November 21, 2014

3 Ground Rules Needed to Turn Your Website Visitors into Customers

Great Websites

If you’re reading this post, chances are great that you’ve had a hard time turning your website visitors into customers?

So, you’ve read all the web copywriting tips from the experts and you’ve applied them all!  You used a catchy headline that promises the reader a strong benefit. Your opening paragraph is killer hot.  Your subheads include good keywords. You wrote the Home page as if you were speaking to one person.  You remembered to set off the key stuff with bullets points and bolding. You didn’t forget the compelling call to action. You even posted a video and have a sign-up box offering a valuable freebie, blah, blah, blah.

Still, customers are not beating down your virtual door to get in.  And you’re asking yourself, well, why the heck not? What am I doing wrong?

DTurn Your Website Visitors into Customers

Here’s the deal. In my experience, after working with clients who have had this very issue, this is what I’ve learned:

When your potential customers go online in search of companies that sell your product or that offer the type of services you do, they come across a bizzillion businesses that do what you do.  These companies, just like yours, have websites that follow the same canned blueprint. So, how is a potential customer supposed to choose you over your competitors when you look just like they do? How will they ever know that you really ARE the best life coach, networking group or real estate lawyer.

To increase the likelihood of turning your website visitors into leads, getting that customer to nod their head “yes” and hit that “click here” button, or call your 800 number or fill out that contact form, YOU MUST:

Turn Your Website Visitors into Customers

Target Your Ideal Customer

Take a look at your features. Then take a look at your benefits. Write them down in a list. Then look at the customers you currently market to. Is there a subset of that group that you could target? If you are a daycare center and you are targeting all parents, you’re jeopardizing your chance of attracting a higher number of customers.  Why, because your messaging will be too general and diluted. The magic, the pull is in specificity, not in vaguely talking to everybody who might consider your services. If you only serve vegetable entrés, don’t market to all people who eat in hopes that carnivores will be hungry enough to consider dining at your restaurant . . . Market to vegetarians and vegans!

. . . , which brings me to the next requirement.

Select Your Ideal Target Audience in Your Marketing Headline

Your message will be much more effective if it’s clear that you are speaking directly to a subset of that group – working parents.  Why? Babysitters can target all parents. Daycare centers are ideal for working parents. When your headline does not select your target, the folks who really need to hear you in great numbers don’t because you are not singling them out. If you are talking to tax payers, say so. If you are talking to students, say so.

Examples: 

Are You Looking For a Good Paying Part-Time Job While You’re In College? 

Are Your Children Safe, Secure and Happy While You’re at Work? 

Is It Time for You to Be the One Who Decides What Time You Will Be Reporting to the Office?

 

Why does this matter?  It matters because, when you’re not specific, it’s sort of like shouting something on a crowded street that could apply to anybody walking down that street. What happens is, some people may turn around. Most won’t. However, if you call out, Hey Michael, there’s almost a 100% chance that everybody named Michael is probably going to turn around. And then the Michaels will be anxious to hear the next thing you are going to say because “he” wants to know if it applies to him or to some other Michael who’s nearby.

The more specific you are, the more likely the audience whose attention you’re trying to get will notice and be impacted by your headline . . . and will then listen to the next thing you have to say, which brings me to last requirement:

 Find marketing hook

Nail the Hook 

Come up with a hook that captures the essence of your service or product or your brand’s promise that your ideal customer finds irresistible.  The idea is to create a hook that’s not a rehashed generic promise that many of your competitors make. Many life coaches tend to do this with headlines such as “Live Your Best Life Now,” “Find Your Passion,” Have What You Desire.” To the Internet shopper who’s looking for color, it’s like looking into a big sea of beige.  Every business looks the same to them.  You want your business to be the lime green in that sea of beige!

 

A marketing hook is an element about your benefits that captures the potential customer’s attention and reels them in.  It’s a message that strongly, directly and unequivocally resonates with your potential customer’s emotions. For example:  In that earlier example talking to working parents about their kids, the words “safe, secure and happy . . . while you’re at work.”  All daycare centers offer arts and crafts, nap time, field trips, snack time, music instruction, etc.  But how many broadcast to you that the primary benefit is that they are, in essence, going to be your clone while you’re away. It doesn’t get any better than that for the parent whose eyes can’t be on their baby at all time because they have to work! All that other extracurricular stuff fine and dandy, but it’s secondary to a mommy or daddy.

