I am forever trying to simplify marketing and self-promotion for creative professionals who don’t really want to do it in the first place. So if you read Part 1 in this series, Top 3 Marketing Tools for 2019, you will remember that I boldly proposed that in the new year, you will only need 3 marketing tools to attract your dream clients.
The key is to use these 3 tools together, by connecting the dots and getting your message in front of the same people, over and over and via multiple media. That’s what establishes the trust required for them to choose you, when the timing is right, over all the other designers who are just a click away.
Still, even with such a simplified online marketing plan, you have some decisions to make, including which formats are best to deliver your messages and what the actual substance is.
For format, it’s best to start with the basic content marketing tools: a blog and an email “newsletter” (a regular message sent via email to a list of people you know and/or who know you) and blogging.
You may be wondering about the difference between an email newsletter and a blog.
First of all, the differences between them have nothing to do with the actual content. It’s not as if there is “blog” content and “email” content — at least, not in my opinion. You can (and I often do) deliver the same material in both my blog and my email newsletter, Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor — I hope you do too. Otherwise, you’re missing out on content opportunities!
However, in terms of effectiveness, there is a big difference in these two hubs of online marketing: a blog is categorized as “pull marketing” — you have to pull them to it or they have to find it on their own and email is categorized as “push marketing” — you push it to them.
“Pull” can be effective but it takes excellent search engine optimization.
“Push” is more effective because it gives you more control over what you push and to whom.
But the most important distinction between the two is the style of communication: blogging is general and public, while email is intimate and personal. In other words, I love email because I can send it directly to you. It shows up in your inbox (and hopefully you see it), which gives me a chance to speak to you in the first person, about something I know you’ll recognize, whether it’s a problem you have or a situation you face. That’s the only reason you’ll give it a tiny bit of your precious attention.
Even when I send the same email message to you and many other people, if I do it right, you will each hear it as if I’m talking only to you. That’s my goal and I consider it the highest of compliments when someone tells me it’s as if I am whispering in their ear.
So which should you do?
If you can only do one online marketing piece, start with an email newsletter because it gives you more control over who sees it. And don’t worry if you don’t have a big “list” to send it to. More is not better! Aim for quality prospects and build slowly. You don’t need thousands. Just a handful of high-quality prospects you are trying to establish a relationship with.
Next question: what goes in your email newsletter and/or your blog?
There are many approaches to choose from for the actual content, but the common denominator should be that it’s not about you or even what you know.
Here’s what I mean. The first ideas designers usually have for content consists of what you know about what you do: typefaces, color, layout, etc. This comes naturally to you. These are the content ideas that you could easily develop.
Better, however, is what I call “bat-signal” content, which is what you know about your ideal clients pain points, their challenges and their struggles. Instead it’s about your clients and what you know they’re struggling with. It’s relevant and useful information to them.
That’s what attracts them to you in the first place and makes them see that you get it! That you get them. You know their pain.
This can a tricky shift to make to your mindset and it takes time. Be patient with yourself.