I might sound like I’m contradicting myself here: Offer a Proven System or a Six-Step plan because people don’t know what they want, but also give people whatever they want and be nice about it.
I don’t think it’s a contradiction at all. People often want a well-defined, easy-to-understand, likely-to-succeed entree to your services, after which they want to lean on you for all kinds of things. From the perspective of a rich person, if you know how to do something they don’t and you charge less than they make/inherited, it makes sense to just pay you for it.
What kinds of marketing reinforce expertise?
You should definitely have a website, and it should dedicate at least as much space to testimonials from your clients as it does to stuff about you. Teaching an extension class would be a great way to get a bunch of testimonials all at once, which can then help you get private clients. Even just the anonymous comments from your final evaluations can be enough to get started.
Your website should broadcast that you really like helping other people with their writing careers.
It should absolutely avoid the intimation that you’d really prefer to be working on your own writing, but writing doesn’t pay enough, so the website therefore reeks of financial desperation and condescension towards the clients you deign to take on in your spare time.
Your clients should not feel as though you are beating them at a competition, or as though you are inviting them aboard a sinking ship.
Make sure you are smiling in your photo. But not in a sexy way. Women often don’t like other women who are being sexy for no good reason; it makes it hard to believe that you really want to help other women, rather than just beat them at stuff.
Consider writing some Q&A content on your website. “Writing Q&A with J.K. Capote-Snicket.” Answer a few questions that represent real and common problems. (“I’m writing a clown-murder mystery and am two-thirds of the way through, but I’m realizing that everyone probably already knows who committed the murder. How do I fix it?”) Give really specific, actionable answers. Don’t reference your own books too much. You are helping. You like to help. It’s sometimes easier to establish expertise than to be welcoming. Be very welcoming.
Don’t put up fliers. Fliers are not for experts. Fliers are just Craigslist with more work involved – a great way for beginner-to-intermediate providers to offer low-priced services for people looking for low-priced services.
If you intend to price yourself in the upper 50% of the market, you will not likely be successful through these avenues.
Consider writing a whitepaper or short e-book – Ten Steps to Getting Published in Clown-Crime Fiction, or something like that. Beat Writers Block in Three Days or Less.