It can be hard to put together a freelancer marketing strategy for those who are new to freelancing.
A freelancing business is often just one person doing everything. That takes a lot of effort and a lot of time. To make things a little easier, here are 12 tips to put together a great freelancer marketing strategy.
1. Do Your Market Research
If you want to succeed in an industry, you have to have a good understanding of it.
What are your competitors doing, and how well is it working? Who is your target audience and where are they looking for professionals online? Is there a niche you fit into? How are other freelancers pricing their services?
Your market research should answer all of these questions and more. This will be the basis of your freelancer marketing strategy going forward.
2. Solidify Your Branding
Your brand is a signifier of who you are and what you do. It makes you recognizable.
Having a logo, brand colors, and designated fonts are a great way to start, but good branding goes beyond that. It includes your pitch, your vision, your brand voice, and instructions about how to use your logo, fonts, and colors.
Following these rules of your brand makes you visually consistent and easy to remember.
3. Make the Most of Your Website
Everyone has a website these days, and you should too. A website is your place to show off your industry knowledge and the work you do. It’s a chance to make use of your brand, too. Your website should follow your brand guidelines, showcase your credentials and experience, and be easy to navigate.
Keep SEO in mind. Make sure that your written content is clear and concise and that you are clear about what industry you’re in, what work you do, and where you are located.
4. Build Your Portfolio
Your portfolio will take different forms different depending on what industry you’re in, but it is important that you have one. This can be a collection of past work or of past clients.
Artists and designers can showcase past work, writers can link to published pieces, and real estate agents can show off homes they’ve sold.
Try to beef up your portfolio, if you can. Creatives can make up dream projects to work on, but it’s a little harder for those in other industries. Some freelancers will start by doing pro bono work or working for steeply discounted rates. Not everyone has the financial freedom to do that, though. It’s a personal choice each freelancer has to make.
5. Collect References
The quality or quantity of your work can speak for itself, but it doesn’t tell potential clients what you’re like to work with.
Reach out to people you’ve worked with in the past, whether those are teammates or clients, and ask them for feedback or a paragraph about what you were like to work with. You can showcase these on your website alongside the work you did for them or on a separate ‘Testimonials’ page.
If you’re on LinkedIn, you can ask them for a reference there or ask them to endorse a skill you have listed on your profile. This adds an extra layer of credibility to the things you claim about yourself.
6. Get on Social Media
Most people are on social media, too. It’s a great way to connect with potential clients and other people in your industry. Social media allows you to post about the work you do, share industry news, and offer your expert opinion in response to other people’s questions.
You can pick and choose which sites to use based on where you think your customers and competitors are. As a professional, though, you should be on LinkedIn. It’s the perfect place to show off your credentials, network with others in your field, and keep up with industry news.
7. Don’t Neglect Your Network
Networking is something you hear about all the time, and for good reason. The people you meet do not become clients right away but maybe they’ll hire you later. Or may they can help you solve a problem or connect you to someone who is ready to hire you.
Meeting new people is a key part of networking, but maintaining your relationships with the people you’ve met is also important. Connect with those you’ve met on social media and interact with their posts. Strike up a conversation with them if you meet them in person and consider inviting them for lunch or coffee if you have something you want to talk to them about.
Keep in mind, though, that you are not entitled to anyone’s time, just like they’re not entitled to yours.
8. Join Relevant Groups
Facebook and LinkedIn both have a lot of pages and groups you can join to network with like-minded people. Look for groups related to your industry, but also check out freelancer and entrepreneur groups.
Industry groups are great for learning about your industry and coming together to solve problems. Freelancer and entrepreneur groups are good for supporting people like yourself and for finding potential clients.
9. Check Out Freelance Websites
If there are freelancers in your industry, there are probably websites to help customers find those freelancers. Look online and talk to your network about what sites they use.
You might not get a lot of business through those sites, but it can’t hurt to have a profile there, especially if it’s free.
10. Consider Blogging
Blogging is a great way to show off your expertise, build your credibility, and increase traffic to your website.
You can write about industry news, frequently asked questions, what your work process is like, what clients can do to be great customers, and more. You can even do case studies. Just make sure your blog articles stay relevant to your field.
11. Try Advertising
Advertising sounds expensive, and it might be depending on your budget.
Google, Facebook, and Instagram ads all let you set your own budget when you create your advertisement. You can set a daily budget or set a spending limit for the life of the ad, so you have a lot of control over how much you spend and when.
Research social media advertising and Google Ads to learn about how they work and the minimum you should spend. Then, when you look at your business finances, see if you can spare any for advertising.
12. Don’t Be Afraid to Cold Call
Cold calls and emails are a classic marketing tactic for a reason. They’re completely free and easy, if scary to do.
Starting with emails can help you build up to calling. Start by introducing yourself and laying out your pitch, then showcase the product you can provide to the specific person you’re emailing. Maybe you’ll get a response, and maybe you won’t, but you won’t know unless you try.
You can’t do just one thing and call that your freelancer marketing strategy. The more you can diversify your efforts, the better the outcome will be.