How freelancers and consultants can keep our marketing muscle toned up
Lately I’ve been in marketing mode for my freelance writing practice, which reminds me of lessons I’ve relearned (alas) repeatedly: Marketing is easiest when I establish and maintain momentum.
Some people establish a regular weekly schedule. For instance, they mark off Monday mornings on their calendar and consistently market on that day only from 9 till noon.
That’s consistent but it wouldn’t work for me. I need day-to-day consistency to keep my marketing muscle toned.
Here are four guidelines I’ve established for myself and attempt to stick with as much as possible.
First, get a strong start. Whether phoning, emailing, postal mailing or engaging in strategic social marketing, it takes time to enjoy first results, whether in the form of requests for proposals or even nailing down assignments. So if I start a campaign with large numbers of activities the first few days, I begin to see encouraging results before my fatigue and blahs kick in.
I remind myself that I want to hear from those I reach out to right away, but I am lower on their priority list than they are on mine, especially if they didn’t do the first reach-out. But reason can give way to discouragement as the hours tick by. So I need a lot of activity at the start.
Second, I favor making a few contacts every day rather than a larger number on a weekly or even more scattered basis. Marketing doesn’t seem to rise to the top of my to-do list because it isn’t a promise to a client or other outside party. No one gets on my case if I don’t get it done, so I’m inclined to let the bigger self-assignments slide.
The longer the interval between efforts, the more I need to reacquaint myself with what I’m doing. This may mean refreshing my memory on where I am identifying people to contact, how to research them, what to say or write, and in general, simply rebuilding speed.
When I turn off the treadmill, I’ve got to start out slow again before I can return to last week’s speed.
Third, I try to do each day’s follow-up that very same day. This includes recording any notes on who I contacted, phone numbers, email addresses and other pertinent data. When I put this off and try to interpret my scrawled notes, it’s a miserable chore.
And the more I put it off, the more miserable the chore becomes. Until sometimes I can’t remember quite what I was doing and take shortcuts in record maintenance.
Also, I respond to requests for information (but not customized proposals or price quotes) within the hour. Of course I’m working with copy I’ve already written, so all I have to do is review it to make sure it fits the receiver in all particulars and send it on its way.
Then I note in my Franklin Planner when I should follow up with a phone call or email.
How steadily I can adhere to these three pieces of advice depends on the rest of my schedule. It also depends on the quality of my prospecting list—when it takes substantial time to research people to contact, it’s only natural to make a smaller number of outreach efforts per day.
If we are already busy with assignments or other responsibilities, we must adjust the marketing demands we place upon ourselves or we’ll become frustrated and beat up on ourselves despite all our hard work.
Now for piece of advice number 4: The most important step in marketing is to do something! Reach out now!
Daydreaming doesn’t get the job done. Nor does endless planning inside our heads. Which is essentially the same thing as daydreaming.