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Friday, January 04, 2013

Your Online Marketing Kit

What's on the iPod: The Last Time by Taylor Swift
marketing, freelance, writing

Well, 2013 is starting slow, but I see looming a ton of potential projects that, if they all are assigned, could have me scrambling for extra hours in the day. Right now, I'm working on one article and a few small PR projects, which is a good way to ease back into the working world after the holiday hiatus.

New month, new theme. This month we'll be looking at online marketing and networking. If you're overlooking this type of marketing, you're missing out big time. Clients -- even the less tech-savvy of them -- want instant information on who they work with. Not only that, there's a big advantage to being in front of a potential client when she decides it's time to hire a freelancer. You get that by being connected and engaged. (For this post, I'm going to refrain from talking about email marketing, which deserves its own post.)

Before you launch an all-out blitz of social media, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, online marketing via social media isn't about how many times a day you can advertise your name or your business. In fact, that's the fastest way to lose the largest number of potential clients. What works in the real-time media world doesn't translate well online. Sure, you can advertise, but the goal is different.

The goal is to engage the client and build a relationship long before they hire you.

Second, it's also important whom it is you're reaching. I could tweet all day about how great my writing services are, but if my followers are other writers or single dads/moms, what do they care? One group will get sick of hearing how special I think I am (and that will kill my reputation as a colleague) and the other will ignore me.

So let's build an online marketing kit.

Know what social media you'll use. You don't have to hit all social media. There's just too much of it to do that effectively. Instead, concentrate on two or three social media sites and learn what works best in each medium.

Research the message. It's okay to put yourself out there as you are, but why not frame your tweets, Google+ posts, or Facebook pages to conform a bit to what's already getting noticed? That's not to say you can't be creative and design your own way of attracting clients. Just do it smartly. For example, if links to other sites in Twitter get more traffic than those without, try framing your message with a link to your website. Or if the opposite is true, try amending your message so that you're not driving away potential business.

Listen to your client base. They're telling you every day what they want, what they don't want, what they love, what they hate, etc. Those messages on social media are gold. Mine it for the best way to impress those clients and deliver messages to them that they'd respond to.

Choose carefully your clients. At first, you want to follow everyone in your chosen industry or anyone who needs a ghostwriter, content writer, etc. Don't. Look at the messages they've put out --are they engaging or simply reporting how special they are? Are they interacting? Are they truly potential clients? I can't tell you how many Google+ or Twitter users I see who claim to be "insurance" people when in fact they're content mills, scams, keyword vampires (my term, I hope), or someone looking to drive traffic or plant a virus. Make sure you're connecting with a person, and look for signs that the person is building or growing a business or has a legitimate need for your services.

Plan your posts. While I think most of your tweets should be conversations and not sales pitches (likewise any other social media platform), those times when you do want to put out a sales message should be carefully planned and implemented. For instance, I'd say 2 out of every 20 messages on Twitter should be advertisements. The rest should be conversation starters. What better way to engage new/existing clients than to create discussions via your posts? It starts with knowing your potential client, and then creating weekly topics that get them interacting with you. That serves you two ways -- it gets you name recognition, and it shows you're intimately involved and interested in their industry.

Follow up. Here's where you can capture more business. Know how and when you'll follow up with any potential leads. If you've been talking with them via a LinkedIn group, go ahead and send them LinkedIn mail as a continuation of any discussion you were directly engaged in together. If you were discussing a business proposition, maybe arrange a phone call or ask to send a work proposal. Use your instincts. If the lead is lukewarm, wait. If you feel genuine interest from the potential client, that's your cue to reach out more personally.

There are plenty of ways to reach out to new clients and build your reputation as not just a savvy social media user, but also a writing professional who goes a little further in learning a client's business needs before getting the job. Whatever approach you take, make sure you plan it to coincide with your clients' potential needs.

What goes into your online marketing kit?


Devon Ellington said...

I'm constantly honing it.

I'm debating whether to put a portfolio of different styles of pieces online.

The Jain Lazarus site has a media room. I'm debating whether or not to do one for the business writing.

I'm also thinking of doing a general author media kit along with the book-specific media kits.

I tend to have the best results with direct mail, so I'm building my local direct mail list as well.

Paula said...

I've never thought of an online marketing kit. Until now.

No wonder I love coming here - I always pick up great ideas.

Lori said...

Devon, that sounds like a good plan. Media kits are often overlooked, but we're attempting to sell our services just like any other business, so why not?

Paula, you probably already have the makings of a marketing kit -- you just don't know it. :)

Paula said...

Oh, I have a marketing kit. It's just not an online one. It's a bunch of files I send out as needed.

Carol said...

Thank you for sharing the tips on online marketing. Online marketing is a boon to all the business owners. Even I also use various types of social media as well as other sites to promote my business.
florida web marketing

Holly Burke said...

To those who are planning to build their own small advertising agency that specializes in online marketing should read this out, this will make them knowledgeable about the course. Also this will give them a step ahead to those who aren't in the web-o-sphere.

Troy Flower said...

You really have to have a good set of online marketing strategy for this year because Google announces an update to its Panda algorithm. For sure an update to this algorithm will affect a lot of internet companies.

Ethan Peppin said...

Social media has always been a tool for effective digital marketing, because of its power to influence people and at the same time, gather information. Thanks for the list!

Phillip Mario said...

Online marketing has different branches that if properly utilized then it would translate into visibility and profit. You just have to make good use of it and find new ways to be unique, to have an identity.

Monroe Rocheleau said...

It's good to follow guidelines in involving oneself to some online marketing. Just to provide proper services and satisfy the client's demand correctly and properly.

Abby Marian said...

The one thing i got from this blog post is the importance of online reputation. Building internet cred could go a long way in establishing your online marketing strategy

Quentin Warner said...

Social networking has done wonders for the visibility and traffic of online businesses. You just have to think of a way to attract the audience and possible turn them into customers. Just don't overdo, be patient 'cause it does take time to have consistent audience.

Anna Savage said...

It is a must to know the basics of online marketing kit especially to those who wanted to conquer the cyberworld. This way, they could maximize the use of this kind of methodology to promote whatever thing they've got.

Cooper Cornish said...

Thank you so much for this! Social Media has a huge contribution the the marketing kit. It's always a part of the strategy to find the people, and be right where they are.

Alex Stanley said...

There are so many ways of doing an online marketing. One of its many ways is thru social media. A lot of businesses nowadays implement this kind of strategy.

David Wilson said...

You can also do listening to your client base by establishing a good business process outsourcing for them. It's like hitting two birds with one stone: you present both marketing strategies that you and your client do, though you should be more careful for having both names.

Bernard Appleby said...

Good point putting some emphasis on listening to the audience. That's a solid reason why most marketing campaigns (sometimes, even the contests and raffles) don't work; the marketers get so caught up in the outcome that they forget to take the target demographic into account.

Jessica said...

First rated blog! I'd like to add. I prefer using Pinterest for brand awareness. The image-sharing site Pinterest has been constantly in the news for the last few months. At first glance, the site seems to be nothing more than a place to share photos of shoes, recipes and crafting ideas arranged on aesthetically-pleasing Pinboards. Best Wishes!!

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