Last week I talked about the connection between the perceived value of your work and how you set fees.
Oftentimes, this conversation with nonprofit clients quickly devolves into how long it will take you, and what your hourly rate is.
This is, in my experience, the worst possible way to have a conversation with a client about the value of your services.
If the conversation is going there, pull up. Instead, what you want to do is focus on the problem you are solving or the opportunity you are creating, and most importantly, the cost to the nonprofit of NOT solving that problem or of skipping that opportunity.
It’s only when you are talking in these terms that both you and your clients can see the true value of your services.
Maybe your fee to help rewrite their year-end fundraising materials seems expensive . . . until they consider that their materials are raising less and less each year, and that they must get back on track or lay off staff.
Maybe your fee to help get board members engaged in the organization’s work seem expensive . . . until they consider how much more productive the board would be with some training, and how staff would no longer despise working with the board.
Maybe your fee to coach a team to learn content marketing skills seems expensive . . . until they realize you are teaching not just communications skills, but new ways to deliver programming that better achieves the organization’s mission, instead of continuing to be ignored by the people they claim to serve.
It’s in both of your interests to look at the consulting relationship in this way.
Know your value, and the costs to your prospective clients of missing out on that value, and market THAT. Not your time.
We’ll talk about how you set your fees during the Get Nonprofit Clients Group Coaching Program, which starts October 5. Early bird pricing ends September 18.
Listen long enough to consultants who advise other consultants, and you will hear some really crazy stuff about marketing.
Just yesterday, I was on a call and the expert we’d all paid money to hear said, “For consultants, LinkedIn is really much more important than a website. You don’t need a website.”
I was glad I was muted, because the PPPFFFT and WTF that involuntarily came out of my mouth were not exactly shareable on that particular call.
I am coaching a fellow nonprofit consultant now who was basically told email was dead and she needed to build all of her marketing in social media. In that case, I let the sounds and cuss words rip openly. I’m coaching her on building her email list, because I have never seen anyone successfully do what she is trying to do without one.
Here’s the thing (from a consultant who helps other consultants as a part-time side gig):
Nothing is dead, except for faxing. Faxing is dead.
Websites, email, print, phone calls, in-person networking, and yes, social media — all very much alive.
Are any of these absolute must-dos or your business will fail? Can you safely eliminate any of these entirely from your marketing?
It all depends on YOU, and WHAT you are marketing, and to WHOM.
One of my friends is a nonprofit consultant who is brilliant and busy with clients all the time and she has never had a website, blog or email list of her own. She doesn’t need those things, because she is a people-collecting, friend-making, natural-networking machine.
I, on the other hand, am not. I am an introvert who hates networking, and all the public speaking I do is learned behavior that still demands two ibuprofen and a glass of wine when I come off stage. But I am just as busy, because I have a robust content marketing strategy. That kind of strategy demands a website, blog, and email.
So what about you?
The best marketing strategy for you is the one that naturally comes to you, like content marketing comes to me and like networking comes to my friend. The very worst marketing strategy is the one you build around generic marketing advice, like you have to do this or that, or shouldn’t do this or that.
I’d love to hear about some of the “absolutes” you’ve heard about marketing your consulting practice. Share in the comments!
During the Get Nonprofit Clients Coaching Program, we help you figure out which marketing tactics really are best for you. The program starts October 5; early bird registration rates end September 19.
Last week I asked you to share your biggest marketing challenge right now (still time to add yours if you haven’t already!).
As I look through all of the answers, it’s amazing how interconnected 80% of them are.
It looks a little something like this . . .
There’s a very complicated relationship between value (your ability to explain it, and nonprofits’ willingness to appreciate it) and fees (what you charge and finding clients who can pay that).
Spend a little time thinking about these dynamics . . . it might just help you come to some realizations about your marketing approaches.
We tackle these questions head on in the Get Nonprofit Clients Group Coaching Program. I’ve just re-opened registration, and the program starts October 5. Early bird registration will save you $300.
How have you seen these dynamics playing out in your own practice? Have any tips you can share with others on finding the sweet spot on value and pricing? Please share in the comments.
For today’s Monday Marketing Morsel, we are going to look at one of the most popular online marketing tools in use today: the multi-step webform.
And there’s no better way to learn than by doing, so I’ve created a multi-step webform for you to complete.
I’m doing this for two reasons:
The first is to learn more about you and how I can make Get Nonprofit Clients even better. Please answer the question about your biggest marketing challenge honestly.
The second is to show you how this works, and why you might want to put one on your website too. I’ll elaborate on that on the survey “thank you” page.
Tell me your biggest challenge with marketing your business to nonprofits.
