With more than 1.57 billion freelancers in the world, if you’re looking for a career in this industry, stop for a while and ask yourself - How can I stand out in the crowd?
The answer is marketing. Marketing not only helps you reach out to new clients but also helps you sustain. We can do it both ways- online and offline. Statistics project that the global social media user base is set to surge to nearly 3.43 billion by 2023, which means, online marketing is surely a great idea for freelancers to shine in self-promotion. Because, the more the audience, the more the reach.
So how can freelancers market themselves? To learn the 10 tried-and-true techniques to market oneself as a freelancer, read this article.
Freelancer Marketing - Why is it important?
Freelancer marketing, also known as marketing yourself as a freelancer, is crucial for several reasons:
- Effective marketing helps you reach potential clients who may need your services. Without marketing, you may struggle to find clients and secure projects.
- Through marketing efforts, you can build credibility and trust with potential clients. Sharing client testimonials, case studies, and industry-related content can demonstrate your competence and reliability.
- Effective marketing can help you attract a broader range of clients and projects. This diversification can reduce the risk associated with relying on a small number of clients or a single revenue stream.
- Marketing allows you to stay updated on market trends and evolving client needs. It enables you to adjust your services and messaging accordingly to meet changing demands.
Top 10 Ways to Market Yourself as a Freelancer
Let’s have a look at the top 10 reasons why marketing yourself as a freelancer should be a priority:
- Building A Portfolio Website
What can be a better way than establishing a website for your portfolio to promote yourself as a freelancer? Websites are in second place to social media as the most popular marketing channel, according to statistics from HubSpot. Often, a potential client will contact you through your portfolio website. It's similar to your digital business card, and it needs to make a strong, positive impression.
WordPress enables you to build a portfolio where you may present your best work in an orderly and eye-catching way. When you're setting up your website to flaunt your achievements, remember to go all out with fantastic pictures, engaging videos, and detailed descriptions. But here's the real secret sauce: SEO, or search engine optimization, is your best buddy in this online game. Why? Because it ensures that when folks search for services like yours, your website pops up in their results. You may establish yourself as an expert in your subject by doing this.
- Personal Branding
Freelancers often work in crowded markets with many others offering similar services. A strong personal brand helps you differentiate yourself by highlighting your unique skills, experiences, and personality. This differentiation can make potential clients choose you over competitors.
But what is personal branding? This might seem like a new term but it's been part of business for ages. Think about it this way: Companies like Apple and Samsung are considered brands. Likewise, individuals can be brands too. Personal branding is an investment in your long-term career growth. Your website isn't just a one-time gig. It sticks with you even when you shift between projects and clients.
So, how to do this? Familiarity is the mantra behind successful personal branding. By participating in online communities, sharing your knowledge through content like blog posts and social media, and attending industry events you can become a recognized face in your field. This visibility can lead to more opportunities and referrals. As a freelancer, your career may evolve. A well-established personal brand can adapt to you. Whether you decide to pivot into a related field or expand your services, your brand can still serve as a strong foundation.
- Choosing The Right Platforms For Your Niche
Your niche, target market, and marketing objectives are just a few of the variables that will affect how you advertise yourself as a freelancer. You must first specify your particular area of industry knowledge. Knowing your specialty enables you to focus your marketing efforts on a certain target market. Once done, you can choose the platforms as per their nature.
- LinkedIn is great for B2B professionals and networking.
- Instagram and Pinterest are image-centric platforms.
- Twitter is suitable for quick updates and engaging in industry conversations.
- YouTube is ideal for video content and tutorials.
- You may use Facebook for both B2B and B2C marketing.
While it might feel exciting to spread yourself thin across all platforms, it's wiser to concentrate your efforts where they count. Begin by choosing a couple of platforms that resonate with your goals. Think Instagram, LinkedIn, or perhaps even YouTube. Then, tailor your content strategy to each platform's strengths. Take a close look at the numbers that matter: engagement (how people are interacting), reach (how many eyes are on your content), and conversion rates (who's taking the actions you desire, like signing up or making a purchase). Then, tweak your game plan based on the platforms bringing in the best results.
- Network and Build Relationships
Make sure your network is a mix of peers in your field, potential clients, and influencers who can help you reach a broader audience. Networking is two-way. And so, to build strong relationships with them, offer value to others in your network. This could be in the form of advice, assistance, or sharing useful resources. When you give, it not only makes you look good, but it also sets the stage for others to give back when you need it – like referrals or assistance.
Both physical and virtual events provide excellent networking opportunities. These events allow you to connect with potential clients, learn from industry experts, and build relationships with fellow freelancers. Your online game has to be on point too to network on a global level. Create and optimize your professional website and social media profiles (especially LinkedIn). Try participating in online forums, discussion groups, and social media communities related to your field.
After initial interactions, don't forget to follow up with the people you meet. Send a thank-you email or message, connect on LinkedIn, and continue the conversation. Building relationships takes time, and staying in touch keeps you on their radar.
- Guest Posting
Guest posting is a valuable content marketing strategy that involves writing and publishing articles on other websites or blogs within your niche or industry. Start by finding popular websites or blogs that are a perfect match for your niche or industry. Look for those that open their doors to guest contributions.
When you approach the website owner or editor, don't send an extremely long and dull pitch. Write a pitch email that introduces you briefly, shows off your expertise, and suggests a captivating topic idea. Keep it short and sweet, and explain why your content will make their readers come back for more.
