Category Archives: Business Resources

Marketing by Warm Email Prospecting: Part II

Last week I mentioned that I’ve been listening to some webinars by Ed Gandia on warm email prospecting. I shared some of his thoughts about why he feels it is a useful marketing tool.

This past week I listened to the remaining one in which he discusses what warm email prospecting actually involves. So here goes with more of his thoughts…….

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In Order To Do It Right

  • Avoid the email blast
  • Don’t just talk about yourself
  • Don’t send the same message to everyone
  • Don’t use it to send out your newsletter to non-subscribers
  • Don’t use it to announce a new service to non-subscribers

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So What Does It Involve?

It involves sending out customized, personalized, and properly timed emails to a carefully picked list of prospects – emails with custom messages, not a mass email blast. It avoids the “all about me” approach. One example that Ed shared, goes something like this:

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Hi Randy,

I’ve been reading about your company in the Atlanta Business chronicle and the work you’ve done at Emory Hospital. based on the work I’ve done with ACME Medical, I may be able to help you get “X” accomplished faster and cheaper.

Here’s a short article on how I’ve helped ACME.

Would it make sense for us to chat briefly sometime in the next couple of weeks?

Regards,

John

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Ed’s Warm Email Prospecting Blueprint

  • First, figure out what is your ideal client profile: It is important to get the kind of clients that are best-suited to what you want to do in your business – this is a key to success and satisfaction in any business.
  • Create a targeted list: Identify the organization, and even specific individuals within it, that you are looking for. Then do your research to find their email addresses.
  • Establish a meaningful connection for each prospect: You need a good reason for why the prospect should respond, and you need to introduce this early in the email. Maybe you both have a mutual business contact, or you heard of them via a conference. Or it could be something like a business accomplishment, award or recognition of yours that would be useful for your prospect to know about. Some “connection” with the prospect is always good.
  • Make a relevant and quick pitch: This is where it all comes together, but where many make mistakes. Need to keep it short – 120 words or less!
  • Prepare for conversation: You’ve done the hard work – now be prepared to field and respond to any emails or calls that you might receive. Have a set of talking points and questions ready in case you get a call. And also some stock email text to use as the basis for a response to anyone who replies looking for more information.
  • Do smart follow-up: Success with email prospecting requires a long term commitment, but tends to return a higher success rate than other methods when done correctly. No matter how well you do, however, most prospects will not respond, so you have to be prepared for that – it’s true with any method. Ed recommends sending a 2nd email two weeks later to non-responders – but do this correctly too. Don’t come across as if you’re reprimanding – he suggests re-sending your original email with an additional link, maybe to an article you wrote that they might find useful as an addendum, or with some additional information about your work that they might find useful.
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Powerful Email Subject Lines

Ed discusses how getting the subject line right in your email is crucial to it being opened. Firstly, keep it short – he advises less than 50 total characters. And secondly, it’s also important to lead with your connection in the subject line:

  • Congratulations on the new publication
  • I wrote ACME’s white paper for their new product
  • Dr John Smith referred me to you

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I really enjoyed listening to what Ed has to say about warm email prospecting. He’s a great speaker anyway, and is very easy to listen to, and he raised some very valid points about how you should go about your email prospecting for optimum results – and although they seem intuitive on some level, it’s always good to have someone fortify them for you, and provide some solid examples of what to do, and what not to do!

Since I’m not a fan of cold-calling, I certainly use email as my number one marketing tool. It’s been useful having some clear pointers from someone who uses it successfully.

How about you – are you a fan of email marketing?

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Marketing by Warm Email Prospecting: Part I

Right now I’m listening to some short webinars on Warm Email Prospecting by Ed Gandia of the International Freelancers Academy. I’m a big fan of email as a business communication tool, so I thought I’d share some of his thoughts here – they might appeal to some of you too.

In a world where we’re constantly being told about some new and interesting way to market our business services, Ed discusses how email prospecting, when done right, may be the fastest, easiest, and most cost-effective way to find and land quality clients – and it will enhance your success rate.

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In particular, it by passes the main reasons so many self-employed people hate marketing:

  • Fear of rejection
  • The unwillingness to sell yourself
  • The time-consuming nature of marketing your business by traditional means – never-ending
  • The “Tool du Jour” confusion: These days there are so many articles about some latest and greatest new social media tool or must-have plugin etc, that you just can’t keep up!
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So Why Does Email Prospecting Work (When Done Right)?

