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Are you struggling to get clients? Paige Brunton started a blog when she started her web design business and it was the best decision she every made. Every post she created was an investment in her future as a business owner and it truly paid off.
On this week’s episode of The Intentional Creative Podcast, learn how to grow an audience, stay consistent with content creation, and grow your business (even in a crowded niche).
If you’re interested in starting or scaling your own web design business, be sure to check out my free training for designers.
A big thank you to SquareKicker for supporting the show! Go check out their powerful design and animation extension for Squarespace 7.1.
Galen: Paige thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today. I am so excited to have you here.
Paige: Hi Galen. I’m excited to be here. Thank you for having me.
Galen: Let’s start by just having you tell us a little bit about your business and when you first got started, what your business looked like versus what you do now.
Paige: Yes, I’ll start at the beginning, cause that will help to really explain how I got to this interesting situation of that now. It all starts kind of tipsy in a bar and Mississippi. I moved down to the U S to go to a master’s degree, met a guy, a German guy in a bar. Moved over to Germany to be with him and then realized once I got to Germany that I had no job options. So,that’s when I realized I to need to find a way to make money on the internet because I don’t speak German. I can’t get a job here. I had built a blog and a couple of websites for fun before, so that’s was genuinely my best option. Other than like working in an Irish pub or something.
Did not have a degree and tech or IT, or marketing or business or any of those sorts of things, but I just decided like, okay, I’m going to be a website designer. That led me on a long journey of figuring out how the heck do you get clients and price herself, and even like, do all the things that your clients want you to do on their website.
There was no course for that at the time, or anyone really explaining how to do that. So, little morsels of information here and there and blog posts and stuff that other designers had posted. Eventually, I pieced it together, built a web design business and the way which I chose to market my business.
Again, keeping in mind that I was in Germany, and didn’t have the option to go like market myself locally, or like get referrals or anything from, I don’t know, mostly what people do is they like go to their existing network or they go to like the coffee shop down the street or something. And it was like, again, not an option.
So I decided to market my business and get clients for my web design business through content creation. So, I blogged all the blog posts to basically working my way up in Google for everything related to like Squarespace website design. So, I committed to creating two blog posts a week of at least 2,000 words and slowly but surely my traffic started like going up and going up and going up.
Then eventually I started getting inquiries of people who had found me through the blog and then eventually , it was getting like an inquiry a day because I landed like the first place in Google for like, I was the first web Squarespace web designer. When you Googled Squarespace web designer. Obviously, Squarespace and Upwork were above me, but the next thing after that was me.
And so again, got the client a day and realized like, wow, I have a new problem on my hands. This is really nice. But like, I can’t work with every single person who gets in touch. I can only raise my rates so much and I can only book out so far in advance. So, that’s when I realized maybe teaching people how to build their own website.
So, taking all the things to try to learned over the years about building really amazing Squarespace sites that really convert your clients on the website. I decided to put that into a course, I considered going agency model or like templates or something, but to me just course felt like the most freedom filled type business model, which is totally true.
So, yeah, I’m very happy about that decision. So, I created the first course on building really amazing Squarespace sites called score secrets. And then when I was hosting that course, I had zero intention to teach anyone how to be a website to center. Cause I literally like, felt like I had just figured it out myself.
So,I did not have like the confidence or feel like I had the expertise, but in the QA calls for that course, all the students were asking me things related to like, now I have the skill. People are looking at my websites and like, wow, you did that. That’s really impressive like, can you build me a website?
And then they realized like, oh, light bulb. Maybe I could generate income from something which I genuinely enjoyed doing and like building pretty things on the internet. So, I kinda had the same thought process I did. And then they were like, how do you get more clients after you just go through like the people who ask you to build their website?
How do you deal with contracts? Price your services? How do you, yeah. All these things. So,I was answering all those questions and I realized like, okay, very clearly they’re saying like, I want help to become a website designer. So when I created my course score secrets business, it’s the second one on how to build a book debt, web design business.
That was really scary at the very beginning. But yeah, it was all about just like how to manage the backend and set up the backend of web design business. So, we’ve had thousands of students go through that course now and just the most unbelievable, like success stories from it of people doing like 60K in their first year and going from like $3,000 months to $30,000 months in their web design business.
And when one girl Lucy, she did a hundred thousand in her first year as a website designer. And I was like, what is this? So anyways students have definitely, yeah, they’ve taken it and run. And so a lot of them like came in hella motivated and once they had kind of like the framework of how to do it, just absolutely like.
