Effective Marketing for the Creatively Self-Employed

From article by Anthony Ceseri, posted by MaryEllen Tribby May 2, 2013 and  by ThrivingBusiness.com  July 2013.

Getting in front of people isn’t enough. You have to know HOW to get in front of them, so their initial reaction will be positive and they’ll want to interact with you and be your fan, follower or student. But unfortunately, many business owners, musicians, artists, and other creative people looking to promote things on the web simply don’t take the time to consider this, and as a result they’re left wondering why no one wants to buy what they’re selling. If you want to get anywhere, you have to learn how to market yourself. With that being said, let’s look at 3 important tips for eliciting positive reactions in potential customers, clients and fans.

1. Speak to One Person
Of course, as a creative person you want to appeal to the masses. You want a ton of people loving and promoting what you’ve created. I get it. But one thing you have to realize when you’re marketing is it’s best to address one person to increase the odds of getting their attention.

For example, let’s say you signed up for a band’s email list at one of their gigs. Which of the following opening lines would be more likely to grab your attention as a reader?

A.  “Hey Guys – We wanted to thank you all for coming out to our last show. We appreciated you guys being there and hope you can make it out to our next show at…”

OR

B.  “Hey Bob – We wanted to thank you for coming out to our last show. We appreciated you being there and hope you can make it out to our next show at…”

Doesn’t the second one feel much more like it’s directed at you, specifically (well, assuming your name’s Bob)? The second one’s much more likely to get your readers’ attention. There’s a subconscious detachment that happens when we read phrases like “hey all you guys.” It makes us feel like just a face in a crowd, and we zone out. But when we’re spoken to directly, we’re much more likely to respond.

To get good at this technique, a great marketing approach is to create an avatar of your typical fan. Write out the name, age, gender, occupation, etc, of one of your fans. It can be someone made-up, who you feel represents your fan base appropriately, or it can be an actual fan or reader of yours. Every time you write an email, Tweet, or Facebook post, keep that person in mind. Pretend you’re writing to him only and not to everyone on the internet. It’ll help you keep your writings engaging for everyone who reads them, because while saying things like “Hello, Cleveland” is kick-ass on-stage, it just doesn’t apply when you’re marketing yourself.

2.    Give Value
Another big mistake a lot of creative people make is they don’t make their promotions about their fans. They make them about themselves. They say things like “We would really appreciate it if you came out to our show. It would mean so much to us.” That’s inwardly focused. It may work on their mom and siblings, but it just won’t appeal to someone who’s a casual observer. In fact, it’ll probably turn that casual observer off, because it’s such a self-serving statement.

Another phrase I see a lot in the songwriting world is “hey check out my songs, and let me know what you think.” There are two reasons this phrase is a bad idea: 1. Again, it’s self-serving. It’s all about the artist who posted it, which means other people aren’t likely to care. And, 2. It’s disingenuous. They probably don’t really want to know what you think, UNLESS you love it. If you hate their music, they’re not going to want you posting that on their page. I recommend staying away from that phrase altogether in online postings. It does the exact opposite of giving value.

Instead, talk about the benefits they’ll have by buying your product, or trading their email for one of your freebies. Let them know why it’ll be a positive experience for THEM. People respond to what makes them feel good, so make them feel good. Don’t just talk about yourself. Everyone’s favorite topic is themselves, not someone else. Use that piece of information to your advantage when you’re promoting what you do.

3.    Build Relationships
One of the best ways to market yourself and your products is to build relationships. This applies not only to people who can help advance your career, like other business owners, but with your fans, clients or readers as well.

As far as building relationships with your fans, if you were in the crowd for a convention, for example, wouldn’t you be much more likely to buy a product from the speaker if he engaged you in some pleasant conversation afterwards? And if you get your fans on your email list, you can continue the relationship with them by offering them cool stuff in your emails.

And as for other business owners or mentors who can help your career along, building relationships with them is key as well. You’ve heard the phrase “it’s all who you know.” Well, start knowing people. But again, it’s about them. Don’t try to build relationships with people by seeing what they can do for you. No one will want to deal with you. Just get to know them. Later on down the line, you might able to ask for things, and it’ll be okay because you’ll have that relationship. But start out by just by getting to know them, and even see if there’s anything you can do for them. If people like you and get to know you, they’ll be much more likely to want to help you succeed.

The opposite of building relationships is spamming people online. This includes sending emails to people who didn’t ask to receive them and posting your promotions on sites that weren’t looking for them to be posted there. Things like that will only aggravate people, and possibly even get you blocked from the sites you want to be on. You’re doing the opposite of building relationships.

The problem is, most up-and-comers think in numbers. They think, “That Facebook page has 20,000 Likes. If I post my product there, tons of people will see it, and I’ll be a millionaire!” What’s much more likely to happen, is you’re just going to annoy the owner of the page. Think about how you feel when random people you don’t know post their stuff to your page. Instead, try to develop a relationship with the owner of the page. Maybe he’ll eventually promote your product to his page, if it’s good. And if he doesn’t, that’s fine too.

Marketing yourself and your ideas is crucial to your success. It’s just as important as knowing the underlying craft of what your business provides. Actually, it’s probably more important, if you want what you’re doing to be more than just a hobby. So use these three tips to start effectively marketing yourself and your ideas to build a strong and thriving community of people who actually want to help you succeed. Have fun and good luck!

If you’re a songwriter or performer (or want to be) and you’d like a lot of useful information on building a fan base and writing songs, download my free report here: http://successforyoursongs.com/freeoffer/

Anthony Ceseri is the owner of http://www.SuccessForYourSongs.com, a website dedicated to the growth and development of songwriters of all skill levels.

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