When I teach my coaching students how to package themselves, I use a specific formula to get them from "ground zero" to a "complete package." Although there's not enough room to share the entire process here, I can highlight three of the most critical elements of crafting your own personal freelance lead-generation machine.
The first step requires you to see yourself as a product or service, because in fact, that's what you are. Clients come to marketing agencies because they want to sell a product or a service. If you think of yourself in the same vein, as a commodity, it becomes more apparent what you must do in order to market yourself effectively.
Fill Out A 'Creative Brief' With Yourself As the Product
An exercise I often suggest to my coaching students is to fill out a Creative Brief with themselves as the service to be sold. (A Creative Brief is a powerful document that defines every aspect of a direct marketing promotion. There are many for free on the Web.)
A good Creative Brief forces you to answer such basic questions as "Who is my target market?" "What is my unique selling proposition?", and "What is my offer?"
By getting a firm grip on what your long-term goals are (e.g., earn $100,000 per year as a white paper specialist, or build a first year psychology practice), you'll have a better idea of what markets you should target for your promotions.
Determine Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
For many of my coaching students, newcomers as well as established pros, the process of creating a USP is often daunting, then enlightening, and when we're finished, exhilarating!
When I ask "What sets you apart from everyone else in your space?" my students usually don't have an answer. And off we go on a discovery mission. Often it takes just one to two coaching sessions for the two of us to discover and develop a powerful USP, even for students transitioning from careers that seem entirely unrelated to the field of business they're working in, or transitioning to.
This is one of my favorite moments in coaching, because it's usually an "ah ha" moment for my students. Once they have a well-defined USP, they can suddenly see the power of their own positioning. No longer will they feel insecure when dealing with potential clients, because they can say with confidence, "THIS is why you should hire me above all others!"
Your unique selling proposition should become the underlying message throughout all of your marketing materials (more on this in future Freelancer's Business Bulletin newsletters); however, it must come through in your "offer."
Do You Have An Offer?
Every direct mail promotion has an offer. That's a fundamental of direct marketing. And you, as a solopreneurs, should be using the strongest offer you can come up with.
Your offer is the "lead capture mechanism" of your business. If you support your USP in your offer, you strengthen your positioning with "proof."
For instance, I trade on a history of higher than average response rates. I support it with my free "Direct Response Scorecard," which lists the results of many of my direct mail and online projects. In a separate document I add even deeper support with Case Studies of many of the "mentions" found in my Scorecard.
Whatever you decide to offer potential prospects, make sure it's something they'll want, rather than something you'd like to create. Since few copywriters offer a Direct Response Scorecard, I believe that my offer plays upon a certain level of curiosity. Many of my students offer valuable free information, or a free service (such as a free critique of exiting marketing materials). In every case however, their offer supports their USP. By creating an offer that supports your USP, your marketing materials can do most of the selling, allowing you to close the sale with much more speed and confidence.
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