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  • ILISE BENUN is the founder of Marketing Mentor, and has been teaching people to promote themselves and their services since 1988. Author of 4 books and many, many more articles, Ilise has been self-employed for all but three years of her working life.

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  • DEIDRE RIENZO is a copy writer who helps small business owners turn their ideas into words. She partners with web designers to create simple, compelling, and keyword-rich website content for their clients. The Marketing Mentor program is the driving force that has helped Deidre grow her business, and she blogs about her experiences, adventures, and struggles here at the Marketing Mix.

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« January 2012 | Main | March 2012 »

13 posts categorized "February 2012"

February 29, 2012

Podcast: What It Takes for an Email Newsletter to Get the Phone Ringing

Stephanie Helline, Owner of Strategic Design Studio, had a very surprising response to her latest email newsletter.

The topic was, “Is the Business Card DEAD?” and she didn’t think much of it when she scheduled it to go out Friday morning. She didn’t even like the topic much, but she was committed to staying in touch monthly with her list of 150+ so she wrote it, scheduled it to send and forgot about it.

“A little after 10, the phone rang,” she says. “A client mentioned my newsletter; we talked about a small job, we talked about a larger job. The phone rang again. I looked and noticed there were voicemails. As I was on the phone, emails were popping into my inbox. I wouldn’t want to say this went viral, but viral for me, definitely.”

Stephanie had originally thought this topic would be a non-event. She thought everyone knew that business cards weren’t dead. When the calls started coming in, she had an ah-ha moment.

“Even though I’m constantly looking at marketing techniques, maybe not all my clients aren’t looking at them in the same way,” she said. 

“When I first started writing about the business card, I thought I need to add something more… So I took it one step further and talked about adding a QR code, and remembering to add your social media contacts. I mentioned that some people now scan cards so it’s important to present simply so scanners will work. I talked about digital printing for business cards.” (Read Stephanie’s newsletter here.)

Listen to this 13-minute interview, in which she shares: 

  • How she decides what to write about
  • How long does it takes
  • What her process is?
  • Whether it’s worth it?

She also shares four excellent tips for anyone who might be struggling to get their newsletter out consistently.

Listen here.

And if you need help creating your own email newsletter, check out this Marketing Mentor group that starts the week of March 19.

BTW: If you’re trying to decide with email marketing service to use, check out Myemma.com, a Marketing Mentor partner. You’ll get 20% off when you sign up.

February 27, 2012

Are you using case studies as marketing tools?

Want to really demonstrate how, exactly, you can help a client? Show them a case study.

Case studies are incredible marketing tools because:

  • they tell what problems your client had, and how you solved them
  • they show your process to your prospects  
  • they let your prospect experience your results!

Whether your case studies are simple and short, or longer and more complex—they can be very effective.

Here’s an example where Peter Levinson, of LevinsonBlock LLC, is using a marketing trifecta. He used email marketing to spread the word about his case study, and drive traffic to it on his blog.

Need an example of a case study? Peter’s case study, Finding a firm's true voice, is a good one.

Speaking of email marketing…if you find yourself saying… "I really need to get my email newsletter out"? ...then the Email Marketing Group is for you! A new group starts the week of March 19th. Sign up here.


February 24, 2012

Meet CFC speaker, Dyana Valentine

Dyana Valentine is one of our favorite Creative Freelancer Conference speakers; we bring her back every year! This year at CFC (June 21-22nd in Boston) she is going to be talking about Pitch Perfect—and I interviewed Dyana to get a preview.

Listen to find out more about Dyana, hear her “working pitch,” and learn:

  • The difference between a tagline and a pitch
  • How to craft your pitch and tagline based on the “defining features” of your ideal client
  • Why pitches are constantly evolving, and how often Dyana updates hers

Plus, get a little preview of what CFC attendees can expect to learn in her session, Pitch Perfect. Find out:

  • How your pitch will evolve in the session
  • What Dyana is looking forward to most at CFC this year

Listen here.

Check out the full list of speakers and sessions.

If you aren’t yet registered, sign up here and take advantage of the combo $100 discount: $50 early bird before Mar 30th + $50 Marketing Mentor discount with promo code “CMM12”



February 22, 2012

Podcast: Jeff got 2 jobs in a week since website launch

“I've already landed 2 freelance jobs since I launched my website this week! Without your materials, I don’t think I would have been as prepared as I am now.” 

This is what Jeff Tara emailed me after launching his website for Brand Vue Design with the help of the Freelancers Essentials Collection.

