Four Vital Marketing Steps

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~~~ Notes from Minnesota ~~~

Hey Freelancer,

Lina, the Flamepoint Siamese kitten, is on her first diet. Vet said she’s beginning to resemble a wood tick.

Sigh.

I’m on a diet, too. Heck, I’ve been on a diet pretty much my entire adult life. Colon cancer put me on a really weird range of acceptable foods. But to put a kitten on a stricter food plan? I feel her pain.

She’s definitely a Siamese. This means she talks. A lot. Constantly. I get the definite impression that she’s not real pleased with this development.

And her diet? It’s really not that bad. At this point, we just have to curb the treats. No “milkbones” when Jake (the Mini Pinscher) goes outside. (They like to celebrate his accomplishment together.) No more tuna treats. Salmon bites? Gone. We were told to quit doling out Friskies Party Mix like popcorn, too.

Please don’t judge me. I miss Ru, my dearly departed Doxie cross. In response to my grief, I’ve apparently decided to slowly ruin my lovely Lina’s health by systematically overfeeding her. :/

But no more.

Now, she eats kitten food. Only kitten food. That’s it. Nothing more.

The result? Everything about this new lifestyle displeases Lina. My office has become a cacophony of feline complaints.

And I love every minute. Jeepers, that girl is cute!

Onward and upward,

Beth 🙂

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Four Vital Marketing Steps

By Beth Erickson

Last time I discussed how annoyed I got when a stranger hit me up on Facebook asking if I’d buy her book. Another time, a self proclaimed “guru” got all friendly on that same message format, introduced himself, then broadsided the conversation, asking me to purchase his service.

While figuring out how to sell your writing online can sometimes feel frustrating, it’s important to remember a few basic principles before you start.

Hanging out your shingle online is similar to setting up shop in a small town. While people tend to be naturally friendly, never assume they’ll just pull out their wallets and start handing out cash because you’re so gosh darned talented, competent, wonderful… whatever.

Nope. That’s not how it works.

First, your potential customers have to be aware of your existence. They need to “know” you. Ever hear of the marketing mantra “location, location, location?” That’s fairly true online as well. If your potential customers have no idea you exist, you’ll need to step up your game, head to where your customers hang out, and start building a name for yourself. Writers call that process “building a platform.”

Your platform is built, plank by plank by everything you say, do, and are, especially online. It includes your website, social media, even your comments. Assume your potential clients watch your online activities and take mental notes on what they see as well as the person you present to the world.

Second, once they “know” you, they need to “like” you. There’s no one size fits all plan to do this. You’ll just to know your potential audience enough to instinctively be aware of what behavior is acceptable and what will cause them to toss your information in the recycle bin.

Third step: Once they “know” you and “like” you, your potential reader/client/customer needs to “trust” you. Whether you want them to give you money or (even more precious) their time, you need to demonstrate that everything you offer is top notch. Whether you’re teaching, entertaining, reporting, selling, whatever… if you consistently present your best work, your audience will begin to trust that you’re the person they need to provide those services.

Finally, if your audience “knows” you, “likes” you, and “trusts” you, that’s when you are able to seamlessly ask for something. Whether you ask for their time, donations, a (fair) exchange of goods, you’ll always increase the odds of success when you’ve built a proper platform, engage your audience, and are consistent with your words and actions.

You’ll rarely find a successful creative entrepreneur who, after just meeting someone, immediately launches into a sales pitch. Most of the most successful writers I know are huge listeners, always studying their intended audience so they can better serve them.

But, we can discuss that next time, eh? Until then, keep writing! Keep building your platform. And most importantly, don’t give up.

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You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

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