Did you just start a freelance business? This is an exciting journey in your entrepreneurial growth.
But all freelance business owners struggle with two challenges during their first years: attracting new clients and marketing their business.
But you don’t have to struggle forever. Plenty of consumers are out there and there’s a myriad of useful marketing methods. This means there are plenty of ways to improve your freelance marketing and attract more clients.
Here are helpful tips to better market your company so you can attract new clients.
Define Your Target Market
Before you attract clients, you need to know what clients you’re trying to attract. Before you organize your marketing campaign, identify your target market.
Some freelancers identify niches and what the clients in that niche want. Other freelance businesses, such as services, identify a common problem and how they can solve that problem.
Take this information and write it down. Research trends, problems, and other observations within your target market. If you can, research demographics such as common ages, locations, and ethnicities.
With this information, you can tailor your promotion and marketing campaigns to your audience. You’ll also have enough market information to improve your connection and communication with your clients.
Are you unsure of your market? Or would you rather not attract a niche market? There’s nothing wrong with being a generalist. This type of freelancer targets general clients who need the skill or service the freelancer is promoting.
Set Goals and Deadlines
You probably have some incredible goals in your head. But once you get your business rolling, you need to be realistic. Take those amazing goals and write them down.
Identify long-term goals and set smaller short-term goals to help reach those long-term goals.
Once you set your goals, it’s time to set deadlines. Break up those small-term goals into simple, manageable tasks. Set deadlines for each task, the way a manager would do.
Are you unsure of which short-term goals and tasks to create? Let’s take marketing as an example. Set “create a marketing campaign” as a short-term goal.
Then, take a look at your business and see how you can set up smaller marketing tasks.
Examples can include promoting a product or a service, creating social media accounts, and writing blog posts.
When writing these tasks, use as much detail as possible.
Write down ideas and any research you’ve already done. When you’re accomplishing these tasks, write down any new information you’re learning or make necessary changes to your schedule.
Identify the tasks associated with your marketing goals and set deadlines for each individual task. Make sure the task deadlines are connected with the overall project deadline.
Writing down goals and breaking them up in smaller tasks boosts productivity. Focus on each task one-at-a-time so you can give each task and goal the required amount of time.
Common Freelance Marketing Ideas
Getting your name out there is a hurdle. But it’s necessary for your success. Fortunately, there is a myriad of ways to market your freelance company. Here are some common freelance marketing ideas:
Word of Mouth
This timeless marketing method is as effective today as it ever was. Word of mouth is one of the most effective marketing methods. And all you have to do is put in great work.
People talk and communicate with each other. Especially other business owners and professionals.
Inevitably, your name will come up in conversation. If your clients like your work, they will recommend your services to their network of professionals.
There are ways you can jumpstart your word of mouth marketing efforts. Ask friends and family to reach out to their co-workers and connections. You can also contact your colleagues, such as former students and employees.
You can even use word of mouth marketing for your own network. Offer free consultations, free services, and referral discounts.
Develop Client Relationships
One of the common marketing mistakes freelancers make is the incentive to attract new clients. But marketing to their current clients is just as vital.
One of your marketing goals should be strengthening your current client relationships.
This will encourage your clients using your services and even recommending your business to their connections. Do this by connecting with them on social media or email, reaching out to them and creating a bond.
One of the easiest ways to attract new clients is by networking. Online networking is the easiest way to get your name out there, but in-person marketing leaves a stronger impression.
For in-person networking, find industry events, conferences, conventions, and other similar events in your niche. Meet with like-minded professionals and business owners. Introduce yourself and always have business cards available.
If you’re stumped on ideas, engage with charities. Research charity organizations in your area and become a sponsor. Or, you can attend the event and make new friends.
Other ideas include speaking at a conference, hosting a seminar, and reaching out to other non-competitive businesses in your niche.
But never forget digital networking. Have an active social media presence and get involved in online forums within your niche.
Promoting your brand will always increase brand visibility. Branding different advertisements and materials are the easiest way to promote your company. Branding ideas include:
- Digital, physical and commercial ads
- Directory site listings
- Branded supplies and gifts
While simple and inexpensive, these are expert ways to increase brand visibility.
In a perfect world, clients will come to you. But you have to build a presence to get that ball rolling. Before you have a steady stream of clientele, you need a past work portfolio, testimonials, and a positive reputation.
But to be confident you can get clients, you need to start small. Here are some steps that lead you to your first clients:
Create a Website
The easiest way to land your first clients is by creating a website. Your website offers your freelance business information, examples of your past work, details about your services, and contact information.
But when you’re starting out, how do you create a detailed website?
You can easily set up contact information, such as a business phone number and email address before you design your website. If you have unique ideas and details about your services, describe your process.
What about work examples and testimonials? During the beginning stages, offer a free service to people who are close to you. Ask them for a testimonial and use your work as an example.
Use Freelance Work Sites
You shouldn’t have to rely on freelance work websites forever, but they’re a great place to start.
Using a company name, logo and website will help you stand out from the pack. Offer an affordable rate and always include past work examples and details of your services.
Offer Referral Discounts
Earlier, word of mouth marketing tips was discussed. You can easily use this advice to bring in new clients.
In the beginning stages of your freelance career, you’ll have a tiny network of clients.
Use your existing clients to grow your network. Offer them referral discounts, such as a discounted or free service. This is beneficial if your existing clients promised they will continue using your services.
Use Great Customer Service Strategies
As a freelancer, you’re a lone man or woman in your company. Therefore, you’ll handle all communication. This means you need to develop a great customer service strategy if you haven’t already.
Start by opening up different communication forms.
Modern and younger consumers prefer web-based contact, such as social media messaging and live chat options on your website. Older customers prefer classic communication methods, such as by phone and email.
When talking to your customers, don’t simply act nice. Stay interested and find out who they are. Understand why they want to use your services.
After you’re done with your service, continue keeping communication open. Ask for feedback and ways you can improve your service.
Tell Them What They Lack
Cold-calling and emailing is the one strategy that few freelancers can achieve. But there’s one way to set yourself apart: telling a prospective client what they lack.
For example, let’s say you have a freelance web design business. You’re searching around the web for clients and you find a client with an outdated website.
You contact the client, explaining why their website is outdated and what you can do to improve their website.
You’re not only introducing yourself and your services, but you’re offering a way to benefit a company and maybe informing them of somewhere they’re lacking.
Time to Market Your Freelance Business and Get More Clients
It’s impossible to become an expert or influencer in your first few years of freelancing. The first step is to market your freelance business so you get new clients.
Use different marketing methods to increase visibility to your audience. From here, use different methods to target devoted clients.
Do you need assistance with marketing and streamlining your business? Take a look at our services.
Strategic Optimisation + Growth consultant for lean start-ups and change-making entrepreneurs enabling them to grow their business in a sustainable and profitable way. My super-powers are business optimisation, CX, SEO, and leveraging data insights for business growth. #fuelledbycoffee
Originally published at optimiseandgrowonline.com.au on September 2, 2018.