marketing secrets... is there a secret?
Thread poster: Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL
We all know the standard marketing techniques (we all appreciate the effort Werner puts into enlightening us ): cold calling, forwarding CVs, being visible, etc. But I would like to ask our most experienced colleagues: are there any secret tools or techniques you would like to reveal or share for the benefit of the less \"capables\"? Basically, I\'m asking you to reveal your secrets, unless you\'ve been so busy lately that you have forgotten what they are!
| Hope everyone can contribute to this one || Apr 17, 2002 |
Should I be an outsourcer, what would impress me, among other things, would be consistent evidence of SPECIALIZATION, e.g., in the KudoZ area. I would also appreciate if those who have worked for me asked for/appreciated feedback and stayed in touch (a Christmas card?) so that, quote, \"my geriatric brain,\" unquote, would remember that X, in addition to being a good translator, is also a physician while Y, in addition to being a good transaltor, is also an accountant. Let me seek you based on your track record--my thinking would be-- rather than you knocking on my door.
My 2 cents
(As you may have noticed, this is the only place where 2 cents belong for me. If you charge 2c/wd, I will simply not believe you can afford to be a specialist to my standards.)
| Christmas cards work well || Apr 17, 2002 |
yes, one important thing is to show your customers from time to time that you still exist. From my experience, I can say that this works well. I have a few regular customers who pretty much make up most of my income. Then I have a few \"occasional\" customers who contact me once or twice a year. For Christmas, I sent everybody a nice Christmas card (btw, Unicef-cards are great for that purpose, because you donate at the same time, many companies like that for Christmas), and a few companies that I had not heard of for a long time sent me work in
January, I guess, because they remembered me all of a sudden. This was great, because my regular customers were still on vacation or on their Christmas break, so it worked well.
I also always put a few business cards in the Christmas card envelopes, because customers might pass them on (I\'ve got two regular customers that way).
Of course, this does not help in the summer
For this time of the year, I suggest that you send a mass email to everybody you do or want to do business with and tell them that you will be gone for a week on a seminar or an assignment or on vacation, whatever you are planning to do during that week. And who knows, when you come back, you might have some work waiting for you.
I would also always carry business cards, you never know.
All the best,
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| Just some things that have worked for me... || Apr 17, 2002 |
I wrote this some time ago for a acquaintance that wanted to enter the internet market. To make it shorter I erased all the parts that have to do with dealing with agencies, money, etc. etc. Only some marketing tips remain. They would hardly qualify as \"secrets\" (it\'s just plain common sense to me), but she said they were quite useful! Perhaps they are of any help:
Things you should have
1) Have ready several CVs, each one according to one profile you want to point out to potential clients. For example, if you especialize in medical and legal translations you should have at least three CVs. One with all your medical qualifications/experience up front and another with the legal ones first. Do have a third version where you balance both and add all the miscellaneous areas you have worked as well for generic applications.
2) When was the last time you updated your CV? (I\'m guilty here, but do as I say not as I do ). Do you ever had it proofread and/or criticized by a colleague? (not just some relative, but by some professional that works in the same field as you do).
3) Do you have it in several file formats? Ever saw that nasty *only .txt resumes accepted* and cried over you huge .doc which looks terrible converted? You should have at least all versions in .pdf, .doc and .txt, files ready, two of them with two versions: with and without scanned diplomas & certificates.
4) By now you should have 15 Cvs handy (use descriptive filenames!). And cover letters? I never recruited people in my life, but nonetheless I have read the most hilarious cover letters you can imagine. Start by stating *where* and *when* you saw the add, *why* do you consider yourself apt for the position, *what* do you look for/expect in an agency/client and enclose your CV only if they expressely asked so. if not, paste your now decent .txt CV on the body of the message *after* the cover letter. Be especific for the job at hand; it\'s terrible if you simply copy & paste the same cover letter over and over.
5) Contract and confidentiality agreements. Have both ready (you can find several models going around); just pick one which seems reasonable or better still contact your local association or a friendly lawyer. Again have them in several formats, so you can send them to your client for him to print and send you back as a signed fax or hardcopy. Perhaps electronic signatures are valid in your country; find that out and make a nice signed, verified .pdf!.
6) Now that you have all that, why not post it on a nice web site? Do it yourself or hire on freelance pro to do a simple site and host in some free server (if you don\'t want to spend on a domain name and space of course). Add your terms & conditions, a contact form and you are all set up. Be sure to submit your site\'s address to all major search engines and associations/lists you belong to.
