Why do you need to pitch your services outside your own audience? In the previous post I shared some ideas on how to pitch your services to your current and past clients, your subscribers and followers, when is a “good time” to do it and how you can do it organically. In this post I’d like to tackle a different subject: how and why you should pitch outside your current following.
Why pitch outside the current audience.
First, let’s look at why we need to consistently pitch outside our current audience. For most online teachers launching their new programs works predictably well for the first year or two. They create something other than 1:1 classes, they pitch it to their current and past clients and because their clients already enjoy working with them, they’re glad to try out something new.
The second iteration of the program or a product is a bit harder to pitch as you reach beyond your current clients, perhaps to your email subscribers or social media followers. Because these people have no previous history with you as a business (they haven’t bought anything from you), you’re not only offering something new to them like you did the first time, you now have to gain their trust.
Teachers often wonder what they’re doing wrong when they pitch their program the first time and it sells like hot cakes, and then they try “exactly the same strategy” the second time and nothing works. If you’ve experienced this, you’re in good company – I wondered this myself – until I learned that the difference is not you but the audience, and so you need to tweak your pitching and convince your audience why they should invest in you.
Once you’ve learned to work with your current and past clients and then with your email subscribers and followers, you might discover a few years into running a business that it’s still a challenge to continue promoting the same program.
In case you plan to promote and launch a service all year around, my mini-course answers these and other questions.
At this point you may wonder:
- Should I keep this program or redo it?
- Why is nobody willing to buy it? Is it too expensive?
- Do my clients now have Zoom fatigue following the pandemic?
- Am I doing something wrong?
While some of these questions are valid, one thing to look at when your program doesn’t sell after several years, is whether or not your audience has been consistently growing.
By growing an audience I mean:
- Have you been getting new email subscribers?
- Have you been creating free content consistently – on social media, youtube or a blog?
- Have you been connecting with your audience outside product launch times?
Audience growth is both in quantity and quality, and one works with the other. You don’t need explosive growth (although if it happens – good for you), but you need to retain consistent effort to gain new subscribers and nurture them.
This podcast episode with Meera Kothand focuses on growing your audience with smaller numbers.
Gaining new subscribers happens when we go outside of our immediate circles and pitch our work to different segments of the market. You may go on podcasts, write guest blog posts, do lives on social media and be featured in publications. (You can also gain new subscribers through paid advertising, but that’s a story for another day).
What do you pitch when you ask to be featured on a podcast?
So you’re ready to reach the audience beyond your current circles, but how do you pitch yourself to speak on a podcast for instance? Do you write to them and tell them, “Hey! I have just created a new course. Can I go on your podcast to talk about it?” Unless you’re good friends with the person who is running the podcast, that may not work.
So what do you pitch if you can’t talk about your program/product directly?
In my post on how to gain more visibility online, I talked about the importance of understanding how your work is different. What inspires you to do the work that you do and what compels you to do it a certain way?
Spend the time answering these questions:
- What change do I seek to make?
- How is my view about that change different from others?
- Why does it matter to me?
The difference between a teacher of English on a language platform and a business owner is that the latter takes ownership of their marketing and zooms in on their unique identity.
When you transition from a language platform to your own business, you can no longer leave marketing to some outside forces, including word of mouth. Don’t get me wrong, word of mouth is great, but it’s not something that can grow as fast as your list.
A made-up example.
So here’s how an ESL teacher starting their own business may answer these questions:
- The change I seek to make is creating a safe and low-impact language learning environment for mothers with demanding schedules and little time for professional development.
- The reason I provide this sort of guidance is because the market focuses a lot more on people with more availability and flexibility, and mothers find themselves unsupported because… who has 3-4 hours a week for face-to-face or even online classes?
- It matters to me because when I was a mother I experienced few options to keep up with my English, and even when I found some options available, I couldn’t find 30 minutes to focus on a class, let alone 2-3 1-hour classes a week.
A self-employed teacher with this level of awareness about their niche and purpose of their work is no longer a platform hire. They have a voice, they have a message and when they choose to pitch it to a podcast, they focus on the 3 components and present them with clarity and confidence.
If you’re struggling to identify your niche and the change you seek to make, my free workshop called Dare to Be Different can help!
How do you pitch?
Going with the example that I shared, how does a business owner with an ESL business for mothers find creators who can spread her message beyond her current audience?
Well, she does her research and reaches out with an individual message for each business whose audience might be interested in her message.
Whether it’s a podcast or a blog, present your idea quickly and make it easy for someone to say yes. Here is how:
- Introduce yourself. Share what you do.
- Share how you learned about their podcast/blog/youtube channel.
- Offer how your work may enrich their audience. Make a case.
- Make it easy for people to say either “yes” or “no.” (Don’t guilt trip people).
Here’s what our sample business owner may write:
My name is Jane Doe, and I teach English for moms with limited time for traditional language classes.
I came across your podcast for professional mothers on maternity leave when I became a mother myself and was looking for ways to supplement my income while staying home. I found your advice really helpful, it even prompted me to start my business!
I find that these days there are fewer options for mothers who want to improve their language skills without committing to 3-4 classes a week. My language learning community provides such an opportunity for mothers, and it helps them not only improve their skills but also their mental health.
I was wondering if I could join you on your podcast to talk about the benefits of flexible language learning for mothers? If so, please respond to this email with a YES, and I’ll send you more information.
I understand that it may not work at the moment, and if that’s the case, don’t hesitate to let me know.
I appreciate your time.
Feel free to take this template and adjust it for your own pitch emails.
20 podcasts and blogs where you can pitch your work.
I’ve created a PDF document with links to podcasts and blogs where you can share your work. Sign up here, and you’ll get the document delivered to you within minutes! Take some time studying each resource and ask yourself what you can offer to the audience.
When you pitch, remember that you may not always hear back from the people you pitched. It’s good to follow up within a week, but if you don’t hear from them, it’s time to move on to the next name.