Collaboration. One of the best ways to market mself is to collaborate with others. Instead of only working by mself, offer my talents on a project.
Listings. I don’t have many words to make a pitch, I will offer a few words to differentiate mself and a link to my blog if possible.
Business card. Don’t go with anything tacky or overly complicated. Keep it simple, professional. The fewer items on my card, the better.
Email skills. This is how I do most of my marketing, in combination with the blog and collaboration ideas listed above. I’ll simply email someone to see if they’re interested. I’ll do a short pitch about myself and my services (a short paragraph) and make them an offer. If they write back, great. If not, I can either follow up or move on to the next one. Don’t be too pushy. Again, be professional, and offer a link or two to show samples of my work. People don’t have a lot of time to read emails, so be sure to keep it short. Be friendly and professional. And make them an offer they can’t refuse (not a “Godfather”-style offer, though).
In person. This is the part that many people have trouble with. Either they are too shy or they have a tendency to overdo it. I need to find a balance between being unafraid to talk to people and being too pushy. If I go to a conference or some other event like that, I will face my fear by making it a challenge to talk to 20 people today. By the time I’ve done 5-10 of them, I’ll start to get more comfortable. Develop a short script for what I want to say, if this doesn’t come naturally for me. Alter it depending on people’s reactions. But try to learn to deliver it naturally, and be open to changing it.
Social websites. I will find the forums and other social websites where my field communicates. It could be on MySpace or Facebook or a certain popular blog or one of a number of online forums. Be a participant, contribute valuable knowledge without showing off, be friendly and helpful. I might form relationships that could pay off in the long run.
The Pitch. This is used whether in email, in person, on a social website, or IM. I need to develop the art of making a pitch that doesn’t come on too strong. This takes practice, and there’s too much to this skill for me to explain here, but in general, the key point is to understand what the potential customer needs or wants, and show how to be the perfect solution to provide that need or want.
The Close. Once I’ve made the pitch, I could end it with a simple, “Get back to me if you’re interested.” But I might find that while people will react positively to that kind of conclusion, I will rarely end with any kind of business. I need to have a close, make a sell. Again, don’t be pushy about it. Just learn to make a specific offer and ask my client to take action (with a good reason to take that action).
Product. This should go without saying, but my best spokesman is my product. If my work is shoddy, people won’t continue to use it, and worse yet, my reputation will go downhill. If instead I do an outstanding job, I will continue to get business, or even better, I’ll get recommended to others as an outstanding man.