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The marketing secret that will boost your success rate

November 4, 2009

“Success is the sum of all small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” ~ Robert Collier


There’s a girl at the prom hoping to snag a dance with the most popular boy in school. We’ll call her Sandy. She’s only average-looking. She has a snubbed nose and mousey brown hair that has that slightly out-of-control Ms. Frizzle look. With a slew of other beautiful girls surrounding her, what kind of odds do you think she has of attracting Mr. Popular’s attention? Slim to none, I’d guess.

But what if half of those razzle-dazzle ladies wound up too sick to make it to prom (suspend your disbelief for a moment)? And a third of the remaining girls had prom dates they were glued to? What are her odds now? A lot better, don’t you think?

So what am I getting at with the prom woe-is-me tall tale? Well, I learned a valuable lesson about marketing this past week. You know those job ads so many of us freelancers spend a few hours applying to each day, hoping to land the gig? They’re pretty much a complete and utter waste of time. Yeah, that’s right. Jobs that are advertised on forums and job search engines like Craigslist are being viewed by thousands. And hundreds are applying. With the economy the way it is, you’re facing staunch competition and the person hiring you for the job can afford to offer less money for the project since there are so many applicants to choose from.

As freelancers, we’re all quite familiar with the old proverb about the best jobs being the ones you make for yourself. After all, that’s likely one of the reasons you became an independent contractor. That being said, the best thing I’ve done for my marketing success was to ignore online job postings and sniff out the gigs that aren’t advertised. Let me put it this way…I’ve had zero success with responding to job ads. Nada. Zilch. With the below tactics, I’ve gained a few great clients.

So why not try these on for size? Find better ways to fill your marketing time than applying to dead-end job ads. I promise it’ll help you increase your success rate. I know it worked for me.

  1. Cold call/email – Introduce yourself to potential clients, briefly discuss your services and how they might benefit them, then pull it all together with your credentials and some relevant writing samples.
  2. Mail out postcards, brochures or a personal sales letter – This is another way you can introduce yourself to potential clients. You want to include the same type of information and remember to include your contact info.
  3. Attend networking events in your area – Go beyond groups that cater to writers and get involved in communities that service your writing niche. This will acquaint you with people who might actually be able to use your services. Introduce yourself and give a short and to-the-point ‘elevator speech’ (usually about 1-2 mins).

These are just a few of the many marketing tactics you can use to increase your odds of landing gigs with better-paying clients. The more creative you can get, the better!