Thinking in Multiples: How To Turn A One-Time Client Into A Steady Customer By Don Baumgart

I’m a journalist, but, anyone who has tried both knows that the money is in business promotion writing. I’ve learned to quickly take the initial assignment further than the client has envisioned.

For example, one way to change a client’s perception from a single ad to an ad campaign is to rough out a series. I had a lot of fun with a mystery campaign I wrote for the opening of a year-around Christmas store.

“One day isn’t enough!” was all the first newspaper ad said. Below it was the store’s new logo. On the second day people opened their papers and read, “A week isn’t enough!” Next day: “You deserve it all year long!” The series ended with a larger display ad headlined “Make Christmas Joy a Year-Long Celebration!”

We followed up the opening ad campaign with one that featured a comic strip in which Santa decides to relocate to California (the location of the Christmas store) but has problems getting his bag of toys through the airport security check.

The point of all this is: get an assignment to write an ad, give back the plans for a series of ads that establishes your client in the readers’ minds. It will work for the client, and it will create more work for you. By thinking in multiples when you get a single assignment, you can multiply your income.

A manufacturer of high-tech snowshoes wants a brochure. It should be supported by print ads in outdoor magazines encouraging winter sports enthusiasts to call for the brochure. The brochure should arrive in the consumer’s mailbox accompanied by a letter mentioning the location of the nearest dealer where the client’s product can be seen and purchased.

Multiple services, multiple income for you.

You’ve given the client more than they imagined, and they love it!
Hired to write a news release? Great, but come back with plans for a series that presents a succession of potential news stories describing the company’s growth in sales, work force, floor space, and new products.

I always ask clients what trades they read. Every form of business including street fair sales of dried flowers has its own trade magazine. Do they send in new product information to the trades? Would they like to? It’s good support for their ad, and most trade publications give free editorial space to new products, and run a photograph.

You need to have a list of photographers whose work you trust and can recommend. A competent photographer is gold in your bank account. And, don’t overlook the fact that your photographers can become clients. Two women developed a highly popular business by creating an unusual aspect to wedding photography. They worked out a deal with a leading hotel to use the most plush-looking room as a backdrop. It was astounding how many brides-to-be wanted to have a “secret” photo to give to their mates, showing them in a lush bedroom wearing seductive lingerie.

I was hired to do a news release which grabbed a big piece of print for the photographers in the local paper. But, had they thought of a small, discreet promotion piece to be on hand at the various retail locations where brides sign the bridal registry to aid friends in selecting gifts? A piece that also could be sent to women appearing in the “engaged to be married” section of the paper? They hadn’t, but were happy to have the idea. And I was happy to have the work.

After a while you get to the point where you look at an assignment and say, what else does this client need that hasn’t been thought of? That’s where you really show your expertise; by thinking of what should come next…before the client even realizes that there will be a next time.

When your ideas start to get added attention for your client, you will have moved yourself from the position of hired wordslinger to marketing consultant. You’ll have done it by educating your client to think ahead.

And that will be good, financially, for both of you.

Don Baumgart is a skilled business writer providing promotional services to local and national business clients. His services include brochures, newsletters, ad copy, news releases, radio spots, and speeches for corporate executives. A former daily newspaper reporter and Associated Press editor, Don also has a strong magazine writing background, with dozens of bylined publications to his credit.


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