Design Domination Podcast Episode #5: Are You Getting the Clients You Want? With Ilise Benun

If you’re not marketing, you’re at the mercy of taking whatever work comes to you, whether it’s work you want or not. You also don’t get the clients you want. When your marketing is targeted and consistent, you demonstrate to prospective clients that you understand their needs and remind them of you so they reach out when they have a need. In this interview with Ilise Benun, you’ll get marketing tips for designers and learn how to cultivate your marketing efforts to avoid feast or famine and to pick and choose the clients and work that you want.

Ilise BenunIlise Benun is the founder of, the go-to online resource for creative professionals who want better projects with bigger budgets. She is also a national speaker and business coach, author of 7 books and the Marketing Mix Blog, and host of the #HOWLive podcast and the Marketing Mentor Podcast. In addition to being a Program Partner for HOW Design Live, she teaches as adjunct faculty at Maryland Institute College of Art. Her online courses can also be found through CreativeLive, HOW Design University and American Writers & Artists Institute. Follow her on Twitter and get her Quick Tips.

Marketing Tips for Designers

Colleen Gratzer: Wow, Ilise, that’s a lot of credentials!

Ilise Benun: Well, I’ve been at it a really long time, Colleen, and in fact, this month I’m celebrating my 30th anniversary as a self-employed person.

Colleen: Wow! That’s great. Congratulations.

Ilise: Thank you. I’m pretty happy about it. I’m definitely spoiled. Can never go back to working for someone else at this point. I think I was just unemployable in the first place, anyway, so I didn’t get very far that way.

Colleen: I feel the same way. I don’t think I could go back to work for someone else either.

Ilise: Right.

Colleen: You focus on working with creatives. What made you decide to focus on that?

Ilise: I’ll try to give tips as I answer the questions, because I try to practice what I preach, and that’s how I know what works. One of the main things I teach is to basically let the market guide you. Yes, you have to have some ideas about what you want to do, and all of that, but you can’t be too attached to what you want to do, because the market may not agree.

When I was fired from my second job out of college, I looked around, and I was living in New York at the time, and everyone I knew was creative and seemed to be really disorganized. I was a little bit more organized, and so I started helping them with their piles of paper. Now, remember, this is 30 years ago, so 1988. There were lots of piles of paper everywhere, and no computers.

We just went through each piece of paper, one at a time, and inevitably, at the bottom of everybody’s pile, there was always something that had to do with self-promotion or marketing that they weren’t doing. It became really obvious to me, eventually, that the clutter was an obstacle to the real problem, which was self-promotion.

I just started helping those people with what I thought they needed, or what they seemed to need that I could help with. That’s why I say, “Let the market guide you. Figure out what the world needs that you can do, and where those things dovetail.”

Colleen: Yeah, so it’s like you’re solving a problem that’s there.

Ilise: It’s really important to solve problems, because that’s what people pay attention to, and that’s what they more urgently put their mind to and money toward. If you’re offering something that they don’t really think they need and doesn’t really solve a problem, it’s much more difficult. That’s why I focus on creative professionals who are offering commercial services, as opposed to fine artists. To me, that’s a whole other world.

Colleen: Oh, okay. How did you end up owning this space, this marketing for designers space?

Ilise: Well, thank you for saying that I own it. I think part of it is longevity, and when I started, there was really no one else doing this, no one else addressing these needs. The truth is that it’s taken some doing to figure out how to make a good living from it, because it’s a market of people who don’t have a lot of money and are often in the feast or famine syndrome, which makes it difficult for them to commit to something long term like marketing. It has taken me some time to figure out a way to offer my services that are affordable, but not cheap, but affordable and that works for me and works for them.

Colleen: That’s great, and how did you end up getting involved with the HOW conference?

