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How Will a Recession Affect Freelance Writers? Insight into What It Takes to Land Gigs in a Down Economy

This question was written about recently on ChrisBlogging.com. He states, “Personally, I do not know much about American economics. …. While it is hard to predict the future, a lot of so-called experts feel that a recession is on the way. Like most, this worries me for a number of different reasons.”…

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4 Tips for Applying to Freelance Writing Jobs on Craigslist to Get the Job

I recently landed three new clients in one day. Hence, I was slammed – too much work to meet all the deadlines without help. So, I immediately placed an ad on Craigslist for SEO writers (SEO writing is my new thing).

Over the next 24 hours, I received roughly 75 responses, and they’re still pouring in, fully a week after I placed the ad. That’s a lot of competition. I outsourced work to three writers from that ad – and have outsourced more work since then. Two of the three I worked with I plan to outsource more work to when I need help.

My point? Once an employer uses you, they will most likely use you again and again and again. Following are some things that, as an “employer,” turned me off, and others that made freelancers stand out (and made me want to call them).

Remember, I’ve been a recruiter for over a decade, so the following tips come with a healthy dose of experience behind them.

4 Things Not to Do When Applying to Freelance Writing Jobs on Craigslist (& Other Freelance Writing Jobs)

1. Don’t Ask for More Information – yet. Why? Because it means more work for the person who’s looking for help – at precisely the time they don’t have the time to do more work.

When I got responses like, “Can you send more info?” or “I’ve never done this type of work before, but …” or, “I’m interested in learning more …” I immediately clicked through to the next responder.

My answer to all of these questions is an emphatic “No.” As in:

No I don’t have time to send you more info – because I’m on deadline; and

“No I can’t work with you if you’ve never done this type of work before because I can’t train you – because I’m on a deadline;” and

“No, I don’t have time to teach you right now, although I’m thrilled you may be interested in learning more – because I’m on deadline.”

I thought the ad I wrote was pretty detailed. It gave enough information for someone with the kind of experience I was looking for to be able to assess the job – without more detailed info UNTIL they were hired for the job.

TIP: If you read an ad and can do what it asks, then don’t request more info up front – because the important info (deadline, rate, type of writing, etc.) should be in the ad. Wait until you’ve been hired and then ask questions.

Now, there are bad ads, no doubt, that require more information. But, I’m going to go out on a limb and say these tend to be more of the exception than the rule simply because someone who needs help – NOW – tends to give enough information so that a person with the experience they’re looking for will know exactly what is entailed.

The responses that caught my eye were short and sweet and went something like this: I am replying to the ad for SEO writers.  I have written SEO articles in the past and currently I blog at [insert blog name]. I have attached my resume with writing samples as well as a sample of my SEO writing.  Thank you!

This provided all the things I needed to assess if they were right for the job, namely: (i) experience, (ii) writing samples, (iii) rate acceptance (this was implied); and (iv) willingness to do the work.

Perfect!

2. Hedge-Your-Bet Writers: What do I mean by this? I received quite a few responses like the following:

“I am a [insert FT profession] and an experienced writer seeking freelance opportunities.  If this opening is still available please contact me directly via this email.  I can provide my CV and more information upon request.”

What’s wrong with this? A couple of things, namely:

(i) The person obviously freelanced on the side. And, while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, it’s not something I need to know unless I ask because I immediately think, “Are they going to be able to meet my deadline?”

If you can get the work done within the specified time, there’s no need to alert me that you have other responsibilities – unless I ask you directly.

(ii) The second thing that made me pass on this respondent is that he offered to send me his CV “on request.” What are you waiting for? Send it to me now. All his email did was put more work on me – at exactly the time I didn’t have any time.

I call these types of responses “hedge-your-bet” writers because I feel like they’re putting out feelers and if something comes along that fits their schedule or that they feel like doing, they’ll take it.