I had to know more, so I interviewed him—and I was delighted to discover his passionate approach to his new business. Jeff reminded me that enthusiasm and fearlessness go a long way—sometimes even further than a plump portfolio (especially when you don’t have one). 

Jeff told me about how, after being laid off a month ago, he dived right into his own business thanks to the preparation he’d done over the past year. In one instance, simply by sharing his honest opinion about his favorite wine company’s new label, he gained a client. He had a fearless, nothing-to-lose approach, and the “roadblocks” didn’t stop him: 

• Obviously they already had a designer—but that didn’t stop him. 

• The only email address he could find was an “info” address—but that didn’t stop him. 

• He had no samples to show in this particular industry—but that didn’t stop him. 

See the email that got him in the door and listen to our interview here.

And if you have a feeling you might be on your own soon or already are and need help getting your own marketing plan in place, take advantage of the free mentoring session to hash it out.

February 20, 2012

5 Creative Valentine’s Day newsletters

Last week, several Marketing Mentor clients used Valentine’s Day as a theme for their newsletters in very creative ways. Here they are: 

1. Jody Shyllberg, JS Graphics - Go on a Date With Your Clients & Prospects

2. Elizabeth Coffey Design - A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words 

3. Tim Read, 5 Fingers Creative - Happy Valentine's Day

4. Billie Bryan, Bee: Love & Marketing 2012.

5. Jezra Kaye, Speak Up For Success - What's Love Got To Do With It?

Have one to add? Please share your link.


February 16, 2012

How I’m introducing myself via email

Hi, I'm Deidre. In my posts, I talk about my voyage down the road of self-employment as a web copywriter, my achievements and roadblocks along the way, and what I’m learning as I go (with Marketing Mentor as my guide).

Last time, I shared the positive responses I’ve been receiving to my outreach efforts. One commenter asked:

“Can you publish an example of an introductory email message that you send out to prospective Web designers?” 

Sure, here’s the basic idea:

Hi (Name of web designer), 

I’d like to introduce myself… (Talk here about how the person might know you, or how you found them: You might know me through…/I was involved in a CFC discussion with you…/I came upon your website...)

I'm Deidre, and I’m a website copywriter. I'm not sure if you ever work with outside copywriters, but if you do, I'd love to be in your loop.

I work as a partner to designers, and I help them when their clients need quick, personality-rich, web and print copy. (If there is something interesting or relevant you found on their website, in relation to you, mention it.)

If you’d like to know more about me, I'd be happy to send over some rates and samples.

Thanks for your time! 


Deidre Rienzo
Connect with me on LinkedIn
Get my un-newsletter

Wish writing was easier? Get my freebie download: 12 Sparks to Write Sizzling, Audience-Attracting Website Words.

Are you reaching out via email too? Let us know how it's going. 


February 15, 2012

Join me in Boston for CFC

I hope you are planning to join me in Boston this June 21-22 for our 5th annual Creative Freelancer Conference. It's part of HOW Design Live -- 4 conferences in one short week to keep you inspired for the whole year!

The CFC speaker lineup is the best yet—with specialized sessions for both “Newbies” (N) and “Veterans” (V) to choose from.

Plus, if you register by March 30, you'll get $50 early bird discount. So don't put it off. Register here now.

Just take a look at the featured speakers/sessions:

  • Options for Growth (N, V) -- Luke Mysse
  • Positioning Yourself As If You Were Outside Looking In (V) -- David C. Baker, ReCourses, Inc.
  • Planning for the First Year of Freelance (N)-- Shane Pearlman, CEO, Modern Tribe, Inc.
  • Why a Bigger Business Isn't Always Better (N, V) -- Amy Abrams & Adelaide Lancaster, authors of The Big Enough Company
  • Building Your Prospect List: Quality vs. Quantity (V)-- Allen Murabayashi, CEO, PhotoShelter.com
  • Skillful Communication with Clients (N)-- Marcia Hoeck, Owner, Hoeck Associates
  • Is Your Website Generating Business? (N,V)-- Mark O'Brien, Founder, Newfangled.com
  • The Nuts and Bolts of Pricing and Negotiating (N, V) -- Sarah Durham, Principal, Big Duck
  • Top Ten Tools to Save You Time (and Radically Streamline Your Business in the Cloud) (N,V) -- Patrick McNeil, Owner, Design Meltdown
  • Making More Money (And Other Tax Problems) (N) -- Martin Kamenski, Rockstar CPA
  • How to Create & Execute Your Marketing Plan (V) -- Ed Gandia, International Freelancers Academy
  • Pitch Perfect (N) -- DyanaValentine.com

Plus, there’s even more:

Early morning Net-walking (my favorite!) , Morning Roundtables, a Pricing Panel (with Cameron Foote of Creative Business and others), and Happy Hour with (new) 5-Minute Presentations from any attendee who wants to present!