Ilise: Let’s see. This is a very long story too, and I would say probably in my first or second year of doing whatever it was I was doing at the beginning, which was organizing and helping people with their self-promotion, I came across the magazine. It was sitting in a client’s office, and I picked it up. I actually stole it, and I looked through it and I thought, “I could write something about marketing for this magazine.”

I had never written anything before. I don’t know what made me think that I could or that they would accept it, but I had a lot of balls at the time, which I think is sometimes what you need at the very beginning, when you don’t have a lot of experience, then confidence and sometimes masquerading as arrogance is helpful.

I wrote a letter to the editor of HOW. Her name was Laurel Harper at the time, and I pitched the idea, and she liked it. She said, “All right, we’ll pay you $500 for that article,” and I was floored. I wrote the article, and then that began … It was really the beginning of a very long relationship of first writing for them, and then they were just starting the HOW Conference. That was in the mid-90s, and so they asked me to speak. They gave me my very first speaking engagement, which I was not very good, I had no experience, and worst of all, I had no slides.

And the designers really complained that I had nothing for them to look at, so I learned that lesson really quickly, and then they kept inviting me back, so I must have done something right. Then I actually was complaining to someone at a certain point like, “Why don’t they invite me to write a book?” Because they had a publishing arm also, and I couldn’t believe they hadn’t asked me to write a book. That person said, “Well, why don’t you pitch the idea to them?” “Oh, good idea. Okay.”

I pitched the idea and they said, “Oh yeah, good idea.” Then I wrote my first book for them, and then that continued. They kept asking me for ideas for books, and little by little, it just expanded. The relationship expanded as I cultivated all the different ways I could work with them, and basically same thing. They had a need, and I could satisfy that need in many different ways, so I just kept offering ideas.

So then in 2008, which was a very difficult year for a lot of people, my partner at the time and I pitched the idea of a conference for freelancers to the HOW people, because we thought freelancers, especially freelance designers, needed an event of their own. They apparently had been thinking along similar lines, so they said, “Yes, let’s do it.”

We partnered with them on this event, which was called the Creative Freelancer Conference, and then that went on as a standalone event for a couple of years. Then eventually it got folded into the big event when HOW Design Live emerged from that show in a way, and so I continued to help with the programming and have done so for the last 10 years. That’s my story.

Colleen: Wow, that’s amazing. So that opportunity turned into so much.

Ilise: Exactly. You really have to know how to cultivate relationships, how to not be shy when you think you have more to offer a client. You can’t be waiting for them to ask you to do more. You need to be saying, “How about this? Why don’t I do this? What about this? Have you thought of that?”

Colleen: Yeah, that’s so true. And let’s define marketing a bit, the word “marketing.” What all is involved with marketing?

Ilise: My definition for creative professionals is that marketing is everything that gets you in front of your prospects and attracts them to you until you’re at the moment where you can begin the sales process, which is separate but similar. It’s a very gradual transition usually from the marketing process to the sales process, but it basically is everything you do to build trust, to increase your visibility, to help people understand how you can help them until they come to their moment of need. Because timing is everything and if they don’t have a moment of need, then you’re not going very far with them, so until they get to their moment of need and that’s where the sales process begins.

Colleen: So true, and I think you’ve referred to that in the past as a “marketing machine.” Isn’t that right?

Ilise: Yes, your marketing machine is all of the marketing tools that you use to get them into what you could probably call your sales machine. So for me, you gave my bio at the beginning with essentially my marketing machine. You described my marketing machine. I tend to be a content marketing machine also, and so I create a lot of content, which is how, I think, especially these days, it makes sense to attract people and to engage them with you. Because your content is essentially rooted in your knowledge of their pain points and what problems you know they have that you can help solve.

My marketing machine involves my blog, my podcasts, my articles, my e-mail newsletter … that’s the Quick Tips … the networking that I do, the speaking that I do. All of those things are essentially content marketing tools, and they make up my marketing machine.