Blew me away. So, that’s been really cool. So those are the primary courses, which I’ve been selling for a while now. And then the other thing which I started talking about just this past year is content creation. So, again, that’s how I built the business. That’s how I got clients in the first place.
That’s how I then scaled the business with courses. I know a lot of people go to sell a course and then when they create a course, they don’t have an audience and they launch it to an empty room. And it’s a very depressing experience. And I can’t tell you the number of times that like, past students and everything been like, I went to go sell templates and then I like didn’t sell any templates and other people who I talked to at coworking spaces who tried to launch courses and just no one bought or like one person bought.
And the reason is because they didn’t have an audience, like almost a hundred percent of the time. And so that’s when I realized, building the audience comes before you can sell a digital product on us, because if you’re selling a service for five grand building a website, it only takes one sale.
If you’re selling a $50 or $500 digital product, you need a hell of a lot of sales to get the same revenue in the end. So, its super scalable you can make insane money doing it, but it truly takes the audience first. That’s why this past year I created a course on creating content. So it’s called the scale of content strategy and that helps people to build up their content, whether that be blog, podcast, YouTube video, and then also build an email list from that, which is like the asset, which you need to sell digital products on the internet.
So that’s what I do. And that’s how I got here.
Galen: I love that. Let’s go way back. I think that if you can start a web design business in a country where you don’t even speak the language and get to a point where you’re getting consistent clients, if you can do that, anybody can start a web design business in their home. Because, that is an amazing feat when there’s no networking, there’s nowhere.
There’s no way to start locally. That is so impressive and amazing that you were able to do that. You know, I’m a big fan of SEO, but going back to, when you first started blogging to when you actually started seeing consistent clients coming from those posts that you created, what length of time was that?
Paige: Yep. So it was about six months. I think in a blog post, maybe give you the link, but in a blog post somewhere, I have a screenshot of like the traffic of like didn’t blog, blogged inconsistently, blogged consistently.
And you see just like, from the time I started blogging you consistently traffic just really like took off. So, and then until I actually got clients from it, it was like the first client came like six months after I was blogging. So it shows like this is not an overnight strategy. You are not going to get a client tomorrow from it.
It takes a hell of a lot of like perseverance. But then again, once I got myself to page one in Google and inquiry and day was coming, so it’s a type of thing. It snowballed on itself, but it takes a lot of work upfront to make it happen. So, yeah, I was six months until I got the first client through the blog.
And then once I got the first one, it was just like, bam, bam, bam. After that, just client, after client coming through the inquiry forums saying, I read your blog posts, thought I could do it myself would rather just have you do it. And that’s how it happened.
Galen: That’s so funny. I think so many times a service providers, especially are nervous about teaching, about what they do, because they think it’s only going to attract other people who do what they do. But in reality, It’s going to attract those DIY wires that start DIYing, and then realize like you said, oh no, no, I do not actually want to do this.
And then they call you and say, Hey, you know what? I started this project. I failed miserably and please do it for me.
Paige: Yep, totally. And I also find that content marketing is personally my favorite form of marketing because. It’s true. 99% of people who read my blog posts will not buy anything for me. And you know what? That’s totally fine. I’m just reading free, useful, helpful information out to the world. Like that is the least sleazy form of marketing.
And then it’s like, Hey, you’re one of the 1% of people who want to buy something from me. Awesome. And that can generate again, crazy revenue. So,
Galen: Yeah, that makes a huge difference. You said you were creating two posts a week around 2,000 words each, is that correct?
Paige: Yup. Yup.
Galen: How did you do that? Time-wise like, what did that time management look like? And how much time were you actually spending writing content?
Paige: Well, I mean, at the very beginning, I didn’t have any clients, so I had a hell of a lot of time on my hands. Yeah. So I, how long would it take me? It depends on the blog posts. Some take way longer than others. If you want to do tutorial style things that definitely takes a little longer than like, I don’t know, throwing some of your thoughts on a page basically.
But I know definitely. I would, so my blog posts would go out on Tuesday and Thursday and I would write on Tuesday and Thursday, I would just do it two weeks in advance. So, I would always be consistent basically. And I would definitely take me on and on, let’s say between three to four hours of blog post.
