Episode 26: Tools of the Prospecting Trade

Marketing your creative service starts with narrow-positioning. This is followed by crafting content that demonstrates and validates your message. Then you need to build a list of fitting prospects, and stay in touch with those people until the time is right. But as a busy creative professional, especially if you’re a freelance solopreneur, finding the time to maintain contact can seem overwhelming.
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Are you ready to take the struggle out of finding new clients?

Marketing your creative service starts with narrow-positioning. This is followed by crafting content that demonstrates and validates your message. Then you need to build a list of fitting prospects, and stay in touch with those people until the time is right. But as a busy creative professional, especially if you’re a freelance solopreneur, finding the time to maintain contact can seem overwhelming.

The good news is that there are a number of systems, tools, and tactics you can follow that make effective marketing possible and sustainable. Now, I’m not going to lie to you, it will take considerable effort to learn how to use these tools, and to develop a workflow that’s sustainable for you, as you master the tools of the prospecting trade. But with a little guidance, some preparation, and practice, you can make this work.

Last week, I mentioned Linkedin, and Linkedin Sales Navigator as the best place to start building your list. One of the great things about Linkedin, as a prospecting platform, is that it turns your basic research and discovery time into opportunities for first contact with your prospects. That’s because of the “Who’s viewing your profile” feature built right into Linkedin. Have you ever received an email from Linkedin or been notified when you’ve logged in that certain people have viewed your profile? And out of curiosity, don’t you sometimes look back at those profiles? Well, when they do that, from your viewing, you’ll likewise be notified of their return view. And when that happens you have the perfect opportunity to reach out and say hello. And you might casually invite them to connect, and perhaps express why you were looking at their profile in the first place, pointing them to your work and expertise at the same time.

That’s a great start and it’s an added benefit for using Linkedin for your primary prospecting activity. But you can’t rely entirely on Linkedin. Not all your prospects are as active there as they are on other platforms. And so you’re going to need a few more tools in your toolbox for managing, and reaching out to your prospects.

You’ll probably want to add an email marketing platform, to more actively follow up with key prospects, making announcements about new work, or new strategies that you’ve developed, deepening their appreciation for your expertise over time. You might also want to drop messages into social media channels like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Lastly, you’ll need some way of keeping track of your prospect list. And while Linkedin comes close to being a potential place to keep these lists, Linkedin has historically not been very friendly to maintaining native integrations with other marketing platforms. Most of the CRMs (customer relationship management system) that do integrate with Linkedin, tend to be expensive, and on top of that you have to buy an additional licensing from Linkedin which gets costy.

But for the creative entrepreneur, you can probably get by with a simple spreadsheet, or perhaps a lower cost, or free CRM. My favorite is Hubspot’s free CRM. And while Linkedin doesn’t integrate with their free platform, many of the other tools you might use, such as Mailchimp for email marketing, do.

Another tool that is very helpful for managing social media messages is Buffer. You can queue up a couple weeks worth of posts at a time, and then get back to doing your creative work while it posts them for you each day. Using these kinds of systems and platforms are key to making your ongoing marketing efforts manageable and consistent.

Next week we’ll turn back again to the topic of Minutes, and I’ll offer suggestions for systems and practices for managing your time, including the time you spend on marketing.

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