Colleen: And I know you put out a lot of content, because I’ve followed it for years, and it’s really super helpful, and I know that you always say, “You can’t put out too much. Don’t be afraid to post too much. Don’t think that people are going to be bothered by it when they get it.”

Ilise: Yeah, that’s true. My content is distributed in many different formats, in many different media, but my quick tips go out every two weeks usually, usually not more than that. My recommendation for most people is to send something out once a month, because how they perceive it is very different from how you perceive it, and often people feel like they’re being a bother or harassing people or even stalking their prospects when you can put yourself in their shoes and imagine all the content that’s coming at them. Yours probably doesn’t take up that much mental real estate, certainly not as much as you want it to or imagine.

That’s why it takes several outreach efforts to actually get someone’s attention in the first place. That’s the hardest thing is to get someone’s attention, so once you’ve got it, then you begin to build trust, so I would not be too worried about too much content. Most of the people I work with are nowhere near the level I am, and I’m not saying they should be, because that’s not necessary for a lot of people, but you do have to stay in touch and often enough that they don’t forget about you. That’s the whole point.

Colleen: And then when that opportunity does arise and they need a designer, then they’re going to remember you.

Ilise: They’re going to remember you. They’re going to think of you. They’re going to already trust you, and hopefully they’re going to be able to find you quickly.

Colleen: And what do you think is the biggest marketing problem that creatives come to you with? I know there’s so many, but if you had to pick one, what do you think is the biggest one?

Ilise: I think the biggest one is … It’s a combination. The hardest thing is to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and speak about their problems that you solve as opposed to the services that you offer. Often when I start with someone, start working in the mentoring process, we have to separate, “All right, here’s what you do, but you can’t talk about it in that way, because that language doesn’t really mean anything to your prospects who have a problem.” You need to almost learn how to speak another language that they will be able to understand.

Colleen: So you’re speaking about the results and how you can help them and what it’s going to do for them as opposed to, “Oh, I’m just going to design a brochure for you.”

Ilise: Exactly. You’ll get much further if you explain how you can solve their problems, as opposed to focusing on what might also be called a scope of work or a deliverable, and that’s again hard for someone to get out of their own shoes and put themselves in the other person’s shoes. It’s interesting because often designers, this is exactly what they do for their clients, but they have a really hard time doing it for themselves. It takes distance.

Colleen: It really does. How does a designer’s marketing affect the clients that they attract and maybe the type of work that they end up getting?

Ilise: Your marketing has to be done in a very strategic way, with the ideal client in mind, first of all. It can’t be done in a haphazard way, which is often what happens during feast or famine, because suddenly you have no work, so you absolutely need something quickly, and you put something out there and it doesn’t usually work because it takes a long time to cultivate these relationships. The idea is that you are focused on the end result, what you’re trying to accomplish, and who you want to work with, and then all of your marketing tools are connected such that it reaches the right person at the right time with the right message, and the right time is their moment of need.

Colleen: And how do you feel about … there’s always talk about creating personas to try to identify that ideal client and their likes and dislikes. How do you feel about creating personas to try to reach someone in your target audience?

Ilise: Yes, I’m totally in favor of it. I think you have to know your ideal client, that’s how I think about it is your ideal client, as well as you possibly can. That is an ongoing process, so you begin by creating a persona, and you can interview your actual clients in order to identify what the characteristics of those people are.

Then you go looking for more people like them, and they may all belong to a trade association because they’re in the same market, or they may all share other characteristics that can help you find more people like them. But if you don’t know who you’re speaking to, then you won’t know what to say to them, you won’t know what they will respond best to, you won’t know what kind of content to create.

It’s really very difficult to try to market to everyone and be a generalist, and a lot of people do that because they’re afraid of alienating people. But, truthfully, if you have chosen a market that is viable, the deeper you go, the more profitable it will be. That’s how you own a market basically. That’s the only way to own a market.

Colleen: So that’s niching, right? What should designers keep in mind when they are trying to decide on what kind of a niche they should get into?

