Reality Blog Challenge: My Pull Marketing Plan for 2021


“Simplify your marketing by putting quality above quantity.” Ann Handley

Switzerland. Germany. France. Italy. Spain. Jamaica. Mexico…

For seven years, I lived my dream life — traveling internationally or to domestic destinations as a travel consultant… nearly every month. My generous commissions supported my dream life, and our daughter’s dream of being an actress.

A Dream Deferred…

Shannon was a toddler when she started singing, dancing, and acting for audiences. Our jobs didn’t let us take her to auditions in those early years. But we agreed to support her later if she deferred her dream. At Shannon’s 2017 college graduation, we promised to help her financially for 7 years — while she focused on an acting career.

My travel dream stopped in March 2020 — with the pandemic. But Shannon’s dream is still being birthed.

Fortunately, I connected with AWAI at the end of 2019. At the time, I wanted to learn about persuasive writing… to maybe use sometime down the road…

Surprise! Down-the-road time came a lot sooner than expected.

My 2021 goal…

When I remove the fluff… when the dust settles…

There’s only one way to say this — my goal is financial… I need to earn cash to pay my bills — and Shannon’s bills too.

I considered getting a (cough, cough)… JOB! However, considering my 12-year hiatus from employers, combined with my over-60 age — that’s a real stretch.

So here goes… my goal for 2021 is to generate $84,000 in business revenue.

Mike Michalowicz, in his book Profit Fir$t, lays out a detailed approach to help entrepreneurs stay accountable, stay out of debt, and calculate their pay and profit. I’m using his worksheets to plan for my needs and expenses.

Of course, the journey and the lessons learned will be the most valuable outcomes in 2021. But I can’t minimize the importance of being accountable for a profit/loss statement.

The silver lining, I didn’t expect — I’m entering the copywriting business at a great time.

In the 11th Annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends — Insights for 2021, the Content Marketing Institute reported 70% of respondents will invest in content creation, and 66% of them will invest in website enhancements.

How I plan to achieve my goal…

With this being my first time planning a specific income target outside of getting an employee paycheck, I didn’t know where to start. I needed a framework to get moving. So, I decided to treat my journey to $84,000 as a project.

A typical project management cycle looks like this… a) decide on ‘what’ you’re starting, b) create the plan to get the ‘what,’ c) implement the plan, and d) complete everything and debrief. In the words of the project management author, Gregory Horine… “initiate-plan-execute-close.”

My project is to complete a customer dating journey that will lead to $84,000 in 2021 —

  • Stage 1 — attraction… or lead generation
  • Stage 2 — courtship… or conversion
  • Stage 3 — commitment/engagement… or retention and referrals

Stage 1: Attraction (lead generation)

Who do I want to attract?

Two customer groups currently appeal to me — 1) midsize industrial-technical Business-to-Business (B2B) companies, and 2) service-industry entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Recognizing budgets to hire freelance copywriters will look different for these customer groups, I wanted a model to follow. The analogy for one brand having different levels of products or services, and pricing made me think of “Nordstrom” and “Nordstrom Rack.”

For industrial-technical B2B companies, I’ll provide white papers, e-books, articles, case studies, landing pages, websites, chatbots, email campaigns, newsletters, and video scripts for online lead generation and follow-up. User experience principles will be incorporated throughout the content. This would be my “Nordstrom” offer.

For entrepreneurs and small business owners, I’ll create productized services — such as a basic e-newsletter template, an abbreviated content strategy template, pre-set email campaign templates, and packages to edit transcribed recordings for re-purposing. This would be the “Nordstrom Rack” offer.

How will they know I’m available to date?

I entered the customer dating pool in October 2020 — by joining Network in Action, an active networking group. Members are required to have regular one-to-one meetings with each other, and to give referrals… basically setting up blind dates.

I’m thinking my two college/university alumni organizations may be good dating circles too.

Speaking will be another method I’ll use to attract and engage customers. I recently spoke at a virtual conference for small business owners. Attendees were offered a give-away and a link to my e-newsletter. From that event, I scheduled 18 follow-up calls.

I may also join a local Toastmasters International group.

Finally, I plan to collaborate with like-minded strategic partners — such as web designers, brand consultants, and speech coaches. In this stage, we would introduce each other to prospects and customers and share speaking platforms when appropriate.

I’m also considering other networking groups, including BNI, Meet Up, American Business Women’s Association, Society of Women Engineers, National Society of Professional Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers, and Project Management Institute.

Stage 2: Courtship (conversion)

How will I inspire curiosity and interest?

Networking referrals are just the first introduction — the rest is up to me. To get beyond the initial blind date, moving toward conversion, I’ll need to be my own “influencer.”

Influencer Marketing Hub describes the way influencers affect the buying decisions of those in their squad. In earlier times, celebrities were primarily used in advertising. However, now anyone can engage with a position of authority — to create online social relationships and build trust with a specific audience. It takes time to establish solid relationships, but the audience trust extends to buying influence.

I’ll unleash my influencer superpower — by using my brand voice to write an e-newsletter, articles, and post-speech giveaways. The content will support relationship-building, while demonstrating my knowledge and authority.

A potential giveaway is a book I would create to enhance credibility.

I’ve also outlined a mini class for small business owners to help them with basic writing improvements.

In this stage, strategic partners would co-create or co-curate content with me.

Beyond the content, the fortune is in the follow-up.

Remember the 18 follow-up calls? I’ve already been double-booked using the free version of one scheduling tool.

And though I’m excited about being asked for proposals in the calls — I’m nervous because I don’t have everything in place yet.

Stage 3: Commitment/engagement (retention and referrals)

In this stage, I’ll use a four-prong approach —

  • Deliver excellent project work on time
  • Ask for feedback; continuously improve
  • Provide useful content that respects their time
  • Create experiences and memories (e.g., celebrations, spotlights, etc.)

Customer lifetime value will be a key metric. I plan to prioritize relationship care and customer experience.

To support these efforts, I’m seeking content delivery, project management, and customer experience tools. I use the Hemingway Editor to support content delivery, and Send Out Cards to acknowledge special customer celebrations. I’m still looking for a simple project management tool.

Plan updates…

Will my newsletter be a hit? Can I find great strategic partners interested in collaborating? How many small business owners will pay for my mini class?

I’ll learn what works, tweak the plan along the way… and adjust.

When you join me on the customer dating journey, you’ll get to share in what I learn. Together, we’ll learn how to:

  • optimize networking referrals
  • improve speaking skills
  • convert referrals into customers
  • ask for testimonials and Google reviews
  • productize and price content
  • estimate marketing Return on Investment
  • improve customer retention and lifetime value
  • identify scheduling, management, and communication tools

It’s going to be quite the journey. Are you in?

Valeria Collier Vick

Valeria Collier Vick


    • Thank you – regardless of the outcome of the challenge — enjoying the journey with you all (and for real, for real — Heather Rocks!)

  • Thank you – regardless of the outcome of the challenge — enjoying the journey with you all (and for real, for real — Heather Rocks!)

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