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Hi, this is Laura Lee Griffin.
And this is Nikki May with Startist Society, inspiring you to stop getting in your own way and start building an art biz and life that you love.
We are artists who believe strongly in the power of community, accountability, following your intuition, taking small actionable steps and breaking down the barriers of fear and procrastination that keep you stuck.
Follow along with us on our creative business journey as we encourage you on yours. In our last episode, we introduced you to Charly Clements, an illustrator and mentor who licenses her art to clients all around the world, and is a top teacher on Skillshare. And she also has a great new course called Out of This World portraits. And she does all of this while traveling the world. If you haven’t listened to that episode, go back and give it a listen.
Today she is back to give us her top tips on building an engaged audience. Charly, thanks so much for coming back and sharing your knowledge with us.
Thanks again, for having me. I’m excited to share these tips. Let’s get into it.
What’s your first tip for us?
So my first tip is to be vulnerable. Now, a lot of people hear the word vulnerability and they probably shudder, cringe a little bit, it can be really hard to open up and be vulnerable. And especially if you think that you have to come across as perfect or your teacher and you have to come across as this authority figure, therefore you never make mistakes. And actually, it’s the complete opposite. Because all of the mistakes that I’ve made, I look at the mistakes and I see what I can learn. And the only way to learn is to have multiple failures. That’s the only way. And I really try and get that across to my audience is, whenever I fail, I will always be really transparent with them and show them what I learned through that failure. And being vulnerable is scary. But it’s also a great way for you to connect and engage with your audience on a much deeper level. Because once they see you as a human, you’re building trust. And that is one of the biggest takeaways from how I’ve built my community is how much my audience trusts me. Because they know that I’m always going to be honest with them. So I’m never going to sugarcoat it, I’m never going to show that my life is perfect. Because if I did that, then I would be setting unrealistic expectations of what it’s like to run a creative business. So it’s just really important that you see your failures as a lesson to be learned.
Yeah, I think that’s such a hard thing to do, Charly, sometimes is that we’re so scared of failure. And we don’t see how much we admire other people when they share their failures. But for some reason, we’re so scared to reveal or to, you know, be vulnerable ourselves.
Well, not me, I’m completely perfect and never make mistakes. So I don’t have to do that one. What’s your next tip for us?
So my, my next tip is to give value. And a lot of my followers and a lot of students that I’ve noticed, they will share their artwork, but they’ll never really give that much value with it. And value can come in so many different shapes or forms. So for me, I give value in lessons learned. Maybe I’ll share my process, a bit of behind the scenes, what apps I’m using anything that is going to put you more into an authority. And especially if you want to start building trust, and creating products, if you want to get into teaching eventually is a great way for you to start showing that you are there to teach. And then what you can do is have a look at what people are struggling with and then do some research and just try and fill those gaps that way. So I have been able to give so much value over the years. Because once you start giving your audience value, when you do ask them to purchase something, they’re going to be a lot more likely to purchase that thing that you’re putting out there. So I think it’s really important that you don’t just focus on what you’re learning or what your artwork looks like, but also how you can bring your audience into your world and how you can teach them through everything that you’re putting out there.
Well, that’s how it becomes more of a community than just an audience because you’re not just talking at people. There’s there’s back and forth. There’s give and take. Exactly.
And we really believe in value because that’s what our PA Cast is all about, you know, we’re here, sharing a lot of our own lessons learned so that people can come along on this journey with us and also avoid some of the mistakes that we’ve made.
And I can say that as well. And I think people pick up on that, when it becomes bigger than yourself, when you start seeing the value that you can bring to just anyone’s life. And I think there’s a massive pressure on people to think that they have to know everything in order to teach or to put value out there or to give something away or to charge for something. But I’ve actually noticed over the last few years that people just love to kind of see you grow, and kind of grow with you. So when I started putting out my artwork on Instagram, I didn’t have that many followers, but I was always talking to myself. I just kind of use this as, as a platform and kind of visual diary to document my lessons and things that I was learning along the way. And I just love to share. So I started doing that. And I started realizing that people were kind of resonating with that, and kind of relating to my story. But if you look back at that time, I didn’t know much. And I was still learning. And I’m still learning today. And people were purchasing for me they were taking my classes still not because I knew everything, but because they knew that I could teach them something. And I think everyone has that in them. And you just have to stop focusing on that being perfect. And being that authority figure all the time?
Well, I think that really you just need to know 10% More than the next person that’s sort of that kind of learning. And sometimes those make the best teachers, because they’ve just been through something or they’ve just learned something, and they’re excited to share it. I think that that’s great advice.
What’s your next tip for us, Charly?
