Jen Jamar is a marketing strategist who currently works for Modern Tribe. Jen really knows her stuff, which I loved because I learned a ton. And the best part? We talk about a strategy for marketing that won’t cost you thousands of dollars in Facebook Ads! In this episode we cover all sorts of stuff like Field of Dreams marketing, how to properly connect with people, and establishing your authority online.
Intro: Hey everybody and welcome to another episode of How I Built It! Continuing our series on How You Build a Business, today I get to talk to Jen Jamar about Marketing Strategy. Jen really knows her stuff when it comes to this topic, which I loved because I learned a ton. And the best part? We talk about a strategy for marketing that won’t cost you thousands of dollars in Facebook Ads! We’ll get into that in a minute, but first, a word from our sponsors…
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And now…on with the show!
Joe: Hey, everybody. Welcome to another episode of How I Built It, the podcast that asks how did you build that?
Today I have a very special guest with me. We’re not talking about building a specific product, we’re talking about building a marketing plan, which is something, frankly, I don’t know anything about, so I’m really excited for my guest. I forgot to ask her how to pronounce her name. Is it Jen Jamar?
Jen: It is Jen Jamar.
Joe: Alright. Jen Jamar, how are you today?
Jen: I am fabulous, thank you for asking.
Joe: Excellent. Excellent. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about who you are and your background for what you’ll be talking about today?
Jen: Sure. I’m a marketing strategist over at Modern Tribe. We make the Events Calendar, event tickets, and a whole bunch of other event management plans. Got over eight million downloads, so there’s a good chance a lot of people listening have used one of our plugins before. I primarily work on our products team doing marketing. So that means when we’re launching a new product, when we’re trying to grow the downloads of our existing products, and newly, we’re launching some new Sass products and incubating some additional ones. We’re doing some marketing planning for that, as well.
I’m pretty active in the WordCamp community, speaking at WordCamp Minneapolis and a few others. I’ve gotten a good sense of some of the marketing challenges that plugin authors, theme authors, and even just general freelancers face with their business.
Joe: We kinda set this up because Modern Tribe did sponsor the show back in season three. We got to talking about marketing strategy, and I thought that this would be a good topic to talk about. I generally try to keep the show to a half hour, so we’re going to pack everything we possibly can in. If we go over, perhaps you can get more over on our Patreon page.
For now, let’s talk about this. This is my biggest problem. I take a very Field-of-Dreams approach to marketing. I always think I’ve built something good and, therefore, they will come. Let’s start with the first question, I’ve built it. How do I get them to come?
Jen: Oh, that’s a good one, and that comes a lot. I think a lot of times people build what they love or what they want themselves, and they don’t spend as much time thinking about why do other people need or want to use this? More specifically than that, what problem can my thing solve for them?
If you can figure out what problem your thing solves, and it probably won’t be the first one you think of, then you can start finding out who those people are, and you can start with your own network; just say, “Hey! Do you guys know anybody who has X problem that I can talk to and see, hey, what do they think about my product? Is it worth the money I’m charging? Or would they use it for free?,”
Joe: Nice. That’s great. A lot of people on the show have said that they scratch their own itch. So they’re solving a problem that specifically they have, but not everybody might have that problem. Let’s say I built an add-on for PowerPress, which is the podcasting plugin that I use. It does things like ad sponsor, like a sponsor, like a sponsor post type and a transcript post type, and stuff like that. I was scratching my own itch there.
I think I view this as a problem that other podcasters have, but you said talk to other people in the space. What do you think I should do? What’s my step one? I have the code on the repo. What’ll I do? Do I just give it to people and say, just tell me what you think? Do I ask them canned questions, or anything like that?
Jen: No. The first thing you do is go find a couple of those people and literally talk to them. You don’t have to spend days and days and days doing this kind of research, but one or two conversations are going to give you the right direction to go in. Talk to a couple of your podcaster friends and say, “Hey! I built this thing. Is it something that would be helpful to you?” That simple question. They’ll probably come back and say like, “Heck, yeah, but wait. Does it do this? Does it do that?”
