So, you know how I posted last time about how to find translation work right now? Well, I figured it would be a good idea to sit down and actually do it for myself. Now, I’m not actively translating so instead I decided to sell someone else’s service. The first thing that I did was make a video, which you can see here:

The video is only 42 seconds long and just lets viewers know that there was a special offer going on. I then took $10 and set up my ads. Now, this is the part where people get confused so let me explain a few things before moving on with the process.

– Google bought YouTube a few years ago and merged their ad placement programs

– More recently, Google made it possible to target people on YouTube based on their Google search traffic

– YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, behind Google, and receives a ton of traffic

– YouTube videos can and do appear in Google search results

– There was some drama about advertisers being upset over where their ads were being shown and demanded more control over them. At the same time, several larger companies that spent millions of dollars in ads backed out of the system until these placement issues were resolved

– AdWords now has new options that let us target YouTube users that are watching specific videos and/or that are using specific keywords, including searches done on Google within the past three days

That means that if someone does a Google search for “Spanish-English immigration translator,” I can put my ads on the videos that they watch on YouTube. If they watch 30 seconds of that ad or click on the link back to my site, I have to pay for it. However, since we’re targeting such specific keywords, there’s very little competition and the traffic is very inexpensive. For the video listed above, I spent $10 total, about $0.04 per view, and about $0.59 per click. I got 17 clicks, which made me $113 in affiliate commissions (two sales). Now, if those had been translation projects, let’s use immigration as an example, I probably would have made between $200 and $300 dollars between both jobs. Not bad for $10 in ads, right?

That’s really the point that I’m trying to drive here. So many translators are focused on word of mouth, or getting Kudoz points on Proz, and think that they’re promoting their businesses. That they just need a few more points and clients will start contacting them. Well, I was near the top for video game translators in the Proz directory and it didn’t help me one bit. Sure, you might find some work, but you have to compete against hundreds of other translators that have been on the platforms several years (I opened my account in 2010) and even then, they have no control over who contacts them or when. And that’s assuming that someone actually contacts them in the first place.

In my humble opinion, the key to any sort of advertising, which leads to good marketing, is knowing where you customers are, going to them, and letting them know that you exist and that you can fix their problems. Marketing comes afterward and is basically the relationship that you have with your customer. If you want new clients, if you want your situation to change, then you have to do something different than what you’ve been doing all this time. Things don’t change until you change them.

Now, there are a couple of things that you can do to improve on what I did in that example. First, don’t send people to your homepage, send them to a landing page made specifically for that traffic. Explain who you are and what you do at the very beginning, they need to know that they’re in the right place. Have an email capture set up. I like offering a discount on the first project that they can get when they give me their name and email address. If you’re targeting and segmenting your traffic correctly, you can go back to this email list and sell them other services in the future. Like, with immigration, the first thing that they’ll need translated are their birth certificates, passports, IDs, diplomas, marriage certificates, and so on. Then they’ll need to translate documents for a green card (in the US), then eventually they’ll need documents for their citizenship. Plus, once one person comes here, they usually want to bring their families. Or they’ll want to go back home and visit with their families from here and they’ll all need paperwork translated. The lifetime value of that client, of the list itself, grows over time so it’s good to keep in touch with those people. Especially since they only sign up if they’re actively looking for a translation.

You can do the exact same thing with game developers. Get them on your list, share interesting articles, offer discounts, let them know about any sort of opportunity that has to do with translating their games. When the time comes, they come to you for the translation and they recommend you to their colleagues. You will be amazed by how well this works.

Take $10, make a video on Adobe Spark, upload it to YouTube, and run some ads. I would bet that you’ll see some awesome results. And if you want someone else to do it for you, you can buy a video here.

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