If your first pitch doesn't get a response, don't lose hope. Give it a week or two, and then consider sending a friendly follow-up email. Once your pitch gets the green light, dive into crafting that guest post, making sure to stick to the guidelines laid out by the host website. Focus on delivering high-quality content that adds value to their readers. Use proper formatting, include images if required, and adhere to any specific style guidelines. At the end of your guest post, you get an author bio— your chance to show yourself to your potential clients. Briefly introduce yourself and drop links to your website, blog, or social media profiles to direct their attention to your profile.
- Invest in Paid Advertising and Promotions
Paid advertising allows freelancers to appear at the top of search engine results or in prominent positions on social media platforms. This increased visibility can help you stand out from the competition and attract potential clients who may not have found you through organic methods.
- Identify your ideal clients. Consider locations, interests, and online behavior. The more you know about your audience, the more targeted your ads can be
- Select the platforms that align with your audience and goals. Invest in paid advertising on platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or LinkedIn Ads to reach a larger audience quickly
- Freelancers can use paid advertising to promote special offers, discounts, or limited-time services. This creates a sense of urgency and drives potential clients to take action
- Decide how much you can spend on paid advertising. Start with a manageable budget and adjust it as you see results
- If you're using platforms like Google Ads, perform keyword research to identify the search terms your potential clients might use to find your services
- Create a catchy ad copy, Launch your paid ad campaigns, and closely monitor their performance
Unlike organic marketing efforts that take time to yield results, paid advertising can generate immediate traffic and leads. This can be especially helpful when freelancers need to secure projects or clients quickly.
- Join Freelance Platforms
Joining freelancer platforms can be a real game-changer for freelancers. These platforms serve as intermediaries, helping you market your skills and connect with clients hassle-free. Join reputable freelancer platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr to find clients and gain exposure.
After you build a good portfolio website following point 1, you can make your portfolio visible on these platforms. This will show your skills, experience, past projects, and what your clients have to say about you to get new clients.
Plus, these platforms have excellent search and matching tools. Clients can hunt for freelancers based on specific criteria, and if your profile is a match, you're in luck. And here's the best thing: Freelancer platforms often offer payment protection services. Clients deposit funds into escrow accounts and freelancers are assured of payment upon successful completion of the project, reducing the risk of non-payment.
- Participate In Communities Related To Your Expertise
Communities offer a stage to connect with peers, potential clients, and industry influencers. When you engage with people in your niche, you're creating bonds that can bring referrals, collaborations, and fresh business prospects. Plus, it keeps you in the loop on what's happening in your field – from trends and challenges to exciting new openings.
Over time, your contributions to the community can build trust and credibility among its members. As you consistently provide helpful information and advice, others are more likely to view you as a trustworthy and reliable freelancer.
Active participation in communities can lead to referrals and recommendations from other community members. When someone in the community needs your services, they may recommend you based on their positive interactions with you. Further, engaging in communities can also help you develop a consistent online presence. Experiences that you gain from offline communities can be shown on online platforms to gain engagement on your personal branding profile.
- Collect and Showcase Client Testimonials
An absolute gem that is often overlooked by freelancers while marketing is client testimonials.
Imagine this: You're browsing for a freelancer to hire, but there's a doubt in your mind – "Can they really deliver?" This question is what the testimonials are an answer for.
Potential clients often experience uncertainty when choosing a freelancer. They will feel more confident and inclined to choose you if you have positive testimonials, so take advantage of this. What is the best way to accomplish that? Reach out to clients shortly after project completion while their experience with your work is fresh in their minds. Timing is crucial in this case to capture their genuine feedback. Make the process as simple as possible for your clients. Provide a template or specific questions they can answer to structure their testimonial.
This can include questions like:
- What challenges or goals did you have before working with me?
- How did my services or work help you overcome these challenges or achieve your goals?
- Would you recommend my services to others, and if so, why?
If clients are unsure about what to write, you can offer suggestions or examples of what a great testimonial might look like. This can help them get started.
Satisfied clients who provide testimonials may also be more inclined to refer your services to others in their network, bringing in even more business. So don't wait too long to collect testimonials. Ask them for feedback, positive or negative. Work on the negatives and show off those positive ones!
- Cold Outreach - Pitch To Your Ideal Clients
Cold outreach is a numbers game. It is nothing but reaching out to your ideal clients out of the blue. You might think cold outreach is not an effective way. However, studies show that the average rate of conversion of cold emails is 15%. That is a good number that we can bet our success on. Tools like MailChimp, EmailHunter, and Woodpecker are excellent for automating the cold outreach process for freelancers.
So how to do cold outreach? Here is the step-by-step process.
- Create a list of potential clients who match your ideal client profile. You can use tools like LinkedIn, industry directories, or even social media to find them.
- Before reaching out, research each prospect thoroughly. Understand their business, recent achievements, challenges, and any recent news that might be relevant to your pitch.
- Your initial message should be highly personalized and tailored to each prospect.
- Start by addressing them by name and mentioning something specific from your research to show you've done your homework.
- The subject line of your email or message is crucial. It should grab their attention and make them want to open and read your message.
- Keep your pitch short and to the point.
- End your pitch with a clear and compelling call to action
Don't be discouraged if you don't get an immediate response Sometimes, your pitch might get lost in a busy inbox, and a polite follow-up can, usually about a week or two remind the recipient to reply.
Go Forth and Conquer!
When you know who you are, what you stand for, and what you bring to the table, your marketing game will uplevel stronger than before. Following these strategies religiously is sure to get you the marketing that you deserve and bring in a steady stream of clients. But note this - Effective marketing isn't just about acquiring new clients; it's also about retaining existing ones. By staying in touch with clients through email marketing or other methods, you can encourage repeat business and referrals.