That’s the different between whether you’re offering something for free, or whether you’re offering something as a premium product.
Joe: I thinThat’s great advice, because certain things might be valuable to everybody but not necessarily worth paying for. Some of these events features that will save people time and money, correct me if I’m wrong, those are the things where I say, “Hey! I’m solving this problem for you. This is a problem that I know you have, that I’m going to solve, and it’s going to save you X amount of time, or X amount of dollars.”
Jen: Yes. You can also scale this much bigger. Once you’ve talked to a couple people and they’re like, “Yeah, yeah, this is something that’s valuable to me. I run into it.” I generally think if more than two people have run into the problem, there’s probably a whole bunch more of them that I just don’t know where they’re at, and I need to find them.
That’s the next challenge of marketing. It’s not like, “Hey! Where do I jump in and start selling?” Or “Do I put it up for free and start giving the code away?” It’s how do I get in touch with these people and get in front of them? Because you can make the best product in the world. It can be the cheapest product in the world. If nobody that wants it finds it, you’re not going to have any sales or any downloads or anything like that.
This is where that whole, “Let me Google that for you” comes in handy. It sounds silly, but do some search terms for questions you think people would be asking that would have them land on your product. This isn’t really keyword research or podcast stuff, this is about finding like, hey, where’s the forums where people are talking about podcasting, in this instance?
Not just talking about like sponsoring a podcast, or necessarily the technical side of podcast, but the DIY’ers who are really going to need this type of technology to make their podcast go more smoothly; they might be just starting out. That’s the person you want to capture, because you don’t need to compete with all those people who offer a more comprehensive all-in-one solution.
Joe: And that makes a lot of sense. Those DIY’ers, I just recently heard this, I’m not going to make a page for this plugin that says “sponsors custom post type, transcripts custom post type.” People aren’t Googling that. They’re Googling the problem they have, and I’m trying to help them solve that problem.
So just like talking about all the fun technical stuff that I think is cool, isn’t probably the best marketing copy.
Jen: Not unless you’re marketing to people who are interested in the technical part. Like if you’ve got some way cool customizations you can do because of some technical piece you’ve written in there, great. Then write it as techy as you want. But if you’re writing it for people who are trying to avoid the techy stuff, because something like transcribing it automatically is a huge time-saver, or people who are trying to, like we said, the DIY’ers who don’t have a team behind them … I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to transcribe audio. I have. It’s a pain in the butt. It takes forever.
If you hire somebody, it gets really expensive, especially if you’re doing regular podcasts like you do. I wouldn’t want to incur that monthly fee. If you write a plugin or a code snippet or something that will do it for me, boom! Here. Take my money, because you just saved me several hours or X amount of money that I would’ve been spending elsewhere.
Write your page against that. Like, do you want to save two hours per episode in transcription time? Do you want your podcasts automatically transcribed? Are you repurposing your content elsewhere? We’ve got something that will transcribe it so you can turn it into a blog post on XYZ site. All of those things are things you’ll want to focus on.
Joe: So focus on solving problems, answering questions related to that problem, and then … So, you’re set. Let’s say we have our marketing page now. How do I get people to come to this marketing page? Are there good advertising channels? Or should I try things organically at first? What’s my first step for actually getting people to come to this page?
Jen: That depends on where you’re at and how much research you’ve done. If you know, like genuinely know, there’s a high demand for your product, go ahead and pay ads to get in front of those people, assuming you also know where those people are hanging out.
If you’re not sure, and you’re assuming there’s a high demand because you’ve talked to a couple people and they all said they want it, but it’s not a statistically significant sample yet, that’s where I prefer to not start, by spending money, because I don’t want to throw money away, especially if I’m kinda bootstrapping it and this is maybe more of a passion project that I’m trying to see will it take off into something? Like you said, you built it to solve your own itch.
