A 10-Point Marketing Checklist for a Successful Creative Business

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Need your creative business to hit the ground running in 2017? Here’s what you need:

First, you have to have the right mindset.

  • Do you approach networking events and new prospects with curiosity?
  • Do you offer your services enthusiastically and with generosity, not worrying about whether you’re bothering your prospects?
  • Do you respond with gratitude when people express interest, even if they aren’t ready yet to talk with you?

Next, you have to have the right marketing tools in place.

  • Is your elevator pitch clear and concise?
  • Does your LinkedIn Profile highlight what you do and who you do it for?
  • Is your homepage “marketing-smart”—prompting ideal clients to say, “This is exactly who I need” when they land on it.

Then, you must do the right marketing activities religiously (i.e. 30 minutes a day).

  • Are you meeting your ideal clients in person?
  • Are you staying in touch with everyone in your network via your email marketing newsletter, even if only occasionally?
  • Are you reaching out to ideal prospects, introducing yourself, following up and staying in touch?

Finally, you have to connect the dots.

  • Are you using the right tools with the right mindset in a way that supports your positioning message and speaks to the right people—loud and clear—at the right time?

Here’s what connecting the dots looks like in real life:

If you attend random events, walk away with a fistful of business cards but no new clients and do no follow up, you may decide, “networking doesn’t work.”

But if you know exactly why you’re going to each event and you go with curiosity, with the question “Is this a viable market for me?” or “What are these people struggling with that I can help with?” then you actually do “get” something realistic out of it: valuable information and maybe even a few contacts to follow up with.

So you can take the next logical step, which may be generously offering your help. Go through that pile of cards and invite everyone to connect on LinkedIn.


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Then follow up with an email a couple of days later, leading again with curiosity and generosity, which may look something like this:

“Great to meet you. I would love to chat more to find out more about what you do and what you need and how I may be of help to you.”

If you don’t get any response, that’s fine because your content marketing, most likely an email newsletter, will keep the conversation going.

Consistency is an important element underlying all of these activities because repetition has a curious way of building trust.

Use that phenomenon to your benefit by using these marketing tools and activities together, to connect with, and stay in front of, your “people.” That speaks volumes and says, “I’m here and you can rely on me.”

If you do your marketing in a feast or famine way, then you get feast or famine type of work. But if you are consistent with it, you can smooth out the waves just a little bit.

The key is momentum. You must do it consistently. Start with 30 minutes a day, first thing in the morning, if possible. Do a little bit, whether it’s research or writing or looking for events to attend, break it down into a doable activity. And make it a practice.

That’s just the beginning of establishing a relationship with each person. No one knows when (of if) you will get any work.

But the odds are much higher when you demonstrate that you are a valuable and generous resource, when you express your interest and enthusiasm in helping them, they see that you are genuine real people who want to connect with them.

That’s the core of marketing: to build relationships.

This checklist will guide the way.

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Excerpted from Marketing Mentor’s 2017 Marketing Blueprint: How to Connect the Dots of your Marketing. Details here.


Learn more about building a successful creative business in Ilise Benun’s online course, How to Start Your Own Freelance Business, from HOW Design University.

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