Creating a Screen-Friendly PDF Brochure

It is rare to get a request for a hard-copy firm overview any more. Almost everyone who asks for one wants it sent via email.

The reasons for this shift aren’t hard to understand. The ability to view PDFs is now pretty much ubiquitous, and receiving information in this format enables people to get it faster, and easily pass it along to others in their organization.

There are also some clear benefits to this situation for brochure senders. It saves on printing and postage costs. It eliminates the need to store pre-printed brochures, and the waste that accompanies that practice. It makes it easy for you to customize materials on the fly. And it’s also better for the environment, assuming that the recipient doesn’t just turn around and print out their own copies.

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Free Tools for Creating Marketing Budgets and Forecasting Revenue

I have been reading Professional Services Marketing by Mike Schultz and John Doerr of the Wellesley Hills Group off and on for the past several weeks, and I finally got around to checking out the two free Excel spreadsheets that they created to accompany the book.

These spreadsheets, which are available for download from the Wellesley Hills Group website, address concepts that are explained in detail in the book, but there are also some instructions within the files, so you could get some use from them even without having read the book.

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Big Company Marketing for Small Creative Firms

As a marketer of a small firm, you probably don’t have the resources that a 50-100-person firm (or larger) has at their disposal. They may have multiple marketing staffers, while you might have one, or less than one, full-time person focused on marketing and business development. They have money to spend on outside PR or advertising consultants, while you rely on in-house capabilities. And they probably spend money on the production of glossy marketing materials and/or interactive content with a lot more glitz than anything you can generate.

This doesn’t mean, however, that there isn’t a lot you can learn from these big-firm marketing operations, including things that don’t cost any money at all. That’s because some of the most potent advantages large firms have don’t come from financial resources, but from the smart planning and resource management that come from taking a thoughtful approach to the marketing process.

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The Fine Line Between Persistence and Stalking

Some of you may be familiar with The List. They maintain a database of marketing decision makers at companies throughout the U.S. and Canada and sell access to this database on a subscription basis. It’s actually a pretty good service (although not cheap) if that’s your market, and I used to be a subscriber myself back in the days when we were doing more advertising and marketing communications work.

Yesterday, however, I was looking at the blog of The List CEO Todd Knutson and saw something that threw me a little bit. He had a post on 7 Voicemail Messages for Successful Ad Agency New Business Development. In it, he lays out a strategy for the information you should include in each of seven (that’s right, seven) voicemails that you might leave for a prospect without getting a response.

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Do You Have a Prospect Wish List?

I’ve talked in the past about the value of emphasizing content marketing over high-volume cold calling, but in that same post, I also recommended that you consider creating a “prospect wish list” that includes potential clients that you will proactively pursue. These are the companies that you would really like to work with, that are particularly rich sources of new work, or that have some unique quality that make them inclined to hire you. They are companies that you will research and monitor, and try to contact on a regular basis.

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Why do Designers Blog?

Why do designers blog? I’m not asking this rhetorically, and I’m not asking it in a pejorative fashion, like “Why do designers waste their time with blogging anyway?” I’m posing a serious question about what people are trying to achieve with their blogs, and how what they post actually helps them to accomplish these goals.

I’m certainly not here to suggest that designers and other creative professional shouldn’t be blogging. There are a lot of great reasons to do it. It sharpens the focus of your work, improves your writing skills, keeps you on top of new technologies and online marketing tactics, and helps you to find and land new clients.

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Understanding the Marketing Value of Pro Bono Work

Do you do pro bono or “low bono” work for non-profits? Many, if not all, creative firms do at one time or another. Designers and ad agencies will create identities or marketing materials for free, and architects will do work that, while usually not free, is certainly far from profitable. Firms that engage in this are typically doing it for some combination of the following four reasons:

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Cold Calling Versus Content Marketing

For creative services firms, cold calling as a new business tool has always been a frustrating enterprise. Unlike people selling consumables, like office supplies or food; or services that are purchased on a regular schedule, like accounting; creative services marketers very rarely reach a prospect when they have a need for what they’re selling.

In the old days, though, you still had to do it. You did it to “get on people’s radar.” You would ask their permission to send some information, and if they liked your stuff they would hang onto it until they needed a firm like yours. In fact, they probably even had a file folder full of brochures and business cards for firms they might work with one day.

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Harnessing the Referral Power of Bigger Fish

If you’ve ever promoted yourself as freelance designer, copywriter, strategist, etc., you’re probably familiar with one way to get work from big agencies or design studios. You meet with the creative director and get on the list of people they use as subcontractors when one of their clients has a need they can’t address in house. The client will still be their client, and you’ll do the work at their direction.

But there’s also a second, less common, way to get work from a connection to a bigger agency. And this method may pay actually pay bigger dividends in the long run. You want to get them to send prospects directly to you, hopefully to become your clients.

Why would they do that? Who has prospective clients they can just give away?

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