Then I recommend doing some organic stuff, especially in the WordPress community. Like we’re all part of different WordPress groups and Slack channels and local meetups. So there’s ample opportunity to go in and talk to people and say, “Hey! I built this. Do you know somebody that I should be sharing this with?” Or “Do you know someone who might find it useful that you can share it with?”
It’s not so much about leveraging those connections just to promote your stuff, but it’s about figuring out where … Like getting advice on where they think you should spread the word. I know I get that all the time. I don’t remember what it was, but somebody was asking me recently about using a builder plugin. I’m like, “Hey! There’s this whole community on Facebook. This is a specific group you should go join.”
So when it’s your product that’s solving something, somebody’s going to say, like our podcast example, like, “Hey! There’s this whole user group of these podcasters, and I bet they would be interested. Why don’t you go ask their admin if you can share your link over there?” Now, boom! You’re getting some of that traffic. As you start to get more traffic, you can look at like where’s it coming from? Am I doing stuff on social that’s bringing people in? Am I starting to see Google traffic trickle in?
Based on the people who are interested in your product, you can even start building out specific landing pages, so then it does target different keyword traffic. Google AdWords used to be great for finding out keyword traffic volume, and it’s not anymore. If you want to get into that, buy your buddy who does SCO lunch, or plan to spend some money investing in some different software that’ll get you more accurate search results on that.
Joe: Cool. That’s great. I will link to Rebecca Gill’s episode of the podcast. She talks about all sorts of different tools like that. That’s really interesting. I find, at least for me, starting out, it’s very hard to understand who exactly my audience is, even with the podcast, I’ve been going for three seasons. This is season four. I have over 2,000 downloads per episode in this and that, and I don’t really understand the audience.
Recently, at the time of this recording, I got some advice to kind of install the Facebook Pixel to … And not do any advertising. Just kinda let it run to see what kind of people are visiting my site. Have you found that has been effective for you at Modern Tribe, or is there kind of another way that you prefer to understand your audience and who’s visiting your site?
Jen: That’s a great question. At Tribe, it’s a little different because we don’t necessarily have people visiting our site who are using our plugins. Since they’re available in the repo, they can download it from there and we don’t have any visibility to any of their information other than in addition to our download count and to our active install number.
In that sense, we don’t know who’s using our free plugin, but we do have an option where if people would like to, they can turn it on and off. They can display that this is powered by the Events Calendar, in which case, we can do some searches and gather some data about, okay, what types of sites now are running it? We still don’t have the information about the site admin themselves, or the person that downloaded it, but we’ve got a sense of what the site is about.
With our premium plugins, of course, we have all kinds of data, because their license key is active on a specific site, and they’ve given us data during purchase. With those, we do take a big chunk of that and say, “Hey, wow! We’ve got a whole bunch of churches running our plugins, or we’ve got a ton of higher ed running our plugins”.
Let’s say, maybe we need to design a landing page so that those people know which of our plugins are most useful for them, especially if they’re using one and it turns out that a couple others could make it an even better experience. It’s not just about selling them more stuff, it’s about giving the complete package so that they don’t have to look elsewhere.
Joe: That’s really interesting, especially what you said about the repo, because I’ve talked to a few plugin developers, and they’ve said that using the repo is great for exposure, but it sounds like it might not be the best thing if you want to build a kind of direct marketing plan. What’s your opinion on having a free plugin on the repo? Without getting you in trouble.
Jen: No, no, no. I think it’s great. I mean, that’s where we got our start with the Events Calendar. Because of that, it’s created a steady stream of users. The Events Calendar, to be clear, is on its own, a fully functioning piece of software. It is not something that is missing features or a light version.
Our Pro version, however, adds even more functionality. It adds in premium support and all those things. What we find is people are like, “Cool. I’ve got the Events Calendar. It does everything I need it to do, but wait. Now I want to do recurring events,” or “Now I’ve got support and I want like an answer right away. I don’t want to wait for like when there’s a pass on the dot-org repo support forms.”
So people kinda upgrade naturally. There’s that pattern, it’s called the premium model. Get them into free, they want to upgrade into one of your paid or add-on additional ones like front end of exhibition is our paid community events plugin. That’s not built-in.
