I’ve been a follower (more like a groupie) of Ilise’s since 2012 and later met her at a HOW conference in 2014. Soon, I signed up for her email newsletter and began buying her resources for creative professionals, like the Designer's Proposal Bundle.
At some point, I remember wanting to take advantage of Ilise’s 30-minute mentoring session, too, but I thought the marketing stars had to be aligned for me to do so. Besides, I knew I had enough homework to do with the Marketing Mentor resources I owned. (I swear I bought every one of them.) So I just decided to wait.
Each January, I would purchase Ilise’s latest, greatest material. Though I’d start each new year with good intentions, by March I’d put my marketing plan and activities on hold, vowing to save the work for a holiday break when I thought things would be quieter.
Fast-forward to August 2018. That’s when I received an email from Ilise where she mentioned she’d be offering something new in 2019. I’d been struggling with my marketing efforts, despite knowing how to do marketing — and it felt like this could be the lifeline I needed.
I soon learned Ilise would be starting a new small group coaching program and loved the idea of meeting with other creative professionals. I decided it was time to take action so I joined one of her small coaching groups in January 2019, along with four other people (a graphic designer, copywriter, branding pro and a marketer). I also finally took advantage of the free phone consultation, because I wanted Ilise to get to know more about my business and marketing challenges.
Now, only a year later, I can honestly say I’ve achieved real marketing momentum — and it’s exciting!
The group’s become my sounding board for ideas. I discover new marketing approaches and tools there. And it’s great for accountability, because we meet every other week to share progress on our marketing.
Today, I’m rediscovering how to be creative and consistent with my marketing efforts … and it feels great!
When people ask me what I’ve learned, here’s what I tell them:
- Start your marketing efforts where you are. It doesn’t matter if you have a big or small email list — think quality over quantity. And if you don’t have a list, that’s okay! You probably have at least a few clients and prospects and a page full of LinkedIn contacts … so consider everyone you know. I included both long-time and newer contacts in my email list and began communicating with them on more of a regular basis. (Before, I’d only emailed clients around the holidays.) Even though I’d been cultivating my email list for many years, I was happy to be reminded that I knew 1,000 people who I considered to be warm leads.
- Email marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. Ilise encouraged me to start an email newsletter first. I had initially resisted the idea because I didn’t have time to write a long message — plus I’m not a writer! Ilise thought that a short, visual message was all I needed, and she was right. My email newsletter is brief and doesn’t require much time to pull it together. And it’s working for my business, as I typically get 5–6 leads and 2–3 jobs from each email I send. (Here’s a recent newsletter.)
- Explore social media, even if you’re not sure it’s right for your business. Are you intimated by social media? I admit I was. I didn’t know which platforms made sense for me, and I knew I didn’t have the time or desire to be on all of them. With guidance from Ilise and my group, I picked two platforms to focus on: Instagram and LinkedIn. Since our business is all about images (I have hundreds of them to share), I set up an Instagram account for our business and hired someone to help with the posting. I’m also using LinkedIn to re-connect with former Saint James Studios clients, and that’s been working well. People I haven’t been in touch with in a while are surprisingly responsive!
Today, I’m rediscovering how to be creative and consistent with my marketing efforts. It also helps to have guidance and an accountability system in place. My efforts are beginning to pay off … and it feels great!
If this sounds like the kind of guidance you need too, reach out to Ilise at marketing-mentor.comEast coast-based Saint James Studios is a creative studio that partners with directors, producers and art directors by helping them bring their ideas to life.