There’s no magic in marketing yourself as a web writer. No secret formula to attracting clients. No mystical equation that will conjure up results.
If you’ve been waiting for someone to reveal the special sauce that turns a marketing effort from mundane to magnificent, look no further. I’ll share that with you right now. But, be warned. As secrets go, it’s not very glamorous.
Successful marketing takes …
Trial and error.
And a healthy dose of persistence.
Good marketing isn’t easy. That’s the bad news. The good news is that if you’re willing to do the work, you can do it … no magic needed.
Today, I’m going to show you how you can get a full-fledged marketing plan for your web-writing business up and running in just seven days. And, I’ll give you the tips you need to keep tweaking that system until you have something that’s really working for you. Follow these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to a full client roster within the next six months.
Day One: Figure Out Your Message
The first step in developing a successful marketing plan is to figure out your message. According to Nick Usborne, many copywriters and web writers fall into the trap of tying their value to their experience. This usually leads to self-doubt and a dread of marketing, because you feel like you’re bragging about yourself and that makes most people uncomfortable.
Rather than marketing yourself as a writer with such-and-such experience and this-or-that specialty, think about what you actually do for clients that you get excited or impassioned about. For example, in Nick’s case, when he moved from traditional copywriting to online writing, his message was that you have to write differently online.
When marketing himself, Nick focused on that message rather than on himself, and it made marketing easy because it was a subject he loved.
So, on Day One, brainstorm all the different things you love about web writing, all the different ways you bring value to your client, and come up with a message that you’ll never get tired of talking about.
Day Two: Pick Your Poison
When it comes to marketing yourself, you’ve got lots of options. You can’t use every marketing strategy all at once (ever, trust me). You’ll get overwhelmed.
So pick three marketing strategies that appeal to you. For example, I use social media, blogging and guest blogging, and live networking. Other options include cold calling, direct mail, Pay-Per-Click advertising, public speaking, podcasting, and more.
All marketing can be divided into two broad categories: push strategies and pull strategies. Push strategies are when you go to your prospects and try to get their attention. Pull strategies are when your potential clients come to you because of things you’ve published or ideas you’ve shared.
If you’re just getting started and need to land clients fast, I suggest you start with two push strategies like direct mail and live networking, and one pull strategy like blogging. If you have a steady stream of clients, but want to grow your base, use one push strategy and two pull strategies. If you have all the work you can handle, focus on pull strategies and you’ll always avoid the feast-or-famine syndrome.
Day Three: Get Your Ducks in a Row
On Day Three, lay the groundwork for the strategies you selected. Write down everything you need to do. Do you need to set up social media accounts, put together a prospect list, set up a blog, or prepare a PPC account? Do as much of this as you can today, and set up a plan to have the rest done by the end of the week. One exception — if you’re launching a website or setting up a blog, you may need more than one week to set those strategies in motion. You shouldn’t need more than a month, though, so set some hard deadlines and make it happen.
Also, today you should outline your marketing materials. Think of everything you need to write to execute your marketing launch and put together outlines of your ideas for each piece.
Days Four and Five: Write Your Heart Out
On Days Four and Five, you do what you do best. Write. Write everything you’ll need to launch your marketing plan. If you’ve included a direct-mail campaign as one of your marketing strategies, put together the letter you’ll use. If you’re going to use blogging, write at least your first two weeks’ worth of posts. If social media is on your list, put together several days’ worth of status updates.
Whenever appropriate, use keyword research to guide your topic choices.
Day Six: Review
Today, you’re going to call in some help. Enlist at least three people — one from your target audience, if possible — and have them read what you’ve written. Listen carefully to their feedback and make any edits to your materials that you need to. Polish them up because, tomorrow you’re going to …
Day Seven: Launch!
Day Seven is your launch date. Time to put all your hard work into action. Send off your first mailing, post your first blog post, update your social media status, launch your PPC campaign … today is the day you set everything in motion.
Set Yourself Up for Continued Success
You can launch a marketing campaign in seven days, but successful marketing isn’t something you do one week and then ignore going forward. It takes daily attention … weekly at the very least.
Use these four guidelines to keep your marketing on track and to continually improve what you’re doing.
Set a Schedule
Based on the marketing strategies you’re using, set a schedule that makes sense. If social media is one of your strategies, you’ll need to post daily updates. If you’re blogging, make sure you post once or twice a week. If you’re doing direct mail, send out a mailing once or twice a month.
Test and Track
Keep track of the response you’re getting from your different strategies. Also, keep track of how much you enjoy each marketing method. If there’s one you regularly put off attending to, take note of that. It might be a strategy you decide to replace down the road.
Give Everything a Chance to Work
Consider how long any marketing strategy will take to deliver results. Pick a reasonable time frame. Then, give each strategy a chance to work. Remember, different strategies will need different time frames.
Adjust as Needed
Based on your results and how much you enjoy each strategy, adjust your efforts as needed. Maybe replace your weakest strategy with another option after you’ve given it a chance to work.
Keep repeating this process and you will land clients. Do good work for those clients, and eventually you’ll have more work coming your way than you know what to do with.