Marketing to your ideal customer, selecting the ideal customer in your headline and a including a compelling hook in your message are 3 MUSTS if you plan to attract a greater number of customers and kick your competition’s ass!

P.S. I would love to hear your website tips as well. Hit me up.

Stacey

A Simple Guide to Online Forum Marketing

Get Leads with Online Forum Marketing

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Anyone who has been awake and paying attention for the past few years knows that promoting your business using interruption mechanisms is now viewed as an annoying version of the traditional way of doing marketing. Because everyone now has the option to block out advertising and marketing, engagement and permission-based marketing are becoming a better approach for marketing one’s business.  So, what does this have to do with digital forums?  Everything.

This major change in the marketing and advertising landscape offers fertile ground for customer conversions in online forums and on message and bulletin boards. Forum marketing is a practical means to doing business and getting business.   Among other things, it’s a great way to make your business stand out from the crowd. Moreover, you can learn from, connect and network with your peers, particularly because a sense of community tends to develop among regular forum members.

What Makes Online Forums So Ideal?

1. Internet marketing forums are ideal, because you already know that the prospect or lead will be receptive to your message.  Piquing their interest is not necessary.

2. The marketing industry says engagement is in and selling is out.  Great, because in online forums, meeting the engagement requirement is a given. Your lead’s presence as the inquirer and yours as the expert is a dynamic that lends itself to engagement, rendering selling unnecessary.

3. You get to advertise without being pushy and salesy.  In the ideal business forums, your signature will contain your contact information and a link to your website or other contact information.

Internet  Forum Marketing Tips

●Start by locating an online marketing forum that will be a good fit. Google the keyword “forum” preceded by the market or niche you are looking for. In other words, if your clients are likely to be looking for legal advice, you may want to type “legal advice forums.”  If you provide services to small businesses, you will want to type “small business forums.” You get the idea.

●Before registering in any forum, check the replies to make sure they are high quality. Don’t judge by the number or replies. You want quality over quantity. Also, don’t be quick to choose those that rank high in the search engines; they can still be spammy and of very low quality. You want to find the right community for your business.

●Read the forum’s rules and guidelines.  Can you place links in your posts? Are you permitted to promote your business? Are you allowed to post commercial messages in your signature? What restrictions are placed on new users?  The idea is to avoid breaking the rules so that you don’t inadvertently get yourself banned or put on probation, etc.

●Complete the profile sections and signature sections. Create a compelling profile; prospects and potential JV partners will visit it.  Use your business name; include your URLs and links to your social media profiles. Provide a solid description of your business, expertise, skills and experience. When you explain what your business does, use every day English, not esoteric industry lingo, unless, of course, that’s how your target audience communicates.  Add a few one or two personal bits of information too (not too personal, however).  For example, if you golf, mention that. It makes you more human and less virtual. I’d steer clear of religious affiliations, unless, of course, that works in your favor business-wise, e.g., you’re a religious copywriter for that particular faith.

●Remember, you are here to add value and build trust.  You want to establish your company as a reputable member of the community and to be seen as someone who is there to improve the online community. When answering a question and providing feedback, answer with purpose.  Don’t provide one-word answers just to get your links out there. You won’t be fooling anyone. And more embarrassing, someone may call you on it or the host may just delete your post.

●Forum marketing success comes from posting regularly.  Over time, you build your credibility. When someone is looking for your services that you offer, they will be more likely to come to you vs. another member without a reputation.

●Try to avoid drama. As you hang out more in the forums, you may come across heated-turned-personal arguments taking place. Don’t get involved unless your intention is to clarify something to reduce tension. You are a professional, and you want to continue to be perceived as such.  A little bit of good-natured banter is fine, but serious altercations are inexcusable and stand to make you look like someone with whom no one wants to conduct business.

●If and when you begin using more direct marketing campaigns in the forum, make sure the techniques you employ provide a benefit to your forum members.  Offer things like give-aways and member discounts.

Do the conventional methods still work?  Yeah, sometimes.  However, we are steadily moving towards a stronger desire for useful content, freebies, customer recognition, for being wooed, for indirect tactics and the list goes on.

