New to freelance? Four marketing basics you need to tick off

So you’re just starting out as a freelancer, and are wondering how to put your name on the map and attract clients. Where do you start?

There can be a bewildering number of things you need to tick off your list when setting up as a freelancer, so we thought we’d keep it simple, and just stick to four.

Four freelance marketing basics you need to tick off

Good, well established freelancers are rarely short of work. To help you take the first tentative steps to join their ranks, here are four marketing and branding basics you need to tick off.

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1) A logo

There’s a good reason why every successful business – from Pepsi to Apple – has a logo. It helps customers to identify and remember them, and can embody qualities that they want to be known for.

So don’t assume that, just because you’re a solo freelancer, you don’t need a logo. It can be much more important to your business than you might think. Here are three reasons why you should consider investing in one:

  • It will help to set you apart from other freelancers.
  • It will help clients to remember you.
  • It will bring your branding together and make you look more professional.

Once you have a logo, make sure you use it at every appropriate opportunity. This includes:

  • Your email signature.
  • Your website.
  • Your social media profiles.
  • Your business card.
  • Your invoices.

In fact, make sure you get your logo on every piece of stationery, web presence and marketing collateral you produce, and start building a strong freelance brand.

2) A website

If  potential client has been recommended you, or is searching for someone with your skills, they’ll expect to find a website. So make sure you tick ‘getting a website’ off your freelance to-do list.

It doesn’t need to be overly complex, nor expensive (unless of course your business IS web design or development, and you want to showcase your talents). You just need a basic site that tells your story, showcases what you can d and contains your contact information. Here are some elements you need to think about when creating a website:

  • Your domain name – ideally this will be your name, the name of your business, or something related to your industry. You need to be careful that your domain name is simple to say and type, relevant, and does not accidentally have a double meaning created by your name running together or the initials of your business. You can use a domain name search tool to make sure the website you want is available, and find out what it costs.
  • Your home page – this page tells customers the basics about you, your business, and what you do. It should be engaging, but brief.
  • Landing pages – these pages are usually separate from your regular website and do not contain the typical menu your regular site does, but are designed for a specific call to action like subscribing to your newsletter or downloading an eBook.
  • Product pages – these pages describe the services and products you offer. They should include photos where applicable, and pricing ranges in the case of services.
  • A blog page – this is where you engage in content marketing and tell your stories. This is one of the most crucial elements of your website from a marketing standpoint, and should be done extremely well.

When creating your website you also need to pay attention to design, SEO, and on page optimisation. If you don’t know what these are, you need to learn (you can read a beginner’s guide to SEO here) or hire someone to teach you as they are essential parts of your Google ranking system.

3) Social media

Social media is your opportunity to promote your freelance website, share your story and thoughts, and reach out to find potential clients or interact with your current ones.

The nature of your freelance business will determine which social networks you want to invest your time in. As a minimum, every freelance needs to invest in a professional LinkedIn profile. Even if clients don’t find you directly through LinkedIn, they will certainly check out your profile on there, and if it doesn’t match their expectations, they may not get in touch.

Aside from LinkedIn, you need to consider which other platforms it’s worth spending time on. Many people are finding that Facebook is no longer as effective for most businesses as it once was. However, Twitter and Instagram often result in engagement and client interaction, especially if you can share visual content or insightful information.

Whichever platform you choose, it IS important to leverage the opportunities social media presents. It can help your Google ranking and enable clients to find and engage with you.

4) A message

Before you start to write on your blog or even share your first social media post, you need to have a consistent brand message.

At its very basic, this will be a short ‘elevator pitch’ (a quick summary of what you do and how you help people). As well as being useful to have memorised when you meet potential clients, it’s important to ensure you have a consistent message like this on all your social media profiles and on your website.

Beyond this, you also need to consider what kind of impression you want to give people. What are you all about? Why do you do what you do? Why should your customers care? What sets you apart from the other freelancers in your field?

It is important to get this message right, and to use it to inform your social media, your blog, your website, and every piece of marketing materials you create.

Start building your freelance brand today – and your business

All too often freelancers shy from the words ‘marketing’ and ‘branding’. They may not feel they’re something that a small, solopreneur needs to worry about. Or they’re not sure what they involve so would rather ignore them.

But if you want to compete with other freelancers, attract and impress new clients, and build a loyal roster of happy customers, you need to think about and market your brand with care. After all, if you don’t, your competition will.

Sarah Saker is a small business coach and freelance writer living in Hattiesburg, MS. For coaching or writing help, connect with Sarah on about.me.