What I’m reading: The Harvest Gypsies by John Steinbeck
What I’m listening to: Rigoletto: Questa O Quella by Luciano Pavarotti
It’s been a good first week back. I’m working on three projects from two clients, and I delivered a first draft yesterday. Today, more of the same. Plus it’s time for me to pick up the marketing — there’s a conference in April, and I want to get some meetings scheduled.
Because it’s the beginning of the month (well, it was a few days ago), I’m once again looking at the marketing plan. It’s something I try to do every month. I don’t always succeed, but making it part of the monthly assessment routine helps (it’s why I include the “Bottom Line” section each month).
But I need more than that, as does every freelance writer. Action begins with planning.
I thought it would be useful to dedicate the next few posts to ways of improving the marketing plan, especially since the new year is so squeaky clean yet and we’re still basking in the glow of possibility. Putting together a marketing plan can be an involved examination of your freelance writing business, or it can be a look at one or more aspects of how you’re operating, just to look for missed opportunities.
Most writers opt for the latter approach. That’s fine, but only if you’ve done a more in-depth analysis in the past. Otherwise, you could be tweaking a plan that’s going out to the wrong people or the wrong market.
So let’s start with knowing who your market is.
Targeted clients are those people who are most willing or likely to buy your services. If you’re targeting consumers, you’re going to want to know their age, gender, interests, and maybe geographic location. If you’re targeting other businesses, the info you need would be different. Since most of us freelance for businesses, let’s concentrate on that segment.
Here’s what you need to know about your target market:
- How big is the company? What’s their product or service? Company size doesn’t always indicate a good client, but it helps you narrow down those who may have the funds to hire you. Again, not written in stone — some of my best clients are sole proprietors.
- What’s their problem? What need do they have? Every company has a particular pain point — maybe they can’t crack into a particular demographic or they are always looking like they’re chasing the leader in the industry. Knowing what keeps them up at night helps with understanding where you can benefit their business.
- Who is their customer or audience? Look at current marketing info to determine the demographic. Are they selling to consumers or other businesses? Small entities or global ones? Are their consumers young professionals or retired women? It’s all there in their marketing info. If it isn’t, they need you much more than they realize.
- How are they reaching their customers? Also, how are those efforts working? You can figure that out by the look/feel of their marketing pieces, website, and conference presence, if it applies.
- What are they saying on social media? What information do they put out regularly? If they’re putting out newsletters, releases, or showing up regularly on social media, they’ve just made your research that much easier. Listen to what they’re saying and where they’re saying it. That’s the key to how to approach them.