Discover the Secrets to Attracting More Ideal, High-Paying Clients – A Free Webinar

how to find new clientsJoin me on June 6, 2013 at 1:00 p.m., at Fabienne Fredrickson’s free Client Attraction webinar and discover the step-by-step formula for attracting ideal, high-paying clients.  Getting clients doesn’t have to be a frustrating struggle anymore. Yes, it can be that easy to attract the types of clients you want to work with, and you will be able to do so quickly and consistently.

This is the ultimate shortcut, ‘step-by-step’ system that removes all the guesswork, waste and frustration out of consistently attracting all the ideal, high-paying clients you need, once and for all (even if you’re starting from scratch) . . .

Register for the free webinar by clicking HERE.

Want to Create A Winning E-mail Marketing Campaign? Make Sure You Grasp the Basics of Email Marketing First

email marketingSeventy-seven percent of small business owners report that e-mail marketing increased their revenue and that $1.00 spent on e-mail marketing $40.00 in revenue.* Many businesses are smartly discovering that e-mail marketing can be a vital part of their business.  It’s a great way to keep in touch with customers and to invite them to special deals for your freelance services (or products, if you have any). The information and tips in this article will explain some of the practices you should engage in or avoid to ensure the success of an ongoing e-mail campaign.

1. Rather than purchasing or renting a mailing list, build your own from the ground up. You can do this by including opt-in forms on your website or blog, gathering business cards at conventions or other industry events, and encouraging your subscribers to share your e-mails with others, which can garner even more subscribers. Of course, I would suggest creating a downloadable piece of content, preferably with instructional information that your target audience will find of value to them. The idea is to trade your free content for their e-mail addresses.

2.  Always get permission! Unsolicited e-mail is not welcome, and in certain cases, can get your ISP blocked. The last thing you want is to be branded a spammer.

3.  Be especially careful when crafting your first three e-mails to new customers. A new customer should get an introductory e-mail inviting them to join your marketing list. Once they accept your invitation, the next e-mail should tell them about discounts or special offers they can expect to get now that they’ve signed up. The third e-mail should contain their first newsletter and their special offer.

4.  Make certain that it is easy for your recipients to opt out of receiving further e-mails. Not having a way to opt out can cost you customers since some of the people who wish to opt out might like your business and your products. They may simply wish not to receive e-mails. The process that you put in place should include asking for feedback as to why they are opting out. The information you receive can help improve your campaign.

5.  Try to make it as easy as possible for customers to unsubscribe from your e-mails. By not making it simple, they will feel like you are being too pushy and may be turned off from your product or business. Give them the option to opt out from some of your e-mails or all of them.

6.  Everyone knows that e-mail filters are getting more and more strict. Graphics and other things included in e-mails are blocked out, so a reader might not even see what you are trying to say. Therefore, a good piece of advice is to use plain text with a hyperlink to your site.

7.  Utilize engaging e-mails and target customers who are inclined to use or share knowledge about your services. Make sure you are also soliciting feedback from them. Getting feedback from targeted customers is key to knowing what you can do to make your marketing strategies even stronger and more effective.

8.  What worked for you before might not work for you the next time around. That is why it is vital to always look into new e-mail marketing strategies. Learn from others in your business niche, and always try out new methods to add to your arsenal of what works for your business.

It is a well-known fact that the use of the Internet has opened up an entirely new way for businesses to interact with customers. E-mail marketing is one of the most effective ways to keep in touch with loyal customers and to reach potential customers. Use the techniques and tips from the article above to create an e-mail marketing strategy for your business.

*Aweber Communications

There Really is a Content Marketing Crash Course with More Value and Info than You’ve Ever Dreamed Of

Content Marketing - SEO sign board

Are you sick of saying “This year I’m going to increase my revenue,” but still haven’t figured out a way to do it? Is being in a better financial situation than you were in last year on your list of personal goals?

Making more money in your small business than you did last year is quite possible. The answer is to find a way to dazzle your prospects, wow your customers, and bowl over competitors. The answer dear readers, is content. Content, as you may have heard, truly is king, and MarketingProfs University’s Content Marketing Crash Course will give you a hands-on plan for creating lead-driving, business-building content that connects with customers, again and again. You’ll learn everything from what changes to make in key marketing efforts, like customer engagement, to how to create content that drives sales.

 

Register Now

For each class, you’ll have access to:

• the class lecture (streaming media)

•the slide deck (PDF)

•the audio track (MP3, so you can listen to the lectures on other devices)

•a transcript (PDF)

•and a “cheat sheet” (PDF)

In addition to the above tools, as a Content Marketing Crash Course student, you’ll also receive close to $1,000 in FREE course materials and More!