If I had to like take a guess. T he longer I did it, the faster I got the most intimidating blog post to ever publish was the first one by far. So, I just want to like anyone who’s listening to this, then you have all the things like my family’s going to judge me and like all these just awful thoughts start running.
So, once you’ve done it once though, like, I don’t think for three seconds, but like the things that I’m like publishing now, like, yep. That’s good. So, I’m not worried about what other’s think at this point.
Galen: That’s the other thing. I mean, I always try to obviously check for typos and reread my posts and make sure everything looks good, but I used to be so much more of a perfectionist about it, and I’m like done is better than perfect. I just need to get it out into the world.
Galen: Yeah, that’s, that’s definitely changed the game for me.
And I think so many people blogging, look at that and say, oh, I just can’t write one perfect blog post a week, let alone two or even a month. Like, I even tried to get people to write one post a month and they’re like, it’s too much. It’s too much on top of all the client work that I have. So it can be a lot.
And when, when you were first starting to write those blog posts and you were first starting to get those clients, did you have a portfolio built up? Had you done some kind of like sites just for yourself, had you yourself? Did you have some clients that you worked with at a lower cost? Like how did you get those first projects in your portfolio?
Paige: Yep. So the very first thing which I ever did again, was build a blog for myself. And then when I was in university, still Mississippi I met this couple who ran a nonprofit. It was like literally one of my school projects supposed to go like to this nonprofit. And they were talking about their biggest struggles and their biggest struggle was their website and their like really awful marketing and like being too embarrassed to do any marketing.
Cause they didn’t want to send anyone to the website. And I was like, oh actually, like, I don’t know how to build a website so I can just build you one. So, it was a nonprofit. I did the website completely for free. And then that was my second portfolio piece then from there then I went onto Etsy, which is there’s pros and cons.
Like you could, people do go there looking for website designs, but the problem is it’s like extremely low pay. And then also there’s Etsy fees, which is also like really kind of a problem. Sorry. So that’s how I got the clients after that. And then also there was an web design agency, which found some of my work on dribbble, (d-r-i-b-b-b-l-e .com).
So yeah, I posted some, I worked there and then they got in touch with me. I started building websites for them. Not honestly, a super ideal client. I mean, it depended on some projects were great. Some projects. I was like, oh my God, I built a website for a retirement home. Like it was not the most thrilling thing in the world.
So, and then the problem with that is like you get paid a fraction of what the agency gets paid for. Like you do the work, but they got most of the money, so I did have a portfolio. And so then at that point I’d moved over to Germany. That’s when I was like, okay, I need to make this website business work.
So I had a few different projects from random, different places. I’d gotten projects before. But again, actually like building my own traffic, getting clients myself, as opposed to through an agency or through Etsy was super, super key to actually making it like a full-time realistic living.
Yeah. And did you ever niche down at all or was it sort of like any business, did you stick to creative businesses? Were you sort of doing all types of businesses?
Yeah, So, I think it’s important now that people get more niche than I’d had to do. Thankfully back in the day, like being a Squarespace website designer was in and of itself, kind of like a little bit of a niche back in the day. And I did focus more on like really, it was more the design style for me.
So, really creative type businesses and kind of like a feminine aesthetic is what I really liked creating. And so that’s why I was in my portfolio and therefore it was the kind of clients which I was attracting. So really. And so I guess if I had to say, if I had a need at the time, it was like create a business owner, but I mean, that’s not so much a niche anymore.
It’s still kind of like too broad. And so I do suggest to like students now I’ve seen them like nail niches. There was just a girl I was talking to today. She helps like trades men in the UK. And there was another one who just works with authors and another one who just does like Pilates and fitness studios.
And so. Those ladies again are like kill it at there shooting fish in a barrel and their niches. So, I think that the faster you can niche now, the easier you make it on yourself to talk to the person on your website to set yourself apart and then to also land those clients.
Galen: Yeah. And when somebody looks at your website and sees a bunch of other businesses that are like theirs, they say, okay, you must be the go-to person for this industry. And then you’re a shoe and they want to hire you. They’re excited. And you already have that aesthetic down because. Every niche sort of has its own.
I mean, cause it can be different brands within that niche, but every niche sort of has its own vibe, has its own style and then their styles within that. And you can also niche down on aesthetics too. Like you can niche down by having a really modern style or more of a classic luxury style. So, it depends there, but I do agree.
I think picking a specific niche of who you’re going to target makes a huge difference that makes a big difference for new designers.
