Starting a freelance business is one thing—anyone can hang up a shingle and call themselves a freelancer. But in order to become successful at your new gig as a self-employed contractor, you need to know how to market your freelance business successfully.
Read on for advice from an informal panel of marketing experts, entrepreneurs, and executives about what really works when it comes to marketing your freelance services.
Launch a Website
Although it may seem like a no-brainer to start a website as a mainstay of your freelance marketing strategy, many independent contractors fail to follow this basic guideline, according to Robert Smith, Head of Marketing at Psychometric Success, which offers free practice aptitude tests.
“As an industry insider, I can tell you that this is a fantastic strategy for promoting your freelance business,” says Smith. “For those that work independently, a website or blog can serve as a portfolio, resume, and calling card all in one.”
Among the marketing tactics you can use on your business website include:
- Explaining your freelance offerings
- Providing examples of your work
- Enticing potential customers to request a price
- Keeping a blog, where Smith suggests “you may write freely about things that interest you and where you can come up with interesting, timely themes to write about that will attract a wide readership”
Use Blogging and Guest Posts
Speaking of blogging, this is another effective method for promoting a solo venture and can help you get the word out as a thought leader in your freelance niche.
Once you’ve started your own blog on your freelance website, try getting others to post on it in addition to writing your own blog posts. “The practice of having visitors post on your blog is an excellent method for promoting a solo venture,” says Andrew Priobrazhenskyi, CEO of the ecommerce company DiscountReactor.
Priobrazhenskyi adds that a practical way to reach new audiences with smart, useful, and entertaining content is through guest blogging on other blogs. “You may also use guest blogging to market your business in a positive light,” the CEO notes. “Yet this is not merely a chance for blatant self-promotion. Articles should be structured to provide readers with useful information.”
Develop Your Pitch and Sales Skills
Improving your sales acumen and pitching skills are two of the most important things you can do to promote your freelance business, according to Travis Lindemoen, Managing Director of Nexus IT Group, who has built and managed a multimillion-dollar IT staffing agency and has 15 years of recruitment and career consulting experience.
“Your sales pitch isn’t perfect unless you’re successfully closing 100% of your potential customers,” says Lindemoen. Since he believes that freelancers frequently overestimate the success of their business pitches and proposals, Lindemoen recommends starting by keeping tally of your proposal submissions, interviews, and project wins.
Increase Your Online Profile Activity
In addition to your own website, you can strengthen your online identity as a freelancer by expanding your sphere of influence, sharing more content, and introducing your freelancing services to the online community, suggests Michael Hess, Ecommerce Strategy Lead at Code Signing Store.
Hess believes this can be as simple as taking initiative, starting some conversations, and disseminating useful information. “You’ve probably heard numerous anecdotes about freelancers successfully finding business via social media,” Hess says. “Using social media effectively is the key to unlocking a flood of new customers and expanding your company’s online presence.”
He adds that establishing a robust social media presence by always keeping your accounts current, publishing frequently, and interacting with others can be the key to effective advertising. “In terms of expanding your customer base and fulfilling your business goals, you can’t beat the use of social media management solutions,” Hess says.
Don’t Be Picky About Clients
While veteran freelancers with established businesses have more leeway to be selective about which jobs they take and which clients they work with, Priobrazhenskyi advises freelancers who want to grow their influence and promote their freelance work to “constantly accept everything.”
“The digital sphere is ripe with prospects,” he explains. “You can’t afford to turn down work as a freelancer, especially from a potential new client. There is a risk of losing future freelancing business from the same client if you turn down a current assignment because it is too little or you are too busy. Furthermore, you could lose a prospective repeat customer.”
Priobrazhenskyi emphasizes that by always saying yes, you’ll maintain a satisfied clientele. He concludes: “They’ll stick by you and possibly even spread the word about your business.”
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