Freelancers who are serious about making money market for work and take what comes in – as long as it meets their criteria (eg, rate, deadline, etc.).

3. Incomplete Writers: Incomplete writers are first cousins to hedge-your-bet writers. How? They’re not set up to do what you want, but if you give them the job then they “could be.”

For example, this was a response I received to my ad:I do not presently have a PayPal account but I could set one up.”

As PayPal is free to set up and takes about two minutes, there’s no need for me, the employer, to know that you’re not fully equipped to handle my needs. Why would I use you, when I could use someone who has the setup I requested in my ad?

Especially in cases where you can quickly get what the employer requests, respond as if you have everything they ask you for because what if you do land the assignment. Don’t give them a reason not to contact you.

Furthermore, in this specific example, I thought, how long has this person been writing for the web/freelancing if he/she doesn’t have a PayPal account. Most of us do, or at least some form of online payment processing method. So, it caused me to question how much they knew about SEO writing at all.

4. Loquacious Writers: This is a basic, but I felt obligated to include it anyway. Don’t send a life history. A brief professional outline is all you need to send to potential employers, along with a few writing samples.

I received responses from freelancers that told me why they needed the job, why the felt they were perfect for the job and how it was their dream to be a freelance writer. These all peg you as a beginner – and in some cases, unprofessional. And, it will get you sent to the slush pile almost every time.

Final Insight into Responding to Ads for Freelance Work: When employers place an ad on a major freelance site like Craigslist, they’re probably going to get quite a few responses.

They scan through them quickly, looking for the person who has the qualifications they’re looking for and can meet their deadline.

All employers really want to know is if you can handle the job, in a timely manner, for the rate they’re paying. Only info that supports these things primarily is necessary – everything else is basically immaterial.

Sincerely,
Yuwanda Black, Publisher
InkwellEditorial.com

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Freelance Writing Jobs: 4 Ways to Increase Your Freelance Writing Income in 2008

Original Title: 4 Ways to Increase Your Freelance Writing Income in 2008

I’ve been freelancing since 1993, and have been in the publishing industry since 1987. As such, I’m often asked for advice from other freelance writers.

 As the New Year is a great time to re-evaluate, re-invent and re-assess goals, I want to add to the advice I gave in this article about landing more freelance writing jobs, based on some of the queries I’ve received over the past year from readers.

All of the following is from my personal experience.

4 Things You Can Do To Make More Money as a Freelance Writer in 2008

1. Broaden Your Skill Set: This is possibly the best thing you can do to make more money as a freelance writer.

My personal experience: This year, I started to write SEO content (aka article writing, seo content provider, web writer). And boy am I glad I did!

As I detail in this article, I went from 0 clients to making $250/day with just a couple of weeks of marketing. This past December was the busiest one I’ve had in years. Practically all of the projects were from SEO clients. I even picked up a new client on Christmas Eve.

I’m excited about 2008 because I have several clients lined up who want me to start on projects for them in January.

If I’d never taken the time to find out what SEO writing was all about, I would have missed out on what is rapidly becoming one of my biggest money making streams.

2. Don’t Listen to Other Freelance Writers: The internet is all about the ready sharing of information. BUT, this is a sword that can cut two ways.

Take my SEO writing experience. Once I started looking into it, I found a lot of info that didn’t make it sound too good. In fact, I’d say 95% of what I read about SEO writing wasn’t good.

Many freelancers told stories of how clients didn’t want to pay a decent article rate (eg, 500 words for $4). I also read accounts of freelance writers not being paid at all for the work they turned in. Then there were the stories of burnout (eg, writing 100 articles in 3 days time).

In spite of all of this, my gut told me that I could make a go of it in this niche. I brought all of my business experience to the forefront as I was investigating this niche.

And I said to myself, “this type of writing is new enough, there is a vast enough need and there are not that many professional writers doing it that I can make a successful go of it.” My gut just told me so.