Paige: Yeah, I agree. Yeah.
Galen: And so when you were getting those first clients, you had those projects, how did you start charging when you very first we’re getting, we’re getting going. How did you know what to charge? How did you know what kind of contracts to have that.
Paige: Yeah. So that again comes back to the point of like, I had no frigging clue and like truly had to figure that out. It was trying to like trial and error . Like, oh, I should probably have a contract. Like did not for the first couple of projects. I did not realize that was important. That I, then you get into some sticky situations where you’re like, no, we actually agreed on five pages, but now you gave me content for seven.
Like that’s kind of a problem. Sorry. That was the type of stuff, which I figured out truly like along the way. And in terms of pricing myself, I just looked at what the agency had been charging for the projects, which I was actually doing. And then like other website designers and kind of comparing like, okay, how does my work stack up to their work?
What are they charging you and figuring out that way. Now, I definitely suggest my two-pronged approach is like on the one side you need to look at what does it cost for you to like fund your life, fund your business, all these things. And even if you’re like, Oh, well, I have a full-time job.
So like, I’m just going to charge $300 for a website because like, technically it’s just fun money. It’s like, okay, well let’s not do that. We also need to take into account, like, what is industry average as well. And then also if you have any dreams of like ever leaving that full-time job and going full-time and your website business, and again, you can’t be charging $300 project.
And also just like the number of problems that you attract to yourself when you priced super low as.
Galen: It’s a lot.
Galen: We’ve both been there. It’s a lot.
Paige: So, yeah, I think my pricing started I mean my very, very first project on Etsy, I think it was like $560. Then I went up to like two grand that I went up to like five grand and then I would even go up to, I think my most expensive project was almost like 10 K.
Paige: Now I have students who are doing. 10 K projects on the regular or like even more. And especially if they’re adding in things like brand design or, I mean, some people truly just do, like, I was talking to a real fire rose. She does literally 10 K for just a website, not also copywriting or brand design, but then other people are adding other additional services, which like ups the project value.
So you can be doing definitely like 10 K plus projects, like consistently.
Galen: Yeah. And I think so much of it depends too on what’s included in the package. Like I know for me, I was charging actually a lot more per website, but then when I started doing VIP days and I started to do these sort of like smaller container projects, I loved actually being able to hand the website off for the client to get.
Tie up the loose ends. And so for me, I ended up charging less, but it worked out to be so much more per hour.
Like by charging less, I are almost charged half as much. I doubled what I made per hour because I shortened the amount of time that I spent on the project. Shrunk down what the project was and that spoke more to me. And so it’s important to think about how much time are you spending on a project, how much marketing and prep work goes into getting that client, getting them into your project, onboarding them, offboarding them, all those things and count all those hours too.
Not just the actual hours you spend
Paige: A hundred percent. A hundred percent. Yeah. And I’m all for like short project timelines. Like they just make your life so much better.
Galen: Yeah, I’m also a big fan of boundaries. So I would love to ask you, what are some of the ways you set boundaries in your business as a web designer and just in general in your business now?
Paige: Ooh, that’s a great question. Yeah, so this is definitely something which like at the beginning had no frigging boundaries, like less than no boundaries. I was like 24/7 just working like crazy and like no boundaries. And then after a while I was like, I don’t want to work until 11:00 PM. I’m like, I want to actually take a weekend to like, do things and not again, be sitting on my laptop.
So, over time I went from like working all the time to work in like normal hours. And then. Definitely in terms of like, when it came to client projects, putting boundaries around like client revisions, also just like leading the project. At the very beginning I didn’t know how to lead a project at all.
And so it was like, the client kind of told me like, “So we do this next? ” and I was like, yeah! Was not great, but it’s like, if you don’t know the process in your head, of course, you don’t know how to lead a project. It’s like once you nail a process and that’s been what I teach my students, it’s like, okay, here’s a process.
You can tweak it to yourself whenever they’d be like, here’s an example of my process, like types of boundaries you want to set and that sort of thing. So once you set that, also get higher paid clients who then respect your time, or then that again, solves a lot of the problem. And then also, especially when it comes to feedback rounds, that’s the type of thing where like, you need to very specifically say like how they give the feedback.
So what I would do is like, because previously, before I did this, it would just be like 50 freaking emails of like also sometimes if there was like a whole like team involved, one time I designed a website for a school and there was like seven different people sending me. Like revisions. Cause they had all looked at it and then a bunch of them conflicted with each other.
