What we're about

  • The Marketing Mix is the official blog of Marketing Mentor and the community that's sprung up around it.
  • We're devoted to helping small business owners, freelancers and independent professionals grow their businesses into thriving enterprises.
  • Feel free to join in the conversation: leave a comment, send us an email. Or, if you're an MM client, past or present, with the blogging bug and/or great stories to share, let us know—we're always on the lookout for guest bloggers!



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The Mix Master

  • ILISE BENUN is the founder of Marketing Mentor, and has been teaching people to promote themselves and their services since 1988. Author of 4 books and many, many more articles, Ilise has been self-employed for all but three years of her working life.

    More about Ilise here.

The Mix Mistress

  • DEIDRE RIENZO is a copy writer who helps small business owners turn their ideas into words. She partners with web designers to create simple, compelling, and keyword-rich website content for their clients. The Marketing Mentor program is the driving force that has helped Deidre grow her business, and she blogs about her experiences, adventures, and struggles here at the Marketing Mix.

Guest Mixers

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April 24, 2014

Growing Isn’t Always Pretty

I work with a lot of people when they are in the throes (I love that word!) of growing their business and I can tell you, it’s not always a pretty process.

Often clients tell me they feel dumb because of what they don’t know or worse, because of what they’ve been doing for so long that hasn’t been working.

My job is not to judge but to listen and guide. I strongly believe in the value of the growing process, which always involves planning and goal-setting but which rarely proceeds in a straight line.

And the truth is that often the goals we set are not reached – but that doesn’t matter. To my mind what’s most important is the process you go through, no matter where you end up.

That is one of the things I talked about recently with Corwin Hiebert, Principal of Taendem Agency, who will be giving a session at CFBC in May in Boston entitled, Creating a Business Action Plan. (Listen to that podcast here.)

At CFBC, he’ll also demonstrate an online tool he uses to structure the Business Action Plan and stay active on all your devices. That way, you’ll feel like you can jump on the opportunities that present themselves.

Corwin’s session is on Friday morning, May 16, and I have just learned that CFBC-only attendees will have free access to Friday’s general sessions as well, featuring Stefan Sagmeister and Andrew Gibbs.

So I hope to see you there – details and sign up here – and be sure to use my $50 promo code “ILISE14” if you haven’t signed up already!

April 22, 2014

5 prospecting email templates, just $5.

If you’re a creative professional looking for better ways to get new business, my friend and colleague Ed Gandia just compiled 5 simple yet powerful prospecting email templates. They include:

• The Sherlock
• The Industry Enthusiast
• The Local Player

Ed put them all in a PDF. He also added a mini lesson on warm email prospecting -- along with a 29-minute audio analysis of each sample script.

You can adapt them to your own business, and start using them today!
Get the whole thing for just 5 dollars.

April 18, 2014

Marketing Workshop in Calgary, May 8th

If you’ll be in Calgary on May 8th, this intimate Creatives’ Cupboard workshop, The ONLY 5 Marketing Tools You Need, is not to be missed!  5 Tools image for Creatives Cupboard workshop

Not only will you learn how to move your business forward, you will also leave ahead of the game with work completed. Each participant will receive a custom myNote publication and a myDay planner, both designed and created by www.crystalink.ca, a $50.00 value. Plus, the first 15 registrations will be entered in a draw for an iPod shuffle! 

Check out Creatives’ Cupboard on Facebook and get event details here.

May 8, 2014, 1:00 - 4:00 PM (MDT)
The ONLY 5 Marketing Tools You Need
Creatives' Cupboard, Calgary, AB



April 16, 2014

Guide to Twitter: Free Guide from PhotoShelter

In partnership with ASMP, PhotoShelter just launched their latest guide: The Photographer's Guide to Twitter

Even if you’re not a photographer, this guide has plenty of tips that are relevant to all creative professionals, including: 

  • 10 ways to grow a Twitter following and increase engagement - including sharing behind-the-scenes photos and tweeting about what’s trending  2013-04-07_GUIDE_PhotographersGuidetoTwitter_978x489
  • Top Twitter features for businesses that will help you market your work better
  • Legal considerations before using Twitter, plus best practices to help keep your work safe
  • Tips to measure your success and determine if your efforts are working

Check out all of PhotoShelter’s free reports—and if you’re focusing specifically on social media, The Photographer’s Guide to FacebookThe Photography Blog Handbook, and Social Media for Photographers.



April 14, 2014

Portland: Planning for Growth Workshop for Freelancers, April 17th

If you’re near Portland, Oregon, and the idea of building your freelance business feels overwhelming at times, the amazing Thursday Bram will help you forge the path to achieving your personal and professional goals.

Part of the Freelance 360 series, this workshop on April 17th, Planning for Growth: Building a Successful Freelance Future, will help you: 


  • Learn ten concrete ways to grow your business
  • Explore three common scenarios for freelance growth and how they could work for you
  • Learn four growth factors and five steps toward growth
  • Share best practices with other freelancers
  • Meet new contacts and potential future collaborators

Planning for Growth: Building a Successful Freelance Future
Thursday, April 17, 2014 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (PDT)
Freelancers Union - Portland, OR

Details and sign up here.