And, I was right. But, if I’d believed almost everything I read about SEO writing, I would have dismissed it – and closed the door on a great opportunity.

I guess the point I’m trying to get across is, don’t be so quick to dismiss an opportunity because of what everyone else says. If an opportunity appeals to you, take some time to look into it.

Which brings me to my next point . . .
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3. Develop Multiple Income Streams: When you start to investigate different opportunities, you’re going to run across some amazing ways to make money as a freelance writer.

Select two or three complementary ways to make money. Developing complementary income streams will make it easier. Your secondary income streams should take less time and effort than your primary income stream.

For example, I write ebooks, and produce freelance writing and teleseminars. This goes hand-in-hand with my primary way of making a living – writing/editing for clients.

Passive Income Tip: Try to develop secondary passive income streams. For example, I set up an Inkwell Editorial Amazon Store featuring books on how to make money as a freelance writer. It took me about 20 minutes to set up. I don’t have to do anything to maintain it – passive income at its best.

4. Listen to Clients for Chances to Expand Your Service Offerings: Sometimes, opportunity knocks on your door so often, that you’d be crazy not to take advantage of it.

My personal experience: I’ve been asked by three different clients in the last month if I do blog writing (eg, update blogs). I don’t, but, starting the New Year, I’m going to.

Blog posting goes hand-in-hand with SEO writing. Hence, I’d be missing out on numerous opportunities to increase my income. 

So, listen to your clients. Have they been consistently asking for a service you don’t provide? Do you find yourself referring customers to other service providers to a service you can easily provide? Is there a service you don’t want to actually do, but can outsource to others and still make a fee off of it?

Extra Service Tip: When you are seeking to expand your service offerings, look for opportunities that compliment services you’re already providing. This provides three distinct advantages:

3 Advantages to Expanding Your Freelance Writing Service Offerings

(i) Save Time: Take my blog posting example. As I already provide SEO content, adding blog posting to my service offerings is seamless.

Most blog postings are 250-350 words. The SEO article writing I do consists of articles that range from 500-1,000 words. It’s just a different variation of a service I already provide (one that takes less time, no less). How easy is that!

(ii) Save Money: As you’re targeting the same group of clients, you don’t have to spend money to target a different demographic.

Also, there should be nothing to train for, set up, educate yourself on, etc. And, in cases where there is, it should be very nominal.

(iii) Create Client Loyalty: Service offerings that compliment your existing services increases your clients’ loyalty. I think of it as the WalMart marketing approach. Eg, why would you go anyplace else when you can get all of your writing needs met here?

Furthermore, new service offerings give you a reason to contact existing clients again – eg, “XYZ Writing now offers the following service for your convenience.” Having a legitimate reason to stay top of your clients’ mind is never a bad idea.

Freelance writing is not a static profession. Every year brings new opportunities to make more money. Knowing how, when and where to take advantage of these will ensure that you get a “raise” every year – and it can be greater than any raise you get from a 9-5 job – if you are smart enough to capitalize on the opportunities.

Here’s to a successful financial year in 2008.

Happy New Year!

Yuwanda

make-money-on-backpageP.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

P.P.S.: Want an easy, fast way to get started in affiliate marketing, making as much as $50, $100 or $150/day? Get How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites (ie, Backpage.com). If you want to make some easy money promoting affiliate products on free classified ad sites, this ebook is for you. I’ve personally sold tens of thousands of dollars of e-products (my own and affiliate products) doing this since January 2009.

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SEO Copywriting: 5 Ways to Get a Job Writing SEO Articles

In yesterday’s post, Post #6 of Freelance Writer’s Technology Month, we discussed 4 controversial ways to drive more traffic to your website/blog. Almost any type of traffic generation for websites and blogs begins with content. It truly is the “golden egg” if you want to make money online. And, there’s a lot of money to be made as a content developer/SEO article writer (I know, it’s what I’ve been transitioning into lately)….

