When interacting with potential clients and referral sources, a helpful self-promotion tool is a collection of client success stories. Everyone loves to hear stories — we find them entertaining, educational, or evocative of deeper emotions. We identify with people through the stories they tell.
Never underestimate the power of a thank you. I thanked someone a while back for helping me solve a technical problem. She replied to my note of thanks by inviting me as a guest speaker for a group she chairs. I didn’t even know she chaired this group and I had never considered speaking there.
"I don't like to sell." "Asking people for business makes me uncomfortable." "Selling feels manipulative and sleazy." "I'm good at what I do. Why don't clients just come to me?" If any of these thoughts seem familiar, you may be hanging onto an unhelpful perspective...
What Kind of Marketing is Possible Right Now?
In Part 1 of this series, I shared my thoughts on Appropriate Marketing in a Time of Crisis, like the crisis we are all experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’ve determined that it does make sense for you to be marketing yourself as a self-employed professional at this time, how can you go about it?
Appropriate Marketing in a Time of Crisis
As a self-employed professional, should you be marketing your business right now in the middle of a worldwide crisis? The answer is probably yes. But the approach you take to marketing will need to be tempered with thoughtfulness and empathy.
Here are five critical factors to consider.
I asked a new client recently what he had been doing to market his professional services. “Everything,” he said. “I’ve been running pay-per-click ads online, I hired someone to write a sales letter and mailed it to a list of local companies, I have a banner ad in my professional association’s directory, I’ve even been posting flyers around town… and I still have almost no business.”
“Ah hah,” I replied, “I think we’ve uncovered your problem. You actually haven’t been marketing your business. What you have been doing is advertising.”
You can learn a lot about marketing by listening to broadcast radio or streaming audio. You can learn even more by noticing when you’re not listening. A clear signal and music or talk you like to hear will keep you tuned in to a particular station or channel. But too much static, a connection that keeps dropping, too many ads, or programming not to your taste will overwhelm the signal, and all you’ll hear is noise. That’s when you’ll tune out. Which is pretty much the same way that our prospective clients react to our marketing messages.
We self-employed professionals spend a great deal of our marketing effort on searching for the right words. We read books, take classes, and hire consultants to help us write copy for our marketing materials. Composing web pages, writing sales emails, and drafting ad copy consumes hours or days of precious marketing time.
It appears, though, that many professionals have mistaken all this wordsmithing for productive action.
Don’t get me wrong; the words you use to market yourself are important and deserve your attention. But crafting the message, and effectively delivering the message, are not at all the same thing.
Does content marketing have any relevance to you as a self-employed professional? When you hear or read conversations about using free content to attract and persuade clients, the type of marketing being discussed may often seem out of your league. After all, you don’t have a marketing department down the hall that you can ask to produce a video documentary or customer magazine.
But creating content for prospective clients that is useful and relevant to them doesn’t have to be out of reach for a solo professional or small partnership. Much of the best content for professionals to use in their marketing is based on the written word. Consider these forms of content that you may already be producing, and that others like you frequently create: