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The Mix Master

  • 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.

    More about Ilise here.

The Mix Mistress

  • 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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47 posts categorized "Podcast"

March 28, 2014

How important is getting found online?

Creative professionals spend lots of time improving our websites, creating relevant content and searching for the perfect “keywords”—but how important is this, really? In other words, if prospects find you purely through a web search, will they be good clients who value your services

Upcoming CFBC/HOW Live speaker, Doug Dolan, says no. In this interview, he talks about a myriad of bad clients, including—you guessed it—the web searcher, in preparation for his session, Solving Your Biggest Creative Problem: The ClientWeb-searcher-doug-dolan

Doug says he’s never been found by anyone, purely based on a web search, where it’s ended well.

The lesson I took from our conversation is to not put as much weight on being found on the web as being visible in the right places, where a discerning potential client is likely to look. That has huge value.

Join me, Doug, and a host of talented speakers and creative professionals, at the upcoming Creative Freelancer Business Conference/HOW Design Live. Early bird deadline ends April 1 and you can still use my promo code for $50 off: ILISE14 when you sign up.

March 25, 2014

Stop feast or famine with this 7-step process

Jen Lombardi is a former freelancer who started Kiwi Creative 2.5 years ago. Since then, the firm has grown to 6 people thanks to a 7-step marketing process that Jen developed and shares details about in this interview.

Feast or famine is very real, so to steady the pipeline and produce regular work, Jen hired a business development person (part time) as her first employee.

From there, she devised a sales and outreach process that includes 7 steps based on how Jen likes to be approached (and doesn’t). She eliminated cold calls immediately because she hates them. On the other hand, she loves email so that’s where it starts.

If you don’t know what to do, or when to do it, try Jen Lombardi’s 7-step process:  KiwiPacket

  1. Email introduction. Short, sweet and to the point about why you’re reaching out to them. Include a call to action. If they don’t respond…
  2. Give them some swag. Send something physical in the mail. Jen shares her package of swag. If they don’t respond…
  3. Call them – it’s no longer cold. They should be expecting it. If you don’t reach them…
  4. Invite to connect through LinkedIn – As Jen calls it, “a professional stalker's best friend.” Don’t use the generic invite – customize it!
  5. Another email. (There's some flexibility with the rest of the steps so use your judgment and be persistent without being pushy)
  6. Another phone call.
  7. Another email.

Thanks to this simple, methodical process, the response rate for Kiwi Creative is very high -- i.e. it works!

The proof is in the pudding -- did you see above: she's grown to 6 people in under 3 years and again needs a bigger office space!

At CFBC (Boston, MA - May 12-16), Jen will be going into detail about each step and showing examples. Early bird rates - extended through April 1st! Use my promo code “ILISE14” for $50 off CFBC or the Big Ticket

Use a spreadsheet or checklist to keep yourself accountable (or let me help!) Want to get started? Schedule a complimentary mentoring session.


October 14, 2013

Outreach = Research: Video with Nick Matarese

In this candid video, Nick Matarese, a creative freelancer in Delaware shares how he feels right before a research call—and tells how these calls helped him land a 2 year contract with one of his dream clients.

“That first 10-15 seconds, I’m terrified, I’m sweating … I don’t know what I’m doing, I feel like they’re going to know that I’m faking everything, but once I get going – start talking about design—then I’m fine. Get them to talk about their needs and how what you do can help with that, and then all the nerves are gone because you’re the expert. “

Nick’s great, never-give-up attitude is helping him build a small agency that specializes in sports branding and marketing. Watch to find out more about Nick’s growth:

Nick’s success will be part of a new online event, Strategies for Creative Freelancers (which will be held on Tues. Oct 29, 2013). Learn more & sign up today! Use promo code “CFFALL2013” to get $50 off.

* The poster Nick created from a saying that inspired him in a fortune cookie.

August 13, 2013

How much does it cost to get a new client?

In today’s podcast, Sarah Durham of BigDuckNYC.com (a favorite speaker on pricing at CFC 2012) talks with me about how she integrates her own unbillable time into her pricing. (We recorded this a few months ago, so please disregard the "upcoming CFC" references. Now, the next conference is May 12-16, 2014 in Boston!)

“If you’re making more money than you’re spending, you’re doing fine,” says Sarah. But if you’re growing and your time doesn’t have a direct corollary to billable work, there are other things to consider. Sarah credits her learning of this concept (also known as “utilization” or “billable efficiency”) to David Baker of ReCourses.


Whether it’s just you or you have a staff, some amount of your time is unbillable, whether you are answering email, doing marketing or nurturing clients. The goal is for 55- 60% of the collective time to be billable. As the principal of a 20-person firm, Sarah’s time is less than 10% billable. (She knows because they track all time, billable and non-billable.)

In the podcast, she shares how each person on her staff contributes to the average, who is more billable than whom, and why she tracks unbillable time as much as billable time.

She also reveals how much it costs her firm to secure a new client: $500-3000. That’s what they would charge if they billed it out. So she tries to bake some of that into proposals for each new client. “It’s a wild card,” she admits.

Can you charge your client for the proposal you’re ready to write for them? Listen to her answer, based on the word of Blair Enns of Win Without Pitching.

BTW Big Duck is looking for freelancers in Brooklyn. Listen for how to reach her…

*Elephant bank, courtesy, Shutterstock.

July 19, 2013

Podcast: How I schedule my day…

This morning, on a lark, copywriter Deidre Rienzo, and did an impromptu podcast in which she interviewed me about how I "do" my day. It gave me a chance to go into more detail about how I use that infamous Post-It Note, how I use my dog for productivity purposes, how many breaks I take (and whether I have to eat something every time I go into the kitchen) and much more.

What I didn't mention is the most important trick (which is of course no trick at all): getting up at 5:30 am! A long day lets me get a lot more done and use that quiet time in the morning to really focus and think.

Self-employed people don't get to see exactly how other creatives structure their days. So in this podcast, we dig into my details. (I hope you'll share yours in the comments.) In this interview, I answer questions like:

• How many things go on your post-it note?
• When do you take breaks, how often, and for how long?
• What makes you feel stressed?
• When is your day done?
• What do I say no to? Say maybe to? Put off?
• How is saying “no” related to productivity?

Listen to the full 12-minute podcast here—and tell me—how do you run your day?

If you’re ready to increase your productivity by 30%, don’t miss Ed Gandia’s upcoming 3-part class:
Effortless Productivity: How to Accomplish 30% More Every Day Naturally and With Less Stress.”
(Watch this interview to learn more!)

Enrollment ends on Wednesday, July 24th—and classes start Thursday, July 25th. Don’t wait! A more productive summer—and a more productive future—is waiting. Sign up today: http://bit.ly/145e6UR

Also, check out this Pinterest board where I'm collecting resources and tools for productivity.

July 10, 2013

New Networking Tricks for a Social Media World

I recently did an interview about my latest networking tricks with Ed Gandia for his B2B Launcher podcast. We talked about all sorts of things, including how to choose the right event to attend, and how to prepare to make the best of your time. Additionally, I shared a few of my secrets for standing out, getting noticed and increasing your chances of starting a dialogue that can continue after the event. Here’s a bit of what we talked about: 

Pre-connecting via Twitter, LinkedIn and/or Facebook before an in person event can allay your fear of rejection and help build confidence to make you feel more comfortable approaching people at the event! It helps to bridge the gap of walking up to someone you don’t know as opposed to someone that has already expressed an interest in building a relationship.

A fun and great way to help someone recognize you is to print out your Twitter pic and put it on your name tag. This can help others make the association of who you are, since people can look different in person or use other images than their own on Twitter.

Listen to the entire interview here.

April 02, 2013

Podcast: Independent Writer Reinvents Herself = Business Picks Up

Since 1984, Leila Zogby has been an independent writer of corporate marketing communications. But when she came to Marketing Mentor in December 2012, she had lost an anchor client and was having a hard time getting new clients. “I needed to change my losing game.”

We did the free ½ hour coaching session (which I offer to anyone I think I can help), and from there decided to do two 1-hour consultations. The result: “You broke the logjam,” said Leila, in our recent interview/podcast about how she took what we discussed. The truth is: she broke the logjam herself. “The process of having to dig into my files and look objectively at the factors influencing my business – the clarity that came from that broke the logjam.” (Listen here.)

Here’s an excerpt:

“The recession really hit people hard, everything has changed and we need to reinvent ourselves. People who are generalists tend to be the ones struggling the most in this economy. That was me! I prided myself on being a generalist and able to tackle anything. But it’s a different world. Which doesn’t mean you don’t do a variety of things. But in your sales approach you have to highlight a particular aspect of your service.

“I realized that I had great strength in long form writing, which, interestingly enough, is coming back into the mix as people are developing content rich strategies. Working with you allowed me to see clearly the advantage I had.

“So now I have changed the way I talk about what I do when I’m prospecting and it’s working fabulously. Now people’s eyes light up and they realize what I’m talking about, both in networking and making calls to prospects. They really respond to it and understand what I can do for them.”

Listen to the podcast to hear her new “elevator pitch,” the metaphor she came up with (it’s related to food!) and the story she tells.

For Leila, it took 2 sessions and she was off and running. It’s different for everyone. But if you’re in the weeds and need some clarity, try the free half hour. Sign up here.