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How to Effectively Use Internet Job Boards to Find a Job

Editor Note: I usually write about freelancing issues. But, I’ve been getting a lot of queries lately that revolve around FT employment. So, I thought I’d devote this post to answering some of those questions. Today’s topic, how to effectively use job boards to find a job.

4 Tips on Using Online Job Boards to Find a Full-Time Job

Monster and CareerBuilder are two of the largest online job boards on the web. They post hundreds of thousands of positions and have millions of resumes on file. So, how do you get found? How do you effectively use job boards to find a job? Following are four tips.

1. Use Keywords: Many applicants don’t make good use of this, but it is how you get found by employers. Let me explain.

Employers and recruiters search for resume by typing in key words. If your resume is not keyword rich, even though you may be extremely qualified for a position, it will never come up in their search.

How to Make Your Resume Keyword Rich

As an example, under “Computer Skills” on your resume, you may type in MS Office Suite. Included in this software package is MS Word, PowerPoint and Excel. If you just type in MS Office Suite, and the recruiter is looking for someone with PowerPoint, your resume will not come up in their search.

So, list your skills like this: MS Office Suite (PowerPoint, MS Word, Excel). That way, no matter how a search is conducted, your resume will be part of their search.

2. Revise, Revise, Revise: As in, revise your resume to fit the job. This does not mean lie. To explain, when you see a job you know you are qualified for, but your resume may not reflect it, revise your resume to suit the position.

For example, if you’ve been an office manager and are applying for an executive assistant’s position, take the skills that overlap and rework your resume to reflect how those skills are directly transferable.

Also, have two or three different resumes going at the same time. Take key words and phrases from the job description provided and use them in your revised resume.

It’s tempting to just shoot off the same resume over and over again. BUT, the reason that job hunting is a “job” is because it’s time-consuming to tailor a resume to every position. However, this is what you have to do, especially if you’ve sent out many resumes with no response.

3. Apply Judiciously: Don’t apply for any and every thing you think you are remotely qualified for. Many employers and recruiters see the same resumes over and over again.

And, if your resume continually pops up for positions that you are either only peripherally qualified for or are not qualified for at all, your candidacy won’t be taken seriously – not matter how qualified you may be for a position.

Remember, there are real professionals on the other end reading your credentials. And no, your resume doesn’t disappear into a black hole, even though it may seem like it sometimes. Making a hiring director’s job harder by applying over and over again will only get you blacklisted.

4. Salary: If your salary expectations are unrealistic, you will never even get the call. So, if you are currently making 38K and want 50K, it is rare that a recruiter will call you. Most employers will consider a slightly higher salary than what you’re currently making; this is expected.

However, a large salary increase – unless it’s under extremely unusual circumstances (eg, you went back to school and got an MBA, you worked for a nonprofit and are looking in the corporate arena now, etc.), will have to be justified.

If you fall in this arena, it’s better to just leave the salary section blank and/or include a detailed cover letter explaining why.

I hope these job hunting tips help and remember, the web can be your foe or your friend when conducting a job search. Which one depends entirely on you.

Happy hunting!
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The 7 Highly Effective & Profitable Habits of Successful Freelance Writers

Previously Titled: The 7 Highly Effective & Profitable Habits of Successful Freelancers

Learn What Successful Freelancers Do — & What You Can Too to Achieve Success

I’ve been in publishing since 1987, have been a freelancer since 1993 and ran an editorial staffing agency in New York City from 1996 through 2004.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that successful freelancers, eg, those who make their living entirely from freelancing (writing, editing, copywriting, web design, etc.), have the following seven traits in common.

1. Write/design every day: Many freelancers are drawn to their particular career because they love it. They love to write, design, draw – whatever it is, they would do it for free. Once they decide to freelance full time, most work at it every day. They write articles, design sites, doodle illustrations, etc. In other words, they don’t stop working on their craft just because there is no paying client.

