As an entrepreneur, who DOESN’T want to get better clients with bigger budgets? Well in this week’s podcast episode, Ilise Benun tells us exactly how she helps her clients do just that. We discuss:

  •  How to bring your creativity to the business side of your biz
  • How being in a different stage of the buyer’s journey means adjusting the wording on your platforms to cater to those needs
  • The importance of being clear and creative in who you’re serving
  • 3 tools in the simplest marketing plan
  • What you DON’T have to do in order to market yourself and your business 

More About Ilise Benun:
Ilise Benun is a business coach for creative professionals with a focus on mindset, money and marketing. She is also a national speaker, author of 7 books and multiple online courses, including the Simplest Marketing Plan & founder of, the go-to online resource for creative professionals who want better projects with bigger budgets. 

Read the full transcript

Ilise Benun 0:00
Most people who are self employed and I specialize in working with solopreneurs, and small agency owners and people who are basically doing everything, the marketing, and the selling isn’t usually their strength. And it’s not usually something they’re even all that interested in. Part of my job is to teach them how not to hate it, and how to be able to bring their creativity to the business side of a creative business. That’s also how I think about it.

Meg Casebolt 0:33
You’re listening to social slowdown, a podcast for entrepreneurs and micro businesses looking for sustainable marketing strategies without being dependent on social media. I’m your host, Meg Casebolt. And I have a new book coming out called Social slowdown. It’s taking all of the 80 plus interviews that we’ve done so far in this podcast series, and turned it into something that’s a little bit more easily digestible. It will be available on July 27 2023. And it’ll only be $4 on Kindle and $9. On paperback. So I would love, love, love. If you could support the podcast by going on Amazon and buying the book. If you preorder it, I would especially appreciate that because that would help us get to a best seller status. Even if you don’t read it. That’s okay. So if you want to get your copy of the social slowdown book, head on over to social and get that today. And now let’s get back to the podcast, which is all about finding creative, sustainable ways to engage with your audience without needing to lip sync, send cold DMS, run ads or be available 24/7. Let’s get started. Hello, everyone, and welcome to the social slope down podcast. I am your host, Meg Casebolt. And I am here today with Elise, thank you so much for being here. Elise.

Ilise Benun 1:54
Thank you, I’m thrilled to be here. MC.

Meg Casebolt 1:57
I would love if we could get started with a quick introduction of who you are and what you do. And you know, the the superhero origin story, if you will, not the full origin story, we don’t need to know like, you know, Peter Parker’s Aunt May, but just how you started your business where you came from what you do.

Ilise Benun 2:14
All right, well, that’s a 35 years story. But I’ll give you the short version. Also, the first I’ll say that. My name is Elise, Benin. And I am the founder of marketing dash And the dash is always important, as you know, yeah, they gotta get that domain. Correct, right. And when people ask me what I do, I say I help creative professionals get better clients with bigger budgets. And then I wait for them to say, That sounds interesting.

Meg Casebolt 2:48
I love when you have the elevator pitch, and you have their response to the elevator pitch, ready to go.

Ilise Benun 2:55
Because that’s what we’re looking for when we give our elevator pitch, right, and we just shut up and let the other person say what they’re gonna say, because that, to me is actually an example of listening to the market, letting the market talk, you have to let the market talk in order to listen to it. And they will tell you exactly what you should say next, if you let them

Meg Casebolt 3:17
if you will actually listen, instead of just hearing yourself talk, we don’t do that very well.

Ilise Benun 3:24
No, and also, most people who are self employed, and I specialize in working with solopreneurs, and small agency owners and and people who are basically doing everything, and the marketing and the selling because there is marketing and selling involved isn’t usually their strength. And it’s not usually something they’re even all that interested in there. I say some people hate it. And part of my job is to teach them how not to hate it and how to be able to bring their creativity to the business side of a creative business. That’s also how I think about it. And so when it is their turn to give an elevator pitch and which is really again, simply just asking, what do you do? Which is the thing you hopefully know best? You would think I would think, but so many people really struggle with it. And there are lots of people out there with formulas and Mad Libs and all different ways of approaching it. There’s no right way. But it is important to say something that isn’t encapsulating every single thing that you do or that I’ve done in my 35 years of being self employed, for example, right? But we want it to be something that if we stop talking, the other person can respond and say, Oh, tell me more about that. Or does that mean you this is this is actually one of the things I love most when people say Oh, does that mean you help with content marketing? Well, yes, as a matter of fact, and here’s how right or do Does that mean you do one on one coaching? Well, yes, as a matter of fact, and here’s how that works, right? So you don’t even have to figure out what to say next. Because if you’re figuring out what to say next, then you’re not listening to what they’re about to say. So that’s my short answer.

