thing, but if that person signaled

They have a problem that you can help with my downloading the thing wouldn’t be nice if you could follow up later and say, how’s it going with the thing? Like, did you fix your problem? You know, tell me more and who knows that could turn into a business relationship? Yeah, I actually did a test on that a few years ago about collecting their contact information versus not I had my contact information in a short ebook I was giving away and actually I didn’t see much, I saw a little decline in conversion, but not that much. Because I had my contact information throughout the ebook. So

it’s something to be said about drip emails, and if they work or not, which they certainly do, because the fortune is in the follow up. But I’ve literally given away lots of stuff on my website for free without collecting an email. And just because I had it in that in the presentation, whatever they downloaded, those that were really interested the hot prospects were going to be calling me anyway. So but there was a decline. I think it was like 8% or 9% or something. And I think you bring up a really good point, which is make sure that you have a call to action.

In your lead magnets and we don’t need to get too much into tactics yeah that don’t guess but I think what you said is incredibly valuable. If you do want to give something away for free, make sure that the strategy of the free thing is still sound in the sense of, hey, yes be magnanimous be philanthropic, give away free stuff, but still are you in business to do business and make sure that people remember that they could hire you to help them further along in their journey and make sure it’s your own. I’ve had I’ve seen I’ve literally sign up for a lead magnet that was my ebook that somebody else was giving away Oh, title of it. Yeah, I was years ago. So I’m like, hey, this looks a lot like mine I created a couple years ago. I’ve seen that before I compliment but they also like frustrating I know and I’ve seen I’ve had other lead magnets where I would literally download content was the exact same ebook I downloaded like few months ago from some other site they’re just you know, you copying you change the header and people are just

They’re doing that now. So just be wary of who you’re talking to and who you who you’re signed up for services with it. Make sure that they’re the true real deal thought leader that that you hope they are. But I heard you refer to alternatives like snacks. Can you describe what a snack is what counts as a snack? Yeah, so I mentioned earlier that our first our first thought is to create this big meaty lead magnet. And in my mind, a snack is the opposite. It’s something that you create to give people a taste. Give them a sample, you know how you can go to or you used to be able to go to Costco, right? And just walk around and grab samples. Well, a snack gives people a quick win. And if that’s the only thing people walk away with today, it’s give people a quick win. Let them solve a problem they have in five to 10 minutes using something that you created for them.

So a snack is quite simply like a five to 10 minute quick fix that you can offer to people. Yeah, you talk in my language that’s my YouTube videos every Thursday are just snacks, max of whatever I think the issue is of the week or the day that somebody might be having. And then if they want the full month Freelancer masterclass, they come to my site and get the real deal. But I like that idea of a snack. I haven’t heard it referred to as a snack before. So everyone loves snacks, right? Yeah, freelancers create small bites of content that help people in their target audience get a quick win, right? So can you walk us through the step by step process for doing that? Sure. So if you’re just getting started with creating content, you’ll take one approach. If you’ve already got a lot of content, you’ll probably take a different one. I can quickly touch on both. If you if you don’t already have a ton of content. Think about all of the micro problems that prevent

Then people from solving a bigger problem, right? So let’s say you’re a freelancer who is a, you know, if you’re a freelance web designer, and a big challenge that your target audience will have is picking out beautiful photos, beautiful stock photos for a new website. So you could offer a checklist, that is the 11 mistakes you want to avoid when picking out stock photos for your new website. Now, obviously, if they hired you, you would just do that for them. And then they wouldn’t have that problem. But by giving them the checklist, you establish yourself as an authority, right? You give them the quick fix, and some of them will say, why am I even bothering with this? I’ve found an expert Why wouldn’t I just hire them to do this for me? So that’s an example of you may not have a ton of content yet. You think about

Micro problems. Think of them like as thorns or brambles that stand in between people and what they really accomplish, what little impediments or obstacles can you get out of the way I like it. For people who already have a lot of content, I would say well use your analytics, find what your top performing posts are, and use those top performing posts to tell you which lead magnets you need to create. Go to that number one post and ask yourself, what is the very next thing that people will need in order to take action with what they have just learned from this post. So if going back to the website developer example, or website designer, sorry, if you’ve written a post that performs really well and it is, here are the 17 things your website needs to do in order to create a great first

impression? Well, maybe you give people a worksheet to help them take everything that they’ve just learned and create an actual to do list that will help them translate everything that they just learned into a punch lists that they can turn around and hand what handle website developer. If you work on SEO, it’s like, hey, here is your SEO checklist for optimizing your top posts. And so I think once people understand, oh, like, I don’t have to move heaven and earth and basically give people $10,000 worth of free content, really just need to help them take the very next step.

Making these becomes a lot easier. And I recommend that people do it the lazy way instead of the hard way. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So what should we do with these snacks once we have them

so put one front and center on

your homepage.