Benefit to their career: These professionals always have a body of work to sell, show, update their portfolio with, etc. Beyond that, it keeps their skills fresh and allows them to work that much faster once they are being paid for a project.

As a personal example, when I first started to write articles to promote my business, it would take upwards of two hours to complete one. Now, I can knock one out in 30 minutes if I have to.

Side Note: I have run across more than a few freelancers who don’t exactly love what they do. BUT, because they like the life of freelancing, they discipline themselves to do what it takes, eg, (work at it steadily) to make a living at it.

2. Don’t wait for markets to come to them: Building on this first habit, when you are constantly churning out new material, you don’t have to wait for clients to come to you, you can pitch to them.

If you’ve written a great article on the benefits of yoga, why wait for a national exercise magazine to take months to get back to you. Pitch your local newspaper journalist who covers health. You’ll usually know within a week or two if they can use your story. Your neighborhood paper can’t use it? Pitch the neighboring county’s newspaper, a popular e-zine dedicated to women’s health, a new health website that needs fresh content, etc. Successful freelancers are this proactive.

When I was recruiting, I was constantly amazed at the type of assignments successful freelancers were able to ferret out for themselves. When I’d ask, “How did you get that assignment, come up with that idea?”, the comments ranged from, “I couldn’t sleep last night so I start doing some digging online because I just wrote this great article and wanted to get it published,” to “I was just doodling and came upon this great design; I knew it would make a great logo for this niche, so I put it on a t-shirt and pitched a few boutiques in my neighborhood …”

Successful freelancers are not only creative in their work, they’re creative in how they locate markets to sell their work.

3. Have more than one stream of income: By this, I do not mean that they have second jobs. Most successful freelancers do more than one thing. For example, a writer may design a line of themed t-shirts with their witticisms on them. Illustrators, in addition to creating logos, may sell paintings or drawings. Web designers may also create online games.

I don’t know how many more brain cells creative types use than the rest of the population, but editorial and creative professionals usually dibble and dabble in more than one sector – and quite successfully I might add.

4. Have a niche: While this may seem to contradict the previous habit, it doesn’t. Most successful freelancers do one thing – and do it very well. Eg, they are a medical writer, a direct mail copywriter, a web designer. This is because successful freelancers usually have a professional background in the discipline in which they freelance. Usually, they have built up a reputation and client list based on their expertise/experience.

Benefit to their career: This works well because once clients are comfortable with you on one level, you can approach them about doing other types of projects. In some cases, they will even approach you.

For example, if you are a web designer, you can approach a client about doing some logo design work. Most web designers are familiar with other tools of the trade like logo design software, that makes it easy for them to offer peripheral services to clients.

In the retail trade, this is known as upselling. BUT, you can only upsell if you have established a level of trust and professionalism in your base (niche) skill.

5. Have a website: Without fail, all successful freelancers have at least a basic website. They realize the need to present a professional image to clients and have invested in an online presence.

Every once in a while, I am still asked by those just starting out if they need a website. Invariably, I ask, “Would you do business without a telephone?” I think websites have progressed to this point.

Benefit to their career: Websites save freelancers time – which is at a premium if you are a successful freelancer. You can direct potential clients there to see samples of your work, get pricing info, your professional credentials, your client list, etc. Many times, this is how clients will find you to begin with.

So, is having a website a must to succeed as a freelancer? In my opinion, absolutely. And, it doesn’t have to be fancy and cost a fortune. Most web surfers are seeking information. A basic site will serve your purposes just fine. Just make sure it is professional looking, is easy to navigate, is free from grammatical errors and has your contact info on every page (or a “Contact Us” button on every page).

6. Are Savvy & Consistent Marketers: Revisiting habit three, successful freelancers are masters of marketing their services. They have to be.When you are a freelancer, you have to remain hungry – for the next assignment, the next gig. By being proactive and consistent marketers, successful freelancers don’t wait for one project to be done before looking for the next one.