And I was like, I don’t know what I should be doing right now. So then I realized like, this is actually, no, this is like my own fault. And I have to fix this because like clearly they’ve never gotten a website project before, most of your clients will have never had worked with the web designer before.
So, it’s up to you to truly lead the project and explain how things work. And so then I was like, okay, no more, just like sending me 50 emails. Like here, you can send me like one email or like Google doc, whatever you want with like a whole list of like your revisions. I’m going to go through all of them, get them done in 24 hours.
I’m going to give it back to you. And then you can give me the next list. If you think of something while I’m doing the current ones, just add it to the next document or whatever. And also please like just have it go through one person. So,then they’re forced to actually talk about it instead of sending conflicting revisions.
So, stuff like that is kind of the boundaries I implemented, so yeah.
Galen: Yeah. Having one point of contact is huge. I think that makes such a big difference. And I loved that you mentioned having higher priced or having higher end clients or clients that pay more, you’re going to have easier to deal with clients.
Galen: You found that in your experience too.
Paige: A hundred percent and all of my students, like they all say that consistently do it in the Facebook group.
Galen: So,really the beginning stages of your web design business, when you’re charging less to kind of get that experience are the hardest, because those are the times when you’re going to run into all those issues.
Paige: It and also you’re going to get the crappiest content as well because their photos are going to be taken on an iPhone. Purchase stock photos or like a brand photo shoot that was done or whatever. And again like that just makes your projects look so much better when you have good photos. So as well, charging higher means that they can afford things like stock photos that are paid or yeah.
A brand photo shoot, which again is just gonna make your projects better. So, yeah, there’s a lot of things to be said for like charging higher, which is just gonna make your life a lot easier.
Galen: Yeah. When for new web designers and I have my own thoughts about this, but I would love to know, like when do you suggest people start to raise their prices and how to decide when to raise their prices?
Paige: Yeah. Well, if you’re currently charging like peanuts, like hundreds of dollars, then I suggest like today would be a great time.
Paige: Yesterday would have been better, but like today also works. So if you’re pricing like truly, truly well below in three hours and like the time to do it is now for sure.
Okay, so say you’re charging like a reasonable amount. We’re talking like two to three grand for like small website or something. Some people do it every five clients, some people do it every so many months.
Definitely. If you’re booked months in advance, like that’s clear indication that there’s more demand that you can really fulfill. So that’s an obvious time to be upping your prices. So yeah, if you’re charging way below average time is now, if you’re charging normal pricing then up at when you’re like seeing that the demand is kind of there.
Galen: Yeah, no, I a hundred percent agree. I think if you’re booked out months in advance, again, that is the time to really consider that. And some people, I think too, it’s like after, like you said, a certain number of clients, but definitely. Raise your prices. If you’re hesitating, raise your prices. If you start to like the thing is too, you can always change it, right?
There’s nothing saying that you can’t change your price back. If it doesn’t work, if you have a few failed discovery or sales calls that go terribly, because somebody box at your price and then you’re really not confident in it doesn’t feel good to you. You can always teach it back. There’s nothing saying that you can’t, but in general, we’re always trying to help you raise your prices so that you see more of that profit and you’re going to attract.
Better clients. Let’s transition back to content marketing and blogging here for client businesses, client serving businesses or service-based businesses. How do you suggest they go about finding topics to blog about if they’re just getting started?
Paige: So anything your client asks you is a post idea.
Anytime you face a challenge, like, I was trying to figure out like, oh, how do I like jumped down on a page in Squarespace, no blog post on that. Perfect. Figured out how to do it, create a blog post on it. That’s another thing. And then also when you start to have an audience anywhere right now, even on social media, whatever, you can be like, “Hey”, creating content on (X).
Like let me know any questions. Like if you wanted to sit down with me one-on-one and like how to burning question, like put it here and I’m basically going to create your post. Anytime someone sends you an email. Someone just send us an email a couple of weeks ago, being like, “Hey”, just started a business.
Like we’d love to know your tips and everything. And I’m like, okay, I really do want to help you, but I also need to be realistic with the amount of time that we have. And so that means like, I’m going to answer your question in a blog post that 10,000 other people can go like, enjoy and make use of. So, yeah, that is basically questions.