To step back to somebody who’s starting out, it’s great, because you get your name up there. Look at how many other names are up there. If there are 80 different plugins with 80,000 downloads apiece, yours probably isn’t going to show that high. You’re probably better off still putting it there, because it doesn’t hurt, and then leveraging some of the other tools to get it shared in front of the audience.
Like say if WP Mayor will do a review. Check if there’s something newsworthy, head up WP Tavern and see if they’ll write something about it. There’s the WordPress weekly email newsletter. You can send it to them and say, “Hey! I just launched this new plugin. Will you give it a mention?” If they think it’s interesting, they’ll do that. You don’t have to pay for those things, you don’t have to do extra stuff.
To go back to the dot-org repo, the other piece of that is there are new things like the Freemius plugin that Vova Feldman created, that allow you to prompt your users when they install your plugin, if they’d like to share their contact information, or if they’d like to share data with you.
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I’d say the percentage that opt in varies, but it’s usually more than most people expect. You have to know your audience. When you’re starting out, you don’t know your audience, so it’s not going to hurt you necessarily, but if you have an established audience where you haven’t asked that before, they’re probably going to be like, “Wait. Why is this prompting me for this? Why are you suddenly changing gears? Are you selling us out?” Just be aware.
So if this is your first time launching something, great idea. If it’s your third, fourth, fifth product and you haven’t done it before, you need to be more thought … Still a great idea, but be more thoughtful about how you approach it.
Joe: So users will have like an expectation, right? If the people have downloaded a hundred thousand versions of other plugins I’ve had, and then this brand new one, I’m like, “Hey! Give me all your data,” they’re going to be like, “Why?” It’s a communication thing at that point, like, “Hey, I really want to get to know you better,” sort of thing.
Jen: Yeah. And it’s also I think just about transparency. One of the concerns with any of the data collection that I have, and I’m a marketer, so, it’s kind of a big deal when somebody on this side says it, is companies are selling our data. There’s big business in big data. I don’t want to do business with somebody who’s doing that. I won’t work for a company that does that, because even though it’s not against the law, it’s not unethical, it’s just not my particular brand of this is how we get ahead.
Joe: Yeah, absolutely. If somebody wants my data to make the thing I’m using better, especially if I’m using it for free. You gotta understand that there’s going to be some trade-off, but if they’re just selling it to third parties, like the product is not worth it for me, like you said.
Cool. We talked a bit about the organic stuff, about getting up and running. Some really good ideas to reach out to like WP Mayor and Tavern. I’ve been told like do guest blog posts, establish yourself as an authority to gain that kind of trust in the field where you want to be, but let’s say I am ready, I know the people I want to target for advertising. What channels do you think are most effective? Am I going to have to spend my life’s savings advertising?
Jen: You can. I don’t recommend it. If you’re already getting traffic to your site, you mentioned retargeting earlier, or installing a Facebook Pixel or Google Pixel. Retargeting can be extremely effective. So go ahead. What it’s going to do is it’s going to track where people are on your site, it’s going to allow you to serve up ads to them when they’re away from your site, and you can drill down and get really, really specific.
You can say, “I only want to show this ad if somebody added it to their cart and then abandoned the cart. I only want to show this ad if they viewed at least these three pages on my site, or if they got three-quarters of the way down this page. Now I’m going to show them an ad somewhere else.” Now that assumes you’re targeting an audience who doesn’t use a lot of ad blockers.
Jen: Otherwise, you’re spending money to not show them things, and that’s not very effective.
Joe: Again, like if you’re targeting developers, it’s pretty fair to assume that developers are using ad blockers, and retargeting might not be as effective on them.
Jen: Right. Now, that said, developers still use social networks. They still use forums and things that, if you can adjust your display network settings that you could try to appear on those sites versus the general ones, it might still be worth it. It might still be something that … The ad blockers and the way Google does their ad programs are always evolving. We’re expecting to see some big shifts coming in the next year, but nobody really knows quite what that’s going to be. For now, though, it can be effective.
