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The Marketing Mentor Podcast

In the Marketing Mentor podcast, Ilise Benun, founder of Marketing-Mentor.com, offers short but meaty conversational interviews with creative professionals who are doing what it takes to stop feast or famine, get better clients and command the fees they deserve – and sharing what they’ve learned.
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Now displaying: March, 2012

Ilise Benun, founder of Marketing-Mentor.com and author of 7 books, including The Creative Professional’s Guide to Money, interviews her clients and other successful creative professionals about what’s working when it comes to the latest marketing tools and pricing strategies. Ilise’s conversational style is friendly and engaging as she presses her interviewees to reveal the details that you don’t hear anywhere else about what exactly they are doing and how it is working. Each episode is a no-fluff chat about the nuts and bolts of how designers, copywriters, photographers and other creatives are doing to grow their business to get better clients with bigger budgets. Topics covered include taking control over your business, ending the feast or famine syndrome, finding your niche, identifying the ideal clients who value your services and can pay what you’re worth, developing your own marketing style and cultivating relationships that will last.

For more, sign up for her Quick Tips at marketing-mentortips.com

Mar 26, 2012

One of the most popular speakers from last year's Creative Freelancer Conference, Allen Murabayashi, CEO of PhotoShelter, will be back this year (June 21-22 in Boston -- early bird deadline is this Friday, March 30!).

Allen joined me for a podcast interview to preview his session, Building Your Prospect List: Quality vs. Quantity.

In our interview, we talked about the importance of qualifying prospects. Allen said:

You’re going to drive yourself crazy if all you’re trying to do it gets tons of people through the door. You have to simultaneously qualify your audience. For example, if you’re Prada, and you’re selling shoes for $500, you’re not going to go to a suburban mall where nobody has discretionary income—and the most popular place there is Walmart.

You have to be very strategic in the way you spend your time. I was talking to a wedding photographer, and on their contact form, they say, “How excited are you to work with us on a scale of 1-10?” They told me they didn’t respond to anything where it’s less than an 8—as a pre-qualification mechanism.

Listen to our 8-minute interview to hear more.

Use your Big Ticket pass to catch this CFC session – or sign up for CFC on its own. If you aren’t yet registered for CFC, 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

Mar 26, 2012

The 5th Annual Creative Freelancer Conference, June 21-22 in Boston (early bird deadline is this Friday, March 30!), is rapidly approaching and for today’s podcast interview, we have Sarah Durham, Founder of Big Duck. Sarah’s session will be The Nuts and Bolts of Pricing and Negotiating.

At Big Duck, they design exclusively with nonprofit organizations. In fact, they haven’t worked with a for-profit organization in over a dozen years. With such specific experience, I asked Sarah to share some insight into pricing for nonprofits.

Q: How do you handle pricing for nonprofits? Should you offer discounts?

Sarah: “I think with nonprofits…this idea that they don’t have any money for communications is both true and false. It’s true in that most nonprofits, and particularly very small nonprofits, haven’t budgeted for communications. They aren’t thinking the way a tech startup would think … making sure that they have a marketing person and a budget…Communications tends to be overlooked and under-budgeted.

With that said, they have missions that require them to communicate … when they understand the importance of the work we do for them, they put together budgets.”

Listen to our 14-minute interview to hear more on pricing and non profits.

Use your Big Ticket pass to catch this CFC session – or register for CFC on its own. 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

Mar 26, 2012

The 5th Annual Creative Freelancer Conference, June 21-22 in Boston (early bird deadline is this Friday, March 30!), is rapidly approaching and for today’s podcast interview, we have Cameron Foote, Editor of Creative Business, who will be taking part in the Perspectives on Pricing Panel at this year’s conference.

In this 14-minute interview, I asked Cam how freelancers can compete with bigger firms. 

Q: Should freelancers be pricing any differently than larger firms or entities? 

Cam: Yes and no. I don’t think a person’s talent should be worth any less depending on whether they work for themselves or whether they work for an organization. On one level, your talent is worth what it’s worth, period.However, the realistic part of this is that when you talk about pricing to clients … they’re looking at you and trying to decide whether you’re worth the money or not. Pricing has to do with perception. So if you’re working from the kitchen table, you haven’t been in business very long, you don’t have a good portfolio and so forth, it would be unrealistic to assume that you could charge what a business that’s been around a while could charge. Your talent is worth what it’s worth, but you have to be realistic.

Q: How can freelancers use marketing to build up the perception of their value?

