"Online content is king! You must, must, must know SEO and implement linkbacks and socialize online every day. Every minute of every day!"
"Forget that email stuff. That's a bunch of bunk. Real sales come from phone calls or in-person meetings."
Within the span of a week, I've heard variations of these themes at two business seminars. While one, led by a marketing guru, focused on the importance of online marketing tools, branding and all sorts of other "marketing-speak," the second basically said this: "If you aren't making cold calls, you aren't selling."
Which way is right?
Like many other things, the way in which entrepreneurs and creatives sell can be worlds away from "the norm." Both of the gentleman presenting these seminars had been in business a long time. Both were successful. Both were what I'd call "salesman" types.
But does that mean that one was right and the other wrong?
I don't think so.
A lot of what works depends on your business model. Years ago it was true that if you made art/craft products, you would be found at an arts/crafts show. A lucky few could afford brick and mortar structures. So if you were a creative, you "did the rounds" every spring and fall.
Some creatives still find attending real life events an important part of their business. But with sites like Etsy or these 10 others, it's easier than ever to sell online without attending a single in-person event.
On the other hand ...
Not everyone is selling "product" per say. What about creativity experts like Braid Creative & Consulting, creative biz strategist Tara Gentile or April over at Blacksburg Belle?
When you have a service to offer, not necessarily a physical product, content marketing is likely king (or queen, as the case may be).
So, what's a creative to do?
That's not to say that one can't learn skills--absolutely, one can. If you're an introvert and desperately want to be a public speaker, presenter or salesperson, then who am I to tell you that you can't? But you'll have an easier time working with, rather than against, your natural makeup.
What do you think about marketing and sales as a creative? Have you found any outside-the-box ways to make something unique work for you? Would love to hear your thoughts!
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