Ilise: Again, this is not, “Who do I want to work with?” But “What does the world need?” Your niche should come from the market. There are lots of different ways of thinking about it. In fact, I created a Pick a Niche Kit, which is a marketing tool that takes you through the process of finding your niche.

But the idea is, and the best type of niche, is a vertical niche—an industry that brings people together, so that you can say, “I understand your business, and I understand your customers, and I’ve worked with people just like you. That’s why you should trust me.”

I find it interesting that a lot of my clients, when they’ve submitted a proposal, for example, and they don’t get the project, and they go back and they ask … not necessarily, “Why didn’t you choose us?” But “Who did you choose?” Or “Why did you make the choice that you made?” The answer is usually, “Because they had a specialty in that industry.” More and more, especially because the competition is constantly growing, there are more and more designers out there, the way to set yourself apart is to identify who you best serve, and go after those people or those companies directly.

Colleen: Well, I can totally relate to that, because I actually had that happen with getting turned down for a magazine design job. I was their second choice, but the first choice was somebody who was a specialist in magazine design.

Ilise: Yep. That doesn’t surprise me. It happens all the time.

Colleen: Now, I’ve also heard you say that designers don’t have a pricing problem, that they have a marketing problem. Can you explain that a bit?

Ilise: Right. I work with designers to help them develop pricing, usually on a case-by-case basis. The thing that makes them come to me about it in the first place is because they’re pitching projects, or putting proposals out, and they’re finding that their prices are too high for the people.

So they come, and they basically say, “Why won’t these clients pay what I’m worth? Or pay what I’m asking?” To me, that is not a pricing problem. It’s a marketing problem, because you’re talking to the wrong people. It’s not that your prices are wrong. Your prospects are wrong.

So the marketing solution to that problem is to identify who the better prospects are, who value your services, and can pay what you want to charge. It has nothing to do with what you’re worth. It’s what you need to charge. Then, if you pursue that market as a niche and specialize in it, then you can be the one who they choose, because that is your focus.

Colleen: Couldn’t a pricing problem also have something to do with the value that you’re demonstrating in that proposal process? I mean, if you’ve got a proposal that doesn’t talk about the results of your work, for example, and then one of your competitors does … I mean, isn’t that going to make them appear like their work might be of higher value?

Ilise: Yes. I agree with you that in a proposal, it’s important to demonstrate the value. But it’s not just in the proposal. You need to do that in a qualifying process. You need to do that through the questions that you ask that make the prospect say, “Hmm. I didn’t even know we needed to know the answer to that question. This person obviously knows more, and so maybe we should hire them.” That’s part of this establishment of value that needs to be done before you even put prices on the table.

Colleen: For designers that are always busy, and they get a lot of work from referrals, and I’m very guilty of this … I did this for years … I wasn’t doing any marketing. What would your response be to those designers?

Ilise: Well, I mean, that puts you at the mercy of whatever comes along. Otherwise known as “word of mouth,” which is supposedly the best marketing tool, except that you can’t control it, so it’s not very effective when it’s not happening. Right?

The idea is that… And this goes back to your question about “What are the biggest mistakes I see?” One of the biggest mistakes is doing it in a haphazard way. Doing your own marketing in a very haphazard way, and not being disciplined about it. Because really, all it takes is a little bit of your attention every single day.

That’s what I work with my clients on, in terms of providing the accountability that most people need to put themselves first. In fact, I wrote something this weekend about a new movement I’m thinking of starting called MeFirst. The MeFirst Movement, because so many people put themselves last, believing that the “paying work,” or the “real work,” is what the clients are giving you. And the things you do for yourself isn’t real.

But the truth is, it’s more important. I really believe it’s more important, because when that work is over, then you need to be filling that pipeline. If you haven’t done the marketing, you’re going to end up dry. It’s really not possible to get good clients quickly. You have to be constantly cultivating relationships, and that’s marketing.

