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Freelancing, what kind of picture comes to mind when you hear this word? Probably something like this, you are sitting on your comfortable bed under the blanket while a pipeline of clients is sending money to your bank account. You don’t have to listen to absurd things from your boss because ohh wait! You are your own boss. You work when you like and watch Netflix when you are not in a mood to open your laptop.
I must say, if you think freelancing is like a fiction book where you are the hero/heroine, you are betraying yourself. Since the first lockdown happened, freelancing has gained massive popularity. In fact, one in three American workers is a freelancer. Result?
The market is now more saturated than it ever was. Moreover, irrespective of your field, you must know how to market your services so that more people know about it and your chances of getting hired increases.
Let’s jump on 9 Proven Marketing Tips that will help you market your freelancing services like a pro.
Note: Before we jump into the article make sure to check out The 10 Best Marketing Books you should read.
1. Build Your Personal Brand
If you ask me to hire you directly, I may hesitate but if you show me that you are the best, I will come after you. And this is exactly what your personal brand does for you.
People go for the best they know, not necessarily the best. Becoming a freelancer and not talking about what you do on social media is like selling something but without any shop for the customers to come.
To lift the weight down from your head, let me clarify that building your personal brand is as simple as eating a hotcake. Here is how
Target one social media platform: Being a freelancer means being a solopreneur, you have to do everything on your own, right from finding clients to creating invoices. In this case, you can’t afford to jump from one platform to another all the time.
You have to target one social media platform, it could be Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter, or even Quora, depending on where your dream clients hang out. Once you build a strong presence on one social media platform then only jump on another.
Talk about yourself: If you are like me, an introvert, you might find it a little uncomfortable to talk about your achievements, your journey, and how you work. And why not? We all imagined freelancing as a children’s play.
Sorry to wake up from your imaginary world but you have to talk about yourself. Talking about yourself is more or less similar to advertisements we see on social media. Just as those ads show us how the product can make our life better, you have to talk about your services in a way that can make your client’s life better in some way or the other.
2. Build connection with other successful freelancers
Networking is one of the most common ways to market your service indirectly and I am sure, you must have heard from people to network with people who are in a similar niche. But I will ask you to do the opposite, here is why,
Let’s say you are a freelance copywriter. Now, you are looking to connect with other copywriters because you read somewhere on the internet about the same. But pause for a second and think about it. How can a freelance copywriter help you?
Your goal to build connections with other people is to get clients, right? If you are trying to connect with the other copywriter, how can he/she help you get clients? In fact, they are also trying to find clients and if they find clients, they will keep them, right?
That’s why you need to connect with people who are offering other services than yours. Taking the previous example, if you are a copywriter then you should connect with a freelance graphic designer because the graphic designer might give his/her clients to you. Here is how,
I am a graphic designer and you are my friend (a copywriter). Now, I built a new website for my clients. Obviously, the website can’t go live empty. The client will need content for his website and that’s when I can refer you to my client.
That’s the reason, build connections with other freelancers who can give their clients to you because that’s how you both WIN.
3. Create a website
There are so many freelancers out there, why should someone hire you depends on how unique you are. While the majority of freelancers still use basic Canva made portfolios to show their work, you can stand out by creating your own website to showcase your work.
Your website doesn’t have to be as beautiful as a new bride. Even a single-page website would do the work. Though, if you are a web or UX/UI designer, your website should be so beautiful that it works as your living portfolio.
A website helps your potential client to gather all the information about you easily without downloading those big PDF files. You can give a small bio, previous work samples, testimonials, and contact information on your website to make it more appealing for the client.
4. Join forums & communities related to your niche
There must be so many brands that you don’t use but you know they exist, right? Well, why so?
That’s where the great marketing strategy comes. Brands promote themselves so aggressively that even if you don’t use their product, you remember them for the future.
This is exactly what you need to do. You have to stick your name in the mind of your potential client so that they remember you whenever the need arises. And for that, you have to come out of your shell and become visible.
I am sorry introverts but you have to join the forums & communities related to your niche so that you can meet with new people, interact with them, talk about your services and create word of mouth.
5. Share what you know
The very first excuse that must have come to your mind after reading this is, I am a beginner, how can I share?
