There’s a bold new world out there for those looking to conquer the freelance mountain. However, times have changed and this is both good and bad for marketing your freelance business.
You’re a small fish in a very, very, very large pond. If you’re freelancing online, there are others out there who are providing the same service as you. Some are doing it better, others are doing it for less money. The real kicker? Some are doing it better AND for less money.
The good news is that the above doesn’t matter. It isn’t necessarily about being the best. It’s about being there when the client needs to find you, and that’s all about how you market yourself online. We’ll assume that if you’re reading this article that you’ve already spent some time Googling” how to market your freelance business online” or something similar.
Odds are you’ve come up with one or more of the following:
- Use social media
- Paid advertisements (banner or social media)
- Email marketing
- YouTube / Livestream chats
Let’s be clear: all of the above are great options. If used properly, you can connect with thousands of potential customers in those ways. But there’s more to getting found online than simply buying a Facebook ad. Here are a few things you may not have considered.
Know Who Your Target Market Is
Before you can launch a truly effective marketing plan, you have to know who your target market is. If the first thing that comes to mind is “everyone,” you don’t know your target market. Every company you’ve heard of, locked away somewhere, has an idea of who their ideal customer is. Amazon is more than thrilled to sell products to a 20-year old man in California or a 60-year old woman in Maine. They will, and do sell to both.
However, somewhere in the Amazon offices, perhaps tucked away in Jeff Bezos’ original business plan is Amazon’s original concept of their ideal customer. Every company, big or small, needs to know who their focus is going to be towards.
Age of Freelance’s target reader is older millennials in their late 20’s to early 30’s. The have completed at least 2 years of college, are creative thinkers, and ambitious. They work, but not doing a job they love. They may have had several jobs. They like to work, but much prefer to work for themselves than somebody else. They have an entrepreneurial spirit but may be disorganized and lack focus. They are the type of person who “has an idea” but lacks the confidence or knowledge for executing it. The desire financial freedom and mobility.
That’s the ideal customer profile for Age of Freelance. The cat’s out of the bag. Remember, you can always expand your marketing and advertising efforts later. In the beginning, cast your net deep and not wide.
Wait, what? Yes, it’s true. While online marketing is a fantastic way to drum up business, do not neglect your own backyard. There are a number of networking events happening right now, this week, in your area. Show up to them. Meet people. Talk about your business and service. Introduce yourself to everyone. From big companies to small, other freelancers too.
Always be marketing your freelance business. Whether that’s at a tech conference, on Facebook, or in a coffee shop. Keep your eyes and ears open. There are always opportunities around if you’re open to them.
Re-purpose Your Materials
You know you’re supposed to have a website, right? We’ll assume you’ve got that one covered. Now it’s time to tackle the other things you know you’re supposed to do. Launch social media channels, write blogs, make videos, etc. It sounds like a lot of work but it doesn’t have to be.
Re-purposing content is a technique that is widely used by freelancers and large companies alike. It looks something like this:
- Write a blog on a relevant topic, i.e. “How to Bake Blueberry Muffins.”
- Share that blog on social media
- Record a video of you demonstrating the techniques outline in the blog post
- Create an infographic with step-by-step instructions demonstrating the process
- Rip the audio from that video to make a podcast episode
- Share the video and podcast online
From writing one article on blueberry muffins you now have three pieces of content, each ideally suited for social media sharing. Don’t be afraid to re-use information. Remember, not everyone will see the video, read the article, or view the infographic.
Each online channel, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube has its own audience. There is some crossover, but each platform is uniquely suited for a specific type of content. Maybe your blueberry muffin lover doesn’t watch videos but they read blogs. Maybe they respond well to images but don’t listen to podcasts.
Learn To Ask For It
Few companies were founded, launched, and made successful without any help from anyone. From time to time, marketing your freelance business means you just need to ask for it. If you’re a freelance writer, that may be contacting a website you’d like to write for and asking if they accept submissions. If you’re a graphic designer, contact companies and see if they have projects they need worked on.
Reality: the absolute worst thing that will happen is that you won’t hear back from your outreach. The next worst thing is that they’ll say no. That’s it. If you’re going to be a freelancer, get used to hearing the word “no” because odds are you will hear it more often than yes.
But make the yeses count.