Meg Casebolt 5:17
No, I love that. Because I think sometimes we get so concerned with like, especially if you have been doing more content marketing or email marketing, where you have to respond to people who aren’t necessarily in dialogue with you, then you have to, like become aware of their objections or what their next questions are in anticipate that. But in a conversational environment, you don’t necessarily need to anticipate the next five things that are going to come up because you’re not writing a six part email sequence, you’re having a conversation. And I love your approach of like, I’m going to say something that is interesting. See how they respond to it. Because you don’t necessarily know what their level of knowledge is on your expertise. Unless you’re having that conversation. And there may be people who don’t know what content marketing is. So if you say I’m a content marketing strategist.

Ilise Benun 6:11
And actually, I mean, it also depends on who you’re talking to what you say. And, and sometimes you don’t want to get into a conversation with someone. So you need to have the elevator pitch that shuts them down also. And I find that when I’m talking like on an airplane, if I don’t want to talk to the person next to me, I’ll just say I’m a marketing consultant.

Meg Casebolt 6:33
Yep. That was the one that I used last week. Yep. Right. And then it turned out that she was a small business owner, who had just sold her company to somebody in Texas. And she was, and it came up organically. But I was like, You know what, I really, I really just want to sit here and work on my romance novel, I really don’t want to have to do the networking thing. But she worked in telecom. And so my husband and I were joking about the terrible Wi Fi on the plane. And she was like, actually, let me explain this.

Ilise Benun 6:58
That’s too funny. But neither

Meg Casebolt 7:01
of us wanted to be in the conversation, it was the Wi Fi conversation, I actually got us talking, you know, and sometimes it’s not, you don’t always need to be pitching yourself, you don’t always need to have the elevator pitch ready for the person on the plane. Sometimes you just can shut down, shut things down. And if people are interested in work in talking to a marketing consultant, they might ask a follow up question. But otherwise, most people’s eyes glaze over when I say my marketing consultant, exactly, which is fine, which is fine. They’re not my people.

Ilise Benun 7:30
Right. And that’s the other point. I think that’s really important. When I say I help creative professionals get better clients with bigger budgets, I’m speaking to someone specific. And I’m trying to repel everyone else. Truthfully, right. I’m, I’m talking to creative professionals. If you and I don’t define creative professionals, if you consider yourself to be a creative professional, whether you’re a coach, or a designer, or a writer or a photographer, that’s fine. You can self select into my world into my people. And then if you want to get better clients with bigger budgets, then I want you to be nodding your head. If you’re really just looking for a J, OB, as I like to call them, then we probably shouldn’t talk because I know nothing about getting a gob I had two in my life. I was fired from the second one. I quit the first one a long, long time ago. That is not my strength.

Meg Casebolt 8:26
Yeah. And I think also like, from my perspective, as the SEO person in the room, you when you say I work with creative professionals, I’m like great, you’re you are already have, you already have a mouthpiece happening here, you already are in people’s ears. When you and I are having this conversation, you’re borrowing my audience to do that. And so they’re listening. And they’re able to opt into that as a potential creative professional or to opt out of it as a nun creative, professional. But if you were engaging in a different marketing format, you might need to say things differently, you might need to say I work with coaches and consultants and designers and specifically call out some of those fields that you work with. Because you don’t already have that mouthpiece. You don’t really have a captive audience waiting for you to recognize the different ways to engage with your potential leads, knowing how it is that they’re going to consume whatever it is that you’re saying.

Ilise Benun 9:24
Yeah. Yes, amen.

Meg Casebolt 9:28
I tell people to stop using the term creative professionals. Oh, really? Why? Because nobody’s going, I need a business coach for a creative professional. From a from an SEO perspective, I want you to get more perspective, more specific, but from, you know, casting a wider net perspective where people are already listening, then it’s okay.

Ilise Benun 9:50
Well, I also think of that as the difference between speaking to the algorithm and speaking to the human right so if I’m using In all my keywords properly, I’m mostly speaking to the algorithm, not so much the human maybe a little bit. And when I’m talking to creative professionals, I feel like I’m speaking to the human who thinks of him or herself that way. And maybe the algorithm will capture that or pick it up or not.