March 31, 2013

Podcast: 4 Best Practices To Keep Your Pipeline Full

I recently interviewed an old, old friend of mine, Dana Manciagli, who will be speaking on Cut the Crap, Start Networking, at CFC 2013 this June 22-24 in San Francisco.

Dana refers to herself as “a bizdev person at heart.” She’s a 30+ year sales/marketing veteran in the throes of reinventing herself as a freelance speaker/author. (Her book Cut the Crap, Get a Job! will be out soon.)

In this podcast, we talked about the parallels between 21st century job search and being a self employed creative looking for clients. We agreed that in both:

  • You are selling yourself. You are the brand.
  • You need to sell on an ongoing basis for long term relationships (not just the short term).   Pipeline-line-uncropped

Therefore, you need to: 

  • Track every move you make in your bizdev process, otherwise good opportunities will fall through the cracks. (With Marketing Mentor’s 2013 Marketing Plan for Creative Professionals, you get a spreadsheet with all the columns pre-populated.)
  • Keep the pipeline full and make time to work the funnel. You need lots and lots of leads cooking at a time. When one prospects drops out, you must immediately replace it.
  • Be persistent. Dana says 3 is the magic number. “You must follow up 3 times on every lead.” 
  • Thank everyone for everything. “You can’t thank people enough.” Send thank you notes, gift cards, offers to reciprocate. Bend over backwards to thank anyone who does anything for you. It will pay off in the end.

Come hear Dana in person at CFC June 22-24 in SF! Get $50 off (CFC only) with promo code "ILISE". Register here now: www.creativefreelancerconference.com

Credit: Illustration by Iain Keith of http://www.imagicon.ca/

March 26, 2013

Turn Traffic Into Leads With a Simple Freebie

Not everyone who comes to your web site is ready to buy from you -- or even talk to you. That’s why you need a way to turn that traffic, which you work so hard to get, into leads that you can nurture and eventually convert into actual clients. To do that, you need to offer something of value in exchange for their contact info. Otherwise they’ll leave and forget all about you.

That’s where your “freebie” comes in. It allows you to turn traffic into leads.

In this podcast interview, Erin Pheil of Timeforcake.com tells me all about how she does it. Plus, she offers a simple model you can follow at NoClientHostingHassles.com.

Here’s an excerpt from the podcast:
Q: Aren’t you worried about being perceived as gimmicky by offering a freebie?
A: When you are on a web site and you see an offer that seems gimmicky, it means you’re probably not the target audience. But when you’re really interested in a product, if you see an offer to learn more, suddenly those offers aren’t quite as gimmicky. They will be interested if it’s information they care about and that truly helps them. Gimmickyness is in the eye of the beholder.

Listen to the rest of the interview here.

And if you’d like to create your own freebie but don’t know what the content would be, come to Mark O’Brien’s workshop on June 24 in San Francisco: You Don’t Know What You Know: Developing Your Content Strategy. Details here.

March 11, 2013

Podcast: How to Develop Your Content Strategy

The better understanding you have of who you are, how you work, who hires you and why, the more likely you will be able to do effective content marketing.

At this year’s Creative Freelancer Conference, Mark O’Brien, CEO of Newfangled, will be conducting a post-Conference workshop on Monday, June 24 called: You Don’t Know What You Know: Developing Your Content Strategy. And at the end of his 3 hour, extremely hands-on workshop (designed for all types of freelancers and small firm owners), you will leave with your content strategy in hand! (Mark is also presenting on Day 2 of CFC, “The Conversion-Focused Web Site,” a great primer for the workshop, since your web site is the “home” for your content.) Details here.

In our recent podcast/interview, Mark said that content marketing:

Is the currency of the modern marketing platform. Essentially it means creating educational content that is focused on the overlap between your expertise and your prospect’s pain points. It’s the fuel for attracting, informing and engaging prospects, no matter where they are in the buying cycle.

When I asked Mark what challenges creative pros have with content marketing, he said:

  • Lack of positioning. It requires discipline, focus and yes, risk taking. Plus, it’s a discovery process.
  • Burn out. It’s essential not to over-commit to all sorts of blogging and social media. Otherwise you’ll quickly burn out.
  • Determining the right platforms, publishing frequency and points of engagement on your site.

Don’t let these challenges, or lack or direction, stop you from pursuing this effective form of marketing. Register for CFC, and sign up for Mark’s workshop, Developing Your Content Strategy. Details here.

This Friday, March 15 is the early bird deadline for CFC: June 22-24 in San Francisco. Get $100 off (CFC only) if you combine promo code "ILISE" + Early Bird rate. Register here now.


The Tagline Series