Things I've Learned About Freelancing This Week

1. Writing for one person really does work

Starting with one specific individual as your target audience helps you create a story that will appeal to their particular interests and needs. You really need to know this person, it can’t be someone you’ve made up or a character on TV – that just makes the situation so much harder to imagine. Start off writing for the person who is most likely to try your product. You can then take the basis of that story and adapt it to other individuals who are most likely to give your product a go. I started with writing for someone who was the perfect fit as a customer who would benefit from the product. Then worked on a version for a consultant I really wanted on the team, etc etc so you end up with tailored stories for the different segments. This also helps define specific segments of your desired audience.

2. Identifying Segments becomes clearer over time

The old way of segmenting based on demographics has never been sufficient and luckily there’s a lot more data now to help get really specific in who your most relevant audience segments will be. I have two high level segments: Direct = SMEs who don’t have marketing capacity in-house and are either just starting out with a great product and need to package it for their customers, or their growth has plateaued into maturity, and; Indirect = Partner agencies who offer related services and can add more value for their clients by attaching my product. From here it’s a matter of adding more detail to further define the personas who are most likely to be your early adopters. I don’t think you can really do this until you actually meet someone who connects with your product without having to be convinced. Then you can start modelling your most likely early adopters based on those individuals psychographics. Demographics hardly comes into play whether you are business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B) and saying you are going after the 30 to 50 year old, female with disposable income really won’t help you to sell your product.

3. Pressing “go” creates momentum

That momentum is attached to your own actions, e.g. Once I drew a line in the sand and decided that I had worked up the concept enough to share it, contacting the first one or two prospects made me realise the worst that could happen is that someone will say no. In my case even when the answer is no (which I’ve been lucky so far to encounter a lot less than “yes”), that person usually offers to help in another way which is beneficial, just not in the way you originally pictured. It might be some great insight into improving your product, or a new contact, or even just encouragement to spur you on. On that point I’m going to think about having a “plan B”, ie if Joe says no, what can I propose as an alternative or what can I ask for or offer instead so as not to walk away with nothing from the interaction.