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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: 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

Dec 17, 2012

In part 2 of this podcast interview, Tiffany Estes of Whole Brain Creative (www.wholebraincreative.com) shares more takeaways from the HOW Interactive Design Conference 2012, including the difference between web apps and native apps, what to include in a competitive analysis for a client and whether it makes sense to post pricing for your services on your web site.

Dec 7, 2012

This week I was interviewed by Judy Rosenthal about raising rates and she had some ideas from the financial planning industry that could also apply to creative services.

Dec 5, 2012

Tiffany Estes of Whole Brain Creative (www.wholebraincreative.com) attended the HOW Interactive Design Conference for the 2nd time in 2012 and in part 1 of this podcast/interview with Ilise Benun, she recaps the highlights. Includes why she’s rethinking Wordpress, how she’s dealing with proposals for complex projects and how her mindset needs to change if she’s going to become a better interactive designer.

Nov 22, 2012

Join us for another conversation with writer and journalist, Bryn Mooth. This time, we talk about Bryn’s goals for growing her network in 2013 and reaching outside her current sphere. We focused on 2 questions: how to keep track of her best prospects (that doesn’t involve learning a new software) and how to pitch those new prospects with ideas tailored to them without doing spec work. Also, we talked a bit about the new 2013 Creative Professional’s Marketing Plan + eCalendar to Get Creative Work. Details at www.marketing-mentor-toolbox.com

Nov 19, 2012

Does your prospect's excitement mean he's ready to buy? Ilise Benun joins Jim Blasingame to talk about some of the things to do so you know the difference between a prospects excitement and readiness to sign a contract.

Nov 19, 2012

Ilise Benun joins Jim Blasingame to report on how she kept working off-site, in the Cloud, when Hurricane Sandy kept her out of her office.

Oct 24, 2012

It’s already been a year and a half since writer and journalist, Bryn Mooth (http://brynmooth.com/), former editor of HOW Magazine, started her freelance writing business. Listen to our recent interview to about Bryn's progress and learn why patience is a freelancer's friend.

Oct 17, 2012

As a preview for upcoming PIC event on November 7th in Toronto (Secrets to writing winning proposals, estimates and RFPs), listen to my short interview with PIC chair Donna Papacosta.

More event details here: http://toronto.iabc.com/iabc-events/2012/10/13/professional-independent-communicators-presents-secrets-to-writing-winning-proposals-estimates-and-rfps/

Oct 3, 2012

Last time, I talked with Julia Reich of Julia Reich Design about her recent rebrand.

Today, we discuss the details of how her logo came about. Listen in...

Sep 19, 2012

I asked Mark O’Brien, CEO of Newfangled and author of one of my favorite books, A Website that Works, about how to use your website to filter out non-ideal clients.

Listen to this 8-minute interview for his suggestions.

Sep 11, 2012

If you're considering changing the name of your business or doing a rebranding for your creative firm, listen to this interview with Julia Reich about her process.

Aug 30, 2012

In my latest interview with Bryn Mooth, we talked about what she learned at CFC and how she is putting that learning into practice. She suggested a technique for taking potentially overwhelming information and putting it into action.

Listen here to hear exactly how Bryn does her one-chunk-at-a-time approach.

May 16, 2012

Jeff Tara, from Brand Vue Design, is back with his upbeat attitude.

Jeff has been in business only 4 months so far, but he's already accomplished so much. Listen to the latest in this interview...

Apr 27, 2012

In this 11-minute interview, Luke Mysse previews his upcoming CFC session, Options for Growth.

Join us at the Creative Freelancer Conference, June 21-22 in Boston. Details here.

Apr 24, 2012

For today’s podcast interview with a speaker, we have David Baker from ReCourses (www.recourses.com) giving us a preview of his session, “Positioning yourself as if you were outside looking in.”

Join us at the Creative Freelancer Conference, June 21-22 in Boston. Details here.

Apr 24, 2012

How is newbie freelancer, Bryn Mooth, progressing?  

Listen to April's interview with wellness and creativity journalist and copywriter, Bryn Mooth.

Join us at the Creative Freelancer Conference, June 21-22 in Boston. Details here.

