Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fun With Naomi & Havi

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of "attending" Naomi Dunford and Havi Brooks' "This Whole Recession Thing and What You're Going to Do About It" teleseminar. I have to be honest and tell you I wasn't going to attend because I'm not really freaking out about the recession. Do I wish things were better? Yes, but I'm doing okay and feel pretty confident. Naomi and Havi were offering their business expertise at such a low rate (under 20 bucks!) that I just couldn't say no.
I found it encouraging and uplifting. Naomi's straight forward way of explaining things goes so well with Havi's "get-in-touch-with-your-inner-self" style. A lot of what they shared was really common sense, but I don't think anyone would argue that common sense goes right out the window in the midst of a panic; and let's face it – a lot of people are panicking. I did walk away with some really good advice that I hope to put into practice.

Don't be like everyone else

During this down time, now as people tighten their purses it's more important than ever to stand out and be different from the crowd. Don't set up the same old bland writer's website like everyone else (ehem, I am guilty of this…) and do what you can to stand out when marketing your services too.

Stop being afraid of marketing

I've said it here before, when you're first getting started, or don't have enough clients, you'll spend about 80 percent of your time marketing. Naomi confirmed this number last night. Yes, that's a lot, but it also shows just how important consistently marketing your services really is.
Don't be afraid of marketing – it's not the same as hard sales. When you're on Twitter, on forums, sending out emails or tweaking your website make sure people out there know what you do.

When it comes to existing clients who haven't been advertising as much these days, consider contacting them with a personal message to touch base and say hello. Depending on your relationship, you might even consider reaching out to them and asking if everything is okay. If they are having problems affording your services right now, you might even consider renegotiating your rate for a limited time letting them know that although you don't normally do it, you really want to maintain your working relationship and help them reach their business goals.

This solution isn't for everyone. The most important thing when marketing is to find something you like doing and stick with it.

Include an FAQ on your website

I was going back and forth with this one and had just decided against doing it until attending the seminar last night. Gah! Now guess what I'll be working on this weekend? Naomi suggested doing a bit of research to find out what the top questions are that people online have about your business. Then make sure to answer it in your FAQ's.

There were lots more precious gems tossed around of course, but I'm staying mum hoping that if Naomi and Havi offer another opportunity like this one, you'll jump on it.:-)

As Naomi said in closing, recessions always end. The important thing right now is to use this downtime to plan and position yourself NOW to reap the benefits fully when things turn around.


Devon Ellington said...

I think you have to be really, really careful if you offer to lower rates that this is a one-time offer and not your new rate with them.

Because they won't want to pay your normal rate later, even when things are better, and some will start to wonder if they've overpaid you before.

When the utility company, the phone company, the landlord, and the credit card companies lower their rates to me, I'll consider lowering my rates to customers. But as long as those bills stay the same, I can't afford to cut back on my rates. It's too often taken as a statement that our work and skills aren't worth enough.

Kimberly Ben said...

Devon, I agree with you to a degree - you certainly can't go making that offer to every client. I know this idea is not popular for many writers. I even scrunched up my face when I heard them mention it last night; but they made a point of emphasizing that this should only be offered to a certain client experiencing a tough time. This would be a client that you have a very good working relationship with, who would understand that you're making a sacrafice to help them through a temporary rough patch.

I can't emphasize enough that this is not something every writer can do. You have to consider it carefully. I offered my existing clients a discount on a certain writing service for November and December 2008. I made it clear that it was only for those two months. Period. I had no problems with going back to regular rates when January rolled around. You do have a valid point that should be carefully considered before someone makes that kind of offer. You need to know which clients deserve this kind of offer. I personally consider it a last resort.

Lori said...

Yes, lowering across the board is a bad practice. When the economy recovers, good luck selling your higher rates to existing clients, I say.

I'm thinking a one-time "sale" or discount is okay, but it can't be something you do regularly or people will begin to view you at the lower price. And frankly those who are thinking about price aren't really your customers.

I love the FAQ idea. What to put on one? I know they always want to know about rates and what to expect.

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