Have you ever tried to promote your web-writing services only to have your efforts fall flat? The people you connect with don’t see the need for your services. Or worse, they ignore your marketing efforts altogether.
It’s frustrating, right?
Fortunately, there’s a marketing strategy that helps you reach more people, and it instantly changes the way your prospects see you.
The idea is simple. Instead of marketing your services directly, plan events your target audience will find appealing and then direct your energy to promoting those events.
Here’s why it works…
When you promote your services directly, it will only work if the prospect is either already highly aware of who you are, what you do, and how you can solve his problems, or if he’s at a moment of peak need. Gene Schwartz first wrote about the concept of “customer awareness” in Breakthrough Advertising. Mark Ford and John Forde wrote more about how to use the idea in Great Leads: The Six Easiest Ways to Start Any Sales Message.
On the other hand, when you plan and promote events, you do an end-run on these limitations. Through your events, you can sell to people who don’t know who you are, don’t understand what you’re selling, and don’t realize — yet — how much you can help them. And for those who do see a need for your services, but don’t have a current need, you begin establishing your credibility and building a relationship with them. That way, when they do have a need, they’ll contact you first.
Start by choosing events that make sense for you and the clients you want to land
For me, it makes sense to offer reasonably priced workshops. My schedule in the upcoming months includes workshops that cover sales pages and letters, in-house websites, attracting ideal customers, selling more to existing customers, standing out in the crowd, email newsletters, laying the foundation for a solid email presence, getting news coverage, setting a marketing budget, finding out if your ads are working, video marketing, and relationship marketing.
When I chose these topics, I started out with subjects I wanted to teach, but that might also attract the types of business people that might hire me.
Before I set these event topics in stone, I put an hour aside to walk downtown and visit local business owners and ask them in person what they’d like to learn about. This provided a valuable reality check. It also gave me an excuse to introduce myself and talk about what I do without directly asking for work. In turn, that made it easier for them to open up about what they needed and wanted. (Talk about marketing research gold!)
Choose your venue wisely
Once you’ve come up with several topics you have the knowledge to teach on and that will appeal to your target audience, the next step is to choose your venue and format.
If you have an attractive and professional-looking office, you can hold your events there.
If you don’t have an office, you can use the library, a bar, the local chamber of commerce, a restaurant or coffee shop, or a co-working space. When choosing, consider the overall atmosphere. Will it be distracting? Will the management and staff be cooperative and helpful? Is it easy to find? Is there enough space, or, conversely, is there too much space?
Getting people to show up is the hardest part, so I like to plan my events in places that do a good job at promoting the events they host. For example, I had a class at the chamber of commerce, and they sent an email to all of the chamber members. I’m planning my current series of classes at a place called projectY cowork Los Alamos, because they promote all of their events on their blog, on the radio, in the newspaper, and on social media.
When it comes to your event format, get creative. You can have a ribbon-cutting ceremony, a coffee klatch, a webinar, a panel discussion, a networking mixer for business owners, a hands-on workshop, a podcast, or an ice cream social. There are no rules. You’re just looking for ways to get potential customers to come to you, to learn about your expertise, and to discover the value you offer.
Get as much free press as possible
Having a calendar full of events opens up a bonanza of marketing opportunities for your business. Not only will you bring in people to your event, you’ll also create a ton of work samples in the process.
Here are a few ideas for getting your event seen without it costing you an arm and a leg…
Most newspaper editors are willing to publish articles about upcoming events, or at the very least, they’ll be willing to include it in their calendar. Be sure to get the information to the newspaper early enough so it can get published.
Call the local radio station and offer to do an interview.
Create a Facebook event page.
Write an email newsletter about it and share it on your own social media channels.
Send out postcards or invitations to businesses in your area.
Record, report, repurpose, and repeat
Record. Whether you’re hosting a fireside chat, an online seminar, or a launch party, record everything. Take lots of pictures. Get a video and audio recording of any speeches you or your guests give. Have a friend or fellow writer take pictures of your current clients and collect testimonials. Invite reporters to come and cover the story.
Report. Afterwards, submit the photos and a brief story to the local newspapers, write a blog post about it, and share the videos and photos. Doing this shows the world you have a thriving business. It also gives you an opportunity to tell people about what you do.
Repurpose. If you get a story published in the newspaper, send the clipping out to your list of prospects and clients. If you gave a speech, put the video up on YouTube. If you taught a class or a workshop, get the recording transcribed and turn it into an article or a special report. If you have a lot of pictures, use them on your website or in your newsletter. The point is there are a lot of different ways to engage your audience and your prospects. Special events have a way of generating a lot of material that can be used to build your business.
Repeat. If something works, do it again!
When you use events to promote your business, you’ll make an important shift in your marketing: Instead of knocking on doors and asking for work, you can offer something that’s valuable, informative, or entertaining… and you’ll effortlessly attract people to you and your business.