Colleen: And when you were saying word of mouth, that’s lack of control over your marketing. That also can lead to getting referrals of the same types of clients. What if it’s a bad client that’s referring you? Don’t they sometimes refer more of the bad clients?

Ilise: Yes, I have heard a lot of people say that, and it’s true that like begets like, but the main problem in my mind with the word of mouth “strategy” or lack of strategy is that you just don’t have any control over it. The biggest reason to be self-employed is for the freedom that it gives you over your life, but if you’re not doing marketing, you don’t have that freedom because then you’re being controlled by something outside of you whether it’s happening or not. To me, marketing is really about taking control and making yourself autonomous, so that you can be in a position to say no to the bad clients.

When you see those red flags, when someone doesn’t respect your time, when someone stands you up when you had an initial consultation or a discovery call or any of these things. When they don’t respond to your e-mail, you can say, “No, I’m sorry. I only work with people who respond to my e-mail.”

Colleen: Right.

Ilise: Right? You get to choose, but only if you do your marketing. That’s what makes it possible.

Colleen: Now, when it comes to promotion, and you were talking about putting out a lot of content, what are some of the best places to put that content out?

Ilise: Well, it depends, because again, it goes back to where your clients and ideal prospects are. You want to be in front of them, and a lot of people are very gung ho on social media these days. I’m not against social media, and I use it to get the word out and to disseminate my content, but that’s because my clients—the designers and creative professionals that I’m trying to reach—are on Twitter. They’re on Instagram. They’re on LinkedIn, and so that’s where I post my content.

But your clients may not be, or they may be on one and not the other, or they may be a little bit more analog, or they may be a little bit more behind, or maybe they are in a forum that their trade association makes available to them. You have to know, again, who you’re trying to reach, and where are they that you can reach them.

Colleen: And do you think LinkedIn is a really effective way to market yourself and put out your content? Do you think that works for a lot of people?

Ilise: I do think it works for most people, because it’s essentially a professional database, and professionals use it as Google. It’s like search for professionals. One of the strategies that I’ve been working on lately and will be writing more about soon actually is this idea of turning your LinkedIn profile from a résumé, which is how it’s set up and laid out, into a resource which will actually provide content that your ideal clients will find useful.

This is an idea that came from Brynne Tillman, who is an expert on LinkedIn. I don’t get credit for it. She’s been talking a lot about how you really want to use LinkedIn to reinforce your positioning, and demonstrate and show your ideal clients what you can do and how you can help them. That’s more effective than your credentials, essentially, where you went to school, where you’ve worked, etc. For creatives, you have to do some workarounds in order to make it work, but I think it’s a much smarter strategy than just using it as a résumé.

Colleen: And how about the title in your profile? How important is that, what you say in that title?

Ilise: If there’s anything that is the most important thing on your LinkedIn profile, it is the title because that’s what follows you everywhere, even when someone isn’t on your profile, so don’t use it as an actual title: “President of,” or “Owner of XY Design Firm.” I would use it to … Actually, some people just put their elevator pitch in their title. The idea is that you want people to get enough information that it will attract them to your profile. So it needs to say what you do, and for whom, if possible.

There are lots of different strategies. There’s no right way to do your title. I have one thing in my online store called Excellent Examples … It’s a whole series, so Excellent Examples of LinkedIn Profiles of Designers shows lots of examples of, among other things, different ways people are doing their title.

Colleen: How do you feel about LinkedIn groups? Do you find that they are effective? Do you use them?

Ilise: They used to be a lot more effective, in terms of interaction. People going there to ask questions. But I think that has changed. I haven’t seen that working very well in the last couple of years. But they are good for finding a list of your prospects, because they may all be a member of a particular group.