So my last tip is to start a newsletter. And this is big, and we did touch on this in the last episodes. But I really can’t stress enough how important it is to start building your audience outside of Instagram. And I have now been collecting emails for I think over three years, maybe just under under three years. And I find that this is such a great way for me to get more intimate and more in depth with my audience. And I just love how you can use your newsletter as almost like, like a letter, you’re sending out a letter to your audience. And you can really just know that people are opening it and seeing it. Because with the algorithm on Instagram, the dreaded algorithm. This elusive algorithm that no one really fully understands what it’s about. But we can try and beat the algorithm. And we can try all of these strategies all of the time. But with your newsletter, people are on your newsletter, because they want to hear from you. And people are in that email daily. So if you’re sending out an email, the likeliness of them opening up it up and seeing your content is so much higher than on Instagram. Absolutely. So once you’ve got them on to your email list, it’s so much better and your content and what you’re putting out there isn’t going to waste. So I would highly recommend that you start putting together some form of lead magnets, so something to collect emails, and start building up your audience outside of Instagram.
Yeah, I think that’s huge, because Instagram might show 5% or 10% of your followers a post. And if you spend all invest all this time, creating content for social media, and it just never even gets seen. Whereas you could have a much higher rate of people being able to see your artwork that are engaged followers to begin with, because they were interested in signing up for your newsletter.
Exactly. And that’s why it’s really important spa with your lead magnet is to make it really relatable to you. So to the content that you’re already putting out because if someone is given that email for that content, they’re going to be a lot more likely to stick around for your emails as well because it’s just similar content to what they already signed up for. So that would be another tip as well is to just make sure that the lead magnet is fully aligned with your business, just so you’re not confusing your audience once they get on to your newsletter.
Now is there a particular email platform that you actually suggest for people?
So I first started with Flodesk, and they are amazing Very easy to use, I have tried a few different ones, I think I tried Active Campaign wasn’t a big fan of that it was a little bit too techie. For me, I like to keep it very simple. Which flow desk is designed specifically for creatives. So they have that in mind, it’s very user friendly, very easy to use. But I recently went over to ConvertKit, just because of the nature of my emails, and how everything is set up with with the back end, it’s just a little bit easier to maintain. But I would highly recommend that you start with flow desk, if you just want to kind of keep up with a cadence of maybe one to two emails a month, and then build up from there. Because it’s a lot cheaper and a lot easier to use. Because I find that if you start with an email provider that is difficult to use, you’ll end up just not sending out anything. And yeah, another tip with emails as well, is don’t just email when you have something to offer. I see this a lot. And I just think it’s lazy. Yeah, I think this goes back to my first tip as well with the with the value, giving value to your audience, it should be give, give, give, give, give, and then take, it should never just be take take take and giving your audience value is really key in bringing them into your community building trust and making them realize that you’re not just doing it to make a quick buck. And I think that’s really important if you want longevity in your creative business and an engaged audience that will genuinely purchase from you, because they love the products that you’re putting out there.
Those were fabulous tips. Thank you so much.
Oh, thank you, I really love sharing this kind of stuff. And this is this is what we’re going to be talking about in a lot more depth in in our coaching program as well
give us just a little bit of a plug for your upcoming coaching programs.
Okay, so me and my business partner Faber are going to be putting together or are putting together an amazing coaching program that is going to mix kind of building up your art skills with the business side of things. So everything that I’ve spoken about in both of these episodes is all about audience building. I think we’re in a time where AI is quite scary. But it doesn’t have to be if you can build up a strong brand where people are looking for someone that they can trust and get that information from. Because we are in a world where it’s information overload. So you want to be the curator of that information. You want to find the best information and you want to build that trust whether your audience is coming to you. So I think building an audience and a brand is absolutely key in this industry. And that is what me and faith have been working on to kind of really bring to our audience and our followers is a way for them to tap into that and be able to create products, lead magnets set up their first funnel, and create a newsletter that actually converts and ways that you can bring value, which is something that I’m going to be kind of talking about with marketing, Instagram and kind of organically growing your audience as well.
Amazing. We will link to this information in the show notes.
And get on Charly’s email list and ours and you’ll hear all about these things.
Charly, thank you so much for coming back and sharing with us. It’s been a blast. We could talk to you for hours.
And I could say I want to I want to hear all about this bus that you live on, as well. I just find that so cool.
I’ll have to give you a give you a little story on Instagram now and and try and find some pictures.
Definitely definitely can follow me there. My personal Instagram is @nikkimay art and the bus is @doodlebus.art
I love it. Yeah, that’s great. Okay, I’ll get I’ll go over and give you a follow.
Awesome. To get a downloadable PDF with Charly’s tips and tricks on building an engaged audience, visit startistsociety.com/charlystips.
Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time.
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