Monday, June 20, 2011

Freelance Writers: Uncover Your Profit Potential

It’s my second week of summer break and I’m knee in a couple of client projects and a mass marketing frenzy while also trying to squeeze in a couple of personal writing projects and acting as referee to four hot, irritable kids. Good times…

Before I lose it completely, I wanted to give you a heads up on a new webinar: Writers Uncover Your Hidden Profit Potential. Today is the last day to receive an 11% discount so if you’re freelance writing business is stalled or you want to know how to kick off your freelancing career on the right foot, these are the ladies to learn from. Have a productive and profitable day!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Anticipate Lulls in Your Business and Plan Accordingly

he summer months tend to be slow for my business. I’ve been marketing on a fairly steady basis, but that’ not good enough when I anticipate business slowing down, and I know it. I should have planned to increase my marketing efforts earlier. It’s not like the lulls my business experiences aren’t fairly predictable.

No use beating my head against a brick wall over it now – what’s done is done. Now I need to move ahead and ramp it up. I’m putting a few ideas into action.

Email queries

I’ve had some pretty good luck with email queries in the past. A couple of months ago I signed up for a paid webinar about email marketing. I felt the investment was worth it. I used the instructor’s tips to revise my standard email query letter (I use a standard format but tweak it as necessary). After doing this I got an immediate response from a California company asking if I’d consider working with them as an employee instead of freelancing, so I think the webinar instructor’s tips were pretty spot on. I’m going to commit to researching companies and sending out a certain number of queries every day.

Direct mail campaign

Earlier this year I came up with an idea to reach out to a certain local market here in Atlanta. My idea has profit potential, but I need to buckle down, get started and set a deadline. This is actually an ideal time for me to launch a direct mail campaign. I’m redesigning my brochures, drafting a sales letter, and choosing samples to mail as a package.

Utilize the local phone book

My family and I will soon be relocating to another state. I grew up in the city we’re moving to and know that the people there like dealing with other locals when it comes to business. I’ve been following Anne Wayman’s super duper marketing series for freelance writers and her post about using the phone book to find clients stood out. I’ve been spending some of my down time thumbing through it to find ripe markets to target.

Utilize Social Media

I’ve been using Twitter to get exposure for a new blog project I’m working on, but I’ve done very little my writing services. I need to participate and engage other in conversation more.

When you need to drum up business, what techniques do you employ?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Educating Difficult Clients

A writer friend of mine has been having trouble with a new client. She was hired to write web copy and supporting marketing material (brochures, etc). The client is ready to send over the down payment and signed agreement, but my friend is having trouble getting the client to focus on a target market.

The client doesn’t understand why it’s so important and is annoyed with the writer’s insistence that they focus on this detail first. The client wants her web copy and other materials yesterday. My writer friend is beyond frustrated. “She just doesn’t get it, Kim. I feel like we keep having the same discussion over and over. I can’t get her to understand how important it is to focus her marketing message.”

I think most of us have worked with this type of client before. In my experience this client doesn’t really understand marketing. They just want you to write something amazing that will result in more business. It just doesn’t occur to them that there is a process involved. They over simplify the services and value we provide.

In my experience, getting a client to understand the importance of something like focusing their marketing message on a target audience involves quite a bit of education. In the past the time I spent educating and convincing a client to provide me with necessary information was much more than the time I’d allotted for research and writing.

My friend, however, is much smarter than I am. She asks lots and lots of questions in the very beginning – before she sends out her agreement or accepts down payment. She sends interested prospective clients a questionnaire to complete first, and they discuss it in detail by phone – because one question often leads to another. This gives her a much better idea of what she’s dealing with and she adjusts her contract and payment accordingly.

Thankfully she saw the signs early on that this client would require more time to help her understand the basics of marketing. She very wisely included a certain amount of consultation time and included it in her rate. And just like that I’ve learned something new from this writer that I will apply to my own freelance writing business.

Even though we are writers, we may from time to time be called upon to provide professional consultation. The knowledge we possess is valuable. Do you give it away freely, or offer fee-based consultation in addition to the writing services you provide?
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