I also think doing some paid placement things, like Modern Tribe sponsored a podcast. We wanted to see what kind of results did we get. We had never done one before. We thought, “Hey. Joe’s a great guy, and How I Built It sounds like a good fit. Developers use our plugins, he’s talking to developers. Let’s give it a shot.”
There’s also, you can pay for sponsored posts on sites. You could actually pay for people to do reviews of your plugin. All of those pieces can come together in our different avenues. I wouldn’t go out and buy like a TV spot or a radio ad, necessarily.
One that I don’t hear come up as much, that I think is a smart way to do it, I see people like, “Should I sponsor WordCamp?” You should sponsor WordCamp if you want to get back to the community. If you’re trying to promote a plugin, maybe. It depends. Does your plugin appeal to the majority of the people there? Okay, cool. Are the majority of the people there not using your plugin already? Cool. Now it makes sense.
If your plugin only applies to like 20 people there, you just spent a thousand dollars plus to talk to 10 people. That’s not necessarily the best ROI.
On the other hand, there are meetups all over the place. Do you know how much it costs to buy pizza for 20 people?
Joe: Not a whole lot. 20 bucks. 30 bucks. Depends on where you are, right?
Jen: Yeah. Maybe a hundred bucks, depending on how … Maybe they’re really hungry. I don’t know.
Joe: Yeah, right.
Jen: Offer to go buy pizza. Ask for their feedback. Ask if you can give a demo. Like this is legitimate stuff. This is building relationships, and those people, like that’s how you’re starting to get that word of mouth advertising and, yeah, you paid for it, but you’re also just the cool guy who hooked them up with pizza this month.
Joe: Right. Right. That’s a lesson that I learned in college. If you want people to come to your events, offer free pizza. That’s how you get college kids to go anywhere.
Jen: Oh, yeah. That’s how you get people to move stuff, too, pizza and beer.
Joe: Right. Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. That’s fantastic. You mentioned several dozen things that I want to follow up on. I’m just gonna say right here, we’re like 20 minutes or so in. We are most likely going to go over. So we will have the regular episode, and then we will have the bonus super cool part over on patreon.com/howibuiltit. I suspect, I’m not there yet, because this isn’t real time that I’m adding this spot, I suspect the conversation is going to be even more excellent over there.
I do want to get to how did you build your marketing strategy for the Events Calendar? That’s like the title question, but there are a few other things I want to parse out, and we’ll do that in the bonus.
That said, I guess a quick teaser. I want to ask you about the Google Pixel, ’cause I know there’s a Facebook one, and then talk a little bit more about like TV ad spots, the ROI of WordCamps, and things like that.
First, let’s get to the title question, how did you build it? And, in this case, how did you build it is, let’s say the marketing strategy for Modern Tribe that you most want to talk about, whether that’s the Events Calendar or something else.
Jen: Oh. I should’ve anticipated this question a little bit better. The Events Calendar was built because we were scratching our own itch. To be fair, I’ve been with Modern Tribe a little over two years. The Events Calendar has been around for like 10. We built it for a lot of our clients. We realized we were building similar things, and we were like, “Hey! Maybe we should put this together and package it as a plugin.”
Back then, there wasn’t really a marketing plan. Over the years, there hasn’t really been like a focused marketing plan in the sense of like I can go to an agency and ask, “What’s the marketing plan for XYZ brand,” and they’ll say, “Oh. It’s right here.” No, there wasn’t any of that.
We enjoyed a lot of kind of organic growth and organic marketing, and the dot-org repo played a large role in that. Then we have continued to release features that has kept us relevant and have kept people adding it. It’s been great.
We mentioned earlier the reliance on traffic and downloads from the wordpress.org repository, and the inability to get customer contact information from that. Well, we love WordPress and will always probably be in the dot-org repository. What we’re doing right now is more building a marketing plan that allows us to get users from different channels, and that’s not because we want to get away from the repository, it’s because people might not be searching there. When they’re searching there, they may not be searching for the keywords that are actually for things that we solve.
