Ever wonder how to market yourself? It’s essential to your business that you understand how to get your name out there. My good friend Kristen has just posted a fantastic article on just this subject–check it out at Inkthinker. Once you read it, come back here and we’ll talk about setting aside time to market. Go on, I’ll wait…
Now that you’re back armed with some good ideas, let’s get started. First question–how much time a week do you set aside for marketing?
That’s where we writers fail–we don’t know how to get beyond the writing and sing our own praises for a change. We’re too busy singing the praises of others! It’s maddening to think how many opportunities I’ve let go by because I’ve not set aside time to market.
You need anywhere from two to four hours a week devoted to marketing efforts. Mind you, as Kristen’s article suggests you don’t need to spend money. But you do need to build up your “face time” with clients and potential clients.
Try to make your marketing efforts occur during a part of the day when you’re not wrapped up in other work. Typically, I save my marketing until after lunch and just before I quit for the day. That way, I don’t feel guilty about looming deadlines or about spending a little more time than planned on my marketing.
Use your calendar to remind you of the times you’ve devoted to marketing. And have a plan before the time arrives. Are you wanting to send out an email newsletter? How about a postcard mailing? Are you going to send the “hey, how’s it going…do you need help?” emails to existing clients? Or are you going to browse Writers Market looking for a home for that article idea? Whatever the plan, make one. Don’t spend the time cleaning your desk or surfing the web. Know going in what your plan is and how you’ll implement it. It’s also a great idea to schedule a follow-up now, so you don’t lose opportunities later.
If you’re contacting folks via email, make doubly sure you have an “opt out” message at the bottom of your emails. It’s required by law (anti-spam laws brought about the change a while ago). Now, make sure you get in front of your client list at least once a month. I would try not to make it too much more as your emails will soon become the nuisance instead of something to look forward to.
And your emails should be something to look forward to. Don’t just send out the “I’m FABULOUS! Hire me!” email. Send one that gives back some value to your client list. For instance, I send out quarterly marketing email newsletters. Some of the topics include how to write a press release that gets attention, marketing basics, etc.
Another great idea for email marketing is to track the client’s business progress. A PR coach once told me she watches the news regularly and when she sees her client’s name appear, she jots off a friendly note and mails the news item to her client. She also knows her clients’ needs, so if something relevant appears, say an article related to what the client may be thinking about, she sends it off with a “thought this might interest you” note.
Kudos to Kristen for writing such a great article on marketing! And kudos to you for taking your busines seriously and putting time aside to market.