Cam: You are what clients perceive you to be. If you market extensively … particularly using the editorial “we,” and you’re sending out material regularly, they’re going to see a company. A company is worth more, in most cases, than an individual.

Listen to our 14-minute interview to hear more of Cameron’s thoughts on pricing, including his take on hourly rates vs. project pricing.

And if you aren’t yet registered for CFC, 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” 

And listen to the rest of the podcast interview series with our speakers, including Dyana Valentine, Mark O’Brien, Shane PearlmanJonathan Cleveland and Ed Gandia.  

 

Mar 23, 2012

As we get ready for the 5th Annual Creative Freelancer Conference, June 21-22 in Boston (early bird deadline is March 30!), we’re doing a podcast interview series with our speakers! Recently, we featured Dyana Valentine, Mark O’Brien, Shane Pearlman and Jonathan Cleveland

Today, we have Ed Gandia, freelancer copywriter, speaker, coach, and co-author of “The Wealthy Freelancer.” He joined me to discuss his upcoming CFC session, “How to Create and Execute your Marketing Plan.” 

People considering freelancing always ask me, “What does it take to be a freelancer? Can I even make this work?” so in our 12-minute interview, I asked Ed that same question and here’s what he said: 

“It’s definitely possible … The idea that the economy is hurting all businesses is really a misguided assumption. In my own business, for the students I coach, and for most of the freelancers I come in contact with …. things are actually even better for them right now. So many companies are outsourcing work. They’re working with leaner staff, but the projects still need to get done … and they don’t want to hire full time employees.” 

When we talked about wealth, Ed said his definition isn’t just about “material wealth.” To Ed, a “wealthy freelancer” is someone who can consistently generate the clients, the projects, the income and the quality of life they want. 

I asked, “What does it take to be a wealthy freelancer?” Ed said: 

“You have to have an entrepreneurial mindset, be self-motivated,  be a go-getter, and you have to realize you’re running a business. 

Also, you have to become really good at marketing your services. If you want to be truly successful, you should be just as good at marketing your services as you are in your own craft. I think I’m a good writer, but it’s really marketing and selling that have gotten me to where I am today.”

Listen to our 12-minute interview to hear more of Ed’s ideas, whether you'll be at CFC or not! 

And if you aren’t yet registered for CFC, 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” 

 

Mar 19, 2012

As we get ready for the 5th Annual Creative Freelancer Conference, June 21-22 in Boston, we’re doing a podcast interview series with our speakers! Recently, we featured Dyana Valentine, Mark O’Brien and Shane Pearlman.

Today, we have Jonathan Cleveland, Principal of Boston-based Cleveland Design. With a staff of five, his firm fills an important need for large corporate clients who, interestingly enough, also have in-house agencies AND ad agencies. (Does this make you less timid about approaching prospects who already have an in-house team?”)

In our 13-minute interview, Jonathan (who will be participating in the upcoming CFC panel discussion, “Perspectives on Money and Pricing”) talked about a recent pricing issue he encountered:

The situation: A client hired them to do a corporate video project which had a generous budget, then wanted a companion print brochure, but started to nickel and dime them on price. Then before the print brochure was resolved, the client came back and was ready to put a larger budget toward more videos.

The disconnect: Why there is such a big difference in perceived value of print design and digital design? Jonathan says:

“In today’s day and age, with computers and personal layout programs, the more unsophisticated marketing client thinks they can layout a brochure or flyer themselves … There is a perceived notion that ‘I can do something, throw it together and print it out.’ They sent us a PDF of a very nice brochure and said ‘Just copy this.’ We couldn’t get through to them on the value of the brochure, but when it came to the video, they were more than willing to open up and say ‘Let’s just do this video’—budget wasn’t an issue. The print brochure seemed to be all about budget.” 

Listen to find out Jonathan’s strategy for dealing with clients like this… 

And if you aren’t yet registered for CFC, 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

 

Mar 16, 2012

As we get ready for the 5th Annual Creative Freelancer Conference, June 21-22 in Boston, we’re doing a podcast interview series with our speakers! Recently, we featured Dyana Valentine and Mark O’Brien. Today, we have Shane Pearlman, describing his upcoming session, “Planning for the First Year of Freelance.” 

Read an excerpt below and listen to the 10-minute interview, in which Shane talks about the biggest mistakes he sees freelancers make, and more.

When it comes to being a successful freelancer, there are three areas that stick in Shane’s head:

  1. how to make the money (sales, marketing, contacts)
  2. how to keep the money you made (track time, manage contacts, bookkeeping)
  3. how to be happy and balance it all

In his session, he’ll describe how to succeed in each of these areas.