Well, high-five. When I started as a freelance content writer, I used to think there were so many industry experts and among them, I don’t stand a chance. Besides, who will listen to me?
Trust me, I get it! However, when you share what you know, you create an image of an expert. People start thinking that you know something that is important, hence you set yourself as a professional freelancer.
In the crowd of freelancers, this is one of the most powerful ways to show your expertise to your potential client indirectly.
In fact, you can also submit guest posts to other blogs or platforms. Just Google about the platforms that are accepting guest blog posting in your niche and BOOM! If your article gets published, you will automatically attract an audience from there. Besides, you can send the guest blog post to your potential client as your work sample.
6. Engage with prospects on social media
You must have heard about cold emails, right? You search about your dream client, search about their brand, find their email id, and finally send them a cold email to offer your service. Result?
Sadly, most of the time, you don’t get to hear back from your dream client even after taking follow-ups. Honestly, why would anyone trust you suddenly and give you a project based on one cold email?
No, I am not saying that cold emails don’t work. They surely do but most of the time, your effort gets ignored. Here is how you can turn the table on your side,
Instead of directly sending a cold email to your dream client, find out one social media platform where they are most active, it can be Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.
Now, connect with them on social media and try to engage with them. You can leave a meaningful comment on their LinkedIn/Twitter post. And please don’t comment something like this, ‘very useful, great, thanks for sharing, etc.’
Your comment should stand you apart. It should showcase your level of expertise and knowledge. Once you start engaging with your dream client on social media platforms, they will remember your name.
Now, after this when you send them a cold email, they will surely get back to you that too with a green signal. Besides, you might not even need to send the cold email. They can send you the work proposal themselves.
Yes! That’s the power of engaging on social media.
7. Ask for referrals and references
“Can you refer to my name, please?” This is how most people ask for referrals and that is why they end up creating a negative impact.
Asking for referrals and references from your clients is not a bad thing. In fact, after the project is done and the client is happy with your work, they would love to refer you to other people. But the question is how and when should you ask for the referral?
You should never ask for a reference as soon as you start the project. Once the project is finished and your client seems happy with the quality of your work then you can ask politely yet in a professional tone if he/she can refer you.
A happy client will definitely give you the referral but a client who hasn’t even experienced your service yet may think of you as an impatient person.
Even if your client cannot refer you at the very moment, he will remember you for future reference and that is how you create an endless source of clients.
8. Take good time to tailor your pitches
A successful freelancer never creates one template of pitch that can be sent to every potential client.
Successful freelancers do these 3 things before approaching to a potential client,
Find out the dream client: In marketing, ‘if you are targeting everyone, you are not targeting anyone.’ Similarly, you can’t say that I am ready to work with anyone. To become an industry expert, you need to find clients specifically in your niche. Brands, businesses, or people you can really help with your service.
Do in-depth research: Before sending a cold email to a potential client, you need to dig deeper into their business so that you can find out where the loophole is, and how you can help them with your service. If you are writing to a person without telling them what’s the problem in their system, it’s more like disturbing them. Hence, first find out the problem that they are not even aware of then give them a solution.
Send a customized pitch: After knowing their problem and engaging with them on social media (as discussed in the 6th point), you already have enough information to customize your pitch. And that’s when you win the client.
9. Always be Marketing
Today, you are reading this blog because you need more clients but after a point, you will have too many clients to manage them all at once.
That is one of the most common situations that every freelancer comes across and due to the excessive work, they stop creating content on social media. There is a rule of marketing that says, if you stop talking about yourself, people will forget about you.
Hence, always be marketing. Never stop creating content on social media because if you stop, you will be stopped. Besides, to book clients in advance, you will need the power of social media. That’s the only way to create a long and secure pipeline of clients.
These are the top 9 marketing techniques that I personally used and today, I enjoy the benefits. If you apply all these 9 techniques, within 30 days, you can start seeing the results and your dream clients will follow you to your doorstep.
However, you have to be consistent with these 9 techniques because if you stop, you will be stopped. With that being said, if you need more marketing tips, you can click here to read my top book recommendations on marketing. I have learned all these marketing techniques and more from these books only.