  • Less intrusive: Sits there in the inbox until the recipient can get to it, so it’s more convenient. Compare this with a phone call that has to be picked up, maybe disturbing the busy recipient, for your message to be received.
  • Prospects are usually more receptive to a strong email message than a cold-call: When done correctly, short email messages get read. When cold-calling, you get 3-5 seconds to make an impression, as opposed to 10-20 seconds in writing.
  • Email is a better medium to deliver a relevant and personalized message: It’s easier to digest a marketing message in writing, than by phone call or in person.
  • Can use key psychological triggers: They appeal to core human emotions.
  • Helps you stay more motivated, energized, and creative: You’ll no longer feel like a pest to potential new clients!
  • Inexpensive: No postage required, and you don’t even have to leave the office!
  • Quick and immediate: Your message is delivered immediately. It involves some advance research and time to compose a customized message, but it is still less time-consuming than other more traditional methods.
  • You get to choose who you go after: You don’t need to simply wait until prospects come to you. It’s important to implement your own proactive marketing strategies, allowing you to control who you target, according to your business needs.
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He raised some interesting points, such as the one about how a strong email subject line is more likely to get a positive response than a random cold call. I know I’m much more inclined to use email than a phone call to contact someone who I do not know. And the more marketing webinars that I listen to about how we should all be making 100 cold calls each week, the less likely I am to ever use cold calling!

The next webinar on my list is Ed’s discussion of some pointers on “how to get it right” by email. I’ll keep you tuned!

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International Freelancers Day

On September 23rd 2011, The International Freelancers Academy is hosting the world’s biggest online conference for freelancers. And the best part is that registration is completely FREE!

Registration is ridiculously easy – just visit the link above & register by providing your email address. They’ll confirm your “seat”, and then all you have to do is plug in and listen on the day itself.

 

 

The schedule of sessions looks wonderful – all kinds of seminars that cover things from what to charge, how to use LinkedIn to find clients, money management advice, self promotion….and many more.

Although this is obviously not specifically geared toward freelancers in medical writing, all these things apply to this field too! A solo business is a solo business, whatever its niche – so head over and sign up. Even if you only manage to get to hear one or two sessions, I’m sure it’ll be a worthwhile experience.

 

Step 5: Try Twitter

Time for Step 4 of the “Beginner’s Medical Writing” series – a step-by-step guide to getting yourself started in freelance medical writing – an extremely basic guide for making the first move into medical writing.

If you’re just arriving, feel free to check out the earlier steps:

 

Back in Step 3 I mentioned the benefits of considering some aspect of social networking when you start up in medical writing – I think this is really useful whether you are considering freelance work, or if you are a full time employee somewhere.

I thought I’d give Twitter a plug today. I never thought I’d use Twitter – socially I’ve used Facebook for a couple of years, and whenever I’d hear people talk about Twitter, I just didn’t “get” it – I couldn’t wrap my head around how it operated, or what use it could possibly be.

 

 

A few friends who use it for business had told me I should definitely give it a go. I resisted the idea for a few months, but then decided to try it out – what harm could it do? If all else failed, surely I could abandon it, and at least know I’d tried?

So I joined a couple of months ago, and I love it!

 

How Does It Work?

Twitter is basically a service for sending and receiving status updates – so if you’ve used Facebook, you’ll be used to writing and reading these short communications. Twitter’s short communications, however, are capped at 140 characters (letters, periods, dashes, etc).

So it makes for a great way to get a short message out to people: “Free coffee at the cafeteria, 2-4pm”, or maybe a link to a cool photo. And for business purposes, people often use it to share links to web pages – whether something useful that they came across and want to share, or a link to their personal site to share an article, announcement, or product.

Due to the 140 character cap, you have to not only get creative in how you make your announcement sometimes, but you also need to shorten your weblink, otherwise this will quickly eat into your 140 characters. There are numerous applications that you can use to shorten your links (you can do a Google search to find one that you prefer), but I use bitly – it’s very simple to use:

  • Copy and paste your desired weblink into the search box
  • Hit the “shorten” button to the right of the box
  • A shortened link will magically appear
  • Copy & paste this into the Twitter text box
  • Add a short accompanying message before tweeting

 

Why Join?

I was skeptical, I just didn’t see how useful it would be – I thought it sounded quite bizarre, all these “status updates”! What use could that possibly be!? But I have been very pleasantly surprised. It’s been a wonderful way for me to meet up online with other medical and freelance writers, other medical professionals, blogs, and organizations that I feel are useful to follow.

So I’d urge you to give it a go – and like I decided for myself previously – if you don’t like it, you can abandon mission. Join up today – come up with a short Twitter handle (that’s basically your username – it’ll have a “@” preceding it) – mine is @BioScientific – don’t worry too much about choosing the perfect Twitter handle, you can always change it later if you feel like.

 

Some Useful Guides To Using Twitter

Rather than go on ad nauseum on how to use Twitter (and I’m still getting the hang of it myself!), here are some links to very useful articles that describe it much more concisely than I could!

 

The Beginner’s Guide To Twitter

The Writer’s Guide To Twitter

How To Use Hashtags

6 Tools To Grow Your Twitter Network

How To Get Noticed On Twitter

 

Hope to see you over at Twitter!