Get all the details on sessions and speakers here.

Of course, I’ll be there too as host, moderator and to close the conference with, “Your Post-CFC Action Plan.”

Who's already signed up? And who's got the Big Ticket?

February 13, 2012

Making “hot topics” accessible for your audience

In her latest newsletter, Stephanie Helline from Strategic Design Studio took a hot topic, digital publishing, and made it accessible for her audience. She described what it is, why it’s important, and what the possibilities are—plus, included an example of how she did it for a client. Here’s an excerpt:

Digital Publishing  – You can do it too!

Are you participating in the tablet revolution? If you’re not—I bet you will be soon. Forrester Research forecasts that 35 million tablets will be sold in 2012. Will one belong to you? How many will belong to your ideal customers? Give a new user a tablet and they are swiping and interacting in no time. The colors pop, the type is crisp, and they’re pinching in the picture, flaring it out, and whooshing it left and right. Tablets are so easy—almost anyone can use them. Why? 

The touch screen makes all the difference. 

Using the basics, a simple touch, a quick swipe, the tablet is allowing your reader to experience your content in a more intimate way. It’s creating a new method by which you can meaningfully interact: by “digitally publishing” your communication materials. 

Why digitally publish? 

Well, if your target customer is three or older, you’ll want to digitally publish to be in front of them. And, you’ve already got the content! Repurpose it for this widely accessible communication vehicle. You’ve already invested in the development of the content, pushing it out via other avenues is cost effective. In the last issue of tactics we talked about trends, and the tablet is only getting more popular. It’s evident that if your market isn’t currently using tablets, they will be soon.

Read the rest…


February 10, 2012

Aiming to start a successful photography business?

Photographer Martha Retallick has just released the Freelancer's Guide to Starting a Successful Photography Business. It showcases more than 50 resources that will help freelancers learn professional business practices in photography, find photography buyers, and improve their photographic skills. Here’s an excerpt:

Of Pizzas and Photographers

There’s a joke that’s been making the rounds for years: What’s the differencebetween a large pizza and a photographer? The punch line is that the large pizzacan feed a family of four. Not the sort of adventure you’d like to subject yourspouse and two kids to, is it?

 And, if you’re getting the impression that making the transition from being anamateur/hobbyist to being a full time professional photographer isn’t easy, you’reright. This transition is made all the more difficult by:

1. Photography’s supply problem. There is both an abundance of images andpeople creating them. And they’re generating more supply all the time. Recallyour economics class that taught that high supply tends to drive down prices.(Think microstock photography here.)

2. The “love” problem. There’s quite an abundance of people who love takingpictures. In fact, they love photography so much that they’d gladly do it forfree. Which presents quite a challenge to those who wish to get paid for their work…

Fortunately, this eBook can help. The Freelancer's Guide to Starting a Successful Photography Business will introduce you to books, both printed and electronic, websites,blogs, online forums, and organizations to help you grow as a photographer and a business person. You will learn about:

  1. Photography portfolios
  2. Photographic sales and marketing skills
  3. Photography contracts
  4. Copyright registration
  5. Buying vs. renting equipment
  6. Photography workshops
  7. Professional development

For more information, or to purchase the downloadable eBook ($15.00) click here.


February 08, 2012

Bryn says, “This marketing stuff isn’t hard, except…"

Last time I talked to independent journalist and copywriter, Bryn Mooth, from Writes4Food, she confessed to slowing down in December and paying the price in January. 

When I asked her, “What could you have done differently to avoid this slowdown?” Bryn said, “I should have put more effort into marketing in October and November.” 

Bryn realized, “This marketing stuff isn’t hard, except if you wait until you’re really slow and you’re desperate and have to do it all at once.” By plugging marketing into her calendar, and doing marketing steadily, she says, “It’s not hard, it’s not time consuming, it’s not overwhelming.” 

In this 19-minute interview, we talk about the actions Bryn has been taking to ramp up her marketing machine, with a special focus on how she’s using LinkedIn to: 

• Decide which groups to join

• Ask and answer questions

• Get introductions from her connections

• Turn connections into phone calls

See how her marketing efforts have paid off in just one month.

Listen here…



The Tagline Series