Meg Casebolt 10:21
I would disagree. Respectfully, I would say that it is about speaking to somebody who is already listening, versus speaking to an individual who is looking for a specific solution. So instead of saying the algorithm, because there is a lot of algorithms to what I do, so I’m not saying that that’s not a factor here, but when we’re choosing these phrases, you know, I think if you’re talking on Instagram, you have your Instagram bio, your LinkedIn headline, I think you can still use a generic term and those spaces because the audience is already there, they’re scrolling, they’re engaged in some way. They’re already at the watercooler. And so you can capture them, and they can opt into what it is that you’re saying to a larger audience to a larger group, they can, they might not, I wouldn’t ever come out and have a business card made up that as I’m my case, both my pronouns are she her and I am a creative professional, because it’s too generic. But people can see themselves within the generic and they can opt into it. But I’m not gonna go search for that. Because I’m a strategist, I’m an SEO person. I’m a podcast host, like, my, my self identity is different than my collective identity. Interesting, I’m getting, like, semantic. But I think it’s a really interesting part of the conversation. Because what you write in your Instagram bio, or your you know, your business card does not necessarily need to be the words that you use on your website. Right? Those are two different marketing strategies. Yes, and

Ilise Benun 11:59
two very different contexts. Right, and people are at a different point in the buyers journey, yes, when they receive your business card versus when they’re Googling, right.

Meg Casebolt 12:12
And the knowledge that they need to get from you is different in those circumstances. And depending on how they’re engaging with you, you know, I think you and I first initially connected on LinkedIn. And I was like, oh, cool, creative professionals. Okay, good. If I need to send someone your way. Now, I know, because I know what that means. But, you know, that’s a different type of referral relationship, or, you know, connection awareness level relationship versus straight referral of, Oh, I know somebody who needs exactly what it is that you teach. So with that in mind, how are people discovering you finding you? How are how are you doing your Legion? Because I think you have a really cool approach to this.

Ilise Benun 12:54
Yeah. So first of all, I’ll say that I have to practice what I preach. Otherwise, what would I be worth, and this is kind of related to what I’m thinking of as my origin story these days, which is that for, let’s just say 35 years, to use a round number, I have been working with creative people of one sort or another helping with the business side of their business. And it started as a professional organizing, actually, with dancers and fine artists and actors in New York, all of these people who surrounded me and I looked around, and I was like, I need to do something because I was just fired. So I’m never working for anyone again. And that did not come out of confidence. By the way, people often think, Oh, you must have been really confident to say that. No, I was enraged. And that’s where the motivation came. And

Meg Casebolt 13:58
they need to be inspired. Sometimes you just need to get good and pissed off. Like, what is the catalyst to change?

Ilise Benun 14:04
Exactly, anger will definitely do it. And so I looked around all these people I knew were very creative, and very disorganized. And I was a little bit more organized. So I started helping people with their piles of papers. And what I noticed at the bottom of everybody’s pile was that there was something they were not doing that had to do with self promotion, and marketing. And so when we got there, I would say, well, let’s send some information to that person who’s requesting samples from you, or let’s put something together so you can attend that trade show that, you know happened last year, and it’s going to come around again this year. And let’s make you ready for that by now. So little by little over the years, essentially, I just started helping people market their businesses. And it evolved into marketing mentor, and I had to help come up with like, well, what’s the plan because, you know, and this is kind of pre internet Anyway, before anyone knew about social media or anyone knew about SEO, but we needed a plan. And so over the years, I just came up with plan after plan after plan. And then I started selling these plans in my online store. And every year, I came up with kind of a brand new plan. And eventually, I got to a point where I found what I now considered to be the ultimate framework, I call it the simplest marketing plan. And this is this is going to be the fifth year that I’m selling it and it keeps getting better. And it keeps getting simpler actually. And basically, there are three tools in the simplest marketing plan. And these are the ones that I use. And these are the ones that I advise my clients to use. And these are the ones I teach in all the speaking that I do and all the on my own podcast. And in the books that I’ve written, right, there’s always these three tools, basically. So the tools are, I’ll give you all three upfront, and then I’ll explain a little bit, maybe how I use them. And I’ll pause here and there if you want to add or ask me a question. Sounds good. Okay. So the first one is content marketing. I say high quality, Bat Signal content marketing. And content marketing, as you well know, can be delivered and disseminated in many different ways and through many different media. And so social media is not one of my three tools. It’s one of the possible ways you can disseminate content basically, is where I put it on the map. And so content marketing for me, I write, I’ve written books, I write articles, I write blog posts, I have my own podcast, I’m a guest on other people’s podcasts. I write guest blog posts, like all these different ways that I create content and disseminate it so that people who are in their moment of need, will read it or hear it or find it and say, Oh, my God, this, she is exactly who I need to talk to. That’s the goal of content marketing, in my opinion,

