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sally_in_wales

Marketing advice

Marketing advice needed. How do you promote your services & products to possible clients without seeming pushy or unpracticed at marketing?

This has come up beause we've just been booked for a whole 5 days worth of work by a fairly local museum that we hadn't ever approached before. They found us almost by accident, but its clear we can be of mutual benefit to each other hopefully beyond this project. I'd really like to make contact with some more possible organisations within sensible travelling distance, and just let them know or remind them that we exist and outline very briefly what we can do and how flexible we are, but I'm really not sure what the best mechanism is for doing this.

I'm not very good with phones, so would prefer to write, but how not to look like yet more junk mail?

If I can come up with a fairly widely applicable letter I can send it to a number of places at once, but how long should it be, how focussed should I be on one specific part of what we offer in an attempt to promote one type of work, or is it better to outline the wider scope of what we do and see if we fit a gap for them?
Mary-Jane

How about a self-produced/printed A5 'brochure' (no more than one or two sheets of A4 folded in half) of the sort of things you can offer? Then you can pop it in the post with a covering letter saying "...and I have enclosed details of all the others services/packages/whatever than we can offer which we'd be happy to discuss with you, alongside your particular needs, in person..."

Or something like that. Websites are great - but sometimes, having a little hard copy brochure that you can pop in the post with a friendly covering note/letter can be preferable.
sally_in_wales

Websites are great - but sometimes, having a little hard copy brochure that you can pop in the post with a friendly covering note/letter can be preferable.


Thats exactly what I was thinking, websites only work if the client already knows about you or uses the right search terms, this would be to introduce us to 'new' organisations.
Mary-Jane

Websites are great - but sometimes, having a little hard copy brochure that you can pop in the post with a friendly covering note/letter can be preferable.


Thats exactly what I was thinking, websites only work if the client already knows about you or uses the right search terms, this would be to introduce us to 'new' organisations.

You could also make your brochure downloadable from the website...
sally_in_wales



You could also make your brochure downloadable from the website...

ooh, cunning! I was going to set up a page of downloadable session outlines at some point, that would make lots of sense to inlude a general brochure as well. Will go and play and will see what I can come up with
Rob R

I don't think any one 'thing' will work, as people don't tend to give you business if they have only heard of you from one place. Nat sent out letters but didn't get any response until she approached them directly.

It's the same with being in the paper - that one thing doesn't bring in much business but it helps reinforce your presence & makes it easier for you to be the first person they think of when they do need your services.

As a buyer I do it myself so I tend to think of promotion as 'what would I respond to' in relation to something completely different from what I do as a business.
ros

See if you can work with the museum to get some sort of press release published - is there a "trade" paper/mag for musuems you could get it in as well as local press? arvo

For us (with our lighting hats on) networking has always worked best.
Though you do need to know what kind of person you're aiming for. Remember/find out what job title the person who booked you has.
You could always ask him/her for referrals once you've finished.
Even something as subtle as 'So, are there Chief Manager's in Charge of Hiring Sally's at every museum then? Do you know anyone else who might be interested?'
The big advantage of networking, is that its free.
Try The Soft Sell. Found it a v useful book when I had to sell stuff.
Mary-Jane

I don't think any one 'thing' will work...

Absolutely. The greater the spread of your marketing style, the greater the spread of the type people who will contact you. Everyone has their preferred method for tracking down goods and services. We've all become so used to the internet, one tends to forget that there are other, equally - if not more successful - methods of selling yourself to potential customers, depending on your business.
Mrs R

I don't think any one 'thing' will work, as people don't tend to give you business if they have only heard of you from one place. Nat sent out letters but didn't get any response until she approached them directly.


To be fair though, that was farmers and they'll only employ you if you're related to them, or at least, someone who's name they know of! Laughing BUT I think the leaflet beforehand did 'warm' them up for my arrival, they sort of, felt prepared? Laughing
jema

What are you booked to do? Are they making it really worthwhile? sally_in_wales

we have been very lucky so far that most of our bookings in the last year or so have been from people who remembered me from the museum and the networks I had contact with there. As time goes by though, its more likely that events organisers will move on and there will be people especially in the smaller regional museums and heritage sites that don't already know me. In some cases, I'm hoping a leaftlet or whatever will remind some of them that they know about us, and will prompt them to consider if we can be of use to them, but for others it will be a first introduction that we can then build on with follow up contact later. Snowball

All very good suggestions, especially the brochure idea.
Another slightly sneaky idea is to contact them about something they are putting on with a question. Something like "I am very interested to know the method used of securing the tails to the rats that you are exhibiting. I am interested because with my business making rats, I do so and so, but your method may be better.
sally_in_wales

What are you booked to do? Are they making it really worthwhile?

