As a novice freelancer, I am getting plenty of surprises or, uh, learning opportunities. My first meeting with a lead taught me not to consult, for instance, because then they had my advice and considered the knowledge more powerful than someone to do the work for them. Once I did get a paid gig, I had to quickly figure out many elements – a thorough contract, invoicing, and information necessary to get started on a complete stranger’s business content. One of the things I forgot to do was create a real pitch… for myself. I met with a prospect and had nothing but my own words. Is that any way to make an inspiring impression? Absolutely not.
I mentioned in the last post, My Inner Salesperson, that I nearly forgot to incorporate the most intrinsic promotional elements for my own business.The meeting with my client (he has since signed on, despite my transgression) jump-started my education on proper marketing. Since then, I have been working on a campaign I like to call Write for You, and on my marketing mix. Do you remember the four P’s? This blog post will just be another short reminder to keep up with them in your marketing strategy.
The four P’s are Product, Place, Price, and Promotion, but I also like to add People in there. Although I was trained in how to use the marketing mix, I honestly find it open for interpretation. Also, it’s been about a decade since my initial encounter with it and a lot has changed.
My interpretation of the five P’s:
- Product: My product is a service – content writing. I can’t just say that, though. People want to know specifics. They want to know what the heck “content” is. I need to explain exactly what I do and its importance to businesses.
- Place: The place for me will be where I am going to promote my services. I need the right platforms to find the audience I want. The question of where I’ll be doing business isn’t that relevant for me. Yes, it’s nice to be able to meet my clients, but not really necessary anymore. I do, however, need to know which platforms are best to promote my business. Where does my audience look for temporary or part-time writers? I want to be visible wherever that might be.
- Price: What are my services worth? This was very tough for me. I’m new, but I shouldn’t be undervalued. I researched salaries of people who are in my industry and area. Then I had to do more research to see if that differed in the freelance world. Finally, I had to come up with options for clients – pay by project versus hourly and service packages. I’m really glad I made a price list and service packages now. It makes me feel more confident talking money.
- Promotion: How do I tell people how awesome and necessary my services are? This is what I am currently working on. So many elements go into promotion – the pitch, advertising vehicles, copywriting, and design. Nobody is going to sell my product or service better than me, so I am finally putting more effort into spreading the word of Amber The Content Writer.
- People: I already knew who I am targeting. The important thing is knowing how to talk to them, and where to find them. Will a phone call or an email work better? What sort of proposal will this company find promising? Where do they look when they need a project done? This takes some trial and error, for me at least. It can be difficult getting into people’s heads.
Prior to my delayed marketing, all I was doing was telling people that I “write content for businesses” and sharing somewhat interesting information about social media platforms on a few select social media platforms. I’m better than that. I know better than that. So, I finally designed some business cards and started hammering away at other pieces for my very own self-promotion starter kit.
If you’re a fellow freelancer or self-employed individual, what surprised you in the beginning? Was it a bumpy learning process or do you feel like you went in well-prepared and killing it? If you have tips, say ‘em! If you have stories, tell ‘em! I’m all eyes.