For the Creative Freelancer Conference, for example, we had a LinkedIn group … It still exists, although most of the activity in there these days is just self-promotional and spammy. There aren’t a lot of people talking. But if you’re looking for creative freelancers, then that group will give you a list of them, and then you can choose some of them, reach out to some of them, connect with them, and find a way to pitch yourself to them.

Colleen: Oh, that’s good to know.

Ilise: Mm-hmm (affirmative). That goes for any group. If you’re focused on the food industry, if you’re focused on health care, then you can find a group that brings those people together, and then essentially what you’ve got is a list of your prospects. Then you have to decide how to use that list.

Colleen: Don’t you have something on your website that goes into more detail about searching on LinkedIn?

Ilise: Yes. I’m not sure exactly what you’re referring to, but it could be the Excellent Examples.

Colleen: Oh, okay. I did see those on your site. Okay. I can provide a link to those in the show notes.

What are some really effective ways to get new clients by outreach? What are effective ways to reach out to clients who don’t even know who you are?

Ilise: The most important thing to do is to personalize and customize every single message. This takes time and research, but it’s really the only thing that will make people respond. If you just send a generic, boring message that says, “Hey, I found you on LinkedIn. Here’s what we do. Maybe we should talk,” most people, unless they’re in their moment of need … which sometimes does happen … most people will not respond to that.

But if you can say, “Hey, do you struggle with x, y, or z? And if so, maybe I can help, because here’s what I know about that.” Or you can say … I have a couple of clients right now who are preparing for some networking at trade shows that are coming up, so they’re doing outreach in an effort to get some meetings at those trade shows. So they’re saying either, “I understand you’re going to be attending this event, and I’d love to connect with you there, because here’s what I do, and here’s how I might be able to help you.” Or they’re asking, “Are you going to this event?” Those are very specific, targeted questions that someone may not have a problem answering.

The other thing about the outreach is that you have to have really realistic expectations. Most people are easily discouraged. They give up too quickly. Even if someone doesn’t answer after the first outreach … It really takes sometimes two or three or sometimes four to even get someone to respond. So again, being more personalized and custom in your outreach to make it clear that you’ve chosen them specifically helps, but still they may not have the time to respond even if they wanted to.

You really have to be persistent, and my strategy is just to never expect anyone to respond, and that way I am both delighted when someone does, and I’m also poised to take whatever the next action is. I always know that the ball is in my court and it’s my responsibility to take the next action. I am not waiting for anyone to respond to me. That attitude is very helpful.

Colleen: And I know you’ve said in the past that silence, meaning not getting a response, it doesn’t mean no.

Ilise: No, it doesn’t. You have no idea, so stop making stuff up. It just means that they’re not responding right now, and it could be that they’re too busy, or it could be that they didn’t see it. You don’t know, and I just wouldn’t make assumptions.

Colleen: Yeah, I like to use a service called to track the e-mails that I send out. All I have to do is type in “” to the end of an e-mail address. Then I can see that somebody’s opened my e-mail or not. Because in most cases, I’ve found that if I follow up later with a phone call, they never even saw my e-mail. It just went to a junk folder.

Ilise: Exactly, so you can’t make assumptions. I’ve never heard of WhoReadMe, so that’s interesting. I’ll take a look at that.

Colleen: Yeah. It’s free and it works really well.

Ilise: Excellent.

Colleen: Now what about calls? Do you think people should start out with calls, or do you think it’s usually better that they start out with e-mails?

Ilise: I think it’s better to start with an e-mail, and to insert a call in your campaign process probably after your name is going to be a little bit familiar. You could send something in the mail. You could send something via e-mail. You could do a follow-up e-mail, and then maybe as the fourth effort, a call.

The call could be basically a research call to make sure you’re trying to reach the right person. Or it could be a follow-up that goes to their voicemail, in which case you should definitely leave a voicemail just so that they get a sense that there’s an actual human being, not a robot, because there’s a lot more of these robots calling, but just to let them know there’s an actual human being trying to reach them, and here’s why. They won’t necessarily call you back, but they may respond to your e-mail after that. I’ve seen that happen a lot.