 

Join me on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

 

Five Great Articles To Help Your Resume

Everyone should have an up to date resume ready – whether you have no desire to leave your current job, or whether you are looking to transition to a new position as a full-time or freelance worker.

Although “anything is better than nothing” in an emergency, ideally you want to avoid your resume being a trainwreck that heads toward the ER! So if you don’t have a resume at the moment, or you haven’t updated it in a while – now is the time to take action.

The trick, however, is making yourself stand out from the crowd. Prospective employers or clients will receive many resumes – so you want yours to reflect how special you are, and how you can make a difference to a company.

Sadly, few of us are effective self-marketers, so it’s easy for our resume to end up resembling a “To Do” list (or maybe a “To Done” list!). Highlighting how previous responsibilities helped employers, rather than simply listing what they were, can be an extremely effective tool in demonstrating your skill sets.

Although “one size doesn’t fit all” when it comes to resume-writing, there are definitely some general points worth considering as a starter. I’m in the middle of revamping my resume right now & thought I’d share some posts that I’ve come across & enjoyed.

Check out these 5 articles for some great insight into compiling a resume:

Is It Time For Your Resume Checkup?

How To Create A Forward-Looking Freelance Resume

Ten Easy Ways To Improve Your Resume

Don’t Make These Mistakes On Your Resume

Why You Should Keep Your Resume Updated

What tips can you share for resume writing?

Links I Love: 5 Sites That Get Me Going

A plethora of wonderful, insightful, and helpful websites exist that can be really useful for anyone in the freelance business. Today I’d like to share five that I love – these are a little different from the typical sites that I regularly read that are more geared toward freelance workers.

I tend to think of “websites-I-visit” in three categories:

  • Inspirational
  • Motivational
  • Potential sources of work

Now I’m not saying that the first two are mutually exclusive – naturally I am frequently both inspired and motivated by many sites, but typically one feeling tends to dominate.

These following five sites are in the motivational category – where something I read or listen to is most likely to make me actually do something.

1) RAMIT SETHI’S “I WILL TEACH YOU TO BE RICH”

Ramit Sethi is a 29 year old Stanford graduate & author of the New York Times’ bestselling book by the same name as his website: I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

He is a personal finance and entrepreneurial guru, & on his website you’ll find information that can help you with anything from credit card perks to starting your own business.  There’s a heap of great information there – lots of reading material, and video clips too – but one of things he does best, is to try to get into your mind. He aims to drive you into action – to show you that you can overcome your own mental barriers to make necessary behavioral changes that allow you to put techniques into practice, and see results for your efforts.

His idea is that: “When you ask people to take action, you will dramatically eliminate a huge percentage of people. This is why people leave hundreds of comments on my blog talking about how excited they are to have free content wash over them, but when you ask people to take action, a fraction of the people respond.”

2) MAGGIE MISTAL, CAREER CONSULTANT

I first came across Maggie Mistal about nine months ago when I bought a car that had satellite radio. She has a show on Sirius XM’s “Martha Stewart Living Radio”, on Friday afternoons at 4pm. Maggie is another great person who can really fire you up when it comes to anything to do with changing careers, and taking some necessary action. She is so enthusiastic when talking to people who call in with dilemmas over wanting to change track, often wanting to set up on their own.

If you’re not fortunate enough to have access to an actual satellite radio, you can still pay to access the service online. But if all else fails and you don’t get to listen to her on the radio, you can still at least follow her via her blog, Facebook page, and Twitter.

3) KEPPIE CAREERS

Amongst other things, Miriam Salpeter is a social media strategist for job seekers and entrepreneurs. I recently came across her when she was a guest on Maggie Mistal’s radio show. Much like Maggie, she too works to help people find the job or opportunity that they want, helping them to find clarity, and to overcome the barriers that prevent them from making positive strides in their business. Her website and blog contain some great tips that everyone can benefit from when building up their business.

4) EVENTUAL MILLIONAIRE

Jaime Tardy has an intriguing story to tell as the Eventual Millionaire. By age 22 she was earning a 6-figure salary, but a couple of years later she had over $70k in debt. And a job that she hated. So she revisited her goals, and decided that most importantly, she wanted to find a job that she loved. Then she could pursue the million dollars working at it! Within a couple more years, she’d quit her job and taken time off to figure out what work really excited her. Now she is an entrepreneurial coach, helping other entrepreneurs learn how to focus their strengths in order to grow their business.

5) STARTUP NATION

The Sloan brothers run StartupNation as a “one-stop-shop for entrepreneurial success”. They have a long track record of business success that dates back to their teenage years when they bought and sold houses. Now they’re two of the country’s top small business experts. On their site you have access to many useful things, from articles and podcasts to professional groups and member networking.

So hopefully you might find at least something useful from these links. Whilst they’re not medical writing-specific, I really find that they all have a lot to offer me. Do you have any favorite, motivational sites that spur you into action?

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