SUMMARY: Are you a marketing consultant or copywriter hoping to land new clients? Then definitely check out this Case Study on how Marcia Yudkin uses a very short (easy to dash off) email newsletter to get marketers across America to hire her.
Marcia Yudkin has been a freelance writer for twenty years. By the early 1990s, she began to realize that many of her clients depended on her for marketing advice as well as copy. So she launched Creative Marketing Solutions, a consultancy, to serve them. As a self-funded entrepreneur, Yudkin needed a way to reach out to marketers without spending a lot of money on advertising or a sales rep.
Yudkin launched a weekly email newsletter, The Marketing Minute. She carefully keeps the main text of each issue to just about 180 words, so it really can be read in a minute. This format appeals to busy marketers who appreciate its brevity.
Yudkin gathers opt-ins by placing a prominent offer on every page of her Creative Marketing Solutions site. The offer says, "Receive a quick new marketing tip by e-mail every Weds., free!" She is careful to encourage pass-alongs with a note in every issue reading, "If you like this, feel free to forward it." Yudkin also mentions the newsletter when she speaks at events.
Last, but not least, Yudkin's site also offers a Free Virtual Seminar, consisting of a series of seven emailed "lessons", in order to generate opt-in names. She explains, "I borrowed that from Monique Harris who has an online marketing how-to kit, and she says that it was the most popular feature on her site. I put the offer on the upper left-hand corner of the navigation bar of my site; so it's the first thing people see when they visit. If they're making a quick stop, they can just click there and then they hear from me for seven days in a row. It's completely automated. At the bottom of each message there's a little promotion. I'm hoping by the end that they will have signed up for the weekly newsletter."
To increase the Seminar's effectiveness, Yudkin sends out a note to all the new names in her Seminar database every couple of months. "I use a very friendly tone. I try to word it so there's something in it for them. I'm not trying to sell them anything. I'll say something like, 'If you put any of the tips from the Seminar to use, let me know because I'm always looking for good examples for my Marketing Minute.'"
In each week's issue, Yudkin runs a different offer. Depending on her schedule, she'll offer either a consulting offer or an information product offer. She says, "I try to make the offers specific. If I just said 'I'll give you advice' it wouldn't work. But if I say, 'I'll give you six new ideas about how you can create new markets in the next year.' then people get excited about it." Her offers have included:
- Redoing sales letters - Reviewing a Web site or brochure and making suggestions - An email seminar on avoiding procrastination - A year-long marketing plan - A "reputation plan" to establish yourself as an authority in a niche industry - Copies of Yudkin's books on marketing
Yudkin says, "This is a method of minting money. I just think of an offer, send it out and within 24 hours I have orders."
Yudkin has collected almost 3,000 opt-ins; and knows from anecdotal evidence that her pass-along rate is fairly high. She says, "People stay on the list for a long time. There are 52 issues in a year, then an offer really hits the spot for them and they buy. For example, a guy called me and said, 'I've been on this list for 18 months and I'm really interested in your offer this week.'"
She says her most popular offer to date has been, "an offer to redo your business bio for $150. It's not the most lucrative, but I got a lot of takers and it was a good way to introduce myself to some clients who might really like what I did and do something else later."
Yudkin's redoing sales letters offer is also a "perennial favorite."
The most expensive offer ever sold was a speaking gig for a (cut-rate) fee of $1000 plus travel. "I thought it would be fun to go someplace new, so I said if you can put me in front of at least 100 marketing directors and entrepreneurs I'll go." The winner was a group in Bismark, North Dakota.
NOTE: No, Yudkin will never consider renting her list or letting another company run ads in her newsletter, "It's just not worth it to me, this is so much my vehicle I can't see what I would gain by turning over even a corner of it to somebody else."
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