Episode 81: The Essential Marketing Method for Creatives

As creatives we help our clients by producing ads, layouts, web pages, photos and other media for them to use in their marketing campaigns. In many cases their marketing channels include advertising, direct mail, and other mass media broadcast channels. When we spend so much time focusing on broad business-to-consumer marketing methods for our clients, it’s no surprise that when it comes to our own marketing, we think along the same lines. But business-to-consumer marketing tactics don’t work for creative practices. What does work may not be glamorous as the technologically sophisticated b2c methods, but they proven and tested means to find new clients.

If we try to emulate the marketing methods of clients who sell consumer products using high volume marketing methods such as digital or print advertising—we’ll quickly burn through whatever marketing budget we may have, with little to no results to show for it.

You see a professional service is not a consumer product, and so you have to take a different path. The good news is that the hard costs related to marketing a professional practice are very low. The bad news is your path must include the ordinary, unsophisticated, and frankly tedious process of building a list of prospects to reach out to. You can try to avoid this drudgery by experimenting with other high-tech consumer methods, but in the end you’ll just burn money and waste time.

But if you start the habit of list building, and if you make reaching out to your list standard of your work day, you will see results. And when you discover how this simple method puts you in control of your marketing you’ll get over the drudgery, and maybe even get excited that your business is no longer subject to the variable winds of referrals and recommendations.

So fire up that spreadsheet and start adding the names of potential prospects to your list!

“But wait,” you might say, “how do I know who to put on my list? What criteria should I use to search for prospects to add to a list?” Of course, that’s where PinPoint Positioning comes in.

PinPoint Positioning involves narrowly defining what you do, who you do it for, and how your work benefits those specific clients. For example, if you do package design for new health food brands, you’ll have plenty of criteria to search for product managers and marketing directors at health food manufacturing companies. But without PinPoint Positioning list building you have no basis at all to determine who to add to your list, making it a futile activity. PinPoint Positioning removes this futility.

Now, let’s be honest, copying and pasting names into a spreadsheet isn’t exactly what you might call a good time. But this simple activity, accompanied by the process of reaching out to the people on your list, will lead to future clients. And when you see how your direct activity leads to these results you’ll have plenty of motivation to endure a little bit of tedium.

Practically speaking, once you know who you’re looking for, based on what you have to offer them, you still need to actually find them. The best place to begin a prospect search is with LinkedIn Sales Navigator. While adding Sales Navigator to your LinkedIn account is pricey at around $80 a month, its detailed search filters are well worth the cost. If you’d like some simple tips for creating an effective Sales Navigator search query, check out my article Practical, Tactical Marketing for Creative Entrepreneurs at Holter.com.

Building a list, then slowly and personally reaching out prospects may seem like an old fashioned and obsolete form of marketing. But for professional services, it is still the proven path. Getting into the habit of building and processing your prospect list is a lot like stating a new exercise program. But if you can overcome resistance, and stick with it, the results will be amazing.

Until next week: don’t let the business of creativity overwhelm your creative business.

Are you ready to take the struggle out of finding new clients?