Apr 23, 2012

Newly-minted freelancer, Kelsey Grafton, of Lewiston, Idaho, knows she has a lot to learn about running her new business, BlueSkyMondays. She said it wasn't hard to convince her new boss (herself!) to invest in sending her to the Creative Freelancer Conference as her first big step in that process.

Apr 16, 2012

Listen to this 15-minute interview, where Allison Manley, from Rogue Element, answers these questions:

  • How much time it takes to do the proposals and how they decide which ones to do.
  • What to do if the prospect isn’t responsive during the proposal process.
  • What if you don’t have access to the people involved in the actual project, as happens a lot with higher ed and government agencies?
  • Why they present the pricing in 2 pages (overview and detail) in the proposal and how much detail is necessary.
  • How much self promotion they include and the thinking behind it.
  • How and when they decide how to include terms and conditions (T&C) in the proposal or the contract. (See what a good T&C that’s been vetted by a lawyer looks like.)

Want 11 sample proposals to use as examples? Buy the Designer’s Proposal Bundle

Apr 11, 2012

The 5th Annual Creative Freelancer Conference, June 21-22 in Boston (early bird deadline is April 30!), is rapidly approaching. For today’s podcast interview, we have Marcia Hoeck, giving us a preview of her session, Skillful Communication with Clients. 

Q: What’s the biggest mistake creatives make when communicating with clients? 

Marcia: The biggest mistake is not setting the right tone and maybe taking things personally. We’re in a business where it’s our art, it’s our creativity, so we tend to take things more personally. We have to step back and realize this is a business relationship. We have to set the right tone. The client has to place his trust in you in order to feel confident that you can do the work. 

The biggest miscommunication mistake is that we don’t establish ourselves right out of the bag as a partner, as a resource, so that the client can relax. When we feel boxed in by client demands, it’s when our role hasn’t been positioned correctly in the beginning, and that’s our job. If the client knows that you have strategic ideas that will help him, as well as the implementation skills, that client can relax … It gives you equal footing and leverage in the relationship. 

Most powerful people … they’re really not looking for “yes” men. That’s the biggest mistake that I see is when we’re making that assumption that they are, and we’re taking things personally as a creative person. 

Q: Do you think these problems are rooted in the creative professional’s lack of confidence? 

Marcia: I’m really glad you brought up confidence. That isn’t talked about enough in business. People don’t teach it. It isn’t something that comes naturally to creative people. But in creative work especially, where we highly value our work, and we are passionate about our work … we often undervalue our own role in what we do. There’s kind of a disconnect. We have great confidence in our work, and we know the value of our work, and we have great confidence in our ability to do the work, but we often can’t show that confidence when communicating our role in the process. We don’t come off as confident in selling situations, or when defending our pricing … What that comes off as to prospective clients is lack of competence. They think we can’t do the work because we can’t defend it, because we can’t talk about ourselves…

Listen to our 11-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 April 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 Pearlman, Jonathan Cleveland, Ed Gandia, Sarah Duham and Allen Murabayashi

 

Apr 2, 2012

Last time we talked, Jeff Tara from Brand Vue Design had gotten a client by sending an email (in which he shared his honest opinion about his favorite wine company’s new label). Recently laid off, this happened one week after Jeff officially went freelance. 

With such a productive first week, I couldn’t wait to speak to him again and find out what’s happened over the past month. In our 10-minute interview, Jeff brings me up to date with recent developments:

  • After reading a “doom and gloom” article about the demise of Kodak (which ultimately caused Jeff’s layoff), Jeff decided, “It’s not all doom and gloom—I have a chance now to chase my dreams.” He wrote a letter to the newspaper, and it resulted in a front page article in his local newspaper.
  • A connection in the healthcare industry saw the article about Jeff, and now they’re discussing upcoming projects over golf.
  • The wine company who Jeff redesigned a label for—is now having him redesign all of their labels.
  • Building on that wine experience, Jeff is reaching out to other wineries. He sent a personalized letter to one, called to follow up on Monday, and by Wednesday, he was inside talking to the owners of the winery for two hours.

Listen to our interview here.

If Jeff keeps sending emails and letters, who knows what will happen next… 
I’ll keep you updated.

 

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

 

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