I was recently talking with an aspiring copywriter friend of mine who’s struggling to get his first clients. He thinks he keeps hitting the wall of not having a portfolio of writing samples in hand. But really, he doesn’t need a big portfolio of client work…He just needs to get his own marketing act together.
You see, he doesn’t even have a business card, let alone a Website or other materials. So he is putting the cart before the horse (which never gets you very far).
Marketing is all about perceptions…
Right now, because he has no marketing materials, the perception is that he’s just sort of getting started.
On the surface there’s nothing wrong with that. Except that if he doesn’t look like a competent professional no one is going to take him seriously or give him their money. And why should they? With no business card or marketing materials, he looks like a beginner or hobbyist.
He needs marketing materials that convince people to hire him. Otherwise nobody is going to pay him to write THEIR marketing materials. On the other hand, if his own stuff seems top notch, most folks will never even ask to see his portfolio.
Seems painfully obvious, right?
So, what’s this got to do with you?
Whether you are launching a business, event or a new product, you have to give the impression you know what you’re doing from the get-go. Otherwise no one is going to spend their hard-earned dollars with you.
It doesn’t work to just test the waters with a few homemade-looking fliers and free Vista Print business cards (or worse, no cards at all).
The Internet has created tons more competition in any field than there was just 5 years ago. So you’ve got to have your marketing ducks in a row before you try to sell a thing. Otherwise someone out there is sure to be making a better impression than you.
Thankfully, creating a top-notch impression with your marketing doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Just use my...
10 Cheap Ways to Create a Professional Marketing Impression
1) Having a fancy graphic logo is often overrated and expensive. But you should have a unique look to your business name. Try looking at other company’s logos (not your competitors') for a font that gives the right impression. Then search the Internet for a similar font and download it to your computer.
2) Design a nice business card and have it professionally printed. Not sure how to design one? Look at a bunch of other people’s cards for ideas on layout or use a Publisher template.
You can now get 500 cards digitally printed for just $29.99. If you aren’t serious enough about your business to at least do this, you have a long, uphill road ahead of you.
3) Buy a domain name and hosting at www.godaddy.com for about $50 a year. Then put up at least a single page Website with your products or services and contact info. Unless you market to senior citizens, this is a must.
4) Have your email connected to your domain name so it reads firstname.lastname@example.org. This makes you look professional and drives people to your Website.
5) Create your own letterhead with your spiffy new business name and contact info. Then just add it to your documents in Microsoft Word and print as needed. And don’t pay for expensive envelope printing. Grab a pack of blank return address labels and print them out at home as needed. Most Avery label templates are already in Microsoft Word or can be downloaded from the Web.
6) Skip the spendy brochure. One-sheets (i.e., fancy fliers), articles, and tips sheets are easy to create on letterhead or with your logo at the top, and add credibility. Then just print them up at home. Or turn them into downloads you can offer from your Website.
7) Get yourself online. Social networks offer an easy and inexpensive way to market your business, increase credibility and drive traffic to your Website. Pick a few like LinkedIn, Biznik, or ones that cater to your target market and set up a profile. Then be sure to include a link back to your Website.
8) Make it easy for people to get in touch. Always include your phone number, email, and Web address on all your marketing materials—especially business cards. And use either a cell phone or get an extra phone line at home (often no charge) so the impression is professional when they call.
9) No graphic design ability? Find someone else who does. Elance.com can be a source of cheap labor. Or, hire a college student. If you have no other choice, use the templates in Publisher or Front Page.
10) This should go without saying, but always, always, always dress the part. If you want people to pay you big bucks, you better look like you’re already making it. Marshall’s, Ross, and Macy’s sales are terrific places to pick up designer brands on the cheap.
Remember, giving people the right impression from the get-go is critical to making them feel confident in hiring—or buying from— you. If you look like an experienced professional, you’ll be treated like one—and that means more clients and sales for you!
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