To this end, these professionals use many marketing tools (free and paid) to get the word out about their business, eg, search engine optimization, article marketing, press releases, e-book giveaways, speaking engagements, seminars, workshops, etc. In other words, successful freelancers treat their careers like a start-up business – which is what freelancing really is.

7. Put in much more than 40 hours/week: Face it, you may be able to go to the grocery store at 2pm when everyone else is stuck in an office, but you probably didn’t log off until 2am, finishing up a project for a client who needed it at the last minute.

Freelancing is not a static career. Sometimes you will have weeks with nothing to do and then you will get slammed with three or four projects at one time. It’s some type of weird Murphy’s law at work. Projects never come when you want or need them too. They invariable come at the most inopportune time (eg, when your kid is sick, when YOU’RE sick, two days before vacation, on a Friday afternoon and needed by Monday).

So, while you may be able to work in your jammies – you may also not be able to go to the beach, hang out with your friends as much, take the afternoon off. Like anything it’s a trade-off (a worthwhile one in my opinion). Just know, while your time may be your own, it will be on an unconventional schedule.

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How to Increase Your Freelance Income During the Holidays

Following are three ways to increase your freelance income during the holidays.

1. Holiday Card: Because it’s the holidays, most people open mail that seems like a holiday card. This alone gives you a leg up, eg, the potential client OPENED your mail.

Inside include a holiday greeting, of course, and an invitiation for them to try your services. Including a holiday discount or coupon is a nice incentive.

To increase your chances of having them call you, pile on the amenities – eg, last minute service, late hours, discounts for future orders, etc.

2. Be Generous: As the holidays are all about giving, take this chance to show your business’ generous side. Eg, let clients know that you donate a certain part of your proceeds from projects to a local charity.

Or, even better, tell them that you will donate a percentage of any order they place with you to a charity of their choice in THEIR name. Be sure to spell out the benefits of this kind of PR long-term. You could even tell them that you’ll throw in a free press release and post in on one of the free PR sites like PRWeb.com for them.

Helping a business get FREE PR – alll for just giving your services a try? Ingenious!

3. Be Proactive: What I mean by this is, let businesses know that you are thinking about their needs beyond the holiday.

Lay out a marketing campaign that shows how you can increase their business by X% in the next year.

This will involve a little research, but, BECAUSE of the effort you put into it, you will stand out to clients, and they will be much more likely to remember you.

For example, I target realtors and mortgage brokers with my freelance writing services. An idea that occurred to me (I simply don’t have time to implement it though) is to do a “State of the Market” report.

Pulling together a 10-12 page report would be very easy. This kind of research would be very valuable to realtors because in it, I would outline specifics like interest rates, foreclosures, what sold the most, what sold the least, future “hot” markets, etc. That way, they would know where to target their marketing dollars.

I guarantee you, if you spent a solid week pulling together a report like this for a niche market and distributed it as a free e-book, you will knock the competition out of the water.

Why? Because most are not willing to spend time putting together a report like this for “no pay.” The reason no pay is in quotation marks is because the payoff long-term for your business could be HUGE.

As a matter of fact, in the 1980s Barbara Corcoran of the powerful real estate agency, The Corcoran Group, built her company using just this method (this was before anyone called it “content marketing“).

In short, she wrote and published a report on the real estate market in New York. She dubbed it “The Corcoran Report.” Once she wrote it, she sent it to reporters at The New York Times. When they needed a quote about real estate in New York, who do you think they called? Her, of course.

This report got mentioned in the coveted real estate section one week. That began her meteoric rise to the top of the NYC real estate market. She had, in fact, branded herself with this published report. It is published annually and is a “bible” of the NYC real estate market – and also a couple of other places like Miami.

FYI, she went on to sell her company for upwards of 70 miillion dollars to Cendant in 2001 – and she’s only in her mid-50s (plenty of time to enjoy the dough!).