And say, if you have no audience at all right now, then it’s like go to a place where your ideal client exists. That could be a Facebook group is a very common thing. And then go see the questions and topics that they’re talking about.
Galen: How do you feel about, I think there’s two ways to do like quote-unquote keyword research. There’s the qualitative way where you’re talking to people, you’re looking through messages, DMS on Instagram or emails you’ve received. You’re looking at those frequently asked questions versus actually using a keyword tool to find out what’s ranking in Google.
Like, what are your thoughts on the best way to go about that and kind of balancing the two? Cause I, again, I’m really passionate about this, but I want to see what you do.
Paige: Yeah. Yeah. So we do keyword research. Now we even pay for those like super freaking expensive, $200 a month softwares and everything to like do our keyword research. But at the beginning, but I think the one thing with that is like that is that can be super overwhelming.
That can be really confusing to some people who are like, just getting started in the content world. So, I think that what I found was I was not doing keyword research at the beginning. I was just like thinking up things or people asking me questions. And I was just literally naturally ranking for stuff with truly genuinely no effort at actually doing so.
And then I would do things like I would go into Pinterest. I would type in my topic. I would check like the related things. I would type my stuff into Google. I would go down to the bottom, see like what’s the related, like searches and everything. What else is coming up? And that would give me ideas too.
So,I was definitely doing like the free version of like keyword research and everything long before I was doing the paid more complex SEO keyword research tools. And I think I would suggest that just cause I think for a lot of people, like it’s too overwhelming and also expensive to go buy a $200 a month software.
Galen: Yeah, no, I feel the same way. And I think there’s some other great options out there. Like I know Uber suggest is a tool that’s only like 20 something dollars a month, they think right now. So, there’s a few of them out there. And but there’s just, like you said, there’s so many. To come up with keywords, just looking at what people are naturally talking about and what people naturally think of.
One other question is how do you think that content marketing has changed from when you first started?
Paige: Hm, I think you need to get more specific with your posts. So I, again, in this class of like new students in the scale of content strategy course, I was noticing like I went through and like audited and like looked at their stuff and everything, and pretty much very consistently with everyone’s stuff. It was like, they created some posts and I was like, take that, but like niche it into your topic or like into your ideal client or whatever it is.
So, instead of like what to put on your homepage, it’s like five things to put on your homepage as a plumber or something, like get more specific in that sense. And I think that is beneficial these days.
Galen: I think that and two, I was wondering like, I think, I know you mentioned blogging twice a week, and I still think that can have a lot of value to it. If you can create a 2,000 word posts twice a week. But I think for so many people too, now, content marketing has gone towards really quality over quantity.
Like if you have to choose between the two, like always go with quality rather than putting out to like. Posts every week, try to put out, even if it’s one a month or one a week or whatever it is, two a month, make sure that those posts are really high quality. At least that’s what I found.
Paige: Totally. I actually fully agree with that. I, the reason I didn’t mention that, actually that was, cause I think even like years ago when I started, that was still the case. Maybe 10 years ago, 15 years ago, you could have put out some like crappy, like 200 word blog post, and it would rank, but like that genuinely was not even happening.
Now that is truly not going to, I mean, unless you’re in now. We wanted to buy firewood because we have a fireplace in our new house. And so we searched well, my husband searched it in Durban, like firewood, Hanover, Germany, and this guy came up, he ordered the firewood from him and the guy told him like how he found him. And he’s like, yeah, I did this thing where like I put the words into my website and then I come up in Google and I was like, oh my God. Never created a piece of content, never done anything. And I was like, you were literally ranking for the like most simplistic thing you could possibly ever try to write for.
So yet yeah. That’s working for you, but like, so if he wrote a 200 word blog post, okay. Yeah, that would probably still work. But like, if you’re in any industry other than firewood in Hanover, Germany, like that’s going to be tough at this point.
Galen: I love that. No, I think it is crazy how it’s changed and it really does depend on the niche. Like, you were mentioning how some people can do really well in those super specific niches because it’s not as competitive, but in general, I think another tip too, is to look at what is your competition doing and how can you outdo your competition?
So,look at like the quality of their content, look at the gaps in their content. Like, what is that missing? Like what can you add to that to make sure that to make sure that what you’re creating is going to be that little bit better, that little bit more detail, that’s going to include that next level value and that way y ou’re going to have an easier time outranking them in Google. Whereas if you look at your competition and you’re like, they’re not doing that great, it’s going to be even easier for you to, to outrank them.