In addition to the road to success, we also talked about common mistakes that freelancers make.

Shane said,

“Another mistake I see all the time—this is probably the most common—is waiting to sell until they need it. So, you get really busy, and you think, ‘I’m so busy, I can’t think about sales, I’m busy!’ Then by the time you get to the point when you think, ‘I wish I had something to do, I should start selling’–well, that’s three months too late.”

Listen to the rest here

And if you aren’t yet registered for CFC, 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”

Mar 12, 2012

Bryn Mooth is an independent journalist and copywriter focused on food, wellness and creativity—she blogs at www.writes4food.com -- and I’ve been following her marketing journey since she became self-employed less than a year ago.  

Lately, we’ve been talking about the merits of LinkedIn, and Bryn has dedicated time, twice a week, to gain visibility and find prospects using it. This past week, she turned a LinkedIn connection into a client! How? (If you want to learn by doing, join the next Basic Marketing Group that starts Wed. March 14). 

In our latest interview, Bryn describes what she did: 

She narrowed: To be with her ideal prospects, she joined a group on LinkedIn called “Food Industry Marketing and Communications Professionals” – looking to find people at food brands or in food marketing – rather than the broader “food industry.” 

She participated: This is an active group with 6500+ members, with people posting links to articles and questions. Bryn participates by commenting on articles others have posted, responding to questions and initiating her own discussions.

She reached out directly: Bryn also scans the group members and reaches out to connect directly if it looks like a good fit. Recently, she connected with one member in Texas, the principal of marketing group in the food industry, and now that’s turned into a small project for her company – but there’s larger potential, if it goes well, for this agency to hire Bryn for their client projects, making her an excellent referral source and collaborator.

 What did Bryn say to connect with this prospect? Listen here to find out.

 

Mar 9, 2012

As we get ready for the 5th Annual Creative Freelancer Conference, June 21-22 in Boston, we’re doing a podcast interview series with our speakers! Last week we featured Dyana Valentine whose topic is “Pitch Perfect.” Today, we have Mark O’Brien, President of Newfangled, describing his upcoming session, “Is Your Website Generating Business?” 

Read an excerpt below and listen to the 10-minute interview here, in which Mark talks about content strategy—and how it’s missing from most of the freelancer website he sees. 

“There’s nothing to attract, inform and engage –nothing for Google to read on the site—that Google would then use to refer prospects to that freelancer’s site. There might be a portfolio, and that’s it. If prospects do get to the site, they can see the work, but they can’t read about the expertise behind the work… 

If your site is not independently attracting people who do not yet know about you,  but need you, and then guiding them through your site as if they’re taking a tour of your firm with you on the phone, and then bringing them into engagement with you through calls to action (signing up for newsletters, blogs)… If you’re site’s not doing that, it’s not going to generate any sort of business for you. It’s serving the group of people who already know about you, and doing nothing to expose you too all the new prospects who are out there looking for you…”

Listen to the rest here

And if you aren’t yet registered for CFC, 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”

 

Mar 7, 2012

Amy Graver’s design firm, Elements, positions themselves as a “virtual marketing department.” It’s a strong positioning for them—but the only challenge is, with such a potentially broad audience (Who doesn’t need a virtual marketing department?), where do you go to find those prospects? How do you efficiently locate those people? 

When it comes to Amy, I have a sense there is also something else involved in their success, so in our recent interview, I asked her:

“There is something in you, in the way you talk about what your firm can do, that I feel almost balances the need for a target market. I imagine you can sell anything to anyone… You can talk to anyone anywhere, and maybe as a result, you don’t have to say, ‘Alright, I’m doing healthcare… Alright, I’m doing financial services....’ What do you say to that?”

Amy responded: 

“I never saw myself as a salesperson, but my father used to say I could talk the paint off a barn … I feel very comfortable talking to anybody and finding something in common. I also think it’s my passion for what I do. I really believe in us, I believe in my team. I’ve made very careful hires … Every time we have a new hire, I want to know what they bring that’s unique, because I’m going to go out and talk to the clients about it. It adds to the depths of who we are as an agency… The creativity, passion and love of what we do comes across … We’re doing great things for our clients. We’re a thinking, strategic, creative agency. Our clients seem to agree. One of our best resources is all the referrals we get from our clients…”

I also asked Amy, “What suggestion do you have for someone who is resisting the idea of targeting a market and wants to apply their services to many different industries?”

For this answer, and more, listen to this 19-minute interview.

Want to choose your market, use content marketing to your advantage, or finally start email marketing? New groups are starting this month.

 

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