A while back I was browsing the web when my partner sent me a link. When I opened it my inner-marketer instantly lit up.
InVision (the really cool quick-prototyping / collaboration tool) launched a totally free iOS UI Kit called TETHR.
I opted-in, downloaded it, and browsed through a seriously awesome UI kit that obviously had a tremendous amount of care put into it. It could have easily been for sale, and I’m sure if they’d sent a pitch email to their customer list they would’ve generated a pretty penny from it pretty fast.
But my inner-marketer lit up because they were giving it away for FREE.
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Rather than make a quick buck, they were playing the long game by building a lead base and establishing themselves as a “giver” in the marketplace.
But while I saw part of the brilliance from the start, I felt there was likely more to the puzzle that I wasn’t getting, so I sent an email to InVision, and asked them if they’d “spill the beans” for Millo.
Their Content Marketing Director, Clair Byrd, generously gave me an hour of her time. What she told me inspired the heck out of me to create my own similar campaigns…but I also asked her this key question:
How could a freelance designer or creative agency follow in InVision’s footsteps to attract local clients?
Here’s what I learned.
The Preamble: How this campaign works
Before I dive into Clair’s insights, I want to make sure you understand “content marketing” in the way it’s used by InVision and TETHR.
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It’s really very simple.
You create something of immense value to your target market. You give it away to them for free in exchange for their email address. You promote the heck out of it.
Voila! You generate leads.
Or, how Clair eloquently put it…
The TETHR campaign is a classic content marketing campaign. Create something that’s meaningful to your community. Put it behind a lead wall. Create a custom-set campaign of drip emails to slowly increase the level of trust over time to turn that person into a [customer].
First: Getting ideas for your piece of content
I asked Clair how she came up with her ideas. She told me:
The most successful way I’ve done this is by sitting down with a random person [in my market] and talking to them about what they need or what they’d like to know, then using my deductive reasoning to figure out what I could create to fulfill that need.
She added that of course you want what you create to tie into your products and services. For example, because InVision is a prototyping tool…
It made sense for us to do a UI kit, and to make a really, really great one, to help people in the design community create prototypes faster.
She suggested talking to your current clients, asking them about problems they face when it comes to their marketing.
She also suggested writing people on LinkedIn, stating,
LinkedIn is a really valuable tool. If you’re asking for a professional opinion from someone, it’s very likely that they’ll do it. I ask, ‘What are the needs you haven’t met or the struggles you’re facing?’
She added to also make sure you’re getting these answers from the people with buying power. Since they’re the ones who make the important decisions, they’re the ones you want to attract through your content.
Converting the most people is not converting the best people. You can solve that problem by creating your content for the person that you really want to reach.
Second: Create your content, and make it GOOD
Clair told me her main focus with TETHR was its quality, stating:
I think that when you focus on quality and helpfulness of your item, and you’re creating it for the benefit of your community first, the acquisition comes second, and it will always happen. My job as the director of content marketing is to ensure that happens, and that it happens consistently.
Her main focus was to create something meaningful that designers would really love. She wanted to help them prototype faster and better so their clients were happier.
She believed that as a result of that, InVision would generate new users, but she wasn’t concerned with the nuts and bolts of that conversion. From lots of experience with these campaigns, she developed a trust that it would happen in its own way, in its own time.
I was really impressed and inspired by that outlook.
She also gave some great examples of potential content depending on your customers’ problems that freelancers and agencies could take advantage of.
- If they’re concerned with conversions, a powerful guide on using flat design for increased conversions could hit the spot.
- If they’re into display ads, she suggested a guide on creating killer banner ads that convert, or curating a collection of the best banner ads that convert from around the web.
After all, many of your customers’ biggest problems boil down to getting new clients. That’s why they’re hiring you in the first place. The key is to find out what area they’re struggling in specifically, and figuring out how you can use your expertise to create a piece of content that helps them ease the pain.
Third: Promote, promote, promote
Remember the 100+ people whose opinion you got on LinkedIn? Or your current customers? Or the prospects you reached out to to get their professional opinion too?
Start your promotion by sending all of them your content.
Clair also suggested building a presence on Dribbble, since “it has screens from projects [you’re] already working on and reaches a community of people who will support you.”
If your content is good enough, your fellow designers will spread the word, too.
You can also reach out to:
- local marketing events & networking groups,
- local business radio shows, and
- other avenues of local media pertaining to business.
Put an opt-in form on your site that advertises it as well. Or create a separate squeeze page like InVision did and drive traffic to it through the above-mentioned strategies and through paid traffic.
InVision got TETHR featured on pretty much every design blog on the planet. They spread the word through design forums. Wherever their prospects spent time, you’d find a mention of TETHR.
Fourth: InVision’s results
When we had our interview, TETHR had only been out for about 2 months, and had already acquired over 80,000 downloads. Since then, TETHR grew by another 140,000 downloads.
Clair called it a “runaway success,” stating that they hit over 220,000 downloads since TETHR launched September 2014.
Not too shabby, right? It was just like she’d said,
One piece of content, if it’s well done and well targeted, can be incredibly powerful.
They key was their relentless pursuit to make the content targeted (by asking designers what they needed help with), to make it good, and to promote it like crazy.
By the way, TETHR is still up for download
I’d highly suggest you download it here because:
- It really is awesome. Clair lived up to her promises of meaningfulness and quality.
- You can dissect their marketing funnel for yourself, and see all of the above in real life.
Also, Google “TETHR ui kit” and see where it pops up. It’s pretty impressive to follow their breadcrumbs and see the work they did into building and networking this thing.
But if you take the time to follow Clair’s trail, and the trails of any successful marketer you find, you can then create ones of your own.
Ideas? Questions? Thoughts?
I’d love to hear what you have to say and help in any way I can.
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