What I’m listening to: Stressed Out by twenty one pilots
It was rather timely that the song above (go on, take a listen) came up on my play list. I’d been feeling stressed as the week started, chipped through a ton of projects Monday through yesterday, and saw the list grow right back to massive again.
It’s good for business, but it’s hell on the nerves.
Marketing, however, doesn’t have to be so stressful. While my own marketing has been rather light lately (the result of name recognition, a good economy, or both), I still stay connected to clients and prospects. It’s not hard, either.
In fact, I’d say it’s the easiest part of my day right now.
If you don’t have time to market, that’s no excuse. I mean, it is an excuse, but it’s not one that matters when you’re sitting there in July with no work.
There are plenty of things you can do right now to market your freelance writing business. Here are 26 to get you started:
1. Share. Retweet something a client or prospect sent. Share a LinkedIn post or Google+ post. Also, try sharing one business-related tweet, complete with the right hash tags, and see what happens.
2. Give current clients a discount offer. Everyone loves a sale, and who better to pay a little less for your talents than the people who work with you right now? Send them an email today offering a discount if they book before the end of the month.
3. Join a Twitter chat (or create your own). It’s a great way to interact with potential clients and to showcase yourself as someone who’s in tune with their industry.
4. Invite clients to you. Why not ask that sought-after client to post on your blog? Or perhaps you could interview them for a profile to appear on your newsletter or blog. Engage them in an unspoken partnership by creating a conversation around them.
5. Use the hash tags your prospects are using. Obviously, you want to do this wisely, but by paying attention to what they’re talking about, you can tailor your social media and your marketing messages to reflect their pain points.
6. Say it in 25 words or fewer. In a world of message overkill, clients are more likely to read what won’t require a massive time commitment. Take one message you’re using now and slash it down to the fewest words needed to get your point across while still enticing your prospects.
7. Craft a poll. People love taking polls and quizzes (have you seen how many are on Facebook any given day?). Create your own poll and invite people to respond. Make it interesting enough that they remember it. And you.
8. Circulate research. See a study that relates to your client’s business? Or is there one that the industry people who follow you on social media want to see? Circulate it among your followers, including sending emails to a few, saying something like “I didn’t know if you’d seen the tweet I sent, but I thought this would be of interest to you.”
9. Be a regular. That means communicate with your prospects and clients regularly, be it through email or social media or even phone. Don’t be a pest, but be present.
10. Send a letter. A real letter. Research that one client you’d love to work with, then write a letter to them that shows you know their business and are the one to help them. Get an envelope and a stamp (remember those?). Write the address on the envelope yourself.
11. Dust off your brochures and flyers. Revamp those suckers (keeping the brevity exercise previously mentioned in mind), then mail them.
12. Spend an hour today finding new leads. Look under the usual rocks – websites, social media, conference exhibitor lists – but include phone listings, LinkedIn group members, and Chamber of Commerce members.
13. Ask for a referral. It’s an easy way to gain new clients without having to locate them and reach out cold.
14. Ask a question. On social media, ask a question that elicits response, be it an industry topic or a more general “What’s your top marketing pain point?”
15. Give away a free report. In exchange, you get their emails and their permission for you to send them occasional business tips in your handy newsletter.
16. Suggest new projects. Sure, it was one brochure. How about a revision of the website to mirror the language? Or maybe they need a newsletter or press release. If you don’t suggest other projects, you may never know what else they’re considering.
17. Send a tchotchke. A little gift, such as a USB stick with your name on it or a slide puzzle that ties in with your sales letter can increase your response rate.
18. Talk with one client today. Repeat that tomorrow. And the next day. And the next…
19. Be somewhat unavailable. Don’t schedule that project now when you’re floating in 12 other projects. Push back on the deadline. Give the client alternative timelines that allow you time to breathe and create an image of you being a popular, sought-after professional.
20. Offer to guest post. Even corporate blogs need content constantly. This is a great time to volunteer one guest post. Don’t write for free every time, but do try to get in front of your target audience through the blogosphere.
21. Create your quick-and-dirty marketing calendar. Get a piece of paper. Write down how many clients you want to reach in a week, how many you’ll follow up with each week (usually the same number), and where you’ll reach them. Open your calendar. Schedule it. Then do it.
22. Send a small sample. Convince them to hire you by sending them samples of what you’ve done already — links to client websites or online marketing pieces, e-newsletters, your latest published article, etc.
23. Refocus your message. If you see “I” statements throughout your marketing, rewrite them to say “you” — make it about your clients’ needs, not how great you are.
24. Renew old contacts. Even non-business contacts can prove beneficial. Say hello to that person from a few years back.
25. Join stuff. Even your DAR meeting can net potential clients. Those realtors and accountants could need marketing materials or websites. Show up and network.
26. Send a press release. Announce something useful, obviously, but blast word out about your latest project success.
Writers, what are your favorite ways to reach out to clients?