QUESTION: Hello Joy,
Wow! Thanks for your all the free marketing ideas on your blog. I’ve read some of your tips and they are very helpful and interesting.
I am wondering whether you could specify a little, i.e give actual examples, regarding staying in touch.
I’ll give an example here: I used to translate articles for a magazine and after a while the connection sort of faded away. I emailed them about a year ago saying that I’d like to renew our relationship and I sent my updated CV.
The answer was very positive and warm, but I did not receive more work from them. I’m shy. If I write again, what should I say?
Also, I’m thinking of sending out an email to old contacts asking for more freelance translation jobs, but I do not know what to say, how to say it… Do you have some free marketing ideas to help me stay in touch with my past clients? Can you help?
Tami Eylon from Israel——————————
ANSWER:Dear Tami, Thanks for your question. It sure feels good to know that someone enjoys my tips. How to work from home and stay in touch with your clients is a frequent asked question by many self-employed people.
Over the years I’ve learnt that keeping connected with your past clients provides a huge opportunity of getting consistent quality work. The great thing about repeat clients is that they tend to be less price-conscious. This is easy to understand – why would anyone come back to you if they are not completely happy with your service?
However there’s much to be said about how to follow up without being an annoying pest. You want to build further credibility among your contacts through ongoing communication. That is the whole purpose of staying connected. It’s not just about bombarding people with unwanted mails and calls.
So here are a few free marketing ideas you might want to consider before you pick up that phone or send that email:
1- Space it out
You don’t want to keep calling someone everyday then disappear for a year. Keep it consistent. It’s always good to get the communication going on a regular basis (preferrably monthly or weekly).
You may want to consider using an email newsletter system.
Read here for tips on an email marketing strategy.
Phone calls, cards and letters are also great tools, too. You can mix and choose then find the best combination that you feel most comfortable with.
The last thing you want to do is to annoy people. But one strike is definitely not enough! You’ve got to be on their radar consistently.
Don’t expect too much too soon or you will be disappointed. A good relationship takes time to cultivate. No everyone can offer you work at when you want it.
So be patient! Be appreciative. After all, your clients, past and present, are the lifeblood that keeps your business going regardless they give you more work or not.
2- Always have some new ideas to share each time
Another translator wrote to me a while ago complaining that keeping in touch with their past clients had not produced any result for new business. Do these free marketing ideas really work?
Well, let’s straighten things out a bit here. You can’t skip marketing if you want to get consistent work load. But contacting your list doesn’t mean you should beg for work.
You don’t have to beg literally. If all you talk about in your communication is getting more work, you are desperate.
Stop doing that! You want to be a good source of information and stay on their radar. Here’s the deal – do not contact anyone on your list unless you have some new ideas to share.
For example, in your case, you can comment on a particular story. Keep it positive. You may say why you like the latest issue more than any previous ones.
You may also suggest a story idea for them and indicate that you would like to do the translation work… Keep it short but to the point.
The bottom line is you have to make sure your contact also benefit from staying in touch with you.
3- Do your research
To be someone that provides good ideas and values to your list, you need to walk some extra miles. You need to get more substance in your communication. You need to know what you are talking about. Here are some more free marketing ideas:
Read their magazines, pay attention to the changes. How are their competitors doing? How can you help if they use your service? Can you make a business proposal that would help boost their readership?
If their response to your inquiry was positive and warm like you said, chances are they also want to give you more work but the opportunity hasn’t arisen yet. Offer some ideas instead of just wait for an opportunity.
On the other hand don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Keep in touch with other names on the list. The more connections you make the more consistent work load you’ll get.
4- Raise curiosity
The quickest way to lose a client is being boring. What’s good about marketing if nobody is interested in your message? When you contact your list, try to be interesting! Give them a surprise! Be different!
If you have to leave a message don’t spill everything out on the voicemail, keep some suspense. For example, I would say
“ Hi Wendy, it’s Joy here. Haven’t talked to you in a while, love your article on page 31. I have an idea that may help boost your readership, call me at xxxxxxx let’s talk”
The above free marketing ideas may take some work, but that’s what you have to do to stand out.
Hope this helps,