Folyo is a job service for freelance designers. Sacha Greif, the service’s founder and a designer with more work than he can handle, assesses designers, reviews submissions from companies and tries to bring the two together.
Unlike other freelance jobs sites though, Greif doesn’t post the offers on his website. Freelancers can’t bid or compete to win the projects publicly. Instead, Greif charges companies a $100 fee once their offers have been accepted, waits until the end of the week then sends the list of jobs to his subscriber list by email.
For Greif, the benefits are clear. Because he checks both the jobs and the designers both sides know that they’re receiving quality. Employers know that the freelancers they’re hiring have been hand-selected for their creativity and professionalism. Freelancers can feel confident that the offers have solid budgets and come from companies that know what they’re doing. Handling everything by email ensures that both the offers and the designers remain private.
The service has only been running a few months but it’s already generating more than $600 a month for a freelance designer who was only looking for a way to share his excess workload. And his list consists of little more than 300 subscribers.
For users of email marketing though, it’s an intriguing set-up. Greif doesn’t have to worry about clickthrough rates or views. Nor does he want a list that’s excessively long. (He rejects about 90 percent of the designers who want to receive his emails.) He doesn’t even have to worry about content, let alone testing different calls to action. As long as he can keep the projects flowing in from companies who need help, his little newsletter will continue to make money.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. Folyo’s website, where designers are able to upload their profiles, cost money to build. Greif has to spend time and energy looking for more businesses to submit their needs. Not all companies answer his questions about their project’s scope, and many fail to make it through the review process.
But the small business does show that there’s a great deal more to email marketing than a tool to bring visitors back to a website, to build engagement and to promote special offers. A carefully selected list has a value of its own, and not just to the person who collected it. As you’re segmenting your list, look beyond the key factors that divide buyers from readers and readers from everyone else. Look at the demographics contained in that list and ask yourself what other information they might like to receive.
Most importantly though, think of that information as a service rather than a promotion. Selling a list is nothing new but Greif is able to cash in on his small list — to the tune of $2 per subscriber — because he’s offering something
valuable that they really want to receive. When your emails deliver that kind of value, you won’t have to worry too much about clickthrough rates, views and calls to action either.