Archives for September 2009
I wanted to add one more thing to this list: get “on the go” wireless internet access via a service like T-Mobil HotSpot.
I don’t have it yet, but my sister does. She gave me her information so all I had to do was log in while I was waiting in the airport (there’s no equipment or anything needed). Thanks to her, I was able to get some article writing and marketing done while waiting for my flight.
It was the only work I did the day I travelled — and as regular readers of my blog/website know, I’m an avid fan of article marketing because it works so well. It’s the way I make a lot of my passive income from ebooks and various affiliate products I promote, which I’ll talk about a bit more in tomorrow’s post.
Cost: $10/month (for T-Mobil wireless access).
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with T-Mobil as a wireless user. I only recommend it here b/c the connection worked great for me in the ATL airport (I also have a T-Mobil cell, so I’m pretty familiar with their products).
P.S.: Want to train for a recession-proof freelance writing career? Get the FREE Report, Learn SEO: 6 Reasons SEO Copywriting Is the Ideal High-Paying, Work-from-Home, Recession-Proof Career (pdf file).
If you’ve ever done an e-campaign and received no response, maybe you overlooked one of the top four elements: timeliness, consistency, benefits and a call to action.
Timeliness: It’s the holidays. Do you have new, relevant products for the season? I know it appears that you’ll just be one of the herd, but there’s a reason Christmas is the shopping season. “But,” you opine, “I offer a service, not a product.” Then tie in your service with the season.
For example, holiday bookkeeping. Send a tip list of things that clients should be paying special attention to this time of year; offer the old standby – a seasonal discount; offer to help them “relax in the new year by getting their books up to snuff now!”
No matter your product or service, you can always find a slant to make it work with the season.
Consistency: In-boxes are full of hit and run advertisers this time of year (or any special occasion for that matter). As a small business owner, you should be in contact with your customers year round.
It’s human nature to patronize those establishments that you have done business with in the past. So, start building a relationship with your customers in January. Come December, it’ll be that much easier to make the sale.
Benefits: This has been said ad nauseam, but it bears repeating – sell the benefits of your product/service, not the features. In other words, tell the customer what’s in it for them. Too often, this point is overlooked.
Every time I sit down to write a postcard, newsletter, brochure, etc., I have to “switch” into a customer mindset. As the entity behind the product/service, you are too close to it. Take a mental break and approach it from the other side. The difference in your presentation will shine through.
Call to action: You’ve written a timely sales piece that proudly touts all the benefits to the customer – but, you forgot to tell them what to do. Call today, fax in your order for an additional discount, 48-hour special — all of these are calls to action.
Human nature is to put things off. Put a sense of urgency behind your piece. Let your customers know exactly what they need to do to take advantage of your wonderful offer. Otherwise, it may get filed away, never to be seen again.
Now, YOU can relax and enjoy the season.
P.S.: Did you know that newsletter marketing is easy to do, and it costs practically nothing? In this ebook pullout, I give some first-hand insight on how I consistently earn four figures per month marketing via this medium. You can too!
Yuwanda Black, Publisher
Having a website for your freelance business is no longer an option; it’s a must if you are to compete effectively, whether your business is local or international. Learn how to move your biz to the next level via the Internet.
In 1998, I decided to get a website for my business at the time. I found the process to be confusing, expensive and frustrating. After five months, two web designers and several thousand dollars — and a still unfinished site — I just knew there had to be a better way.
Much later, I discovered that if I were somewhat familiar with the web design process and could formulate key questions to ask potential designers, the process would have been much smoother and less expensive.
Outlined below are five steps all freelancers and/or small business owners can take to simplify this process of getting their business on the web.
1. Do a little research: Become familiar with basic web language: web page, host, domain name, server, et cetera. If you have little or no knowledge of technology, this is especially important and will be immensely helpful when you start interviewing web designers. What you don’t know CAN hurt — and cost — you.
Information is available everywhere — books, online, friends who have websites, your geeky, teenage nephew. You don’t have to become an expert. Just learn enough to be able to converse with a potential web designer.
2. Ask for references: Ask for at least three sites the designer has completed. Be sure to speak with the owners of those sites. Web design is like art — designers are proud to show off their work. If they can’t produce at least three completed sites, move on.
3. Ask questions: Don’t be intimidated. This is easier said than done, especially once the “tech talk” starts. However, remember that this is a critical part of your business. If you don’t understand something, ask for it to be explained in plain, every day language. This is a hallmark of a good designer.
Questions you might want to start with are: How long have you been in the business? May I have three references? How long will the process take from start to finish? What exactly am I responsible for? What will be the ongoing costs (if any) — eg, graphics, content, maintenance? Who will own the site?
Note: Please make sure that you own the site outright — do not be flexible on this.
4. Avoid site overload: Don’t be talked into peripherals that you may not need. The simple fact is, most web surfers are looking for information — especially those that are serious about buying.
Your site should load fast and be easy to access and navigate. Do not inhibit this process by adding jumping animals, dancing text and other “bells and whistles” that obstruct the selling process. Very few sites need these extras. Usually, they only serve to make your site look less than professional.
5. Give the designer room to create: Once you have relayed your ideas to the designer, give them room to breathe and create your vision. Calling constantly, offering tidbits as you think of them, and asking to view pages before the designer is ready to show them only delays the process.
Once the site is ready for viewing, your web designer will show it to you. At this point, you will, depending on the arrangement between you and your designer, be allowed to request changes. As this is an artistic endeavor, every arrangement is different.
Be sure that you are at least able to make one set of changes after the designer has completed your site. It is rare indeed for a designer to create a website that requires absolutely no changes. These changes should be minimal, however, unless you have changed your mind on some aspects. In this case, be aware that your designer may charge extra to implement your changes.
When your site is finished, begin marketing it (hint: Internet marketing is now cheaper than ever!). Treat the marketing of your website like any other add-on to your business. Make it a priority, and the returns will be well worth it.
Note: This ebook was first written in 2004. The previous name of it was as it’s listed just above. For the 2011 update, the title was changed to Want to Get a Website or Blog? Here’s an Easy-to-Follow Guide in Plain English That Will Help You Do So Quickly – and Cheaply!
Why the name change? Because getting a website or blog is not just for small business owners any more (at least the way it was primarily defined in 2004).
Everyone who does business on the web — from freelancers to Fortune 500 companies — need a web presence. The ebook contains the same great info — updated of course. It just has a different name to reflect the changes that have occurred in the world of business since it was first written.
Finally — InkwellEditorial.com looks like it belongs in the 21st century!
While I’ve moved in, my new home still needs a lot of work. There are still:
–>Boxes to unpack (files to upload);
–>New furniture to be bought (plugins to be added)
–>Old furniture to be rearranged (files to be renamed/redirected) and
–>New roommates to move in (new resources to be added).
So, please be patient with me a bit longer. I’m getting it together (slowly, slowly).
. . . for sticking with me throughout this process. You guys have been so great, still coming back for content when I haven’t posted for months; still digging through old posts to find the info you need; still encouraging me to just hang in there when all I wanted to do was chuck the whole thing (you have no idea how many times I thought about just quitting this site altogether).
I’m getting teary just typing this, cuz I don’t think there are many sites where readers really stick with you through broken links, horrific design, irregular posting, etc.
Just so you know, it’s meant the world to me.
In a way, this break has been good, because it’s allowed me to store up a wealth of material to share with you. I’ll start posting again regularly in a few weeks once I get all the kinks worked out here — and boy do I have some wham doozy posts coming up.
Until then, enjoy the upcoming holiday . . .