Colleen: Yeah, I have too, and I find that usually I’m afraid to get on the phone, because I’m afraid I’m going to be bothering people because most people are e-mailing and not calling. But often when I do get on the phone and talk to people, they like that. They prefer that, and what you were saying about sending something in the mail … There’s so much less competition now in postal mail, because everybody’s e-mailing instead of sending out mail. Nobody’s sending out letters.

Ilise: Yep, just a simple letter or a handwritten note can go very far.

Colleen: Earlier you were talking about feast or famine and to prevent that, you’ve really got to market every day.

Ilise: Yes.

Colleen: What kinds of things, how long should people be spending on their marketing every single day?

Ilise: My recommendation is at least a half an hour a day, and for some people it’s at most a half an hour a day, and that’s fine. I’m not necessarily even saying do outreach every single day. You could be doing research one day, and you could be writing content another day. You could be doing social media one day, and you could be retweeting other people’s content one day.

Just to keep the ball rolling and moving forward and keeping the momentum going, because the hardest, hardest, hardest part is, when you slack off, getting back to it. There’s just this huge mental hump that most people have a really hard time getting over, and often can’t do it alone. So I recommend not letting that hump exist in the first place.

Colleen: And then once you get started, it’s so much easier to be consistent.

Ilise: Yep, and again, having realistic expectations, or my strategy, very, very low expectations so that when someone does respond, you’re thrilled.

Colleen: Exactly. Well this has all been really helpful info, and if the listeners need more marketing help, how can you help them?

Ilise: I basically guide people through the process of setting up a marketing plan, mapping out a plan, what is the messaging, who is the target market, helping people narrow down which of the niches are going to be most viable. I do that in one-on-one mentoring, and I offer a free 30-minute mentoring session, which is a time where I like to get a little chunk of work done so that you can get a sense of how I work, how I think and how it applies to you. And then, if I think I can help further, then I will always offer probably an initial consultation, two hours, and so that’s always the way I start.

But if someone isn’t ready at this point or wants to do it themselves, I have all sorts of marketing tools available in the online store. I also have online courses, which you mentioned at the beginning, through CreativeLive. Especially there’s one called Command the Fees You Deserve. That’s the most popular one, and it’s also the most comprehensive, so that’s the one I recommend.

Colleen: I bought that one and watched that, and that was really excellent.

Ilise: Yeah, that is a good one because, at the time, I was able to consolidate essentially 20 years’ worth of material into a very simple process, so that’s one of the strongest pieces from my point of view.

Colleen: Great. I’m going to put all of these links in the show notes so that the listeners will be able to access them quickly. Thanks so much, Ilise. It’s been great talking to you, and I know this is going to be super helpful to the listeners.

Ilise: Excellent. Thank you, Colleen, for all your good questions.


  • Though I am not technically a creative professional (I am an attorney whose client base includes creatives), I enjoyed this podcast and found Ms. Benum’s remarks pertinent to many industries. I especially appreciated the portion of the discussion about allowing the market to guide you to your niche. Colleen, your thoughtful questions contributed to a well-done podcast. Thanks.
    – Joy R. Butler, Attorney & Author (Author of non-fiction so I don’t count that as being a creative)

    1. Hi, Joy! Thanks for listening. Yes, Ilise’s marketing tips definitely apply to many industries. I’m so glad you found it helpful. We appreciate the feedback!

  • Absolutely great episode, Colleen. I just found out Ilise Benun earlier this year, and watched a YouTube presentation on how to find a niche, and love how she talks about marketing. Because of your questions, I found this episode to be filled with marketing gold and wisdoms, so thanks!

    1. Hi, Jason! Thanks for listening and for the feedback. I’m so glad you found it helpful! Yes, Ilise is full of helpful marketing ideas. Her podcast and website are full of great info too, so be sure to check those out as well.

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