Articles about Marketing
It's time to get your Marketing skills leveled up! The newest video in the Best Year Ever series covers the marketing basics to help you get your company out there and noticed!
People can't buy from you unless they know you exist and that you have what they want. How does that happen? Marketing, that's how! Jump into the video and get started marketing your business.
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When you stop to think about ways to grow your businesses and increase profits, you probably think first about how to get new clients. I propose an easier path.
Over the last four years, most of the growth in my business has come from selling to the clients I already have! I don't have to go from cold to sold because I've already established trust. I know their brands. I know their cultures. I know their communication style (for better or for worse).
And the devil you know is better than the devil you don't. Here are two tips to help you sell more to your current and past clients.
This week's money making idea isn't mine, and it also doesn't come from Nate's or Jon's impressive brain. They heard this idea at LessConf back in April from a guy who works for a large DNS management company. He told them that he writes long, personal, and goofy emails to prospective clients.
"But people don't read long emails," you might be thinking.
"And people don't like to be stalked online."
"And you have to be uber-professional when you're reaching out to high-dollar clients. Being funny can only get you so far."
Until I heard the DNS guy's stories, I would have agreed with you. The email equivalent of a cold call would seem like a long-shot.
Yet the guy had landed huge contracts this way.
Courting clients works!
And the more I delved into the concept, the more punch-me-in-the-face obvious it became.
If you'd asked me four years ago about the most valuable thing in business, I probably would have answered, "Expertise." Now I know that it's something quite different.
Back in 2009 after a six-month stint at a marketing firm (and subsequent layoff), I was all too aware of what I didn't know. Why would someone hire me to handle their marketing? That would be like hiring Macaulay Culkin to run your life. (Okay, okay, low blow.)
Yet hire me they did. Why?
I know some creative professionals who have a strong reaction against the idea of a sales management system.
If they start paying more attention to their prospects, meetings, proposals, and sales, then they will immediately morph into a greaseball in a plaid suit selling clunkers, right?
Rest assured, you can become good at sales without using extra pomade.
For creative professionals, talking about a sales funnel is like farting in polite company. How gauche, right?
So let's not talk about sales funnels. Let's talk about making sure that you have a Trust Magnet: an entry-level product or service that poses minimal financial risk to clients. Notice that I didn't use the word "cheap." We're talking about creating a low, or inexpensive, barrier for entry and giving people a taste of what it's like to work with you.
Trust is the true currency of business. Even if a faithful client referred your new prospect, you still need to build trust by empathizing with his or her problems and improvising a solution.
Let me share one scenario with you. I have a friend who is a financial planner. If his firm manages your assets, they take a 1% commission each year. If you want them to architect a financial plan for you and find management elsewhere, they charge $250/hour. Both of these figures represent a significant investment from the outset, and thus a very high barrier for entry.
One of the questions that people ask me most often is this: How do I get more business? The long answer would fall in the realm of marketing and would thus require a book-length manuscript. I'll content myself with brevity for once.
Most of my new business comes through referrals, and I attribute these referrals to "the art of the casual connection."
Trae Bailey is one of those creative individuals who is always up to something interesting. He serves as a Second Lieutenant with the Army National Guard. He's a freelance marketer, and he's currently organizing a speakers' bureau. He will man your booth or your merch table at a conference and help you sell more stuff than you dreamed possible.
Several weeks ago, Trae thought that I'd enjoy meeting an app developer in Indiana, so he went out of his way to connect us. That's the kind of person Trae is.
I was thrilled when he joined Kicktastic in October and when he later agreed to share his thoughts on connecting with mentors. I hope you enjoy these insights from Trae... .
One of the best pieces of business wisdom that I have ever learned came from Andrew, a veteran copywriter whose companies specialized in marketing for pharmaceuticals companies.
Soon after I got laid off from my job at a marketing firm, a mutual friend agreed to set up the meeting. In preparation for it, I updated my portfolio and felt very bold in choosing my new freelancing rate: $40 an hour.
I believed that the quality of my work would speak for itself.
$40 an hour was over twice as much as I had been earning per hour in my salaried position, including benefits, but the firm where I had worked sold my services for $85 an hour. As a freelancer, I could offer the same product for half the price. Surely clients accustomed to paying $85 an hour would be eager to get twice as much for the same price—or the same project for 1/2 of the cost.
Andrew looked at my writing samples, while my heart fluttered in my chest, and then after asking me about my hourly rate, he asked if he could give me some unsolicited advice.
What he said next floored me...
My wife and I went on vacation recently, and a pool float reminded of the importance of creative packaging.
A basic adult-length pool float of the sort that dumps you into the water as often as it holds you up will set you back about $3. At Winn-Dixie that same float already filled with air costs twice as much. An employee earning $8 an hour probably spent one minute per float with an air compressor, and this simple service enables the grocery store to double its profit on each float—an extra $180 for every 60 floats that leave the premises.
Wow. That's a lot of money in exchange for $8 and air, but the air, of course, represents convenience. Many people on vacation are more than happy to spend $3 to not have to blow up a float.
Even those of us who don't own grocery stores have something to learn here: for a minimal expense you can often tweak the presentation or packaging of your products and services and dramatically increase their perceived value.
I intentionally left an important insight out of my last post: people don’t change until it hurts worse to stay the same. They might hear a piece of great advice for small businesses, such as implementing first fruits, but actually hearing and doing are two different things.
And it’s the doing that’s most important. To that end, I have outlined below what I call the Make It Hurt system.
Sounds appealing, right?
Humor me with a quick thought exercise and consider what you stand to gain by using the system. If you’re like most of the people I know, you’ve got at least one or two skunkworks secrets rattling around in your gourd. I’m not talking about fire-extinguishing tasks and activities that you must address to stay afloat and pay your bills, but non-urgent projects that might fall under “Business Development."
Perhaps you're familiar with this maxim: "The cobbler's children have no shoes." Many freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners share the cobbler’s problem and leave their businesses barefoot. In this post, I will share some advice for small businesses that has the power to change your life.
Most freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners have the best of intentions and the worst of execution.
Do you ever find yourself making excuses about why you haven't finished an important but non-urgent task or project?