April 11, 2014

6 Examples of Passion Projects

Wish your passion project could actually make you money? It can! In our previous day-long workshops, Strategies for Creative Freelancers, we’ve heard from creative professionals who have turned their hobby or passion into something that feeds them:  Strategies-creative-freelancers

In the upcoming Spring edition (April 16th) of Strategies for Creative Freelancers, we will hear from these passionate creatives in TRACK 3: PASSION PROJECTS:

  • How a Recipe Blog Does Double Duty as Passion Project and Marketing Tool with Evi Abeler
  • How Cootie Catchers Saved My Freelance Career with Michelle Taute

See more details about this daylong event and sign up here. Use my promo code (CFSPRING14) and pay just $99 for all of these events.

April 09, 2014

Want to run a virtual agency?

In my latest case study, Stephanie Helline from Strategic Design Studio talks about how she went from an in-house position to running her own virtual agency (that won a six-figure project).

After leaving her in-house position, Stephanie realized she missed the collaboration of a team and didn’t necessarily want to handle everything herself. By creating a virtual team, she was able to focus on what she does best—building relationships and finding solutions. To find out the marketing tools Stephanie used to land a six-figure project, download the case study hereSDScover

To learn more about virtual teams, come to CFBC and HOW Design Live (May 12-16, Boston) where Stephanie will be speaking on the panel, “The How-Tos of Virtual Teams” with Julie Lang and:

Check out the schedule and sign up here. You won’t regret it! And don’t forget to use my code, ILISE14, for an additional $50 off CFBC or the Big Ticket

April 07, 2014

Are you taking these steps to avoid scope creep?

Are you doing everything you can to avoid scope creep? In the Spring installment of Strategies for Creative Freelancers (coming up April 16th), Jason Swenk will dive into these 5 steps in his session, “How to Avoid Scope Creep.”

1. Asking the right questions.

2. Documenting everything.

3. Following your processes and checklists.

4. Tracking the project.

5. Expecting scope creep.

During this entire day of presentations and webinars for freelancers and by freelancers, we will be covering many topics in four tracks, including:  CPGtMoney. book cover final[1]





Plus you get a free copy of my latest book (in ebook format) The Creative Professional's Guide to Money

See more details about this daylong event and sign up here. Use my promo code (CFSPRING14) and pay just $99 for all of these events.

April 03, 2014

Talking to others about this project? Great.

Hi, I'm Deidre. In my posts, I talk about my voyage down the road of self-employment as a web copywriter, my achievements and roadblocks along the way, and what I’m learning as I go (with Marketing Mentor as my guide).

I love it when prospective clients say,

“Just so you know - I’m talking with someone else about this project, too.”

Why? First of all, I love the honesty. (Many people are talking to other candidates, but they just don’t tell you.) But mostly, because it gives me the opportunity to let the person know what they will get if they choose me. 

Think about it … As much as you want a job, don’t you want the prospect to find the best person for the job? I do, and I realize it’s not always me. I have a certain approach—and it makes me different from others. Is my approach right for this client’s project? That’s entirely up to them.  Shutterstock_103115867

Let’s say you bake cakes. And every cake you bake has buttercream frosting. It’s your personal recipe and the only kind you use. People either want buttercream frosting, or they don’t. If they want chocolate frosting—another baker does that better. And that’s cool. 

There are lots of writers out there, and we’re all different! Knowing this client was speaking with others gave me the opportunity to make their decision easier for them by sharing, in distilled format, my frosting of choice. 

This happened recently, and I said:

“Of course! Thanks for telling me. I want you to find the perfect writer for this project, even if it’s not me. But if you do choose me, my focus will be on making things less technical, more friendly and personality rich. I want the copy to speak to what your audience really needs, and show that you’re the solution. I think it’s more about the end value than the service itself. Whether that approach is right or not - is up to you. But I think it is. And I’d love to work together.”

Saying this truly takes the pressure off. Because if they pick me, I know they’re picking me because of my particular vision (because they want buttercream, not chocolate frosting).

Do you use “other candidates” as an opportunity? Or do you shy away?

Don’t shy away. This time, I got the project. And if you’re the right fit for the project, you will too!

*Cake image, courtesy, Shutterstock.


April 02, 2014

Luke Mysse’s passion collides with purpose

Friend of Marketing Mentor and popular speaker (from past Creative Freelancer and HOW Design Live conferences), Luke Mysse just shared an exciting announcement. His passion for cycling collided with a great purpose, to stop Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). As a result, he’s packing up to ride his bike across America. Learn more and support Luke’s cause here.

Cycle Cause - A Ride to Save Malnourished Children from STOP SAM on Vimeo.


The Tagline Series