Paige: Yep. And I’ll another thing which I tend to do. So in this other business travel, you mentioned, but I was in this other business, which I’m involved in, also started creating content for them. It’s like a legal template shop. And so I was then also going through, like, I created the post and I was like, shoot, I’m not at 2,000 words yet.
Like, what else can I write? And then I started adding like FAQ’s to the bottom. Like frequently asked questions related to whatever the topic was. And that can always like lengthen your post as well, you’re putting in questions in headers, which is also a good thing for Google.
Galen: Yeah, that’s true. Right? Thinking about not just. What keywords are people using, but like, how are they actually typing that into the search bar? And how does that affect, like what they’re going to be pulling up and what they, what question like yeah, exactly. Like people type in questions, people type in exactly what they want to know.
So, if your post has that exact question and answer in that same format inside of your blog posts, like it’s going to show up in Google for when somebody searches that. What other tips do you have for kind of like formatting content or just making sure that your content resonates with your audience?
Paige: Yep. So in terms of formatting, content needs to be skimmable. So frequent headings, bullet points, bold bits, break it up with like images or videos is really important. I think my biggest frustration, I’m going to go see people’s content. So I’ve my husband’s best friend is a nutritionist and so she was creating blog posts and I went to her blog posts.
Not once. Did you ever mention how someone could work with you in this blog post?
Paige: You’re just putting out free, useful information, which is amazing. And we do totally want to just help the world with free, useful information, but like you are also a business and you do need to make money. So like, let’s also just make mention of the fact that they can buy from you in X, Y, Z way.
So, I’m making mention of your services or your products or whatever it is, and like naturally tying them into the content one or also then just at the bottom, like promoting that thing. And then especially if you’re building an email list. Which, if you ever want to sell a digital product on the internet, you’re going to need to build an email list.
You definitely want to have your opt-in in your blog posts multiple times, pop- up ,footer, announcement bar, all the places.
Galen: Yeah, no, that was actually going to be my next question is how do you turn that content into clients and email subscribers? So I love that you mentioned that any other tips for converting people or to actually make sure that your content resonates with that audience and then you get clients from it rather than just having people come read and leave, which is fine.
And again,most people will do that, but how do you get that certain percentage to take that next step?
Paige: Yep. I think, okay. The first thing is like genuinely just providing actually good information. Like not holding back, thinking like, oh no. I only want to like, share that with like my paid clients or something. There’s especially if you’re providing a service, like there’s a whole other benefit to working with you. Even if they have all the information, they don’t necessarily want to go implement the information. So like, if you sell a service ,again, find that they read the thing, they know technically how to do it. Someone can tell me how to change my oil. I’m not actually going to go do it.
I’m going to go take it to a guy. Who’s going to do it for me. So like again, actually giving away the farm has made me millions. So like, I would suggest that seems to work. So yeah, provide genuinely helpful information. Also, I really like to not be a robot in my content that was difficult for me at the beginning, because I just spent years in university, like writing very academic essays.
But I think truly showing your personality is going to get you the type of clients that you really like, that they resonate with you and he resonated with them and you actually want to work with them and vice versa. So, that would be another thing. So, providing genuinely useful as possible information speaking in a way that you would actually talk to your client regularly.
Making sure that you are clearly explaining what the next step is and then making that next step, like super easy. I just went to someone’s again, was doing an audit call with students before this. So went to someone’s blog posts. They had a like click over to go to their quiz. Then I had another page, which they had to click over to then go to the quiz again, for some reason, because we were like, weweird software. And then it was like, then you had to click start quiz. And I was like, well, you need to like, eliminate these like three super unnecessary steps to just like, make it as simple as possible. It’s the same thing, like if you’re driving them to a services page, there’s so much that you can do to optimize the services page to make sure that it’s very clear what the options are.
They don’t need to be guessing and they can just be like gold package. Perfect. That’s great for me. And like, here’s your process. Here’s what I have to do next. Just make that process as simplistic as possible. Not. I provide copywriting and then like contact me is not going to like actually convert anyone.
I have a training on that by the way. So I can just give you the link to later.
Galen: Put that in the show notes.
Paige: Yeah. There’s a whole training on like how to get your website visitors to actually convert. So those are some of the aspects, but I was, yeah, I’ll give you the link for that data.
