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?


Lisa Vella said...

Good for you, Kim! You are always doing what it takes to find success. I hope all is going well with the moving process too. That's a huge job in itself! Good luck with it all!

Kimberly Ben said...

Thanks, Lisa. Things are chaotic right now, but I think I can focus much better once we've moved and gotten settled in our new city.

Lori said...

Letters of introduction. A gal on my blog introduced the idea, and it was like a palm slap to the forehead. Why hadn't I been doing that?

The key to it all is follow up, which I'm not the strongest at, but I'm getting better. I schedule it for Fridays now. :)

Kimberly Ben said...

Sending out letters of introduction is a good idea. I've been slacking on follow up too lately. I like your idea of setting aside a day to get it done.

Susan said...

Hi Kim,

Actually what I tend to use and have been really surprised by the results is LinkedIn -- I put up detailed info (current/past projects), contact info, a link to my web page, and several clients have found me rather than the reverse.

I also get a lot of projects by reaching out to past clients (here is an updated CV). I don't know why this did not occur to me in the past.

I do the send out email letters of intro, but I do that perhaps one time per year.

I would really like to see how social media works out for you, as in whether you get work and projects (I'm playing around with it, although whether it will ever equal work --who knows).

Enjoyed the post! I really had no idea how much there would be way too much work and then small amounts of work before freelancing. I am always interested to know what other freelancers are doing during the down times.

Kimberly Ben said...

Hi Susan,

You know I've had good experience with LinkedIn in the past, but I haven't been working it like I should. Thank you for the reminder.

I've gotten a couple of nice gigs from Twitter. I don't use Facebook for business (I'm pretty sure I have every privacy setting activated that I can think of on there). I once had a writer pass along a client to me on Twitter that she couldn't work with because of a busy schedule.

I'm sending off my direct mail package tomorrow, but I have received a couple of new clients in the past week and a half since increasing my marketing efforts.

Susan said...

Hi Kim,

I'm very new to even using twitter. Do you have suggestions as to how you found gigs/projects using twitter? Thanks

Kimberly Ben said...

I didn't have a clear strategy Susan. I only got a couple of projects - one was a paid opportunity to work on web content for a twin parenting website after tweeting back and forth with the owner (he was excited to learn I was also the parent of twins). The other project (a series of projects) came from a former client who was new to Twitter and after reconnecting with me happened to ask if I was available to handle some projects. I also received a project from another writer via Twitter direct mail who was too busy to handle a her client and suggested my services ( I thought it was really nice of her).

Honestly I've received more projects and inquiries through LinkedIn, but I haven't been utilizing that resource in quite some time. I really need to create a social media strategy.

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