Meg Casebolt 17:26
is to be utilized at the time when somebody needs it

Ilise Benun 17:30
to be there when they need it. Yes. Right. Because if I write something about content marketing, for example, and you read it today, or you listen to it today, but you don’t do anything, and then come January 2024, or so and you’re like, Okay, it’s a new year, I really should do some content marketing. What did she say about that? Remember, she said it was important, I just don’t remember what about it I’m supposed to be doing. Right. So that will not be helpful, I have to be in your face in or near your moment of need, for there to be a connection for it to result in anything that can benefit both of us.

Meg Casebolt 18:15
I should mention that this is three months before January 2024. When we’re recording, so somebody is listening to you 2424. And they’re like, What did you mean, it’s now we are speaking into the future?

Ilise Benun 18:26

Meg Casebolt 18:29
I agree that you know, I can I can read even a how to book a tutorial. But if I don’t put it into practice, then it’s just academic theoretical work, then it’s not going to make a difference in my business. And when we’re talking about content marketing, as marketers, it’s about not just education, but encouraging people to take some sort of action, whether or not we know what that action is, as the creator is kind of out of our hands.

Ilise Benun 18:55
It is out of our hands. And I think, to me, what’s important, the reason I say high quality and bat signal, first of all, there’s so much low quality content out there, right? And it’s getting worse with AI, it’s going to be worse and worse and worse in my opinion. And that signal meaning when I say oh my god, I really need to talk to her because she gets me she clearly is singing my song. She clearly understands my language. I think she’s going to be able to help me, right, that’s what that’s the reaction I’m looking for. And I don’t expect everyone to feel that way. I’m just casting a net hoping that intending that a few people will fall into that net and find me at their moment of need, and then we can talk

Meg Casebolt 19:44
perfect Alright, so that’s pillar number one. I don’t know if you’re using pillar or silo or lag, whatever, but that’s pillar number one is content marketing. Yes. What’s number two?

Ilise Benun 19:55
All right, and, and before I go on the thing to know about these three, I call them tools. So you can call them pillars that’s fine, is that you can’t just do one. They work together, they support each other, they feed each other. And I had someone recently say to me, Oh, I’m doing that one tool and it’s not working, nothing’s working. Well, are you doing this? Are you doing that? No, no, no, I don’t like that.

Meg Casebolt 20:21
I just want to hide out in my little Batcave to make my bat signal content, and then up here as Batman when somebody needs me, but I don’t want to do I don’t actually, I don’t want to be Bruce Wayne. I don’t want to do the networking. I want to talk to anyone. I don’t want anyone to know who I am. I just want to appear and do the work and be

Ilise Benun 20:39
totally right. Yeah.

Meg Casebolt 20:41
Superheroes just work really well, for the between the origin stories in the bathroom, we’re good.

Ilise Benun 20:49
To borrow that from?

Meg Casebolt 20:52
I will take attribution in lieu of payment.

Ilise Benun 20:54
Absolutely. You were right about the next tool. It’s I call it strategic networking. Right. So we got high quality Bat Signal content marketing and strategic networking. strategic networking is not going to the local Chamber of Commerce, to their business card exchange, unless your target market is small business owners who go to the Chamber of Commerce to meet each other and find their own client.

Meg Casebolt 21:24
What if I’m a print house, and I print business cards? Absolutely a place where I should be. But for me, I’m like, No, I don’t want to put on pants.

Ilise Benun 21:33

Meg Casebolt 21:35
I want to attract people who don’t want to. That’s my target market.

Ilise Benun 21:40
You need to go to the beach.