The holidays are an excellent time to bring in new business – if you’re willing to think creatively and work when the competition is sipping eggnogg! By the time the competition is thinking about marketing again, you’ll be busy reaping the benefits of the marketing you did DURING the season, not after it.

Find this post informative? Follow Inkwell Editorial on Twitter.

P.S.: Submit a Guest Post: This site and its sister site, SeoWritingJobs.com, accepts guest posts. Get the guest post submission guidelines.

make-money-on-backpageP.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.
Copyright © 2010: All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without my written consent (linking to is fine).
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Freelance Writers: What to Look for in a Chamber of Commerce Before You Join

In yesterday’s post, I advised that every freelancer should join a Chamber of Commerce. However, not all chambers are effective. …

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Get Writing Jobs: Why Every Freelance Writer Should Join a Chamber of Commerce

Following are five reasons every freelance writer should join a chamber of commerce. …

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3 Things You Can Do TODAY to Make Your Website More Profitable

“Darn, only three orders/inquiries last week. What am I doing wrong? What can I do to increase sales?”

If you’ve ever had this internal dialogue, then you’re not alone.

Most small business owners are surprised to find that the real work of a web site is not in getting one, but promoting it. Outlined below are three surefire ways to increase sales without breaking the bank.

1. Promote, promote, promote: When was the last time you sent out a mailing via direct mail to promote your online presence? People have to know you exist in order to visit you online.

A postcard mailing is cheap and easy to do. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Visit web sites like vistaprint.com, modernpostcard.com, printingforless.com, etc. to get started. Sending out even a nominal amount (250, 500, more if you can afford it) on a monthly basis will increase sales.

Action You Can Take Now! Go to a postcard website and design a postcard mailer. Even if you can’t afford to order it today, at least you will have designed it, will know the cost and can order it when you have enough sales to cover the cost. The point is to take action NOW. FYI, it costs nothing to design a postcard on vistaprint.com.

2. Stay in Touch: Do you collect the names of visitors to your site via automated software? There are many companies that offer software for this purpose (eg, Aweber.com).

Stay in touch on a regular basis — most experts recommend at least twice a month. And, don’t make every contact a sales pitch. Remember, you are building a relationship. Would you want to talk to someone who is always trying to sell you something?

Via a newsletter, you can inform your customer base about things relevant to your industry that help them improve their lives. For example, if you write newsletters for small businesses, you might send an informative article about how newsletters increase sales, general tips on how to increase client mailing lists, etc.

The key is to keep contact timely and relevant. In this way, the next time your target needs your product/service, your company will be foremost in their minds.

Action You Can Take Now! If you don’t already have it, add a subscriber box to EVERY page of your website. If you already have subscriber boxes on your site, to get even more subscribers, offer a free gift.

MARKETING TIP: Make sure the freebie doesn’t cost you anything. People love helpful information. Great giveaways are free reports, evaluations, consultations, etc. Just make sure that it is pertinent to your industry and offers a real benefit to the recipient.

3. French for the French; English for the English: In other words, speak your client’s language. If your audience is teenagers, then your literature and online presence should reflect that. If you are targeting married, suburban couples, then reflect that. How do you develop the correct tone? Use the sitting-across-the-table exercise. What is this?

Imagine your target market is sitting right across from you. What do they look like? Where do they go to school? What are their jobs? Where do they live? What do they like to do for fun? How much money do they make? The list is endless.

When this picture is clear, imagine how would you talk/relate to them? Even if your product/service crosses a myriad of audiences, you should always speak to your “core” audience. Who are they?

Think of these as your die-hard fans. Every bit of advertising your business does should be done with your die-hard fans mind – not peripheral customers. Now, go over all of your marketing literature. Is it fragmented, or does all of it speak to your core audience?

Tip: Write like you talk, not to impress. However, observe proper grammar and spelling rules. Phoniness can be sensed, even in the written word. Be sincere, polite and earnest in all of your communication. If you do these three things on a consistent basis over a period of months, sales will increase.