There aren’t many places where you’ll get practical, information-packed, real-world, proven tactics with expert guidance from a leading and respected marketing authority in a crash course.

The Kickoff class broadcasts December 6, 2012

Register Now

 

 

 

 

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

Write and Grow Rich . . . Really

My colleague, Bob Bly, author of 70+ books and the man McGraw-Hill calls “America’s top copywriter,” shows you how quickly and easily you can . . .

“Write and Grow Rich!”

Write and Grow Rich (Pens with Golden Dollar Sign)If you’re thinking about starting a freelance copywriting business now or have started one already, you’re in luck. Bob Bly, in his infinite marketing wisdom, has developed a proven and systematic way for writers to build a successful freelance business . . . just as he and many of our colleagues have done.

You’ll see in a moment Bob Bly’s best-selling writer’s manual Write and Grow Rich is much more than just your run-of-the-mill writer’s guide. It’s brimming with practical methods you can use to quickly and easily start and run your own well-paying freelance writing business.

Bob walks you through establishing your own manageable, lucrative writing practice . . .

Read More

Need More Qualified Leads for Your Freelance Copywriting Business?

If you’ve got a website or blog and want to generate more leads for your freelance copywriting business, you’re in luck. Optimize your website to get found by more prospects and convert more of them into leads and paying customers with HubSpot’s all-in-one marketing software.

300x250 Trust

Need More Qualified Leads? Use HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing System. Try our FREE 30-Day Trial!

Inbound marketing (attracting people to your site) is the way small businesses that are in-the-know think and act. But, of course, if you’re not a tech geek, online marketing and web design are tough, if not impossible.

Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing System has revolutionized the ease and power of what your freelance copywriting website or blog can do and be. As you’ll find out in a moment, Hubspot’s marketing software is more than just a mere traffic generator. If you simply follow Hubspot’s system and use their tools, you’ll find yourself ahead of 90% of other freelance copywriters who are still living in the ancient times.

Why spend massive amounts of time searching for and then researching the most practical ways to optimize your first freelance copywriting website. Hubspot will do that overwhelming legwork for you!

HubSpot’s software gives you everything you need to make marketing that copywriting clients will actually love – earning quality leads and loyal customers in return.

Inbound channels, unlike outbound channels, produce higher quality leads. Learn how you can make your marketing efforts more inbound. Receive a Free Marketing Assessment From HubSpot!

HubSpot utilizes the platform for inbound marketing to help you:

  • attract qualified visitors to your website with remarkable content
  • convert your website visitors into leads and then into customers
  • analyze your online marketing efforts

What is HubSpot? HubSpot software:

  • helps you get found online by more qualified visitors.
  • shows you how to convert more visitors into leads.
  • gives you tools to close those leads efficiently.
  • measures and improves your marketing.

HubSpot’s inbound marketing tools incorporate website design, website and blog content, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, lead conversion, and web/marketing analytics.

Sign up for a FREE 30-day trial of Hubspot’s all-in-one software! There is no risk, no obligation and no credit cards needed for this trial. Drive qualified leads. Convert more leads to customers. HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Software: Free 30 day trial!

Are Your Networking Efforts Failing? Don’t Worry. We’ve Got Your Foolproof Networking Blueprint Right Here

Although this post was written with freelance copywriters in mind, it can apply to other freelancers.

One of the most promising methods for generating leads for any freelance copywriting business is networking.  But, like anything, in order for your presence at a networking event to work, you can’t pussyfoot around.  You have to go for the gold! To go for the gold, you have to know what you’re doing.  Sadly, so many people who say networking is an “okay” marketing practice don’t achieve the great results that are begging to be achieved because they are – plain and simple – going about it in the wrong way.

Lead Generation

Successful networking takes planning. Don’t get nervous, it’s not rocket science.  Nor is it too time-consuming, but you do have to be committed, and you have to be willing not to take short-cuts. People who do that are kidding themselves and are the very folks who complain that “It’s not working.”  Of course, it’s not working – for them!  Showing up and handing out your business cards, or attempting to sell your product or service to people you meet while networking is a sure-fire way to alienate potential business contacts.  Your goal is to cultivate a community of evangelists, to experience the same money-spinning outcome that master networkers experience.

