eTips is a free, monthly electronic newsletter from Doug Lipman. You can subscribe, unsubscribe, or read a more detailed description of the newsletter at the eTips page. You can also read the other back issues.
Do you want more, better-suited places to tell stories? If so - whether you tell for money OR as a volunteer - you need a way to market yourself.
Wait a minute - by "marketing," I don't mean hard-selling yourself to people who don't want or need you. I don't mean making yourself into a commodity.
Instead, I mean finding the people who are hungry for what you have to offer, and letting them know that you are available.
How do you do this? There are five basic steps involved:
1) Clarify what you have to offer.
2) Brainstorm: who are the folks who would want you - and can be reached affordably.
3) Describe what you offer in the terms that those folks understand.
4) Devise a "magnet" to get those folks to come to you.
5) Build relationships with the people who respond to your magnet.
To really explain successful, non-hard-sell marketing, I'd need at least a four-day workshop. But people make certain mistakes over and over. Here are two:
Big mistake #1: Don't confuse outreach media with response media.
Some media are great for reaching out to new people. For instance: ads in magazines, direct mailings, and fliers left at concerts and conferences.
Many other media are NOT usually suited for outreach. Sending emails or faxes to folks you don't already know, for example, will get you in trouble with everyone - including the folks you most want to reach. A web site, by itself, doesn't reach out to anyone; it just sits there. Press kits, audition tapes, even conventional brochures are hard-pressed to entice new people to contact you for the first time.
But these media ARE useful for following up. Once people respond to an ad or a mailing, you can mail them a brochure, email them your latest info, send them to your website for more information, etc. These are second-step media, best used to begin building relationships, not for attracting new people in the first place.
Big mistake #2: Don't neglect response media
Response media are the parts of your marketing strategy that most people fail to think through. A website, for example, can be very useful for encouraging interested folks to learn more about you - if you set it up that way. A brochure can pique interest and encourage people to get to know your work even better - if you've thought through how this can work.
If you're interested in having a web site with your own domain name, read on. The first ten readers of this newsletter to respond can get an unusual bargain.
2) ANNOUNCEMENT: ARE YOU SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR WEB SITE?
One dividing line between "serious" web sites and amateur ones is your domain name. Serious businesses generally have a web address like "www.yourbusinessname.com." But the cost for monthly server charges can be pretty high. When I first got my own website, I was paying $30 a month - a good deal then. But now I've upped the ante - and that could be good news for you.
You see, I have so many domains, I decided to lease my own web server. That means I pay a much higher monthly fee - but I can have as many domains as I want. (Well, I pay a few dollars extra for each additional one.)
How does this help you? I want a few "sub-leases" to defray my costs. So I am offering a great deal to the FIRST TEN people who reply to this:
1. I'll host your web site for $13.95 per month. This is not a "basic" site. Everything you need is included. There are no hidden fees, and I have no interest in "upselling" you to a more expensive service. Right out of the box, I'm throwing in all the disk space you are ever likely to need, all the data transfer you are likely to ever use, Front Page extensions, unlimited FTP access, unlimited email aliases that you'll be able to control yourself via a special web address - on and on.
You will have ALL the capabilities that I have at my own sites. (Except a secure server - you can have one, but it costs me extra, so I'll charge you if you want secure server pages. Secure servers, if you don't know, host order forms for online credit-card transactions.)
2. I'll set up your domain name registration for you. And I won't use one of the $35 registrars - I'll use the same $15 per year registrar that I use for my own domain names. If you like, I'll even set it up so that the $15 annual fee is billed directly to your credit card, and you won't have to be bothered with renewals - or risk forgetting, and losing your domain name.
When I told someone who rents web space for a living the price I was going to charge folks, he said, "You're crazy! You could charge much more than that. Please don't make my prices look bad."
I'm not trying to go into the hosting business; I just want a few folks to share my server. If you act quickly, you could be one of them - and you could have a web presence that will help attract the right people to you - the people who are truly interested in what you have to offer.
This winter, don't lose your voice. Instead, begin treating your voice as the precious instrument that it is.
For the first time, you can get everything you need, to preserve and enhance your voice in a single package:
a video explaining the principles of voice-care work;
an "exercise video for your voice," which gives four different warm-ups;
two audio versions of the videos, on both audiocassettes and CDs;
a full-color warm-up guide to hang on your wall;
a laminated pocket warm-up guide, and
a 60-page booklet with thirty illustrations...
...all for less than the cost of a couple voice lessons: $119.95 plus s&h. Wherever you are - at home, walking, or riding in your car - whatever free time you have, you can learn about and protect your voice.
The warm-ups alone are worth the price of the package:
a full, 30-minute warm-up to maximize your vocal flexibility, expressiveness, and endurance
an abbreviated, 5-minute warm-up - so you can protect your voice, even when you're in a hurry
a silent, one-minute warm-up - for those times when you "can't" warm-up at all
a 15-minute car warm-up - so you can arrive ready to speak!
Plus: answers to important questions that storytellers ask about their voices, tips for nutrition and throat care, warning signs that you need professional help - and much, much more.