7) There are several agency listings on the internet. Go one by one by your language pair and specialization and check their site. Do you like it? Do they seem professional? See if they are recruiting in your pair. They usually have either an email address where you can send your cover letter and CV or an application form. Note down the ones you sent your CV to! Do not make the mistake of sending several CVs on a short period of time! You can always try again in a few months *if they still accept resumes by that time*. Note down the others as well; they can always open up positions in the future.
6) Get an automated form filling software; there is a lot of freeware around wich is quite good (I have AI RoboForm). If you really want to send applications out, don\'t waste time typing. Just carefully read the form after the programme completed it, fill any blanks left, and be ready again with that handy .txt CV to paste parts into the application form.
After you complete a job...
7) Send it together with a neat, detailed invoice with all your contact information (even if it doesn\'t have fiscal value, most people keep invoices for a long time and it\'s an easy way to find your data if you are needed again). Ask the client for confirmation of receipt of all the material (if there are multiple files involved, make a list and ask your client/PM to confirm the whole list).
7) Keep the client/agency information secure! Backup your data regularly; have a tidy database with all your business contacts. Memory is falible, so you should keep track of each project name together with the name of the client/agency PM. Send them all a short, truthful xmas or new year\'s card. Not only because you want them to remember you but also because, after all, if you had a nice working experience, you end up liking them .
If the job is relevant, enter it in your CV right away! It reflects you are active in the business and that you have regular customers.
9) Be ready for a follow-up. Don\'t throw away all the files from that project. Unless specifically stated in the confidentiality agreement, you should keep the files safe for a reasonable period of time. You don\'t even have to use your own disk; there are plenty of free servers where you could store quite a number of projects without much hassle.
10) Rip the fruits of all your efforts by buying a new dictionay with the money you earned to weary your eyes even a little bit more...
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| join non-translator association(s) in your field(s) || Apr 17, 2002 |
My top \'secret\':
If you do advertising texts, join an association for professionals working in advertising. If you do chemistry work, join an association of chemists. You will become known as \"the\" translator of the group, and when anyone needs a translation done, they will ask you (even if it is not in your pairs--in which case you can refer a ProZ.com colleague.)
If you are in a large city, there will be local \"real-world\" associations. If you are in a remote area, go with online groups.
| secrets or common sense? || Apr 17, 2002 |
A few basic rules that worked for me (and for a couple of people I forwarded them to in the past):
1. Make sure you can be reached at all time: if you work with Italian, for example, don\'t take your holidays in August: that\'s when most people are on holiday and is the time when clients/agencies may well try tapping into their so far untapped resources, since their favourite freelancers are not available.
2. Promptly and politely answer calls and emails (when a job has to be assigned, the agency/client goes through their list of possible outsourcers; if they get no answer from you, they just go to the next one down the list)
3. If you cannot accept a job because you are already busy, say so and give an estimate of when you will be next available to accept new jobs.
4. When looking for new clients, identify your USP (Unique Selling Point): identify your special area of specialisation (where you can stand out among the multitude of translators thanks to your past work experience, special hobby, or special knowledge acquired in any other way) and do some research to identify which agencies/companies work mostly in that field. In some countries where a manufacturer of specific goods (sw, musical instruments,...) does not have a local office, the distributor is often responsible for a lot of the translation work needed (press releases, brochures, user manuals) and it may be well worth contacting them directly (usually the marketing dept.) To identify distributors, check the specialised trade magazines.
5. Make sure you are an easy person to deal with: always deliver good quality work at the agreed time (or earlier if at possible!); master any technical req. (show your competence and flexibility with file formats, conversion issues, etc.); don\'t hesitate to forward questions to the client about the job in progress, as long as they are well-founded questions (do your own research first).
6. If you can offer added services (i.e. layout, sw testing,...) make sure the client knows about this.
7. Stay well clear of topics outside your sphere of competence. Only accept jobs about fields you are familiar with in both languages, and only accept reasonable deadlines (\"sorry, I cannot do it for Thurday lunchtime, but I could do it for first thing Friday morning; would that still be ok with you?\")
8. If you see half-way through a job that you are struggling to meet the deadlines, let the client know a bit ahead of time, propose your best finished-by date and stick to it.
9. Remember you will always be judged by your work and your email/telephone communication.
10. I\'m sure there are other points... I\'ll let you know when they come to mind!
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I think all agree with me that Roberta and "the very young" Rossana has provided very helpful tips. Thank you both.