Action You Can Take Now! Go to your website and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite with your core audience in mind. Pay particular attention to your home and product/service pages.

Good luck!

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coverP.S.: Get the ebook that pushed my freelance writing career to the next level – allowing me to travel and live abroad, get out of debt and really “live the freelance life.” One freelancer wrote:

Hi Yuwanda,

Just wanted to say thank you – as a result of the advice in your SEO writing e-book, I got my first order within 12 hours of sending out my first batch of 10 marketing emails.

P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

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Marketing for Freelance Writing Jobs? How to Create an Effective Marketing Plan to Land More of Them

The following was excerpted in part from the e-book, The Small Biz Owner’s Complete Marketing Kit! Previously entitled: How to Create an Effective Marketing Plan

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Freelance Writers: How to Develop a Profitable Writing Niche with No Experience

Previously Titled: How to Develop a Niche with NO Experience & Make it Profitable for Years to Come

One of the things I stated in the article, 10 Lessons I’ve Learned from 19+ Years as a Freelancer & Recruiter in the Editorial Industry, is that freelancers should develop a niche (see lesson #7 in this article).

“BUT,” you may wonder, “how do you develop a niche with no experience?” It’s actually relatively easy and can be done in three easy steps.

1. Make a list of your experiences, likes, hobbies, etc. Why? Because the first step in developing a niche is to go with your strengths. Even if you have no professional experience in an area, if you like it, chances are you will work to become proficient in it.

For example, in my professional life, I’ve been a real estate agent, a loan officer, a credit counselor, a recruiter and a legal copy editor (among a few other things — but we’ll just stop here). Remember, this is just professionally.

My hobbies are running, real estate investing, reading historical romances, sewing, interior decorating and designing ethnic pottery, among a barrage of other things (I have a very active mind and a hint of ADD!).

Now that you have this list, what do you do with it?

2. Target lucrative markets: Not every interest you have will make a viable niche market. This may be because they are not willing to pay for your services, don’t need your services and/or there aren’t enough of their type to market to.

With your list in hand, choose markets where: a) your services are needed on a continual basis; b) your asking price can be met with relative ease; and c) there are sufficient numbers to market to.

Also, you might want to consider competition; as in, how much/little do you have? While there is always room for one more company to offer a product/service, my thought process is why fish in a crowded pond.

Go after a market that not many others are targeting. Sometimes this market will reveal itself in your list of professional experiences and/or hobbies. Other times, you may have to work harder to find it. Just make sure that however you choose your market, you keep in mind the points mentioned above.

Now that you know who you want to market to, how do you get those all important first few jobs which lead to samples, references, etc.? Simple.

3. Do low-cost/no-cost work: Always try to get paid for any work you do. You can target local charities; do work for friends with businesses; contact start-up companies, etc. Your mission starting out is to get those first 4 or 5 jobs under your belt.

If you’re not having any luck landing paid work, try this. Target a company and do the work without asking them (eg, rewrite their badly worded brochure you received in the mail; rework their ineffective web copy; design their logo; etc.). Then, contact them with their original and your NEW, improved version. Not many businesses will turn down improved work they don’t have to pay for. Just like that, a legitimate credit!

Even if a company refuses, you can still use it in your portfolio. Just change the name of the company to something that obviously reflects that it’s a fictitious company with the caveat that the name has been changed, but the revisions made were to original copy.

Now, you’re on your way!

Submit a Guest Post: This site and its sister site, SeoWritingJobs.com, accepts guest posts. Get the guest post submission guidelines.

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Become a Published Author:  Start the New Year off right. FINALLY get that ebook you’ve been wanting to write done in Inkwell Editorial’s “How to Write an Ebook in 3 Days Market It & Start Getting Sales within a WeekEbook Writing & Publishing Tournament.

P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

Copyright © 2006: All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without my written consent (linking to is fine).
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