Meg Casebolt 21:44
But we don’t want to leave our house, we want to sit. We want to eat s’mores, we want to, you know, get our kids off the bus and not have to put on pants and leave the house at night. Yes,

Ilise Benun 21:56
I just actually got off a call with a client of mine. I’ve been working with him for years. And tomorrow, he’s going to Chicago to attend an event in his industry. He works in the travel of the transportation and logistics industry. And there’s a two day event and I can tell he’s not looking forward to it. But whenever he comes back from these events, he says to me, like those people are so friendly, I forgot how friendly they are, right? Because when we think about networking, for some reason, we imagine ogres. Right, or people who are going to be mean to us or not want to talk to us, or who are going to ignore us, or who don’t think we should be at that event in the first place. And none of that is true.

Meg Casebolt 22:43
You know, I think for me, networking is it’s not even that I think people are going to be mean when I get there, it’s the moment where I arrive, and I put on the nametag and I have to walk into the room. And like find that first person who will open the circle. And like I am an extrovert, I have no problem shoving myself into conversations. But even like when I’m at PTA events where it’s not even business networking, I’m like, I’m gonna have that moment where I walk in the room and I have to find that friendly face. I think that’s very intimidating for people. So your networking doesn’t have to be in a physical room. But you do have to find the right people. So how, if you’re afraid of networking, what’s the first step for you?

Ilise Benun 23:25
Alright, well, I mean, you do have to find the right people. And I think it doesn’t have to be in a room, although that’s better for sure.

Meg Casebolt 23:34
Because you can corner a person and tell them about so

Ilise Benun 23:38
you can be the person who you don’t have to look for a friendly face, you can look for a terrified face. Or someone who’s more uncomfortable than you are because they’re definitely there. And the other thing I was gonna say is

Meg Casebolt 23:59
I was saying you don’t have to be in a room and you were saying it’s great to be in a room. So maybe there was something going on there, then we lost the thread.

Ilise Benun 24:06
Okay, you don’t have to be in a room, but you do have to be in real time. That’s what I was gonna say. It’s better to be in real time. So you can hear the person’s voice. You can see them if you need to. And you can develop a bond because no matter what service you’re offering, and I only work with people who are offering services, creative services for the most part, but it’s a relationship business, you are building relationships. And most people don’t quite get that, that underneath everything. It’s about the relationship. And it’s not actually about the quality of your work often because they can’t even assess or determine if you’re mediocre or really good because they’re not the expert you are. Right. So the networking Is is really important. And you have to think about it in terms of who are my people? And they’re, oh, no, no, I don’t, I don’t want to have to choose a niche. I don’t want to decide I don’t want to alienate anyone. I want to work with everyone what I have can be good for everyone. And I would say, yes, but you do have to choose your people for marketing purposes, so that you can go after them. You can work with whoever you want, whoever finds you, but for marketing purposes, is going to be a lot easier if you decide who your people are. And one of the ways I frame that, in the simplest marketing plan is, who do you want to help? Who do you feel confident and enthusiastic about helping what organization? What cause what company? What type of person? Who do you want to help? And some people say, Oh, it’s just semantics, you’re really just pitching people? No, actually, I think it’s all about mindset. And if you approach it with generosity, I say use generosity as a marketing tool. If you bring generosity to your marketing, and you think in terms of who can you help, it’s much easier to offer your help than to just pitch your services.

Meg Casebolt 26:19
I think that’s absolutely true. And I think if you are, if there’s something that you do really well, it’s easier to replicate that sort of level of service. And if there’s something that you already know, when you don’t have a learning curve, to get there, then if the delivery process becomes a lot easier, so like this morning, I was, I did a discovery call with a therapist, and she was able to drop into the conversation, oh, I’m learning about polyvagal theory, and I am getting trained in EMDR. She didn’t have to explain to me what those you know, those terminology within her industry were, because I already have worked with therapists, I have already done the keyword research around the term EMDR. That doesn’t mean that I only can work with therapists. My next call was with, you know, an interior designer, and I’ve worked with tons of interior designer, so I could go into it. So it’s not that I can only work with one specific industry. But having a level of knowledge, having a specialization, that doesn’t have to be the only specialization but you have some experience and some authority in the space, like certainly helps makes your life a lot easier helps you connect with people a lot faster.

Ilise Benun 27:34
Yeah. And it makes you more confident talking to those people, and it makes them more confident that you can help them. And I think the other point you make that I want to underscore is that it’s not just one, right. When we say find your people, it’s not just one group, it could be two groups or three groups or a few different markets. It’s just that you’re ideally going to be talking to one at a time. Yeah, possible.

