I first met Melissa Dinwiddie on The Third Tribe and have since come to know and respect her know-how and drive to get things done. Below, she reveals the top 3 tools she used for bringing in traffic, and paying members, when she launched her new product online.
Let me get one thing straight: I’m an artist, not a techie.
Nevertheless, at the end of last year I launched my first online course, the Thriving Artists Project (TAP), and I made use of a lot of online tools not just to create the course, but also to drive traffic to my launch.
I’ve climbed a lot of technical learning curves this past year: wrangled with WordPress, installed membership site software, learned to create PayPal buttons and to record and post interviews and videos, just to name a few.
Once it was time to sell what I created, though, three “tools” in particular were key to bringing me traffic and paying members.
1. Guest blogging
I’ve read more times than I can count that guest blogging is one of the best ways to grow traffic to your own site. Although my traffic’s not breaking any records, the guest posts I’ve written have brought me quality traffic — ie, people who stick around and who went on to buy my course. I know several of my TAP members first found me through a series of guest posts I wrote for the Abundant Artist blog.
If you can write, if you’re not putting yourself out there in guest blog posts, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
2. The Customer Love Challenge
I don’t know about you, but nothing in my life gets done without a deadline. I didn’t originally plan to launch in December, but then I joined LaVonne Ellis’s November Customer Love challenge (affiliate link) and found myself with a deadline, plus a supportive community to cheer me on and provide accountability.
Don’t underestimate the power of these two things! If you could use a push to get your own thing launched, check out Customer Love for yourself. LaVonne runs it every three months, and it was a huge help for me. (And for the February challenge LaVonne and Jonathan Wondrusch have created a paid course, the Customer Love Machine, for added assistance to get your thing launched.)
I have to admit, I was resistant to Twitter for years.
What, I wondered, is the point of posting short messages into the ether? Why do I care if your cat just barfed on the rug, and why would you care that I just ate a pizza?
Of course Twitter, used wisely, is a lot more than that. I just had to wrap my head around the tool. Hint: interact with people on Twitter the way you would at a cocktail party. In other words, if all you do is try to get people to buy something, they’ll quickly take their drink and find someone else to hang with. But if you actually engage and converse, sharing interesting stuff and responding to other people’s interesting stuff, pretty soon you’ll find yourself growing a network of Tweeps. (See Secrets of a Twitter Networking Guru for more great tips.)
Not only did I grow my network using Twitter, but I also used it as a way to drive traffic and grow my list of folks specifically interested in the TAP.
How? By holding a contest.
I posted on my blog and emailed my list that anyone who tweeted about the TAP using the hashtag #wintap would be entered in a drawing to win membership in the course. Each tweet was worth one entry.
In the four days of running the contest, my list size nearly doubled. But of course, you have to have engaged followers to begin with to achieve these kinds of results, so if you haven’t started tweeting, get to it!
Thanks to the network I created using these three tools, I built a highly-interested list of prospects. The upshot? At the end of my 72-hour launch I had 43 paid members and enough money to pay my mortgage twice over.
Could I do better? You bet! I’m relaunching on February 8 and this time I’m doing more promo and making use of affiliates — members and selected others — to drive traffic and sales. But for a first launch I couldn’t be more pleased.
Take it from me: being an artist doesn’t have to hamper your ability to use online tools effectively.
As an artist/designer, freelance writer, jazz singer/songwriter, and teacher/coach, Melissa Dinwiddie likes to call herself a Multi-Passionate Creative ARTrepreneur. She combines her varied passions on her blog, Living A Creative Life. Melissa’s current project, the Thriving Artists Project, is an online course for anyone who aspires to turn their art or creative thing into a full-time.