Greeings and happy new year!
I'm writing this issue while taking a few days for a personal retreat out in the desert near Joshua Tree in California. I love this time of personal reflection and intention setting for the coming year.
The begining of a new year inspires many people to think about how they are marketing and promoting their business. There is a special energy in the air for starting new projects. Marketing is something I love and get excited about so I'd like to share with you my approach to marketing and tell you about the one most successful marketing tool I used during the 16 years of owning my design studio.
This issue also launches my new advice column "Ask Peleg". I invite you to send me your burning business questions and if your question is selected, my gift to you is a complimentary 30 minute laser coaching session.
And finally, I am starting a new tradition with this issue of helping support a creative entreprenuer by promoting a product they create. You'll meet Fabian Barral from Graphic-Exchange in France who created the most delicious letterpressed calendars. I hope his beautiful work inspires you to support him as well!
Thanks for reading!
Love to you,
A great little book that made a big impact on my life is The Five Love Languages. In this book, the author, Dr. Gary Chapman suggests that there are different ways, or languages, in which we share our love. The five languages are: words of affirmation, acts of service, affection, quality time, and gift-giving. Dr. Chapman’s relationship advice is that you learn your partner’s love language and then adjust the way you show your love so that the other person can receive it.
Good advice. But I found a second insight in Dr. Chapman’s idea of love languages that has made a huge difference in my life. My partner has a love language, but I have a love language, too. And when I speak in my own love language it brings me pleasure, satisfaction, and joy. Knowing my own love language, and honoring my love style, allows me to pour my love into the world, in my relationship, and my business and everything I do. By infusing my actions with a quality that says “love” to me, I create more love in the world, and more joy in my life.
My love language has always been gift-giving. When I express my love for someone I give them a gift. I love giving gifts. More so, I love creating the gifts I give. From a delicious dish to a mixed tape to a poem, giving something I create to another person gives me a rush of joy and pleasure. I feel like I truly give them a part of me.
So that's how I approach marketing my business: from a gift giving way. When I give a gift to a client or a prospect I show them my love and hope that the love they get from my business is something they want to get more of. Because I speak my love in marketing my business, marketing has always been fun and enjoyable.
Many business owners find themselves overwhelmed with the number of options they could choose from to market their business. From social media to direct mail, paid ads, free samples, billboards, skywriting, a rose parade float. They keep looking around and comparing their business to how others market themselves, thinking there must be some magic in choosing the right marketing method.
I often meet business owners who spend time, energy and money writing a marketing plan that never gets fully implemented. The reason is always the same: because there is no love in the plan. They haven’t created a marketing plan that allows them to act in the style that shows their love. It’s not the marketing method that makes the magic. If your marketing plan doesn't include joyful activities that allow you to speak your love you will give up early, feel frustrated and not see the results you want.
I've been there too. In the first couple of years of my business I tried many marketing tools that went nowhere. It wasn't until I created a tool that spoke my love that I started seeing results.
What I created was a way to give a gift to my clients and prospects on a regular basis. I created a simple calendar promotion that I sent to my clients and prospects for 14 years (see the calendars in the movie clip below!) These calendars weren’t just quick, year-end promos tucked in with a mass-produced holiday card, but a work of art that arrived once a month: a gift of love to my clients and prospects.
And they arrived as a gift should - beautifully delivered and wrapped. Their first calendar would arrive as a gift box with a custom designed clear desk holder, a personal note from me and their first month's calendar sheet wrapped in a gorgeous custom velum envelope sealed with a custom printed sticker. From that point on they would get their calendar sheet insert in the mail once a month.
For the first eight years, I designed the calendars myself. It was a great chance for me to create my own design amid all the client-related projects. Then collaborations followed. I invited illustrators and photographers whose work I admired to contribute their art for each year's theme. The calendars were printed for free thanks to an arrangement with a local printer who also used the calendars to promote his print shop. Every aspect of the project was an act of love.
And it was great marketing. We touched the list once a month with a beautiful gift that would be useful to them and would keep our studio name, number and website address on top of their desk. For a first-time prospect, we’d send the calendars for a year, then follow up. I recall one meeting with a prospect who had been on our list for over two years where she said at the start of the meeting "I'm so impressed with your calendar mailings. I loved how subtle they are, how beautiful they are and how consistent you were in letting me know how much you want to work with me". That's love language!