Networking is about crystallizing relationships, establishing trust.  It’s about communicating that unforgettable core message about your freelance copywriting brand that your fellow networkers HEAR and REMEMBER so that when a copywriter is needed, it’s YOU they remember to refer. It’s about being the answer to their financially driven prayers, their problem solver.  You want it to be your business card they’re fumbling through their briefcase looking for. THAT’s what you want. That’s why you network.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have people lining up to work with you, people willing to wait until you have an availability to work on their project?

I’ll answer for you. Hell yeah!

Now, let’s talk about “the how.”

How do you virtually guarantee that networking leads to continued success for your freelance copywriting business? Answer: You Prepare.

 STEP 1 – Find Out Who’s Attending the Event – The ultimate purpose of networking is to build your business. While, as you will learn later, anyone can be a great referral source, you still want to make a point of talking with people whose businesses are complimentary to your freelance copywriting business.  For example, that graphic designer on the list of attendees, the ad agency owner or the digital marketing manager may have overflow work for you in the near future.  Of course, this is certainly not something you will bring up at the event. However, it is a subject for which you should be well-prepared to discuss for as long as they like, if they bring it up.  Since, in all likelihood, everyone will be wearing name tags, it probably won’t be too hard to spot them. Often, networking hosts ask that you write your company name on your tag as well.

If the event has a website, check it out to see if there is a picture of the person and send it to your phone or print it and tuck it away somewhere.  Try to find out a little about their business, so you can make meaningful commentary (one or two points only; don’t be over-the-top).  Read their reason for attending the function, if it’s posted, so that your contribution to the conversation can stay within those parameters.

STEP 2 – Craft Your 15-second Promise – Some people refer to this brief description of your business as the “elevator pitch.”  This introduction is something you share with business people you meet when they ask you what your business is about or what you do.  I prefer to call this story a “15-second promise.”   The most efficient way to tell your story is to include your freelance business’s brand promise in the spiel.  Your brand promise is what all of your customers experience when they work with you.  It’s why your customers like working with you.  It identifies what potential customers should expect from all transactions with you.  Your brand promise is who you are.

The other component of the 15-second promise is a very streamlined, four-sentence case story, featuring a true statistic that highlights the way your copywriting improved a client’s business. Stories are compelling. They give the listener a visual.  It’s provable, and it says to the listener, “that could happen to your business if you stick with me.”

When you sit down to develop your brand promise, keep in mind, it must be: clear, compelling, concise and credible.

Hi Stacey, my name is Ron. I am a graphic designer. What do you do? 

Hi Ron. I write marketing material that helps companies attract customers. For example, I crafted a brochure for a day care center that helped them increase their enrollment by 100% in a couple of months. And then the city forced the school to create a waiting list.

STEP 3 – Ask Good Open-Ended questions, Listen While You Let Them Talk – This simply means asking questions that begin with “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” or “how.”  The idea is to generate a conversation that demonstrates to the person that you are interested in hearing about them.  Ask them, “How can I help you?”  and “What can I do for you?” They will get around to asking about you.  The best way to learn more is to let them talk.  The more they talk, the more you learn how you can help them, or the more you learn about ways their business and/or who they know complements your freelance copywriting business goals.  Don’t pre-judge.  Sometimes you discover invaluable things. They may know just the type of person you’ve been looking to connect with.  You never know who another person knows or what they know just by looking at them.

STEP 4  – Write a Memory-Jogging Note on the Back of Their Business Card – After the event, you will follow-up with all the people you met that day.  While at the event, casually jot down notes on the backs of the business cards you receive. Write something that will help you remember who that person is.  Write something you can insert in an email that will show them they made an impression on you, perhaps something they said or alluded to.

STEP 5  – Follow-up that Night  – After the event, take an hour or two, while the event is still fresh in your mind.  Open a file with the function date, the name and place of the function and create a spreadsheet for it.  On that spreadsheet, add the contact information from each of the business cards. Go to their about page or linkedin page and copy a picture onto your spreadsheet to help you remember them months afterwards.  Also on the spread sheet, add the notes that you jotted down on the backs of their business cards.  Add any more information  that you recall them mentioning, particularly the answer(s) they gave when you asked “how can I help you…”  Then write a “Nice to Meet You” email to the people with whom you made contact.  Add a brief piece of info from the card (not everything you remember)  into your email so that it has a natural sounding flow and does not sound staged when you read it aloud to yourself.  Every email should be original. Do not use a boilerplate email. Someone at the event may forward your email to someone else you met.  You don’t want that next person to see that they weren’t important enough for you to take five minutes to come up with an original thought.