After you are done, come back and share your experiences with these kinds of forms, or how you could see using one on your website, in the comments.
The standard advice, and the Facebook terms of service, go like this: You use Facebook Pages for your business and Profiles for your personal life. And that’s pretty much what I have done historically, rarely cross-posting between the two.
But does that really work for sole proprietors or “personality driven” shops?
For many of us, part of our marketing appeal is the personal touch. Our marketing needs to allow prospects and clients to connect with us as real individuals who can help them in direct, one-to-one ways. I find this to be especially true in the nonprofit world.
Profiles feel like a much better way than Pages to do that kind of relationship building on Facebook. Not to mention the drop in organic reach for many Pages.
I’ve been lurking around in other consulting circles outside the nonprofit world, especially for freelancers and coaches, and I see many people using their Profiles more successfully than their Pages (if they have a Page at all). This also seems to work well for creatives.
Let’s cue the buts . . .
But you can only have 5,000 friends. Only? I don’t know about you, but that leaves me plenty of room for potential clients.
But you have to approve all those people. Not exactly. People can “follow” you without “friending” you. The difference is that followers only see posts that you tag as “public.”
I just turned this feature on myself today. Go to Settings, then click on Followers in the left sidebar. Change the settings to Everybody.
You can also “view as public” to see what non-friends see. My public profile needs serious work if I am going to use my profile for business, as it’s mostly gardening and family content right now. You cannot tell what I do for a living.
I also had a bunch of “About Me” info inadvertently set to “Friends” — including my company name and website (doh!), so I changed several of those items to “Public.”
Something else I just learned: Anyone you don’t accept as a friend automatically becomes a follower.
But you will share too much personal info with strangers. What about your kids’ privacy?? Not if you manage it carefully. At the most basic level, you need to remember with every post you make to select either Friends or Public for “who can see this.” It does default to your last selection, so you have to get into the habit of looking at it every single time.
But using a Profile this way, not everyone is a real friend. You’ll end up friending a lot of strangers. So I am also going to use lists more religiously.
Honestly, I needed to do this as my kids reach tween/teen stage anyway, as they are much more sensitive about who sees what about them, even within our personal circles, let alone my professional ones.
When I first set up some lists years ago, I created too many different ones and promptly abandoned them. I think I will go with three lists (four if you count public). This is really based on level of personal comfort and trust with each person. (Tips on this here and here.)
- Close Friends. A tight list of very close family and friends who I enjoy with all my heart, from both my personal and professional lives. These are the people I could call at all times of day or night if I needed to. These people know my kids’ names, and the kids would know many of the people in this group at least by name.
- Inner Circle. People who I really like or trust or admire, even if we aren’t BFFs. Always happy to hear from them, or run into them, and I’m fairly certain the feeling is mutual.
- Acquaintances. Everyone else who is on the Friends list.
- Public. Wide open to the world.
But what about the Page? Yeah, we’ll still do that too. But the Page is responsible for most of the hate in my love-hate relationship with Facebook. In any case, it needs some attention too. We’ll use it primarily for the training part of the business.
But isn’t this more work? Yes, but hello, good marketing is work. I use Facebook more than any other social network (despite my love-hate relationship with it.) I have hundreds of friends (probably the majority actually) who fall into the category of people who only know me through my work. It makes sense to take the time to customize the content I create for these different groups of people.
So what do you think? How do you use your Personal Profile for business? Please share your perspective in the comments. I especially would love to hear from those of you creating content with different lists, or the Friends v. Public Followers, in mind.
P.S. Here’s the best article I found on this topic: 10 Ways to Use Your Personal Facebook Profile for Business
I hear this a lot, especially from relatively new consultants, and especially from women.
“There are people who know a lot more than I do.”
“There are people who’ve done this kind of project many more times than I have.”
“There are people who have been doing this work for decades longer than I have.”
Of course, all of those statements are likely true, and will be forever. So what?
If you are getting hung up on statements like these, you are really focusing on just the first way that people become known as experts. There are two other equally compelling ways to reach the same status.
1. The Expert with Real World Experience
This is the been-there, done-that expert or “hands dirty” or “eye witness” expert. It’s the kind of expert that most people are thinking of when they pooh-pooh their own expertise.
2. The Reporting Expert
This is the kind of expertise you gain by constantly listening, observing, and analyzing. If you are good at soaking up all kinds of information and squeezing it back out in more useful forms, or are great at crowd sourcing, curating, and convening, you are likely this kind of expert.
3. The Expert with Insightful Perspectives
This expert focuses more on the future than on the past. They talk about “what ifs” and “why nots.” They are often more visionary or inspirational that other types of experts.