Jen: Since we do sell premium products, it’s also because we can mention those just a little bit like, “Hey, there are these extra extensions available in our dot-org plugin listing,” but we can’t really go into a lot of detail there.
Joe: Right. So, actually, just to be clear here, you’re listed on the repo. You don’t get user information, but you’re also not allowed to actively sell in the description or in forum posts, right? Like if I have a support question, you can’t say, “Hey, check out premium support over at the Modern Tribe,” right?
Jen: If you say, “Hey, you guys haven’t responded in three days. How come I’m not getting faster support?”, we can point you to say that we do a pass once or twice a week and offer light support for bug reports in the repo, but if you’re looking for faster support, we do offer premium support here.
Jen: We can’t just blatantly say, “Oh. Don’t use this support forum. Go use the premium support there.”
Joe: I see. Okay. That totally makes sense. Sorry to interrupt. You were looking at other channels for these reasons that you’re listing.
Jen: Yeah. So we’ve got a pretty extensive resource bace built within the eventscalendar.com. We’ve got a knowledge base, we’ve got themer’s guides, extensions library of snippets you can have, because our support team was like, “Eh, this doesn’t need to be released as another plugin. We can just give you a snippet to install and fix. Go.”
There’s no place for them on the dot-org repository, so people don’t know necessarily when they download the Events Calendar that they have all these resources available to them.
Since we don’t have their contact information, other than that initial installation page when they first install the plugin, we can’t communicate that to them very well. I don’t know about you, but I always skip over that initial page tutorial if there’s a little user guide, pointing to the settings. I just skip, skip, skip. I’m sure I know how to figure this out.
Joe: Right. I just want to create events right now. Like that’s why I’m installing this.
Jen: Right. Exactly. So we want to create other channels to access those users, and also to get people to our site who might need, like I said, some of the premium functionality, and they wouldn’t otherwise find it, because the premium plugins aren’t listed in the repo. So we’re looking at things like I said, targeted landing pages; we are going to be doing a bigger content marketing push in 2018.
Another piece I think people don’t talk about when it comes to marketing is the amount of resources. People say, “Oh, there’s a bunch of stuff you can do for free, and there’s a bunch of stuff you can pay for.” Even when you’re doing paid stuff, if you’re going to spend a thousand bucks on Facebook ads, that’s not a net cost of a thousand dollars. That’s just the ad running cost.
There is, how much time are you spending to create those images? Are you hiring a designer to do that? Are you doing it yourself? Oh, do you know how to configure Facebook? Do you know how to install the Facebook Pixel? Do you know how to create custom audiences? How to create look-alike audiences? How to set up different … ? Like you can see. The list goes on and on and on. That’s just Facebook.
You can do this on LinkedIn, you can do this on Twitter. We’ve talked about the Google Display network. It gets pretty extensive, and the same thing on the free side. Okay, you can write a guest post. How much time do you spend writing content? Again, are you including images? How much time are you spending producing those? If you know what keywords you’re targeting, if you want a keyword target.
Then there’s just interacting with that site admin, or editorial manager who’s going to publish the content. Like they probably want to review it. There’s back and forth. There’s definitely a big time cost that comes with marketing, so you have to factor that in when you’re doing different things.
Right now, for 2017, content marketing wasn’t a big focus for the eventscalendar.com, because we’re putting a lot of energy towards a new product that we’re launching end of this year, early next. So all of that is happening behind the scenes.
Joe: Yeah, absolutely.
Jen: It’s separate from the Events Calendar and so you’re not seeing that reflected on the eventscalendar.com. We’re also working on building up our marketing team. I’m sure by the time this airs, we’ll have a little bit more in place, but it’s the same thing with resource constraints.
We also, for us, marketing includes keeping our existing customers updated on new things that we’re working on, new things that we’re planning. In the past year, we’ve done things like … We did a big refresh of our community events plugin, so we want people to know, “Hey! We’ve been putting in this work for you. We didn’t forget about you. You don’t just buy it and it’s one-and-done. Like we continuously try to add value to it.”
