During my talk, I went over some of the more common marketing faux pas many creatives make ... and indy pros for that matter. Here’s a recap:
1. Not doing anything
Sorry kids, just sitting there, waiting for the phone to ring doesn’t cut it. You need to be proactive if you plan on eating and paying for a roof over your head ... not to mention buying that 60" hi-def tv you've been eyeing..
2. Not having a plan
Without a plan ... a written plan ... you’ll never know if your achieving your goals. For that matter, odds are, you’ll be guilty of committing the heinous sins of #1 and probably # 6.
3. Not focusing on a niche or specialty
Trying to be all things to all people usually results in one becoming nothing to everybody. Focus on becoming the big fish in a small pond.
4. Not understanding your audience
If you don’t know who you’re talking to, your message will likely be off base or at best, diluted.
5. Placing all your hopes and dreams in one activity
Here’s a personal fav. I see this happen all the time. They call it a “marketing mix” for a reason. One postcard, ad, press release or whatever usually won’t have the world knocking at your door. Do several things ... and do them well.
6. Nervous rabbit syndrome
Here’s the opposite of #5. This one’s about trying this and that and not giving any one thing enough time to work ... or be sure it’s not working. You end up darting hither and yon, spending a bunch of dough and end up with nothing to show for it, except a shrinking checkbook balance.
7. Not having a referral system in place
Referrals are the life blood of a service business. They’re usually pre-sold because people people tend to believe what their friends and associates tell them about a business. They believe it much more than anything you tell them. Make it a point to ask for referrals. Put a system in place to insure you don’t forget.
8. Not marketing to current clients
This is the 80/20 Rule in action. Odds are, 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients. Market to them Talk to them. Be visible. They may not know all the services you offer and they tend to forget about you until they need your services again.
9. Not leveraging the power of your business and personal network
When developing your referral system, don’t forget about non-business-related folks like friends, family and neighbors. They know people too. Your second cousin twice removed on your mother’s side just might live next to Mr. Big at the place you’ve been trying to get into for the past couple of years.
10. Forgetting that even though you’re a Graphic Designer, Photographer or other independent professional, you’re really in the business of marketing
You do this or that. Great. Have a ball. But, don’t forget that, as a service professional, new business is the other part of your life blood. You’re in the business of marketing and promoting. You need to become your own best client. If you don’t, you won’t be able to do this or that. Well, at least not for money.
For a more detailed dissertation on these points, visit my series on BoDo – Business of Design online.