Thursday, June 10, 2010

What's "white space"?

The purpose of any printed marketing piece should be to convey a positive message about your company or business. The message conveyed should continue the conversation, or at least, raise a question or two. One way for a business owner to start this process is to realize that white space is ok!

White space is the area around your printed marketing piece that is not taken up by typography or images. It isn't just "white", either; if your background is blue, the empty spacing is called "white space". Sometimes the impact of this space, when properly used, can make as big an impact as the loudest car sales sign. Remember the first billboards for

It isn't necessary to fill up every space on your flyer, brochure, or business card with text and images. Give your marketing piece some breathing room. Your audience will thank you for it; so will your business card.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Freelance Does Not Equal Free

I wrote a blog post on Feb. 6th entitled, "What Is Your Value Worth?". This post was inspired by friends and colleagues of different industries having trouble educating their clients on their value and not just "my cost". Their chorus echoed a comment chord: our services are worth more than a dollar amount. What I heard were the following issues:

1. I'm lower than my competition and still getting beaten down on my price.
2. The client said they could get the same services for much less, so I compromised in order to save a sale.
3. I have to give an immediate quote without knowing the full scope of the project; if I don't the client leaves.
4. When I educated my client on the difference between myself and the competition, they didn't understand why I charged more.
5. I didn't charge enough because I was afraid the client wouldn't pay for it.
6. The client doesn't want to pay for the changes to his/her project, saying "what I'm being paid should cover it."
7. The client sends me a list of changes and expects miracles in one hour but is only willing to pay for 1/4 of that hour's fee.

To summarize, some professionals feel because they're freelancers, the word "FREE" is now the biggest part of that word and all the client seems focused on. Since when does "freelance" equal "free"?

I've followed many experts for the past twenty-one months, both in and out of my industry, and I've come to understand a few things:

a) It's my fault, and not always in a negative way. Think about it: if the client doesn't understand my fee structure and breakdown, if the client doesn't have a clear idea of what I am doing for their project, if the client doesn't visualize the difference between the quality I bring to the table vs. the lower cost of my competition, it IS my fault.

b) Understanding the above point gives me empowerment, or control, and makes it easier to move forward and re-educate the client.

There will always be clients that go around "tire-kicking", shopping for the best "value" they can find. What they're really doing is looking for the lowest possible price. Remember, you may know more than anyone else in your industry, but your client may not; worse yet, they may come to the table with preconceived ideas of what your business is really about. When you talk to your client, educate them of your experience and background. If you provide a more personalized service, say so. If there is a service you don't provide, let the client know so they don't assume you can provide it.

The important note is to understand business today is not just about how much something costs, but understanding the value of that product or service and deciding whether or not to trust the source - you. Whether or not the client decides to buy your product or service largely depends on the perceived value of that product or service.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Twitter Etiquette 101-Part 3

I'm continuing my series on Twitter Etiquette based on my own experiences and observations while becoming more familiar with my TweetDeck. I've also been introduced to CoTweet, which I'll discuss in a future post.

I enjoy how my TweetDeck updates me about my Tweeps and Tribes in real time; once people I follow consistently post a tweet, I can view it nearly immediately. What I am also getting in real time are the mentions and DMs, or direct messages.

My understanding of the use of a DM is for a private message and not merely a "hello". In my opinion, this is not the avenue to use when selling your services, either, unless you are giving sensitive information, such as a cell phone number or e-mail address.

Scheduling a DM should not be necessary unless someone is sending the same message out about "checking our site for free stuff" or "buy my book here". Lately I've seen messages along this line, and so have several of my colleagues. Adding to this problem is the fact we all have our Twitter set to let us know via cell phone text message when a new DM comes in. Imagine how frustrating it is when it's the same message of "buy this" or "get this now".

Please remember: Twitter is a social media, so be social! Don't try to sell your wares all the time. Instead, engage in interesting conversation, or better yet - follow an interest close to your heart. And, PLEASE, don't send a DM just to sell something; that will leave your followers unengaged and possibly un-following you in a hurry.