LookingForClues - Article

  Marketing

Do you need to Market or Promote your business or web site?  Whether you are interested in letting the world know about what you sell, or you are looking for more visitors to your web site, the way to achieve your goals is through Marketing and Promotion.  The first step is to create something of value, something that you would be proud to share with others and that they would be glad to learn more about.  Next, you have to let the world know that you are there!  Marketing and Promotion is a science, there are concrete steps that you can take to interest the world in your endeavors. 

This web page is a resource for learning about Marketing and Promotion.  Further down on this page, we present an article called, "Marketing For Freelancers".  The article is written by a woman who is a freelance writer and website developer.  She explains how she decided to Market her skills, and tells of her results.  Read the article and learn how to Market, Promote, Advertise and generate interest in your business or web site.

After you read our article, follow the Related Links we provide to other informative and interesting web sites about Marketing and Promotion.  Also, be sure to buy a few of the Books we recommend below, to learn even more about Marketing and Promotion.  The books are especially helpful with online Marketing.  Learn how to Market your business and/or web site so that people will be able to find you!

 Related Links:

Marketing Your Website, Part 1 Part 2
An informative two-part article about Marketing.  It provides several practical and inexpensive (or free) tips that are easy to implement.  This is from the blog of Misti Sandefur, a freelance writer.  Her blog is loaded with great tips and advice. 

CreativeLatitude.com 
An entire web site devoted to Marketing and Promotion.  The site is witty and informative.  Visit their articles page where you will find many essays on Marketing. 

XtraMark.com, Marketing Tips 
An index with links to Marketing articles.  The articles are divided into sections, such as Advertising, Branding, Internet Marketing, Marketing Tactics and more. 

AllFreelance.com, Marketing  
Another comprehensive index of Marketing articles.  Sections include Marketing and Promotion, Viral Marketing, Marketing Plans and Network Marketing. 

Wikipedia, Marketing 
A helpful and informative article on Marketing.  Discusses types of markets, "Product, price, promotion, and placement", techniques and criticisms.  Lots of links!  Also, see their article on Viral Marketing.  

 Read These Books:
Looking to increase your profits 10 to 50% without busting your marketing budget? If you're a free agent, independent consultant, contractor, or freelancer, this book will help you master many overlooked marketing techniques and increase your profits. Even if you have a shoestring budget, this essential resource provides plenty of ideas for marketing your brand and getting your value proposition in front of your customers.
Thoroughly revised, this book comprehensively covers the modern marketing curriculum presented in leading business schools. Reflecting today's world, it emphasizes the global marketplace. A true-to-life hypothetical company is presented with explanation and analysis of both domestic and international marketing strategies. Books in this series are designed mainly for classroom use, and make excellent supplements to college texts. In adult education or business brush-up programs, they can serve as fine main texts.
When Guerrilla Marketing was first published in 1983, Jay Levinson revolutionized marketing strategies for the small-business owner with his take-no-prisoners approach to finding clients. Filled with hundreds of solid ideas that really work, Levinson's philosophy has given birth to a new way of learning about market share and how to gain it.
 
In this completely revised and expanded third edition, Levinson offers a new arsenal of weaponry for small-business success in the next century. Filled with strategies for marketing on the Internet (explaining when and precisely how to use it), tips for putting other new technologies to work, programs for targeting prospects and cultivating repeat and referral business, and management lessons in the age of telecommuting and freelance employees, this book will be the entrepreneur's marketing bible in the twenty-first century.
Effective, affordable, low-risk online marketing techniques for small business owners. Most small businesses are not taking advantage of the powerful and inexpensive Internet-based marketing tools and techniques that are available to them. These tools and techniques can mean the difference between a viable business and closing up shop. But most of what small business owners hear or read about the Internet applies to large businesses with greater resources than their own, or comes from unreliable or shady sources. The Ultimate Guide to Electronic Marketing for Small Business gives the small business owner or aspiring entrepreneur the real-world tools and tactics to market their small business around the world with little investment and even less risk. Full of practical ideas on reaching new customers and increasing sales, this book will make a real difference in the success rate of small businesses and start-ups everywhere.

Enjoy our exclusive Feature Article:

Marketing for Freelancers

by Julie K. Cohen  www.juliekcohen.com   3/28/06

The prospect of doing what you love full time can be exciting... and daunting. It doesn't matter if you're a writer, business consultant or photographer, you're likely to encounter the same question: How do you get clients? The answer is marketing. And your products or services won't sell themselves. Unless you hire someone to do it for you, YOU are in charge of marketing. There are several aspects of marketing which become essential to the freelancer.

Advertising

Advertising is using any means to promote your product/services and can range from the expensive (radio spots, TV commercials, newspaper and magazine ads) to the inexpensive (flyers, business cards, website). For the person just starting out, start with the inexpensive and work your way up.

