How I market myself

Posted on: July 14th, 2010

In a recent post, I asked what you would most like to read about. One point that was raised was: “It would be interesting to hear more about your marketing views.”

So here’s my reply:

I’ve just started a series of posts on the subject of marketing. I’ll be continuing these on a regular basis  so, for now, here’s a brief round up of how I market myself.

Mailshots

The audience I’m aiming for is web and graphic design agencies in London, so I send postcard mailshots to my list of target companies that I’ve drawn up. In an ideal world, I should really follow these up with a call but, if I’m honest, it doesn’t happen all that often.

I’ve tried sending emails with the same message as my postcards but I tend to find I get more response from snail mail.

Adverts

From time to time, I run small classified adverts in trade magazines that my target audience reads. Deciding which publication is a matter of trial and error. I’ve run adverts that brought absolutely nothing in and then I’ve run the same ad in anoAdvertsther publication and got thousands of pounds of work from it.

Website

I also have a website which helps to let potential clients I’m here,  and it also showcases my work.

Social media

I’m fairly active on LinkedIn and I also tweet. I have two pages on Facebook: one for my copywriting and one for Freelance Factfile. I need to be more active on my Facebook pages but the whole social media thing can be very time consuming so  I’m focusing my efforts for the moment on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Networking

I also do face to face networking. I have belonged to networking groups where I paid an annual fee to join and then paid each time there was a lunch/breakfast. This year, I’ve been concentrating on networking events that are either free, such as London Women Mean Business, or that have no joining fee and you only pay for the event, such  as Designer Breakfasts.

Tip: When you network, choose to hang out in places where your potential clients hang out.

Reminding my contacts I’m still around

I tend to send quarterly emails to my network of contacts, showing them the kind of writing projects I’ve been involved in over the past few months. This doesn’t take long to do and is a good reminder that you’re still there.

It would be interesting to hear which marketing activities prove successful for you and which you think have been a waste of time, money and effort.

Related posts:

How to market your freelance services: Part I, Part II, Part III

Conquering Cold Call Terror

8 Responses to “How I market myself”

  1. Hi Carole, I pretty much do exactly the same stuff as you but I use email instead of snail mail. It just seems to work better for me.
    In addition to all that I also run monthly training sessions for my clients, write a weekly newsletter and organize call in hours clinic, also weekly. I wrote about them three in detail here: http://www.selfemployedcafe.com/put-business-ahead-of-competition/

    I guess the key to a good marketing is first persistence and second finding at least one thing that no one else does and doing it.

  2. Carole
    July 14th, 2010

    Just read your article and it’s got some great points in it, Pawel. And, I agree, the key to good marketing is persistence – a drip, drip, drip approach.

  3. Exactly. Contrary to common belief, marketing is neither something that starts to work overnight nor something you can do once and reap rewards for the rest of your life. You have to work hard every day on it and eventually it will start bringing results. And if you stop for one day and few weeks later you will notice a drop in your business.

    Great blog BTW Carole, love your writing style.

  4. Carole
    July 15th, 2010

    Many thanks, Pawel. :)

  5. Cookies & Java
    July 16th, 2010

    The most common problems I see with peoples ongoing marketing efforts are:

    1) Seeing marketing as just marketing communications
    2) Having very little patience
    3) Speculating instead of experimenting
    4) Being inconsistent
    5) Failure to consider own unique circumstances

    Marketing activities can generate results overnight, and early activities can keep a business appealing for a lifetime. However to achieve that will require the kind of money, creativity or luck most businesses can only dream of.

    For me the most effective piece of marketing I’ve done has been to strategically analyse my business strengths, my competition weaknesses and my market needs. By doing that I’ve always understood where I fit in, what appeals to my customers values and what my core message needs to be.

    This has helped form every element of marketing I’ve done.

    As my business has grown my strengths have improved, therefore my marketing has changed too. Everything from branding, to customer service to communications activities.

    I’ll detail the channels and activities I’ve experimented with. My business is marketing consultancy and creative services, I currently target small to medium sized B2B businesses and compete against agencies:

    Direct Mail – For me personal letters to marketing managers or managing directors have always been the most effective. IMO this is the next best thing to networking or cold calling. You need to research and target customers carefully and try and make each one as unique as possible. Very low cost exercise if you are time rich.

    Print Advertising – Cheap local ads are effective at targeting small businesses in the immediate area. If you grow out of those things get harder. Gets very expensive very quickly.

    Online Directory Advertising – I’ve never had any luck with these. Depends on people searching for your services which in some industries may be ineffective or filter through bad prospects.

    Car Advertising – I had a sticker in the back window of my Jeep. Quite effective and cheap, the more you get out in the right places the better.

    Search Engines – Very competitive area in my industry. SEO/SEM is very cost effective if you are time rich, AdWords good if you are time poor.

    Web site – Works best for me as a supportive sales tool. I direct prospects there to see portfolio examples and clients.

    Networking – I agree that the right event with the right visitors is paramount. Very powerful for me as B2B customers tend to go very much on personality. Harder to find larger clients though, very easy to end up bombarded by someone trying to sell to you.

  6. Carole
    July 16th, 2010

    There’s another point I’d add to your list of five, Cookies & Java: failure to understand how important it is to do marketing.

    One freelance writer I know once said to me: “I don’t know how you can afford to do all the marketing you do.”

    My reply was: “I can’t afford not to do it.”

    Not surprisingly,the aforementioned writer was always complaining she didn’t have enough work on.

    I like your idea of a car sticker. It does work – a neighbour was looking for a handyman and two days after my conversation with her I saw a van with a huge ‘The Handy Man’ written on the side with a large 0800 phone number which was easy to remember.

  7. Cookies & Java
    July 16th, 2010

    Well again this stems back to my first point, the common misconception that marketing is just the marketing communications side.

    Anyone in business is marketing constantly, be it through the basic act of offering services/goods in exchange for payment to any interaction with a customer.

    It’s possible to do no marketing communications. I do very little communications myself and focus pretty much on direct sales and networking, this is what’s most effective for me at this time.

    But indeed yes it’s critical that business owners are at least aware of marketing principles and how these relate to their situation. Even if that’s just looking at the fundamental elements of strategy.

    There’s a few options with car stickers, you can use a vinyl sticker or magnet. Single colour cut vinyl text is the cheapest way to do it plus you can still see through the gaps when attached to a window. They are reasonably easy to apply and more visible if the window is tinted. However it’s worth considering that your car fits your brand, a dirty beat up old banger, a petrol guzzling 4×4, a boy racer type car or something very flash might have a negative affect. On top of that how your car is driven is a factor too, you might be a saint but what about other people who might drive your car?

    I got a job from my car sticker by going to a pub for a meal once, I’d parked (inadvertently I admit) apposite the beer garden and someone collared me as a I walked in.

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