More young professionals than ever before are trying their hands at the freelance life. But while being a freelancer brings multiple benefits, including the ability to set your own hours and freedom from the 9-to-5 standard schedule in our society, it’s tough to get started. Clients are thin at the beginning until you become known and acquire a sterling reputation. It’s even tougher to build up a solid clientele if you don’t know how to market yourself. Fortunately, even beginners to freelancing can start marketing effectively by following seven key marketing strategies. Let’s take a deeper look at each of these strategies together.
One of the first things you should do is figure out what niche you serve in the freelance community. Depending on your industry and skill set, you might have a niche in computer science, writing, marketing, graphic design, or any other field. But the key thing to remember is that there are plenty of freelancers to go around, even if they don’t outnumber traditional employees. So you shouldn’t try to capture the entire market for your industry. It would be foolish to try to become the top general computer science freelancer in the world. Even if you managed to gain the kind of notoriety, you wouldn’t be able to manage the workflow your clients would demand. Instead, it’s better to figure out a more specific niche and start aggressively marketing to people within that niche. Say that you have a computer science degree and want to be a web developer. You could then be even more specific and start marketing yourself as an e-commerce store web developer. In this example, you’d specialize in the development of e-commerce pages. You’ll draw in more consistent business and be able to market yourself more effectively if you have a niche that you dominate instead of trying to spread yourself too thin.
Next, it’s a good idea to figure out where you should be marketing to reach the most potential clients possible. You can see this philosophy everywhere in regular advertising. It’s much less effective to put up generic billboards advertising your business than it is to put up a digital ad on a website specific to your industry or target customer base. By the same token, figure out where your clientele is most likely to spend their time and start advertising there. For example, maybe you do digital art as a freelancer. You should buy some digital ads and place them on fan sites that showcase digital art. If your freelance work is more based in the real world, you should try to advertise to people in your geographic area who you can actually reach and meet in person. It does you no good to advertise to someone across the country when you won’t be able to afford the plane ticket to get there.
Any self-respecting freelancer must discover the perfect pricing point for their services. If you charge too low, people won’t think that you are worthwhile. If you charge too high, people will go to your competitors instead of your freelancing services. Determining the right amount of charge is important for freelance marketing. In a way, how much you cost advertises your skills and what you think of your work. In general, it’s better to err on the side of charging a lot for your services at first, then to slowly dial down your price if you can’t get enough business.
Nothing markets the skills and work ethic of a successful freelancer more than referrals from past clients and testimonials on your website. Whenever possible, respectfully ask past clients to give your future clients positive word-of-mouth about their experience with you. User referrals are great sources of consistent business, especially since they can help you build up a positive reputation in your industry. It’s much easier to keep work consistent when you’re well-known in your niche compared to when you’re just starting out. By the same token, testimonials serve as basic examples of your work. They aren’t as effective as personal user referrals, but any new clients can see testimonials and take those as examples for your efficacy. The more testimonials and user referrals you have, the better.
Every freelancer needs a website, regardless of their niche or industry. That’s because a website can serve as a kind of digital showcase for your art, website projects, completed copy, and more. Your website can also serve as a portal where people can see your contact information and even fill out freelance project request forms. More importantly, a website can show potential new clients your completed projects and help to convince them to hire you for their own projects. By adding some finished work to your website, you're effectively advertising yourself to anyone who stumbles upon your site, either intentionally or because of a referral (in the best-case scenario). Completed projects give people the opportunity to see your work up close and personal for themselves rather than relying just on word-of-mouth or user testimonials. This is more important in some industries than others, of course. It’s particularly advantageous for web developers or designers to have examples of completed web pages or website layouts. But it’s also important for copywriters and other types of freelancers. To make the most of this marketing effort, try to keep your completed projects sparse or only showcase part of the work you did. This will prevent people from trying to steal your completed projects (in rare cases), as well as entice them to contact you for further information.
In this day and age, it’s difficult for a freelancer to succeed if they market on just a single channel. Just keeping a profile on Upwork or a similar website isn’t effective marketing whatsoever. Instead, you should try to market through multiple channels like:
It’s casting a wide net, but the wider your net, the more potent your marketing efforts. Especially when you’re first starting out, you’ll need to market yourself aggressively and at every possible opportunity. Don’t think of it as trying too hard – you’re getting your business off the ground and every bit helps!
Your marketing efforts will likely be too complex to remember off the cuff if you follow the above advice and market through multiple channels. To help with this, consider using a marketing calendar and keep your marketing posts, video content, editing, testimonial posting, and more all contained to a steady schedule. Not only does this help you juggle your busy schedule, but it also helps you with Google's search engine optimization algorithms. That’s because Google tends to prioritize content that’s posted regularly and on the same day of the week or at the same time. It shows consistency, which people value when they look for new content. If you use a marketing calendar and keep up your marketing efforts consistently over the long-term, you’ll not only draw in new clients more effectively. You’ll also put out more marketing content in the long run since you won’t feel overwhelmed.
Above, we mentioned that SEO is important for your marketing efforts. This deserves its own mention. Especially if you have any written marketing content, like blog posts or a personal website that advertises your skills and completed projects, you should practice search engine optimization. SEO serves a few key purposes:
SEO includes things like keyword placement, keyword choice, linking to your various projects or order pages, posting consistently, and more. SEO is key for any freelancer who wants to optimize their digital marketing efforts.
All in all, it’s tough to initially market yourself as a successful freelancer, and it may take a while to build up a consistent customer base. But marketing is the key to getting a consistent workflow where you don’t need to worry about your paychecks. Marketing well can help to build you up into an industry mainstay, making it easy to get future work. Utilize all of the above tips to jumpstart your marketing process and start gaining more clients faster than ever. You can also contact Seek Capital if you need other entrepreneurship or freelance business advice. Sources https://www.score.org/blog/state-of-freelancing-in-america#:~:text=Some%2057.3%20million%20Americans%20currently,30%20percent%20since%20last%20year . https://www.inc.com/john-rampton/the-self-employment-identity-crisis-are-you-a-freelancer-or-entrepreneur.html https://gr0.com/#Rank-1