Websites

For a freelancer just starting out, there is perhaps no better and cheaper way to advertise your products or services to a wide audience. The website is your "playground" with limitless potential to demonstrate and provide information on your product with links to and from supporting or complimentary services. It is an area you can update and change instantly or use as one would use a business card. Once you have a site up and running, include your web address on every other form of advertising or correspondence you use. A simple line such as www.lookingforclues.com can fit just about anywhere. Get creative in your marketing. Consider leaving small gifts for potential clients. Just ask yourself where you can you fit your web address and let your imagination soar: bumper stickers, side of your car, pens, key chains, notepads, candy wrappers and even stamped on the outside of oranges! Once you consider your budget and target market, you'll have a better idea of where you should display your web address, but at a minimum, don't pass up the obvious and "free" places:

o As part of your signature in every email (this can be automated through your email program)

o As part of your signature in forums (this too can be automated in most forums)

o Business Cards (these can be printed up from your PC or through various companies at an inexpensive rate, i.e. http://www.vistaprint.com)

o Letterhead (you can print up your own letterhead on your PC and list your web address)

o Flyers (you can print these from your PC and list your web address)

Your Business Name

The idea behind advertising is getting your name "out there" anyway you can. Your name can be your given name (what many writers and photographers often use) or a name describing your service, like iPhotography. One word of caution: be selective in whichever name you choose. Choose one that is short, and easy to remember and spell.

Once you establish your business name, use it EVERYWHERE. Name recognition is often the best way of driving business to you. Think about electionsÉ many people don't remember the specifics about one politician over the next, but they may remember a name and go with it because it's "familiar." Don't forget to use your name for your domain name as well. I use www.juliekcohen.com because I'm trying to create brand identification around my given name. Make your business name easy for your customers to remember and find you.

Keeping the Message Short

When using items of limited space - such as flyers - don't try to fit all the details about your product or service on small spaces. Use short, attention grabbing words and list your phone number, email, and/or website. Your goal is to generate interest and create branding with your advertising, not inundate the consumer with every possible detail. When they seek you out via a phone call, email or by visiting your website, you'll be able to provide all the details at that point in time.

The Competition

One of the best ways to attract clients is by analyzing and understanding your competition. You can learn from your competitors' mistakes as well as from what they're doing right. Are they giving demonstrations in the local mall, passing out samples on a street corner, or leaving coupons on every car at the food store? Do they offer a free trial period or have "buy one, get one free" offers? Are they sending out three highly customized email queries a day or fifty general queries? Look at the competition... what are they doing right? Learn from it, adapt it, make it your own and improve on it.

Standing Out

But what if you can't improve on what the competition is doing? It may be that what you need is a way to stand out from the competition. You can always try out-advertising or under-pricing them, but those are often temporary "fixes". Find or create your own niche, provide something your competitors don't. Or develop a unique marketing approach, one that makes you stand out.

Start by considering all of your skills, jobs, education, and life experiences. Brainstorm about ways to exploit any expertise or experience you have. When I first started out as a freelance writer, I looked over my resume. I had years of experience as an accountant, financial analyst, investment research analyst and website developer - nothing which seemed to help me as a freelance writer, unless I wanted to specialize in business writing (and even that's a broad and highly competitive field!) Then it hit me... there were many writers who write for websites, but not many who write and develop websites. I could combine my skills to create my own competitive advantage. Then I went one step further and developed my own marketing approach, based on those very same skills.

Whenever possible, I gave prospective customers a short, professional critique of their websites along with a rewrite of how the text should appear. I even provided online demo pages when possible, writing about/promoting their product or service. By integrating my web development skills and knowledge into my writing and my marketing approach, I sold them on my skills and on what I could deliver. I created a niche for myself - and found my first steady clients. But don't think I'm limiting my writing to my niche... those first specialized jobs often lead to more generalized writing assignments as well!

Cold Calling

Enhance your cold calling with email. When you find your potential clients, send an email introducing yourself and your product. List your phone number and website in the signature line. Most importantly, keep it brief. With a single click on the live link to your website, your potential customer can see and read all about your product or service. As for traditional cold calling by phone, by all means do that as well, but use email to support the call. While you're on the phone with a potential client, you can send him an email outlining your product/services, or direct him to your website where he can see pictures or read about your product in greater detail. Email can also be a nice follow-up after the phone call, just as a letter would be, but faster and conveying more information via that link to your website. Hook the customer while you're fresh in his memory.

Networking

Networking is nothing more than building friendships and connections, similar to moving to a new town where you know no one. There are many places to connect with others and build business relationships. You can certainly start with friends and family, asking whom they may know who could use your services. Next, venture out - literally. Join or attend a meeting at your local chamber of commerce. Join any professional associations for your field. Become involved in the community by volunteering. If you're a writer, join or form a critique group. And don't forget about networking through forums. If you find a forum which supports your field, you will develop friendships and gain the benefits of others' experiences, not to mention getting the occasional lead. I had this happen when I began donating my time consulting for www.thewritingbug.com. I provided my web development expertise, as well as a few articles, over several months. During that time, the owner and I got to know one another quite well. In time, I received referrals and business that I never would have received if I had not become involved.

The key to networking is getting involved with new groups of people and then STAYING involved. These groups give others a chance to get to know you. People want to do business with people they like and have learned to trust. And if the people in the groups you join aren't in a position to do business with you directly, they will likely refer their friends or business associates to you. Networking takes time and patience, but it's a form of marketing that money can't buy.

Attitude & Support

Perhaps the most important part of marketing is to persevere and continue pushing forward, no matter what setbacks or obstacles you encounter. It takes time for people to recognize your name, time to network and time to better understand the nuances of finding and reaching your customers. Be realistic. Don't expect that first sale to come in the first few months or even with the first hundred people you've approached. Your rate of sale to rejection may well be discouragingly high, maybe even 300 to 1! But that is NORMAL! Keep plugging away at your marketing efforts and eventually you will make that first sale!

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