Meg Casebolt 28:00
Yes. And and when you’re having that conversation, you have something to connect about. And I find that if I have done the research, if it’s something that I’m curious about, then I’m more likely to convert that client, not because I have that experience, but because I show up and I’m excited about the conversation. Yeah, I’m like, I’m gonna learn something new about EMDR today, aren’t I like, it’s not what I go into the conversation to to but if it’s something that I like, then the conversation will flow more easily versus like if somebody is trying to teach me about tax strategy. I will do that research, but my eyes will glaze over the entire time. Sorry, tax attorneys, tax accountants,

Ilise Benun 28:49
you’re not my people. I mean, sure,

Meg Casebolt 28:51
call me and I will have one of my team members do it. Right. And that’s okay. You know, and knowing who it is that you serve, and knowing how it is that you can help them and why the that is? Maybe not even the industry. Maybe it’s a psychographic thing I work with people who are neurodivergent I work with people who are parents of soccer players, I work with people who are divorced men who are trying to get back into dating, right? Like it doesn’t always have to be I work with creative professionals. It can be very creative. It could be creative, and who it how it is that you define your services, be creative and who you are serving. But clear. I think clear is the piece that some people miss them.

Ilise Benun 29:37
Yeah. And when you are also emphasizing what I would think of as pain points or goals, right, and those are the things people are trying to achieve with help and could be your help. It could be my help. And those are the things that are also going to make them say, Oh yes, she understands my problems. She can definitely help Have me.

Meg Casebolt 30:00
And I think you to your point where we’re talking about these three different marketing tools. If you’re in, let’s say that you’re a health coach who’s helping people to feel better in their bodies with intuitive eating, okay? If you say if you’re standing in a room and somebody says, Well, what do you do? And you say, I’m a health coach who helps people feel that they’re better in their bodies with intuitive eating, they can then go, I do need that, or I don’t need that. If you’re clear about it on your website, and people are like, No, I just want to lose weight. Okay, cool. I’m not yours. I’m not your person, you can’t find me because I’m just really clear about who it is that I help, what outcome they want. What’s the strategy to get there? You know, I think the clearer we can get, it’s exactly what you said to start, which is like, I can repel the people that aren’t the right fit for me and not waste my time trying to bring them around when there’s a world of people who are ready for me and I don’t know that

Ilise Benun 30:54
I exist, right? I just have to go find them.

Meg Casebolt 30:56
Well, I have to seek them out. Sometimes, too. I can’t just wait for people to find me. Exactly. Which is a good thing to bring us to number three, right?

Ilise Benun 31:04
Yes, but I want to make a little bridge. Okay. And say strategic networking, because often people ask me the question, like, what’s the difference between strategic networking and the third tool, which I call targeted outreach, strategic networking, when I talk about your people, yes, it’s your prospects and potential clients. But it’s also people who can refer you possible referral sources. It’s people in your family and your personal circle, it’s everyone that you can just get the word out to about what you do. Because you never know who’s going to be coming into contact with someone who says, oh, I need someone who does this. Do you know who I should talk to, right? So networking, you’re not going in looking for a project or a client, you’re going in to cultivate relationships, that’s the goal of networking. Whereas with the third tool, targeted outreach, the goal is to cultivate clients. And so you are going to cherry pick, handpick the organization’s the companies that you feel you are most qualified and enthusiastic about helping and you’re going to reach out to them because they don’t know you exist yet. Who, right? And so you have to tell them, hey, I’m out here, I chose you, here’s why, here’s how I think I might be able to help you. Because I noticed on your website, you don’t have any new content in the last two or three years. Maybe that’s a COVID thing, right? Maybe you need some help. And here are some ways I might be able to help you. And that’s targeted outreach, basically. And the thing to know about it is that once it’s not enough, twice is not enough, three times is not enough. I have a four step outreach campaign that is part of the simplest marketing plan, because I think you have to reach out to someone four times, at least before they might respond to you. And so therefore, mindset, again, remember, you’re cultivating relationships, you just don’t know what’s happening on the other side, and you can’t assume nothing is happening. But basically, you know, people are really busy. And until they’re in their moment of need, they’re not going to respond. So you have to follow up. Yes, my job, those are my three tools,

Meg Casebolt 33:26
you cannot reach out to somebody who wants and let’s say they didn’t love me.

