The “No-Marketing” Marketing System

By now you know my name is Pat McCord, and I’m all about making copywriting easier. That applies to my self-marketing method, too. It’s not that I shun other systems, but this is the one that works for me, given my dual career.

Let me explain …

I was talking with another AWAIer the other day, telling her (sheepishly) that I don’t actively market my business. “Of course you do,” she said. “You just don’t know it.”

Okay, I’ll concede that’s technically true. So, let’s call this the “no-marketing” marketing system. It’s easy if you do these things:

1. Give away a lot of business cards and talk about copywriting to anyone who seems even remotely interested. You never know what it might lead to.

For example, my very first client was Chris, the owner of a martial arts studio in Tucson that serves youths who’ve been recruited into gangs. Chris had called me about a martial arts book I’d written for kids, and during our conversation he mentioned he really needed to do a fundraiser.

I told Chris I’d write him a fundraising appeal pro-bono if he’d let me use him as a Guinea pig – since, at that point, I was an absolute newbie in copywriting.

So, technically, I got paid nothing for my work … but I still benefited tremendously. Because, not only did I gain my first copywriting experience, but it led to a project for another company that saw what I’d done for Chris … which put $500 in my pocket.

2. Be a good friend by taking on jobs when fellow copywriters are over scheduled. I worked nearly two years for a Detroit company that way while taking the pressure off of my friend Laura in Phoenix.

3. Ask clients for referrals. I always ask and am often surprised when the next day, or the next month, I get a call from a new client who needs help. I always ask.

4. Attend events in person. I attended a Constant Contact event last week and passed out a few dozen business cards. The leader of the event asked me if I wanted to consult on copywriting for them. Being “out there” can be worth the effort.

5. Leave business cards wherever it’s encouraged or allowed. Recently, I left business cards at my local PostNet store, and I mentioned I’m a copywriter in a special report I wrote about postcard marketing – with contact information, of course.

6. Be an insider. Once I get inside a company, I can see what else they need, and I suggest it. There’s nothing more exciting than getting a client jazzed about their own business because of something I’ve come up with.

7. Make sure everyone knows you’re a copywriter. One client, a physician, heard about me through a business contact of my husband’s.

“Does anyone know a good copywriter?” he asked. I was off and running for a year. The doctor had invented a really cool product for babies, but had no idea how to get the word out. Yes, I knew how to get the word out, and now everyone at that meeting knows it, too.

Over time I wrote new packaging for the doctor, sent samples to decision makers, compiled testimonials, wrote Tweets, a Mother’s Day message, a new brochure and helped them target a secondary market.

Try this: Tell 10 new people you’re a copywriter and see what happens. Order a fresh new box of business cards and give them away liberally, even to a few people who are unlikely candidates for business. You might be surprised – it’s happened to me more than once.

Then let me know how it goes in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you.

Tomorrow I’ll tackle an overlooked way to make any job easier. If you learn to do this, you’ll never feel in over your head.

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Published: July 30, 2014

5 Responses to “The “No-Marketing” Marketing System”

  1. How true. I am a newbie. I had mentioned to him on a couple of occasions about my new career. I guess I was especially excited when I saw him when I got back from the B2B Intensive in Phoenix. He told that he had some items he would like for me to work on!

    WooHoo. First Client, exactly how you described it!

    Rick Hartman


  2. Great tips, Pat. I notice you get a lot of mileage out of your business cards -- such a simple and sometimes overlooked marketing tool! I'm getting ready to place an order for new cards. I'm curious what kind of info about your services you put on your card? Any advice on style, format or wording that you feel makes for a successful business card?

    Elizabeth Blessing

  3. Pat, Thank you for the great information on marketing yourself. Sometimes we just over think how to market our own business.

    LaDeana Wilke

  4. Hi Pat!

    Thanks so much for your great tips which I can put to use immediately.

    Looking forward to learning even more.

    Thanks again!

    Anita Cooper

    Guest (northwoodswriter)

  5. I have been going to networking events hosted by Meet Up groups. There are plenty of them all over the country that cater to all kinds of interests. If you can't find a networking group then you can start one. The people may not be in your specific niche but at least you are out there promoting your business. The events will allow to mingle with other people and hone your elevator speech. Plus you may develop some very valuable friends that can refer your services to other clients

    Thomas Blake

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