As mentioned previously, December always leaves me with a nasty case of Holiday Brain. I’m easily distracted. By twinkle lights. And Christmas cookies. And the DVR. My work output? Not optimal.
January 1 always has me eager to get back to work. At the same time, I’m so damn used to being lazy, I need to ease my way back in. Cautiously dip a toe into the water. In slow motion.
This past couple of weeks, I’ve definitely been working in slow motion. I’ve been sitting with stacks of magazines, flipping through for story idea inspiration. I’ve done up a couple of Freelancedom posts. I sat down with a directory of literary agents and planned my next moves for pitching my book proposal. I sang a funeral.
But the one low-key thing that’s led to tangible progress?
Reconnecting with others.
A casual, how-about-we email to a blogger-buddy led to a collaborative lecture proposal for an upcoming conference.
A followup email to someone who had been considering career coaching in late November / early December has gotten me that much closer to a new coaching relationship.
Combination holiday/thank you cards led to a well-paying assignment just before Christmas, an update (and promise of forthcoming work) from another client, and the galley for a book I’d been eyeing.
A quick check-in with my fabulous writing partner gave me a strong lead on a possible designer for my e-workbook.
And query followups with two publications had editors asking me for more pitches.
I’m not suddenly rolling around in money, laughing maniacally as my cats look on, slightly alarmed. But it’s still not too shabby for January 4.
How can you easily reconnect with those in your network, leading to the possibility of future collaboration?
- send a “what’s up?” email
- suggest getting together for coffee… or for several glasses of pinot noir
- send along a link to an interesting article or silly video that made you think of them
- brainstorm fun-and-possibly-ridiculous ventures for the new year and ask your contacts to get involved
- shoot an editor or client a thank you e-card (or opt for snail mail to give it an extra punch) to let them know how much you appreciate the opportunity to work with them
- touch base with editors and clients about what they might need in the new year
- send query followups
- have a Skype powwow with your fellow freelancers to discuss plans for the new year
And… you know… whatever. This list is just a starting point.
Of course, reunions like these go smoother if you’ve been good about maintaining these relationships. Emailing someone you haven’t spoken to in 11 years? A little weird. (Though I’ve totally done it, mostly out of nostalgia. I have no shame.)
But you guys already knew that.
So. First action step for 2012? Reach out and touch someone.
But not in a creepy way.
Still trying to build up your freelance biz? There’s (probably) no need to drop your life savings on a slick advertising campaign, or on glossy, high-priced direct mail marketing. Over the years, time and experience have shown that word-of-mouth marketing is best.
Sure, I’ve broken into new markets by cold querying and social media marketing. But word-of-mouth marketing is still how I connect with the majority of my coaching clients. It led to my inclusion in the Young Entrepreneur Council’s inaugural group of members. It’s the primary reason I was asked to be a panelist on that ASJA sex writing panel in the spring. And it’s led to numerous writing and editing projects over the years.
You may believe that word-of-mouth marketing is out of your hands (and to some extent, it is). But if you’re looking to build legitimacy for your business, you can still use those satisfied clients to your advantage in a more deliberate way.
I’m talking testimonials, people. And all you have to do is ask for them.
Maybe you feel weird about asking your clients to talk you up. Maybe you figure that — if they really liked you — they’d do it on their own.
And they might.
But if you straight upÂ ask for testimonials (and you ask for them using the types of thought-provoking questions that make for the most effective testimonials), you can then use them on your website, in your e-newsletter, in your email signature, on your blog… wherever you think they’ll be most visible to your target client.
And these solid endorsements from others will show those stillÂ hesitatingÂ to open their wallets that you have a proven track record of solving problems just like theirs.
So how can you score those eye-catching testimonials? Promotional wordsmith Alexandra Franzen makes it easy with her latest info-product: Five Scripts to Rake in the Praise.
Alexandra’s Five Scripts is sort of like that. Except way prettier. And with templates for multiple testimonial-gathering situations. Such as:
- confidently requesting a testimonial from a current client
- prompting your client with the types of questions that make for the most effective love notes
- scoring a belated testimonial from a long-ago client
- requesting advance praise for a soon-to-be-released product
- taking previously written praise and spreading it among your advocates and fans
And like Alexandra herself, the scripts are bold and colorful, including such turns of phrase as “your words of support are like solid gold for my business” and “with wiggly anticipation.” (Seriously. This Alexandra chick is my kinda wordsmith.)
You can send out these scripts word for word… or you can use them as jumping-off points, allowing them to inspire you to new heights of writerly radiance that smack of your own huggable personality.
If nothing else, these scripts will stand as shining examples of what can be accomplished with top-notch copywriting.
Alexandra’s Five Scripts to Rake in the Praise is available for only $15 [not an affiliate link; I just think this product is quality and cool], but one lucky Freelancedom reader will receive it for free. Just leave a comment below with the five adjectives you wish your clients would use to describe you. (Example: Relatable. Honest. Funny. Empathetic. Looks like Zooey Deschanel.)
If you’re more interested in Alexandra’s Five Scripts to Fill Your Client Docket, leave a comment below describing your dream project/client, because I have one of those to give out as well.
Dream big, word nerds! Dream big.*
* I will be excepting entries through midnight on Thursday, December 22. I will email the winners on Friday, December 23.