The "how-to" and "why" of vulnerability and your marketing strategy
Freelancers are always looking for new ways to stand out. You work hard, you have an excellent service offering, but how are you going to attract the right clients - and by “right clients” I am talking about the clients that YOU want to work with. One way is by using vulnerability in your marketing as a VA. After all, if it's not vulnerable, it can't be anything other than false or fake. When people feel like they know and understand what makes you tick (and how much work goes into what you do), they'll want to connect with you on that level too.
That’s the kind of client you want!
Hiding behind a computer screen is as easy as creating fake social media accounts to make yourself seem like someone you're not. We all do it, and there's nothing wrong with that. But what if I were to tell you that vulnerability can be your greatest strength? Would you believe me? It's true! Vulnerability in marketing has been proven to increase customer engagement and conversion rates by up to 55%.
Here are just 3 ways how:
1) Creating a genuine connection - customers want people who they feel connected to, who they feel they can relate to.
2) Showing authenticity - customers want real people, not robots or people that act like they are something they are not.
3) Being HONEST about your current strengths and weaknesses - the "fake it till you make it" crap is coming to end and it is definitely for the best.
This post will explore how to use vulnerability in your VA business as a way of connecting with potential clients on an emotional level, leaving them feeling like they are getting real information about working together from someone who has been there before.
Are you still with me? Let’s go....
I’ll start by giving you a little insight into how I have decided to market myself. I've been a VA for over a year now and I'm here to tell you that it's hard. Freelancing is hard. You have to spend so much time marketing, finding clients, billing-ahhhhhh! It's all exhausting. A lot of VAs are scared to show their vulnerability in their marketing because they feel like people will take advantage of them or exploit the situation, and although that is definitely a possibility - it doesn't happen as often as you would think. In reality, I have found that showing your vulnerability shows your human side and can help clients relate to you on an emotional level which ultimately leads them to hire you.
Here are 3 ways I show vulnerability in my marketing strategy:
1) I DO NOT bullsh*t my potential clients - I am honest about my skills and express my desire to LEARN new things if they would be interested in training me or giving me the extra time to research.
2) I speak to them as if they are a friend I would go for a coffee date with on a Tuesday afternoon - I speak to them clearly and professionally, but I also make it a point to show my personality and ability to relate to them and their struggles - in addition to this - I DO NOT immediately sell my services to them, I get to know what they are all about and the problems they face, this gives me an idea of how I can help them while also giving them a chance to open up to someone new.
3) I am HONEST to them about my availability and procedures. There should never be any miscommunication on how much work I can take on for them or how they will be able to contact and communicate with me regularly.
Are you screaming at your screen right now? “OKAY, I GET IT! But WHY does this make them want to hire me?” or “if I am honest about being new to this, won’t they think I am incompetent”.
4 key reasons serious clients prefer honesty and vulnerability in their VA’s:
1) Your potential clients DO NOT like surprises when hiring a VA. They are reaching out to you for help with their business (which is more than likely their passion and their “baby”) this is a difficult thing to do. Releasing control onto another person requires a certain amount of trust and they NEED to know they can count on you to know what you are doing and communicate when there is something you aren't familiar with.
2) Real people want to work with REAL PEOPLE. Yes, automation and systems are great! But they cannot and never will replace humans' creative thinking and creative problem-solving.
3) Most business owners frown upon wasted time. If you lie about your current skills in order to secure a new client - and find out later on that you have taken on more than you can handle, you have just wasted your time and theirs. This is something that could be avoided altogether.
4) When it comes to potential clients thinking you are inexperienced or incompetent. Understand that the type of client you want to work with, will be more than happy about you being “new to the game” and here is why: this gives them more flexibility when teaching you how they work in their business rather than you bringing in your own systems right off the bat. This is appealing to clients because it makes them more comfortable letting go of control when they know it's guided by their own processes.
When you let yourself be open and vulnerable in your marketing you are not only bridging a gap between you and potential clients - you are also allowing yourself to grow within your business as well. When you work with clients that nurture your growth, give you challenges, put their trust in you, and connect with you on a personal level you are gaining invaluable experience and will be able to bring it along with you as you move forward in your freelancing career.
I hope you continue to come along with me on this VA journey as I discover new ways to connect with clients and share my experiences as I gather them!