The Magic of Marketing

There’s plenty here about negotiating with agencies and demanding to be paid what you’re worth. Now it’s time to focus on something that we rarely do: How to market to clients.

Anecdotally, clients like free stuff. Clients like to feel ritzy. Clients like to feel like they matter. My first job was in a fairly small freelancing office and they provided a free bagel spread to attorneys and reporters. Everyone loved to go to that office and it was, as best I could tell, a major business draw. When that bagel spread stopped, attorneys immediately began commenting on it.

Ultimately, the big box firms get this. They’ve connected with caterers and all sorts of extra services to make clients feel good. They put out the ads, get the impressions, and get clients buying what they’re selling. We who are loyal to the stenographic business need to take note and begin to realize that a good product may unfortunately be secondary to being able to sell.

Think about pretty much all business you do or all the things you buy. Chances are, if they made you feel good in some way, you’re willing to go back even if the product was so-so or the food was mediocre. Restaurants normally bring you bread right away so you feel attended to, AKA feel good, even though they might not get to your table for 5 or 10 minutes. Amazon makes people feel good because it relieves the pressure of having to go out and get whatever’s being shipped. Stenograph, to sink it closer to home, makes people feel good by basically saying software or machine issues? Just call us. Let’s face it. How many of us don’t mind blowing 1,200 a year even if we don’t use their service once? We like the thought that it’s there. It makes us feel good. It makes us feel so good that some of us shame people that don’t buy the support. No shame in that, but somebody other than me has got to recognize the power there. Sometimes business is even a marketing trick. Look at Dunkin Donuts. Doughnuts, man, it’s in the name, what a business. Except when you look up the margin on doughnuts, it sucks. You know what had a great margin? Coffee. What a trick! They’ve got doughnuts in the name, but they’re actually interested in selling you coffee.

If we’re going to win more market share for stenography it’s going to become less about the transcripts. Transcripts generally don’t make people feel good. It’s work. It’s reading. It’s annoying. To all you entrepreneurs, take heed that your bagel selection might just be more important than your realtime capability.

Just compare the following:

  1. Stenographers are more efficient because we type four times faster than your average typist and can put out work faster.
  2. Let stenographers handle all your business needs. Fast, affordable, reliable.

If you had to buy from one, it’d be 2. It makes the user feel good. Few people will relate to words like efficient or typing. Everybody knows how to feel when they see fast, affordable, reliable.

Some general points I’ve picked up over the years for selling:

  • Make people feel smart.
  • Make people feel important.
  • Make doing business with you simple.

If you keep these basic principles in mind, it makes negotiation with clients and even agencies easier. Making doing business simple is paramount. In freelance, one of the easiest ways to get a job is to be able to take pretty much any job at any time slot. Once a reporter begins adding conditions, such as only PI, or only jobs between 12 and 3, it becomes a barrier to doing business that all reporters should acknowledge and be aware of, even if they do not seek to change it.

There’s a whole wide world of literature and reading on marketing and the feel good factor, and hopefully this is a primer to entrepreneurs who want to go out and start building something big. If you’ve got the drive to learn the things customers want, you’ve certainly got the ability to start building.

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