Despite what it might seem like these days – especially earlier this month when the top news story was a hacker attack taking down Twitter and Facebook – there is more to marketing than social networking.
You can reach your network and prospective contacts very effectively with e-mail. A great way to do this is through a well-written letter of introduction (also known as LOIs). These letters are commonly used by writers and are also effective for any freelancer or business owner. You can find tips for writing these letters here and here.
If you’ve already mastered marketing yourself through e-mail, how about a newsletter? This can be an especially valuable tool if you have tips to share with your readers. Here’s an example inspired by an entrepreneur profiled here. She posted a picture on Facebook of her beautifully highlighted hair and labeled it “recession hair” because she had done the color herself. The photo generated an extremely positive response. This freelancer could offer a top DIY (do it yourself) tip in a monthly e-mail newsletter. The same newsletter could also include links to her recent interviews and projects.
For all you need to know about e-mail newsletters, check out The Urban Muse. Susan Johnston ran an amazing All About E-mail week on her blog. The posts are labeled as Day 1, Day 2, etc. With Susan’s sure-handed guidance, you’ll be producing a must-read e-mail newsletter in no time.
One of the best benefits of focusing on your local community is that you can become the go-to expert in your field. It can take some networking and pavement pounding, but you can definitely achieve this goal.
- Introduce yourself to local editors. Find the names of editors at your local newspapers and/or magazines. Then introduce yourself and offer to be a source for articles. (Those LOIs will come in handy here.) If you have local TV stations, do the same thing there. Try to target editors in your industry, such as the food editor if you’re a baker.
- Look for city-specific marketing opportunities. Denver (where I currently live) is very focused on promoting and nurturing locally owned businesses. There’s a website where business owners and freelancers can list their services and/or products for free. Try an online search for your city’s name + local business to see what you can find.
- Network. In person. Networking can be one of the best ways to get your name on the lips of the locals. Many people rave about their local Chambers of Commerce. Another option to find groups is through Meetup and Likemind.
- Go door to door. Look for locally owned stores that are in or related to your industry and talk to the owners and employees. Let’s say you make gorgeous wedding cakes. Then the staff at every wedding-related store should have you top of mind when asked for cake recommendations. Local stores might let you leave your business cards or postcards advertising your services. Stick with the locals because corporate-run chains are less likely to allow you to promote your services.
This entrepreneurial marketing trilogy is just a taste of the options available to independent business owners and freelancers.
- Another fantastic resource for establishing yourself as an expert and source in your field is Help A Reporter Out (HARO). Reports will send queries asking for people to interview. If you fit their criteria, it could be an excellent way to build your credibility – and get some press in the process. Just be sure you read and understand the rules when you sign up for HARO.
- The blog and book Anti 9-to-5 Guide by Michelle Goodman is also one of my favorite freelancing resources.
- Refer back to Entrepreneurial Marketing, Part 1 and Part 2 for more tips and links.
Do you have a favorite resource? Is there a marketing strategy that’s worked for you? Please share in the comments. The floor is yours!