What would happen if you improved on everything you did by a factor of 10?

a ten times iimprovementLet me give you an example.

Let’s say you’re a freelance writer, focusing on Business-to-Business clients, and want to create a free report to offer your website visitors when they sign up for your newsletter.

We’ll call your report, “The 7 Secrets to Converting Prospects into Clients”.

You create a short outline. You do some research. Maybe you download a few reports from your competitors’ websites to see how they did it.

You then write the report. Let’s say it’s 14 pages long. You get a cover designed. You’re good to go.

That’s the “factor of 1” version.

Now let’s look at what a “factor of 10” version might look like.

Read the full post…What would happen if you improved on everything you did by a factor of 10?

Freelancers – Do you give yourself time to sit back and think?

Sitting by a lake and thinkingAs freelancers we like to keep busy.

In fact, if we’re not busy we start to feel nervous. After all, “empty” time is unbillable time.

Beyond that, sitting around and doing nothing is something we have always been told is bad.

Staring out of the window and daydreaming at school was bad.

Failing to keep your head down and looking busy as an employee was bad.

From an early age we have been conditioned to believe that during our work hours we should always keep busy. To do otherwise brands us as slackers.

Read the full post…Freelancers – Do you give yourself time to sit back and think?

Why strong subject lines are killing your email marketing.

slick salesmanHigh open rates are not the most important thing about email marketing.

Nor are click-through rates or conversion rates.

These are not the metrics to watch.

There is only one thing you really, really need to watch. And it’s not even a metric.

The thing to watch is your reputation.

Without a solid and positive reputation for delivering high-value, honest and useful information through email, you’re dead in the water.

Not even the best subject line will save you.

Let’s look at how this might play out, in two scenarios.

Read the full post…Why strong subject lines are killing your email marketing.

Social media marketing and the mad electrician.

social media marketerSocial media is not something you just add on to your existing marketing plan.

It won’t work if you say, “Hey, last quarter we tried coupons, this month let’s try social media.” It’s not an advertising medium.

If you want social media to really work, you have to pull apart your whole marketing plan, and your company culture, and rebuild everything with “social” at its heart.

I have worked with a couple of different companies over the last little while, both of them in the B2C space, both of them in their first year of business. But they have had very different levels of success with social media.

The first company built its company and its marketing plan along traditional lines. Old school marketing. And then they decided to give social media a try. They just bolted it on.

It didn’t work.

The second company was more of a “native” web business. Its founders were younger and had grown up with the web. This business had “social” at its core. Everything – from sales, to customer service, and to marketing – revolved around social media. In fact, even the way people communicated within the company took place on a social platform.

Read the full post…Social media marketing and the mad electrician.

One simple question that can increase all your online writing fees.

freelance client questionsAs freelancers we often take on a project from a client and then write that web page in isolation.

But that’s not a very smart thing to do.

Whether you are writing a product category page or a blog post – or anything else – your work is part of a broader strategy.

If you write a product category page, that page will be linked to from other places, and it will have outbound links to other pages too. It will take its place at a particular point within a sales funnel.

If you write a blog post, that post will be part of a content publication plan that is aligned with your client’s marketing plan and calendar.

In other words, whatever you write for a client, it fits into a broader picture.

Read the full post…One simple question that can increase all your online writing fees.

The cake baker’s guide to marketing your freelance business.

freelancer cakeLet’s take part in a simple thought experiment…

Imagine we have a mutual friend, called Jane, who wants to start a home-based business…baking cakes.

First she goes to evening school and learns some professional-grade baking skills. Once she feels she has the level of skill she needs, she builds a beautiful website and opens her doors for business.

How do you think Jane will do?

Although we both want her business to thrive, in all honesty she probably won’t have much success. Perhaps she could sell enough cakes to call what she does a hobby, but she almost certainly won’t make a decent living.

How come?

Read the full post…The cake baker’s guide to marketing your freelance business.