275 a day between us for a couple of school sessions each day using a vanfull of our props and supplies, its a vastly better wage than we can get making things, and if I could find a few more bookings of this type across the year it would take a lot of the worry out of making ends meet
jema

What are you booked to do? Are they making it really worthwhile?

275 a day between us for a couple of school sessions each day using a vanfull of our props and supplies, its a vastly better wage than we can get making things, and if I could find a few more bookings of this type across the year it would take a lot of the worry out of making ends meet

Unless you are getting expenses on top of that, I'd argue that that is still a "foot in the door" price, but possibly one that is justifiable as you may well need it to go known, and it is certainly a lot better than a poke in the eye.
Ask yourself how many plague rat hours that would be?
sally_in_wales



Unless you are getting expenses on top of that, I'd argue that that is still a "foot in the door" price, but possibly one that is justifiable as you may well need it to go known, and it is certainly a lot better than a poke in the eye.
Ask yourself how many plague rat hours that would be?

It is cheap, most people charge 200 each for similar sessions, we're offering a very hefty discount for the both of us together as a way to tempt repeat bookings. Compared to knitting, where I typically make 20 a day, its a fortune though. In rat terms, I'd need to make and sell something like 85 rats to cover that, far more than I can make in a day
jema

Will you have someone along to photo the sessions for marketing use? sally_in_wales

Will you have someone along to photo the sessions for marketing use?

always tricky these days as kids will be involved, but we are slowly assembling some good recent photos of us doing different things that we can use in marketing
Bugs

Re networking I've sometimes come across "meet the buyers" events - they often seem to be run by/in conjunction with councils/local business organisations, and are free. I don't know what they are like but if you can find one in either your local area, or further away in a sector appropriate to you (eg perhaps education) then it might be worth a day. This has passed but it's the kind of thing I mean: http://www.bigcardiff.co.uk/cardiff-events.php?event_id=4620 and the phrase "meet the buyers" seems to be quite common to them.

Re the other marketing as people have said above it would be good to mention in your letter/brochure articles or programmes you've featured in (with dates) because either people might know you from them ("hey, I wonder if this is that woman who..") or they might respect the source ("oh, she's been on such and such, she might be interesting to our visitors/members etc because of that") because I suppose they will be looking to "sell" you if they hire you. Certainly agree with planning your own PR campaign too as it can only help to add to that too.
marigold

Don't sell yourselves too cheaply - it is as likely to put people off as to tempt them. If not-as-good people can get 200 a day plus expenses, then you should charge similar. Apart from being unfair to undercut other people by a huge amount and it might make you look too cheap.

Offering a largish discount for long term gigs is fine, but one-off charges ought to reflect your expertise and quality. IMO Wink .

There is absolutely nothing wrong with earning a lot of money - it is in fact very pleasant and much less stressful than living hand to mouth Very Happy .
jema

Yep,

there is a murky area between foot in door pricing, and setting a rate that undercuts others and does yourself down as well.
But it is an unenviable dilemma to face.
Rob R

There is absolutely nothing wrong with earning a lot of money - it is in fact very pleasant and much less stressful than living hand to mouth Very Happy .

Too right, and much easier to do in service industries. Having said that many people have told me I should charge for advice, just before asking me for some free advice. Rolling Eyes
marigold

There is absolutely nothing wrong with earning a lot of money - it is in fact very pleasant and much less stressful than living hand to mouth Very Happy .

Too right, and much easier to do in service industries. Having said that many people have told me I should charge for advice, just before asking me for some free advice. Rolling Eyes

Write a book based on FAQs and flog it to anyone who asks you for advice?
Rob R

It's not the free advice I object to, as that's given freely, it's just the 'advice' given in return to charge others (unspecified) for it.
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