STEP 6  – Reach Out 6-8 Weeks Later  – Six to eight weeks after the event, send something complimentary, non-solicitous, that could help them with their business or with their copywriting.  Remember, your spreadsheet will have notes about them and about areas where they need.  Take an hour or so (as part of your marketing schedule) and go through mailings or postings you’ve received that include webinars that may interest them or some other function that may help them with their business.  Go through your emails to see if someone asked you to refer someone with their expertise and make an email introduction.  This will come back ten-fold!   At the conclusion of your email, you can say , if they have any questions, they can email or call you.  The idea is to stay fresh in their minds – in their minds as that helpful writer they met.

Networking is a great, low-cost marketing approach for building your business and expanding a client base for freelance copywriters, making this career a rewarding journey. However,  like anything, you have to work it.  And, as far as my experience has shown me, it is certainly one of the best ways, if not, the best way to build your freelance business.   It works, but you have to do it consistently.  Make it a regular part of your marketing strategy if you want to get serious about freelance copywriting.  You will see the fruits of your labor.  I’ve seen the benefits of networking.  I’ve had waiting lists of my own as a result of networking, to the point where I needed to take a hiatus from networking because I got a bit overwhelmed with incoming work.  Do it wrong and you’ll miss. Do it right and you’ll hit.

 

BONUS: Below are Links to Three Trusted Sites You Can Use to Find Networking Events:

Meetup is the world’s largest network of local groups.

LinkedIn is a business-related social networking site

Eventbrite features an increasing amount of free networking events.

P.S.   Want to learn about networking? Learn how to network so that you get great results from it and feel authentically yourself the whole time.  World-renowned Fabienne Fredrickson shares ALL of her secrets in The Secrets of Master Networkers Manual.


P.P.S. Fabienne Fredrickson, The Client Attraction Mentor, is founder of the Client Attraction System®, the proven step-by-step program that shows you exactly how to attract more clients, in record time…guaranteed. To get your F.R.E.E. Audio CD by mail and receive her weekly marketing & success mindset articles on attracting more high-paying clients and dramatically increasing your income, enter your email address below right away.

Free Training Call Tonight (February 22nd) – Attract All the High-Paying Clients You Need

This phenomenal training call is brought to you by Fabienne Fredrickson, the founder of Client Attraction. 

For those of you who don’t know, Client Attraction has been ranked by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing private companies for 2011! And it’s identified among the Top 100 for fastest-growing women-owned companies.

 

Join Fabienne Fredrickson tomorrow – FREE tele-training on how to quickly attract all the high-paying clients you need- http://bit.ly/wfVn6w

Get That Freelance Copywriting Business Off the Ground Already

How successful you will be as a freelance copywriter is determined by how committed you are to making it happen.  Your first priority is get that this is not a hobby.  If it is a hobby, that’s fine, and you really don’t need to read this post.  If you are freelancing for a living or to help make ends meet, you must look at this like a business . . . because that’s exactly what it is.  Lots of money can be made, but if you don’t take it seriously, and realize that your time is money, then the level of income you bank will match the level of focus you commit.

Create a Schedule

The next thing you need to recognize is that everything has the potential to take longer than you plan for it to take.  Consider this as you allot time for items in your schedule.  Whether you freelance on a part-time basis or a full-time basis, all of the necessary activities get included in your schedule, including your marketing activities.  Each of your educational or marketing activities should be represented in your calendar with specificity.  Don’t just enter “marketing.”  These activities can include article marketing, cold calling, Tweeting, Linkedin, Facebook for business, attending offline networking functions, blogging, speaking engagements, trade conferences, instructional/industry webinars,  teleconferences, etc.).

Make every effort to only deviate from your schedule if you need the time to work on a project. Monitor and measure your marketing results. If one marketing strategy is working, employ it more than the ones that are not working or that are not as effective.

Start Building Your Portfolio

Each time you finalize a piece of work for a client, grab a copy and add it to your portfolio (and you should be building a portfolio online and offline).  These are your credentials.  Show them off.  If you have nothing to put into a portfolio, create your own marketing materials and add them to your portfolio.  Your own website, if you  created it, is a credential.  Start writing and publishing articles about your niche market. This takes about one to two hours, depending on how involved you get in the subject matter.  Publish these articles to popular online article directories, e.g., goarticles.com and ezinearticles.com.  Post these articles to your own site as well.