Same thing. We did our rest API endpoints in the Events Calendar this past year, which was a big deal for people who want to extend it beyond WordPress.
Joe: Right. Right.
Jen: We need to give you that information, communicate it, and do the best job that we can. So juggling that is always a challenge, and it’s always a matter of finite resources at the end of the day.
Joe: I mean, as a one-man band here, that makes total sense to me. With the remaining minutes of the main interview before we get into the bonus round, I want to ask you two questions. One is the question that I end every show with, so we’ll get to that next, but if you are a one-man band with limited resources, could you give me like a top three, top five things that I should try to focus on if I want to sell my plugin?
Jen: Yeah. Talk to a couple of people to figure out if your plugin is purchase worthy, for lack of a better term, and try to figure out what price point they would buy it at yet. I think we all tend to jump to like, “Oh, I think I can sell it for 50,” and it turns out that people are only willing to pay 15, or “I’m just going to list it at 15 and see who buys it,” and people are really willing to pay 75. Don’t make those mistakes. It’s really hard to correct them down the road.
Joe: Right. Yeah. Especially a price increase is, there are tomes written about how hard it is to do that without annoying at least some people.
Jen: Mm-Hmm (affirmative). Make sure you can be found if people are looking for you. Then there’s two more pieces I’ll say are like part of the top things you should do. One is go out and find where people are asking questions, and answer them. Reddit, Facebook groups, like just search in quotes for your question, or variations of your question, and you will find like, literally, here’s where somebody asked it.
Be the person that answers. You don’t necessarily have to link back to your stuff, but if you keep appearing in these conversations, you’re going to gain some awareness as like, “Hey, that’s the guy to ask about this,” or the gal, in that case.
The other one is to let your friends and family and whomever know what you’re doing. To this day, my mom will say, “I don’t know what Jen does. She sits in front of a computer, and she doesn’t come visit me enough.” She can’t recommend me. Who knows who she might run into in her life that needs marketing strategy. She can’t recommend me, because she can’t say it.
If people around you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t know what this cool project is, they can’t recommend you to others, they can’t give you recommendations on how to connect with people. I think that’s like really, really baseline must do.
Joe: That’s fantastic. I’ve wondered if I’ve been like oversharing my work stuff too much on Facebook, but that definitely lets my friends and family know exactly what I’m doing and what I’m trying to hawk that week. That’s really great advice.
Before we get to the extended stuff, I’m going to ask you, do you have any trade secrets for us?
Jen: I don’t like to give them away.
Jen: Yes. I do. This is probably the biggest trade secret, that people are willing to give away free advice. Like if you tell me, “Hey, Jen. I’m stuck on this. Can I take you out to lunch and maybe get your advice on it?” I’ll say, “Sure. This week is busy. Why don’t we look two weeks out? Let’s put something on the calendar.”
If somebody asks me for a call, I do the same thing. I do virtual coffees with people all the time, and I’m not the only one. I even ask people, “Hey! I’m stuck on this. Can we meet, and would you mind giving me a couple tips?” The key there is to be really specific about what you’re looking for, and not just come out and ask somebody to do it for you.
Jen: I’ve had those people contact me, as well, and then I’m like, “Well, I’m really busy. I don’t think I can fit that in.”
Jen: If you’re just looking for a few things and you’re genuinely connecting, awesome. We’ve all been at that starting point. Find people who can give you the stepping stones to get you where you want to be.
Outro: Thanks again to Jen for joining me. Much like with Nicole last week, I was able to change up some of what I was doing thanks to Jen’s advice. While unfortunately we couldn’t connect for the second part of the interview, I think this episode is packed full of great, actionable stuff.
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Next Week, we’ll close out this series talking to my good friend Brad Williams about client relationships. Brad works with some big companies over at WebDevStudios, so he knows a thing or two. Make sure to tune in! And until next week, get out there and build something.