I also love exit intent offers. If they’re about to leave anyway, then why not have a contextualized exit intent offer meaning I’m about to leave your website, I’m going to click on the X, or I’m going to type in a new URL into the browser window and have the offer that pops up to say, hey, you don’t have time to read this post right now. But right, why don’t you take the cheat sheet with you? Yeah, and those aren’t hard. By the way, I tell my audience who’s like, What’s an exit? It’s, I mean, if you’re a WordPress site, it’s just a plugin, you just type in exit pop up, and you’ll get up you’ll get a plugin for that and a free so you

know, I drifted into jargon there. So I’m glad that you stopped me. And obviously with with when you have lead magnets, put them on Facebook, put them on Twitter, put them on LinkedIn, some of them you may actually put on their own landing page or squeeze page. Like, again, the idea is that

We want to hire people who have made our lives easier or better. And so if you start relationships by creating value for people, by solving those little problems they have by removing little impediments, then it’s selling without selling it’s or pitching without selling. I think that’s a waste. But yeah, you know what I one of my most popular places I put lead magnets is paid ads on YouTube, they’re pennies on the dollar, and it shows search intent and you got a little cool video, you can put up your lead magnet around and then the download link is in the description. I mean, it’s, I mean, it’s a great way to capture leads, especially if you don’t have a lot of leads through your website. You can just supplement that through paid ads through your through your YouTube and it’s direct you know, it’s like you don’t have to go through your website to do it. So it’s I love that idea. I I was able to, I guess it was triple, double or triple. I’ll have to go back and look at the numbers. This is years ago, but I was cross syndicating blog posts on medium. So I would post something on my blog. I was

republish the exact same post on medium. And so when you think about, well, I’ve got these lead magnets, I want to use them to grow my audience or grow my email list or generate more leads, you think about where people are already hanging out where there’s an audience already already gathered. You mentioned YouTube. I personally haven’t done a whole lot on YouTube. But man, I crushed it on medium and I’m like, why isn’t everyone doing this? There are already people showing up here for the express purpose of reading. Yeah, or like you said, YouTube watching and you’re just intercepting in a way that’s actually creating value. If you want to know my third most popular place to get lead magnet we talked about YouTube and then my website, of course, but according to my analytics SlideShare is my one of my top four traffic. Yeah, it still lives. You know, it’s owned by LinkedIn now. And I tell you, when people go to SlideShare, they are looking for content, they’re looking to absorb it themselves. They’re not looking to share it. I mean, they’re they’re looking for presentation, so

Take your content, put it in a presentation. And it’s just like YouTube your little description you can put a lead magnet there and, but it works great. I get consistent high quality traffic from SlideShare I get my lowest bounce rate is from SlideShare on my website. So that is an incredible tactic and it brings to mind something else, which I think is something that a lot of freelancers Miss, you can create a single piece of content and repurpose it a dozen Oh, yeah. Cuz look at Neil Patel. been doing that for 10 years. Oh, my, he’s, he’s the king, right? So you write the blog post, right. And I had this one long form blog post, like 5000 words long and I thought, Man, there’s a ton of value in here. And a lot of people are going to get halfway through and they’re already worn out. Yeah, so the the, the lead magnet was a cheat sheet. But I could take that cheat sheet for this long form blog post and turn it into a video and turn it into a slideshow and turn it into an audio and turn it into a miniature email.

Just 10 different ways. Yeah, you just keep on recycling it. And so yes, it can sometimes be time consuming to create really high quality blog content. Great. repurpose it 12 different ways this podcast is being repurposed into a YouTube video, even as we speak right, there you go. So can you share with us any ideas for helping people get the most out of their lead magnets?

Yes, I mean, other than posting it on various sites, is there any other any other tips that you might have? Anyone who is already in your network? Anyone who’s already on your email list? When you go and you create a new lead magnet? Follow up with the people you already know and say, Do you know anyone who might need this? Or please share or something? Yeah, that’s right. And so it’s very different saying, Hey, who do you know, that might need my help? And actually, I think it’s fine to ask for introductions, but a very sort of low pressure way to

get new introductions to grow your network to even make the person who’s sharing look good. Right? If Mike if you gave me something, and then I turned around and shared it with someone else, and actually makes me look like I’m in the know. Mm hmm. Right. So that that’s one way is to proactively ask people who already know like and trust you to find other people who can share the free thing. And that is probably when your strategy works really, really well. But the call to action in a in something that people don’t need to plug in an email address to download, hey, like, I just created a video about remote work. Like I said, I don’t do much video, but I just did one, put it up on LinkedIn, put it up on Facebook. And then someone said, Hey, would you talk to my audience about how do you thrive as a remote worker?

So, I know that’s kind of that story is kind of off subject. But my point there is, if people see that you’re creating high quality content, then they will look for opportunities to help you promote it. And so as long as it’s unique, as long as it’s high quality, as long as you didn’t steal Mike’s guide, yeah. Which and give it away as your own. Yeah, I would be delighted to help you. Yeah, it’s a call. It’s called Getting brand ambassadors. So that comes with time, you know, a lot of people get frustrated because when they start going and creating lead magnets, they don’t get much audience. It’s like shouting in an empty room, but you build up an audience over time, and then it just starts to organically spread and you become a big shot after a while and not even know it. So, thanks for joining us. Awesome. Could you tell us a little bit about to develop any kind of offers for our audience or any place where we can find out more about you? Sure. I have a worksheet that I use with clients to help them come up with their lead magnets. I really do recommend you only spend 15 or 20 minutes

That will ensure that you’re not doing too much. So how about Austin l forward slash, freelancer, dash school Freelancer dash school. I like that. I’ll put that in the show notes for everyone who’s listening on the podcast and I’ll put in the YouTube description for those who are watching this on YouTube. Thanks very much. Austin’s been great. Hopefully we can do this again sometime. I’d like that. Stay. Well, Mike. All right. It was really great being with you. Thanks, you too. Talk to you soon.

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