As a freelancer, marketing is the oxygen of your business, and without it your freelance career may soon die away. If you’re just starting out as a freelancer, or are simply stuck for ideas, we’ve got 10 quick but effective tips that we know from experience work.
1) Take your marketing seriously
If you don’t respect the value of marketing, our other nine tips won’t work. So our first tip is simply to take your marketing seriously and give it the priority it deserves.
2) Plan time for marketing
An effective marketing strategy isn’t something you can plan or implement as an afterthought between the school run and helping with homework. It needs to be properly thought through, and you need to allocate regular time each day or week to carry out your activities.
3) Do one thing a day
If you set a target of doing one positive marketing activity a day, you’ll soon see results. It can be as quick and easy as calling one recruitment company or one existing, previous or prospective client to see if they have any need for your services. Or it can be as ambitious as researching the potential of creating your own LinkedIn or Facebook group. You never know what that one extra activity may reward you with.
4) Carry on marketing even when you’re busy
It’s important to keep up with your marketing activities when you’re busy. If you don’t, you may find that once the particular project or job you’re working on finishes, you don’t have anything to do. By keeping your marketing activities consistent, you can help maintain a steady stream of work.
5) Never turn down an invitation
Every event, be it social or business is an opportunity to network and tell new people about your freelance services. The man sat next to you at your cousin’s wedding may be looking right now for someone to design or build their website. Or the women you get chatting to at a dull PR launch may have a client who needs a marketing consultant. So wherever possible, try to accept any invitation that comes your way, and always attend armed with plenty of business cards to hand out.
6) Respond to requests quickly
When it comes to freelance projects, it’s often the early bird that catches the worm. So try to respond as quickly as you can to any enquiries about work your marketing generates – even if it’s just a short email to let someone know that you have received their email and will contact them later with more information. If you leave it a day or so (or in some cases even an hour) another freelancer may secure the job first.
7) Always say yes
Whenever you possibly can, always say yes to a new client. If you say no to a project because you’re too busy or the job is too small, you may not just lose that work, but any future work from that client. Because if they can’t use you this time, they’ll need to find another freelancer. And not only will you miss out on that particular job, but you could risk losing a potentially lucrative regular client.
8) Learn what works and do more of it
Different marketing tactics and resources will work for different people. So don’t just adopt an off-the-shelf marketing strategy, even if it works like a dream for someone else. Instead, try different ideas and test each one to see if it is worth the time and money you need to invest in it. For example, a friend may have a strong relationship with a freelance recruiter who passes all the best jobs their way. But that same recruiter may not get any work for you. However, you could find that a particular freelance jobs site brings you in 60% of all your projects. The aim is to identify what works for you and do more of it.
9) Up sell whenever you can
Try to make a point of always asking your clients how else you can help them. So for example if they ask you to design a logo for them, ask if they are happy with their current website, or need any new flyers. You never know when a polite question may yield you more opportunities for work.
10) Get a well-known client
Our final tip is to try and do a piece of work, however small, for a well-known and respected company – and then use their name, logo or testimonial on your marketing activities. Being hired by a well-known brand will act as a badge of quality for other companies maybe nervous of working with a freelancer they don’t know. They can feel assured that if a big organisation trusted you enough to employ your services then you must be good.Hannah Martin