Is one better than another? That totally depends on what you are doing, and who you are doing it with. Performing brain surgery, yes, we want the real world expert. Teaching others about how to solve problems that current brain surgeons are having? I’d go with one of the other two.
In my own journey, I started out as the real world expert. As I built my consulting and training practice, I focused more on being a “reporting” expert. Now, as I build my coaching/mentoring practice, I’m working more on the “insightful perspectives.”
What kind of expert are you? Did you start as one kind and transition into another? I’d love to hear your path in the comments.
Last week, I shared some webinar poll results about management struggles for nonprofit communicators.
Today, let’s look at some of the personal productivity pain points.
We asked which of four daily tasks they wished they could do faster and email inbox management topped the list, followed by social media management and writing faster, tied for second place.
Understanding the daily struggles of your clients is incredibly important in your ability to successfully market to them and to serve them well.
If you work for nonprofit communications directors, this should be helpful information to you. If you don’t, how can you get similar information about the people in the nonprofit sector that you do serve?
If you have experience with identify the common pain points for your nonprofit clients, please share in the comments.
People love to follow a good system. Just look at the hundreds (thousands?) of popular diets and fitness regimes out there.
You might think of it as a process, method, game plan, or recipe. But in consulting or coaching, it’s often called a framework. SWOT analysis is a framework. Myers-Briggs is a framework.
It’s your approach to solving common problems for your clients. You can make up frameworks yourself, or you can adopt frameworks created by others. (If you use someone else’s, be sure to do your research. Sometimes simply acknowledging the creator is enough; other times you need to pay a licensing fee.)
Sometimes a framework is a step-by-step process, other times it’s more of a checklist. Sometimes they are attached to specific timelines. Frameworks are often expressed visually.
I’ve found frameworks, even very simple, limited ones, to be extremely helpful in working with nonprofits. It gives everyone — you and your clients — a place to start and a way to move forward together. Frameworks can be especially helpful in giving some structure to otherwise hard-to-grasp conceptual work. They can also add some credibility to your work. When they are really good, they can become a core part of your brand.
Because of all of these benefits, you can also use them in your marketing!
Here a few examples of frameworks I have created:
The Six Rs of Message Relevance – This is a simple PDF that many people have told me they’ve printed out and keep next to their computers.
Six Month Mentoring Program for Communications Directors – In each month of the program, we cover one of six core elements of nonprofit marketing that I defined as:
- Your Community
- Your Messages
- Your Style
- Your Plan
- Your Tools
- Your Team
“Start Here, Then Try, Next Steps” — We created this framework to organize a lot of the free advice we offer on our website. You can see it at work on these pages on growing your email list and email newsletters. We also use it to organize the content within the Mentoring Program for Communications Directors.
CALM: Collaborative, Agile, Logical, and Methodical. This is brand-new one that I just released today! I’ll be expanding on this the rest of the week on the Nonprofit Communications Blog and using it in some new coaching programs I’m planning.
Think about how you can create a framework for the consulting or coaching you do with nonprofits. It can make your marketing much easier!
Today we did a webinar for nonprofit communications pros on how to work smarter, not harder.
As part of the program, I suggested that they focus on four work processes:
1. Editorial planning
2. Content curation
3. Content repurposing
4. Managing collaboration (internally and externally)
After going through the material, I polled the participants on which of the four needed the most work in their organizations. About 35 people participated in the poll.
As you can see Editorial Planning was a big need, followed by Managing Collaboration. If you work with nonprofit communications teams, keep that in mind!
Last week I blogged about the perils of getting too far ahead of your clients.
But let’s face it, getting to mix things up a bit when you are bored is one of the benefits of self-employment.
However it might not always be the best business decision, because there might still be very well paying clients associated with that now-boring-to-you work.
How have you handled this situation? I’d love to hear your responses in the comments.
Here are a few things I’ve tried (some more successfully than others) . . .
- Take what I’ve learned from the now-boring work and turn into some kind of freebie (like a download with a registration form).
- Take that same information and turn it into a worksheet to get future clients through the boring part of the work more quickly, or with less direct help from me.
- Set a timer to make myself focus on the boring work for a set amount of time, and then reward myself with something much more fun if I was able to stay focused.
- Delegate it. I’ve brought on others to do the work that no longer interests me, but that our clients still need.
- Tough it out, especially if I see some kind of shake-up on that topic on the horizon.
- Stop doing that kind of work, and be OK with losing the market positioning or the revenue associated with it, because the boredom simply isn’t worth it.
How about you? Please share in the comments how you handle it when you get bored with your work.