What if you took a closer look at your love language and created a way to express your love in marketing your business? You would enjoy marketing your business and look forward to doing so on a regular basis. Marketing would no longer be the things that you do only when there is less work coming in, it would be the fuel that keeps your business moving forward and the factor that attracts the clients you love working with.
Dr. Chapman identifies five love languages: gift-giving, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, and affection. I suspect there may be more, actually. What turns you on? What makes your heart flutter? What is it that you are doing when you’re doing the thing that most makes you feel most alive, satisfied, joyful, and in love with the world?
Got the idea?
Then find a marketing tool that allows you to speak your love. You’ll use the tool regularly and come to your marketing work joyfully. And your experience of love will communicate into the experience your clients have when receiving the marketing tool, and increase the chance of a successful result.
Watch a 2 minute video of marketing calendars sent to my design firm clients for 14 years.
Send me your burning business question and if it is selected enjoy a complimentary 30 minute coaching session on that question! Send your question to email@example.com
This month's question comes from Anita Martin of A Cuppa Creative in Denver, Colorado.
Anita asks: A prospect comes to me just busting with an idea and wants a proposal drawn up in a day or two. I kick butt getting them a proposal and then they just sit on it. How do I avoid the "hurry up & wait syndrome?"
Most problems are a result of a conversation we are not having with the person we have the problem with. A client that is displaying the "Hurry up and wait" behaviour is probably not ready to buy. Oftentimes clients window shop. and need costs just to figure out if they want to move forward. Make sure you ask your client where they are in their decision making process.
You may be able to avoid writing a proposal altogether simply by asking the right questions.
This scenerio also tells me that this client is seeing you as a vendor and not as a partner in their business. As long as your clients see you as a vendor you will be treated as such. Clients expect vendors to jump through hoops because they know that most vendors will jump through hoops just to win (and keep) the business.
When your client sees you as a partner they will allow the process of working with you to slow down and be more strategic. As a partner they will ask for your advice rather than tell you what to do. And your advice and thinking is the most valuable part of what you have to offer.
To position yourself as their partner you want to go back and look at how you are marketing your business. When you are better positioned you attract clients who understand and value what it takes to write a proposal. They won't treat you this way and may be willing to pay you to write a proposal.
And next time a prospect asks you to give them a proposal in a day, use your intuition and give them a low and high range of numbers to gauge where they are in the buying process. If other vendors are involved in your proposal, ask to be paid for the time it will take you to research that information. That helps position you as someone whose time and resources are a valuable thing.
I get excited when I meet creative entrepreneurs who go beyond selling their design services and create their own products to sell. And when their products are beautiful, useful and come from their heart I want to tell the world about them.
That's why I'd like to ask you to help me support a rising creative entreprenuer with buying a product he or she designs.
Every once in a while I'll introduce you to a rising entrepreneur who is launching a beautiful product. If you are inspired by their story and want to support this idea I invite you to particiapte and buy one of their products. As my thanks I will match your support and donate $10 to Kiva.org - the micro landing website that helps entrepreneurs in developing countries grow their business.
Just think about it, it's a win-win. I get joy from helping a young entreprenuer succeed, you get a beautiful product at a special "friends of Peleg" discount, and part of your purchase will help someone in a developing country. Pretty cool.
This month I'd like to introduce you to Fabien Barral of Graphic-Exchange from France who designed and created the most beautiful 2012 letterpress calendars. I dare you not to fall in love with the design and beauty of this product.
After spending six weeks on design and printing, Fabien produced a limited edition run of 500 calendars. He chose to use inspirational quotes so he can be reminded of these ideas every day himself. "I hope that people buy these not only for the inspiration and the design but also for the love of paper, color and texture. I love letterpress" Fabien says. Fabien agreed to sell the set at a special discount to my Pomegranate readers.
For a limited time you can buy a set for €32 (that's about $40 - what a bargin!) plus shipping and handling to your country. Enter code "pelegtop" when you check out to receive the discount.
This offer expires January 31, 2012. Act fast, these babies are selling fast!