Distribute a Press Release

The business world loves niches.  This is not to say that you can only write for your niche market, because, quite frankly, a talented copywriter can adapt, learn and write for any market.   But since niche markets are easier to leverage, let’s concentrate our efforts on them.  So, if you have chosen a niche market and you are one of the few specialist in this area, or if you uncover some unique and marketable skill in this area that you have that others do not, write an SEO press release letting your target market know that you exist and where they can find you.  Submit it online to free or for-profit press release distribution sites.

Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Etc.

This is called “social” media for a reason.  Be there.  If you are going to set up automated Tweets for example, and never appear on Twitter, what’s the point of having a Twitter account for your business. That’s not marketing.  Marketing online is about being social. It’s about building relationships. It’s about building trust.  Your potential clients and potential referral sources cannot establish rapport with an automated gizmo.  If you plan to use these tools to enhance your business, but you want to do so in an automated way, you may want to rethink their function and purpose.

As to networking on Linkedin, join a few groups and initiate discussions or offer comments on discussions.  Be seen.  Be heard.  Become a familiar face on your social networks.  Success follows Trust. Trust follows familiarity . . .  It’s a process, but it won’t work if you don’t work it.

Be Easy to Find and Easy to Reach

Make sure all your information is on every marketing tool you use. It should prominently be on your website, in your email signature, on all of your social media accounts.  Also, make sure that you have a dedicated phone service, or virtual phone service to get calls that you are unable to answer when they come in.  Lastly, set up some way of automatically responding to email inquiries that come in.  Then make sure you check your emails regularly so you can respond promptly.  People are not going to wait for you forever.  Yet, they are inclined to wait a little bit, if you have some mechanism to temporarily address their inquiry in a professional (not personal) way, elements of good customer service.

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Everyone Around You Should Know This is Your Job

By “everyoneˮ I mean, your children, their friends, your neighbors, and if you work, your co-workers.  Other people tend not to take the freelancer’s time very seriously. You have to gently, but firmly, make sure they get it.  Set aside time to handle your freelance work (whether it is writing a project or handling an administrative task like repairing your hard drive with your computer geek.  Once you set this time aside, everyone has to respect it.  Your neighbors can’t drop by for coffee to chat.  Your kid’s friend can’t pick your brain about and issue he is having with his mom.  If you have a day job, but do this at lunch time, don’t coffee clutch just because a co-worker wants to share the latest gossip.  This is your time, your professional time. You would not do this (I hope) to your employer if you worked for someone else, so don’t do it to yourself.

Work Administrative Tasks Into Your Routine

There aren’t many of us out here who enjoy reconciling invoices, tracking accounts receivables, filing research printouts, cleaning our email inboxes, but it has to get done.  When you let these responsibilities pile up, they can hamper your progress, because the stress that knowing it needs to get done can weigh on your mind.  Make them a part of your regular weekly schedule and deal with them a little at a time.

Offline Networking Works Well Too

Don’t sleep on offline networking.  Very often, when people physically see the small business owner they are considering delegating their copywriting project to, the trust factor is expedited and the bond gels at a faster rate than it does online. This is especially important when you are new at this.  Once the initial word of mouth has momentum, the trust element will later transfer over to your online business which, itself, will then pick up speed.

I highly recommend joining a serious business networking groups, like BNI, or your local Chamber of Commerce or a resourceful Meetup group (not just any Meetup group). These are just some of the many, many networking groups out there.

These groups have meetings where, as a member or guest, you will have an opportunity to give do an elevator pitch or a presentation about your freelance copywriting business. Once they get to know you and your work product, members will begin hiring you and recommending you to their friends.

You Simply Need to Just Go For It

A freelance practice is within your reach. I started my business by just going for it.  I bought two books, read them cover to cover and just went for it!  And I haven’t looked back.  If you consistently work this business, success will follow, but you have to be willing to continue marketing your freelance practice, even when you have a full roster of clients.

 

Good luck!

 

Stacey Mathis

P.S.  These two books I read to start my business were: The Copywriter’s Handbook, Third Edition: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells and Start & Run a Copywriting Business.