Ilise Benun 33:29
They never responded. That’s what people say they never responded, okay, did you follow up, like, even my mother doesn’t respond, the first time I reach out to her people are busy. And if you’re not their priority, and I’m not saying I should be my mother’s priority, it’s been a long time since I was her priority. But you know, if they’re busy, they’ve got other things. And so you need to just build trust, and show them that you’re a professional, and that you’re here and that you’re not going anywhere, and you’re serious. And you stay in touch. And this is why I said you have to all these tools work together. You stay in touch with your content marketing. Right. And so people that you meet at networking, you stay in touch with your content marketing, people that you reach out to through targeted outreach, you stay in touch with your content, marketing, all of these things, things feed each other. Right until their moment of need one last thing about this. I was on a call on Saturday with someone who said I first met you in the 90s. I’ve been on your Quick Tips list since then. And every year I’m like, I’m gonna work with her. I’m gonna work with her. I’m just not ready yet. And this year, she was ready. And she said, You were there the whole time. You stayed in touch with me, so I wouldn’t forget that you existed. I was like, Yes, that’s how it works. And now Now Not everyone has to wait 35 years for be ready, right? Because now I’ve distilled the plan into these three tools. And I know what works now.

Meg Casebolt 35:10
I love that. Yeah. And I want to, I want to make an example of like the targeted outreach versus networking, which is networking is anybody networking is you and I having a client in common and saying, How can we support each other? How can we help each other? Could we share audiences? You know, it’s my next door neighbor who just sent me a lead in real time. It’s my mom just read my book and shared a paragraph of it with a friend. And I was like, that’s weird. None of you is my ideal client. But thanks, I guess, versus I have a plan that I reach out to companies that help people build agencies. And I try to get on to their podcasts and do trainings for their audiences. So that way, I can create partnerships with the people who are building agencies, very specifically in that way. It’s not just who can i which podcast can I get on where maybe I like the person. And I think that there’s there’s a difference there that both of those are important to both of those can lead to clients. But specifically, my targeted outreach is like designers, strategists, copywriters, agency owners, like people who can be repeat referral sources for me. So I wanted to make that distinction for how that works for me, because I think sometimes we can give the best practices but not have an actual idea what that means.

Ilise Benun 36:31
Well, and I’ll give you another example, using the client I mentioned before, he’s a copywriter, who’s going to this event tomorrow in Chicago to do networking. But in advance of the networking, he was doing targeted outreach to see who’s attending the event, and reaching out to the people he’s most interested in working with, whether they go or not to the event actually doesn’t matter. It’s just an excuse to reach out and say, Hey, do you know about this event? I’ll be there, will you? Oh, no. Okay, well, then, I’d love to help you. Here’s how I might help. Let’s talk next week, if you’re open to it, or if they don’t respond, he just stays in touch you I love

Meg Casebolt 37:15
being able to review in advance of the events and say, Who are the people who are going to potentially be in the room that I want to have those conversations with? I love that love that like one two punch? Yeah. All right. So if people want to find out more about the simplest marketing plan, if they want to hear about your podcast, what content are you creating, so that way they can follow you?

Ilise Benun 37:38
Well, there are a couple of things. My the hub for everything is my website, which is marketing dash And there you can find information about the simplest marketing plan, whatever the new version is. And actually, one thing I wanted to say before is, it’s not just a plan, as you said, people need to have the experience of practicing these tools. And so part of what we offer with the plan is a monthly I call it Office Hours gathering where people come and I give a little lesson, and there’s some networking and breakout rooms and a q&a. And so it just helps to engage people and get them working on the plan. Because you know how it is you buy something and then you forget where you put it on your computer and you never ended up using it. I’m afraid that happens a lot. So I’m on a mission to prevent that from happening with my simplest marketing plan.

Meg Casebolt 38:37
I love that because I think accountability is much more important than strategy. Excellent. Absolutely, you’re gonna have the best strategy in the world. But if you don’t actually do anything with it, it will not get you results. Well.

Ilise Benun 38:48
Ah, so marketing dash And basically, I always encourage people to sign up for my quick tips, which is my email newsletter because that’s my content marketing one of the many ways I stay in touch so you don’t have to remember that I’m out here. I will remind you

Meg Casebolt 39:07
that well, thank you so much for being here with me, Elise.

Ilise Benun 39:10
lovely to be here make.

Meg Casebolt 39:13
Thank you so much for listening to the social slowdown podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe or come on over to social and sign up for our email list so you never miss an episode. We’d also love if you could write a review to help other small business owners find the show you can head over to social Or grab that link in our show notes for easy access. We’ll be back soon with more tips to help you market your business without being beholden to social media. Talk to you then

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