Galen: Yeah, I’m super passionate about that. One more thing I want to bring up today, because I think especially with the pandemic, so many service providers are looking at how they can potentially transition into creating digital products, not necessarily giving up the service side of their business, but just adding in some passive income to the business that they already have.
How would you recommend somebody getting started?
Paige: Yes. Okay. My recommendation would be not to create your product right now. And I just wanted to like 90% of people do. And that’s why I was seeing a lot of like flops, which were just so upsetting to a business owner. Like I’ve talked to these people just before I launched my first online course, I went to dinner with a girl whose husband launched his own course.
And it didn’t make a single sale. And like how heartbreaking is that situation?
Galen: It kills you. I have had that happen. In the early days, I was like, I can launch a product with no audience and no one who ever asked me for it. And it will be great. Like, why wouldn’t anyone buy this? And then of course, no one buys it.
Paige: Yup. Yes. So there is like math that goes into this. Like it’s not like a personal offense that it’s not that you’re an awful failure. Like none of those things are true. It’s genuinely math. And so you’re launching a product to an empty room. Like, no one’s going to buy because no one was in the room, the first place.
So so my suggestion is, do not start by creating the product. Start by building an audience through content creation, get those people onto an email list and then be providing them frequently with your useful, helpful information. Basically literally take your blog posts, sticking it in an email, send it off to them.
That’s honestly how people find out about your content in the first place. Like I did a survey for my audience a couple of years back, and I was like, when do you know that I have a new blog post and the options. When you email it to me when I search something in Google and then you come up or when I visit your blog, every like, I don’t know, two weeks or month or something, just to check what’s new.
And like, by far the vast majority of the people collect, like when you send it to me by email. So people think like, oh no, I shouldn’t send it to them by email, because then they’re like already going to have seen it. And then I’m annoying them with the same content. Like no people don’t even know that the post is there until you send it to them by email.So basically business strategy here in five seconds, create useful content, get those people on an email list. Then talk to those people about what is their pain points, what’s their problems. Then you can figure out like, what do I actually need to create coming back to like how all my students were asking me questions.
I didn’t ask necessarily for a course on how to be a website designer, but all their questions were related to how do I manage a project? How do I find clients? How do I price myself? How do I deal with contract? I’m like all these questions are basically how do I run a web design business?
It was like super surprising to me. And it was because I truly just like listened to their questions and I created the thing that they needed for that. And so that is how you’re going to launch, not to an empty room and also have your first launch go really, really well.
So again, don’t start by creating the product, start by building the audience and then talking to the audience. Literally, I do like once a year around Christmas. I send out my annual survey and at the end of the annual survey, it’s like, Hey, do you want to get on a call with me? And then they just like book into my calendar and I do like 15, 30 minute calls back to back.
And yeah, just chat to people and like figure out what’s happening in their life. And what’s what they’re struggling with and all those things. And that’s how I figured out what to create.
Galen: That’s so powerful. I love the idea of actually getting on the phone with people because I think surveys are great, but especially if you have a smaller audience, like why not hop on the phone with people? Like, why not take the time to do that? You’re going to get so much more from that personal conversation, so much qualitative data that you can then take notes on.
You can record the conversation, you can go back later and review it, but just getting to know your ideal clients is, is super powerful. No, I think, I think that makes so much sense and I love that you shared that. And I also think so many people when they’re creating digital products start with themselves and they start creating something that they want rather than listening to their audience.
So, doing things in reverse and starting with the audience first, like you said, waiting for them, like putting out that content and waiting for them to come to you with their questions or doing research as to what they’re asking in these different communities that you’re a part of and then creating from that place.
Paige, thank you so much. This was so, so valuable. Tell us a little bit about where we can find you.
Paige: Yeah, you can find me at paigebrunton.com. If you are a web designer or aspiring website designer, then I definitely encourage you to go hit up my quiz. It’s at page front.com forward slash quiz, and it will help you figure out which client planning method matches your personality type. That thing is so much fun.
So I highly suggest you check that out and yeah. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it then. So lovely.
Paige Brunton is a Squarespace design expert, educator, and all-around amazing businesswoman. She built her million-dollar business by the age of 30, and she’s been featured in the New York Times and invited to mastermind with business experts like Sir Richard Branson. Her courses have helped thousands of entrepreneurs around the world launch and maintain stunning websites and businesses.
Follow Paige on Instagram here.
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