You know, 140 characters.
Nobody could ever do anything useful with such a toy. It’s great for tweeting stuff like “I just got done in the bathroom #flush” and that’s about it.
That’s how most people view Twitter. Just a shiny time waster for people who can’t afford standard SMS. If this describes your sentiments, then you’ll change your mind after reading this story. I promise.
This isn’t a theoretical “here’s how it could possibly be done” post. This is how I got my first real, juicy client from Twitter.
If you think you can’t start a relationship and business from Twitter, you’re wrong.
If you think you it takes lots of followers and time, you’re wrong.
If you’re worried that social media is a waste of time, you can stop worrying.
This is an article to share. It’s one to email when someone says Twitter is stupid. It’s one to show Robert Scoble, too.
And most importantly, it’s one to learn and make money from.
Okay, let’s get into the meat of how this happened.
It all started with #blogchat.
#Blogchat is a discussion that occurs every Sunday night at 8 PM Central Time, and lasts for an hour. Basically, a bunch of bloggers get together and have a group therapy session on “how to get better at blogging.” All kinds of people hop onto it, from Darren Rowse and Brian Clark to small guys like myself. If you’re not participating in #blogchat, you’re missing out on a lot of nuggets of useful information.
It was a cold Sunday night somewhere in early February.
It was blogchat time.
Might as well admit it, I have a dynamic personality. I like to shake things up, get radical, and start conversations. So I hopped on Twitter and wrote, “Don’t forget, since only 1/5 of your audience gets past your headline, you need to spend a LOT of time working on it.” I was quoting a statistic I’d stolen from Robert Bruce, who’d stolen it from Brian Clark, who’d stolen it from David Ogilvy, who’d stolen it from…
you get the point.
It was a good quote.
The questions started pouring in. We had some cool conversations. Blogchat continued. I asked and answered lots more questions, engaging lots of specific individuals using the @ function. By 9:00 PM we were wrapping up, and everybody signed off.
I went to bed.
It continued with free advice.
It was the regular routine. I was crazy busy working at a stone mill, preparing for a guitar concert, and feverishly trying to start some sort of online business or something. Yeah.
I’d just gotten home from work and decided to give him a buzz. “Hey Joe…it’s Martyn. Has anyone helped you or are you still having issues?”
No, nobody had helped him yet. We looked at the problem. I showed Joe how to fix it.
And then we got to talking.
Come to find out, he’d read my blogchat tweet, and that’s how he knew about me. We’d gone back and forth a few times at the time, but I’d completely forgotten.
Here we were total strangers, discussing the stuff I eat and breathe. We were debating various aspects of WordPress, copywriting, blogging, marketing, designing, coding, and making money. Turns out, Joe was a long-term medical marketing consultant, and good at it. He was interested in who I was, and what I was doing.
Ten minutes turned into half an hour.
Then Joe thanked me and hung up. Keep in touch.
Next the client part happened.
We didn’t stop communicating. We kept jamming over Twitter and the phone. After a few days, he wanted me to a 404 error into a 301 redirect on his personal blog. This time, he was paying for it.
This wasn’t a simple issue. It wasn’t just your ordinary 301. It took … hours.
It was so difficult that I emailed a friend for advice. He told me the task was impossible, that it couldn’t be done. I began to give up.
But suddenly through a lucky Google search, I stumbled on the answer.
I tried it.
Joe was pleased. We talked some more. He had more work for me. This time we were going to put together his professional site. It would have all kinds of fancy stuff – customized signup forms, split testing, dynamic headers, the whole nine yards.
Zoom forward a bit. The medical marketing communication site is up and running and well, let’s just say that Joe Hage is my first BIG client.
What does this mean for you?
The Internet is crawling with real human beings with real money looking for real solutions to real problems.
As Adam Baker would say, that might sound kind of “foo-foo” to you. But it’s true.
And it’s easy to forget too. Why? Because folks aren’t waving their money and shouting for a solution. They’re quietly looking for someone they can trust and work with.
So, what’s the secret to landing clients from Twitter?
Be generous. That’s all.
I’ve quoted Sonia’s tagline before, and I’ll do it again.
Remarkable relationships begin with remarkable communication.
That really says everything. Joe and I met by accident, so it isn’t a static formula. It’s more like “be awesome, give away free advice and have fun, and good things will happen.” That’s the beauty of social media. It’s serendipitous.
Business starts with communication, and that’s free. You’re never going to land a client if you don’t talk first. Get comfortable giving away your time. The more you communicate, the deeper the engagement and trust.
If you spend half an hour with a stranger over Skype, they’ll be your friend for life. Don’t believe me? Try it sometime. It’s incredible.
Be generous with your time. Give freely. Be on Twitter. Hang out in forums. Look for someone with a need, and help them.
That’s how, with three tweets and a phone call, I landed my first client.
What are you waiting for? It’s time you started some remarkable communication.
P.S. You’ll read blogs that say “charge for your time. Don’t give away free advice and consulting.” Unless you’re already big, ignore them. They don’t apply to you. They’re written by time-starved 7-figure A-listers who’ve already built up their credentials and lists.
P.P.S. I got Joe’s permission to publish this. He’s a great guy. Check out his site, Medical Marcom. I’ve spent a lot of time helping build it. And Joe, we hope to see you somewhere in comments.