Marketing yourself as a freelancer isn’t the easiest task in the world.
You know it’s necessary, of course. You’re going to have to attract clients, so that means you need to spread the word about yourself and the skills you have to offer. You need to be able to make a splash, to convince existing clients to stick with you, all while managing to attract new business. So you market yourself, you advertise, you sell your ability… and it all feels a bit strange.
This is one of the downsides of working by yourself; you have to be your own hype person. All the responsibility falls onto you. So you have to spend a lot of time feeling like you’re outright boasting and showing off. It’s necessary, but it’s definitely not much fun.
So many freelancers find themselves caught in a trap when it comes to marketing. They know they have to speak about themselves in glowing terms, but doing so definitely doesn’t come naturally. As a result, many freelancers – perhaps even yourself – are behind in terms of an effective market strategy, meaning that they are missing out on potentially lucrative clients.
In a bid to prevent this becoming the reality for your business, it’s time to look through some “dos” and “don’ts” for marketing as a freelancer. By straightening out your strategy, you can be sure you promote yourself as impactfully as you need to – but hopefully keep the process as simple and comfortable for you as possible. So, without further ado…
DO: Write/Talk About Yourself In The Third Person
It can sometimes be easier to focus on the things that you are good at by talking about yourself in the third person. If you feel uncomfortable making constant reference to the fact that you are so brilliant at so many different tasks, then detaching yourself from what you are saying by using the third person voice can provide a reprieve from awkwardness.
Try and imagine what you would say about a competitor that you admire. Write as if you are talking about them rather than yourself. This can provide the opportunity to speak about the ability you have – without feeling as if you are blowing your own horn.
DON’T: Neglect The Basics
When you are trying to capture new customers and clients, it can be tempting to focus on innovative new marketing approaches. If you take this too far, you can neglect the basics, such as social media, SEO, and any offline marketing you are involved in.
While it’s all well and good to attempt to attract new custom with new techniques, there is a reason that the aforementioned strategies have been found to be so useful for thousands of businesses.. Put simply, it’s because they work. If you neglect these areas in favor of trying out nothing but shiny new marketing toys, then you could soon find yourself out of the loop on the latest strategies when it comes to the basics.
If you’re already out of the loop – how much do you know about the Google Fred update, for example? – then the advice on davidcarralon.com and other sites offering unique expertise can help you to strategize. This frees you up to focus on new areas of marketing, while ensuring you don’t fall behind in other areas. This is a necessary step, because marketing, SEO, and social media practice all move incredibly quickly. if you take your eye off the ball with these digital techniques – even just for a few weeks – then things will change, and you and your business will be left behind.
DO: Create Your Own Strategy
There are 1001 different guides both on and offline that will tell you how you should market your business. There’s no harm in reading these; every little bit of advice helps, after all. However, it’s very important to keep in mind that you have to follow your own instincts as detailed on psychologytoday.com. After all, what works for someone else is not always going to be what works well for you.
Every business is different; so don’t stick with strategies that don’t appear to be working just because someone who wrote a guide tells you that it will definitely work. Identify the areas that are genuinely bringing returns in terms of new customers and clients, and then focus your efforts on doubling down on the time and effort you spend on these areas. While it’s never a good idea to completely abandon conventional marketing methods, there is no point in you plugging away at something that just isn’t working, just because someone has told you that you should.
DON’T: Burn Bridges
Bringing in new potential business is what makes marketing so enjoyable – but it’s not always plain sailing.
There is always a risk that someone is going to make enquiries, take up your time, and seem as if they are on the verge of placing an order … and then they don’t go through with it. If this happens to you, when they back out it can be tempting to let them know how very frustrated you are with their behavior. Even if it’s just little asides, snarky comments, or full blown passive aggression of the likes that could appear on passiveaggressivenotes.com, it’s a desire you have to resist. These little digs might feel good in the moment, but you’re actually burning a bridge that could be beneficial in the future.
If you are about to show signs of irritation with a potential client, then always try and think about the long term. Just because they’re not going to use your business right now doesn’t mean that they don’t have plans to do so in the future. It can be irritating, but you have to keep your cool and think of the future plan. At the very least they should recognize your professionalism, and should they need any help in the future you will be the first freelancer they turn to.
DO: Give Marketing The Time It Requires
Even if you seek help from the professionals so as to market your business as effectively as possible, you’re still going to have to do some of the work yourself. Everyone knows that one of the major benefits of going freelance is that you are not answerable to a boss. However, a downside of this freedom is that you can’t outsource your marketing efforts entirely, even if you bring in outside help.
Furthermore, you’re restricted by the very nature of freelancing. You don’t have an office, you don’t have a staff; you just have you. Outside assistance can only go so far if you have a limited budget, so you’re going to have to be ready to dedicate a fair amount of time to strategizing your own marketing efforts.
This is not simple. There’s a lot to learn, and much of it is time consuming. Getting to grips with SEO and social media… well, that’s just the beginning. That’s why a dedicated focus to marketing is required every week, noted in your diary so you don’t forget. Try to set aside a few hours every few weeks, in which you can look over your marketing efforts and see if there are any areas where you need to improve.
It’s not as simple as just turning on advertising and writing a few content pieces to catch the eye of Google. If you truly want to bring new customers to your business, then you’re going to have to work for it. Setting aside those few dedicated hours could genuinely make all the difference when it comes to bringing new business into your freelance life.
DON’T: Give Marketing Too Much Time
Okay, so admittedly this seems a little bit contradictory – but there’s a good point in here! If you have outsourced a lot of your marketing and SEO efforts, and spend a little time each week doing extra yourself, then that’s probably all your business requires. There’s no need to go heavy into marketing techniques to the point you’re more of a digital marketing genius than you are a freelancer in your chosen occupation. It’s easy to become absorbed in the marketing world, so you have to learn when you need to back off. This is especially true if you find marketing and selling your skills rather awkward; you’re going to need a break every now and then.
No matter how much time you feel yourself itching to spend marketing, remember: you need to focus on the actual meat of your business as well as attracting new clients.
Marketing is never easy, but there are ways and means – as mentioned above – that you can make it as easy to deal with as possible. Bringing in new clients while balancing the ones you already have is a tricky business, but hopefully, you’ve now got a few ideas of how you should proceed. Good luck with all your marketing efforts; get it right, and you could find your small freelance business beginning to generate the kind of lifestyle you’ve only ever dreamt of in the past.