Exceptional marketing isn’t just for large enterprises. Yesterday, August 29 at the 2016 Editorial Freelancers Association Conference in New York, Jake Poinier (aka Dr. Freelance) laid out the three Es of exceptional marketing. While his plenary session was geared toward editorial freelancers, the lessons he provided ring true for time-crunched small business owners and entrepreneurs that want to stay visible with clients and prospects.

Poinier started off by laying out the three Es: explore, experiment and experience. Exploring means to always be reaching for something new in your business, whether it’s a new industry, client types or using different types of media for your marketing. Experimenting means varying the marketing strategies used, because you can’t be afraid of making mistakes. And experience doesn’t refer to your own skills or resume; it refers to the experience you deliver to your clients and customers. “We underestimate how important the human element is in our business,” Poinier said.

What editorial freelancers need to do with marketing is to not view it as competing. That may seem counter-intuitive, but for SMBs that bid on projects, much like freelancers, it resonates. Spending time chasing gigs and answering ads as a primary source of work is not marketing.

“You’re in a competitive environment, and prices get driven down,” Poinier said. “You need to come to marketing from the perspective of ROI – or ‘EROI’,” which stands for energy return on energy invested.

 

Using the internet for exceptional marketing

The most important part is online presence, primarily LinkedIn and your website. “People are judging you not just by your words but by what your site looks like,” he said, advising attendees to work with a graphic designer as well as craft interesting copy for their sites, since most clients will look at the freelancer’s website before they work with them.

He also advised using LinkedIn Pulse to repurpose content, like blog content, which provides a huge reach. Status updates on LinkedIn are also a way to stay visible and get noticed.

Using a personal touch in marketing

Marketing also requires taking a personal approach, particularly when it comes to freelancers. Poinier advised being helpful with “warm” contacts, those who have expressed interest. For example, following up with articles or blog posts that might be interesting to the prospect is one way to stay visible. “So many things about marketing come down to how would you react if somebody did this to you,” he said.

Ultimately, Poinier challenged the audience to look for their “13th donut” – the extra something, like in a baker’s dozen, that they can provide to clients and use it for marketing purposes. “The best marketing strategies aren’t necessarily the ones…people brag about. They’re the ones that you use consistently and that get you results,” he said.