There are many effective ways a corporate freelancer can market herself...online and offline networking, cold calls, public speaking, article writing, and about ten or so other methods.
But the one I teach my coaching students to start with is direct mail. That's because direct mail is the ONLY marketing tool that allows you to target your market precisely. Every other method "attracts" potential clients, but direct mail is the only way to raise your chances of working with the specific companies and organizations YOU want to work with.
And because getting the "right names" or the "big companies" in your portfolio opens the door to getting better clients, direct mail should be a primary marketing method of any freelancer who want to increase client quality, and income.
Now, if your portfolio is really skinny and the samples are of low quality, you're not going to get into the Fortune 500, but a smart mail campaign that sets you apart from the rest will get you noticed by high-quality mid-size companies who are used to working with high-caliber professionals.
So how do you put together a mailing that gets noticed?
It's easy...put something bulky in the envelope.
Think about it. When you've received something in the mail that has bulk, and you don't know what it is, you ALWAYS open the envelope, don't you?
Well, the decision-maker you're targeting is human too...and 99 times out of 100, he'll open the envelope to see what's inside.
Now of course, whatever you've tucked into the envelope had better have relevance, or cleverness, or both. (If you can't have both, go for relevance.)
In an ad agency, this is called "concepting." You think of some unusual and relevant as a way to get the attention of your target. The elements of your campaign, the envelope, a letter, a "bulky item," etc., are developed after the main message has been determined. And as we all know by now (don't we?)...the best message usually has to do with solving a business pain experienced by your target.
So ok. What would this look like...a "bulky item" concept that supports a message that promises to alleviate a pain of your target audience?
Years ago a client came to me who said "I need to fill seminar seats so I can sell dentists my $15,000 marketing solution. But the problem is, it's hard to get through the gatekeeper. The front office keeps dumping my letters."
My client knew that dentists are very busy, under a lot of pressure (this is the pain). So I came up with the idea of sending a couple of tea bags along with the letter.
The messaging (from memory) was "I know you're very busy and rarely get time to rest. But here's an invitation to take a break with a cup of chamomile tea. And while you're enjoying a well-deserved moment of calm, give yourself the opportunity to consider this offer..."
The bulky envelope idea was a smashing success and my client used it for years. The "bulk" in the envelope gave the mailing importance (or intrigue), and got it past the gatekeeper and into the dentist's hands. And apparently, the dentists liked it that someone understood their "pain."
You can use the same tactic to set yourself apart from all the other (less imaginative) freelance pros out there.
The key is to come up with an inexpensive idea for a bulky item that's relevant to your message. And the most effective message is the one that promises to alleviate a pain your prospect must grapple with.
Where to get ideas for 3-D or bulky mailers
In the agency world (where I come from), there are companies that supply specialty items for bulky mailers. One is called Impact Products and the site is run by well-known direct marketer Mitch Carson.
At Mitch's site you'll discover categories of common products marketers use for attention-getters, premiums, and dimensional mail. These items are part of the catalog because they're the kind of items that often have "relevance" to a smart marketing message.
This site will get your thinking going, but remember, the best ideas are original ideas, spawned by your own creative solutions to client problems.
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