One thing that every freelancer can agree on, regardless of the industry you’re in, is that in your freelance career, you’ll be spending a fair amount of time marketing your services, especially in the beginning. And conincidentally in the beginning of your freelance career, you’ll also be bootstrapping your marketing efforts as much as possible in order to keep your overhead costs low and allow your business to grow without spending a lot of cash on the business.
So today we’re going to give you 10 marketing tips that you can use to promote your freelance business and get some added marketing boosts throughout the web and locally as well. Some of the below marketing tips are free for you and others might cost a few bucks, but there’s always one constant amung them all – they’re geared towards getting you additional clients for your freelance design business.
Here we go.
Give away free stuff
Yes, it’s an old marketing method and yes, the free marketing method has been saturated by less-than-stellar products, but that’s the true beauty of this tactic – if you do great work and you give something away for free that’s equally as great, you’ll stand out from the crowd and draw a lot of attention and links to your business.
Everything from free icon sets to WordPress themes and more can be given away and in turn, draw new eyes to your business. And yes, freelancers hire other freelancers, so if you’re giving something away that helps another freelancer out (free icon set, free font, etc), you could possibly get new business from within your own network.
Your car is a great source to utilize in your marketing efforts. In your drive way, people see it. You drive and people see it. You park at a store and people see it. Why not get some use out of it (you know, other than getting you from point A to point B) and turn your car into a motorized marketing machine.
And no, I’m not talking about the cheap looking white bumper stickers with your website printed on them, but nicely designed decals you can get printed and placed on your car’s back or side windows. Luckily for your boostrapping efforts, you can get a nice custom window decal from Vistaprint for under 10 dollars.
Write a free guide
This works especially well as a free marketing tactic because you position yourself as a knowledgable source in your field in the eyes of other freelancers and also potential clients. Do you design blogs? Write a free guide on how to get more traffic to your blog or give a step by step guide on how to set up your first blog, upselling your services at the end of the guide.
Blog, blog, blog
Step one will be to have your own blog revolving around your target market. You design blogs? Great. Go write a blog about blogging. If you design websites for a specific niche market, write a blog about that niche market so that way your readers turn into potential leads.
Blogging for other peoples blogs (guest posts) is another great way to blog your way onto the monitors of your potential clients. Maybe you don’t want to write a blog dedicated to your target market, but I bet you can find 5-10 blogs in your niche that you can write a thorough guest post for which will, again like the free guide, position you as a knowledgeable person in your niche and add credibility to your business.
Wear your brand
Do you find yourself running errands a lot or out at social functions? If you leave your house at least once per day, you may be missing out on an opportunity to promote your business without even having to say a word to anybody.
T-shirts are a cost effective way for you to wear your brand and promote your business everywhere you go and with a multitude of print on demand websites like cafepress and zazzle, you’re about to get your own t-shirt without much hassle at all.
Socialize with your target market
As freelancers, we all know that sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ are great for interacting with other freelancers, sharing links, etc. But why aren’t you utilizing social media to interact with your target market? Instead of using Twitter to talk to other freelancers, use it to discuss things your target market is talking about.
Utilize the search function and find people on Twitter talking about things you can help them with. For instance, You could search the #WordPress hash tag along with the #help hash tag and find people who are asking questions about WordPress and then answer every question you can. Instinctually, the person will check your profile out, click your link and BOOM! a new potential client.
Hold a free seminar
If you design websites for a living, why not put on a “basics of running a website” seminar at a local coffee shop for free. Speak for 20-30 minutes about the basics, then spend another hour or so fielding questions and interacting with the people that are attending.
Not only will you put yourself in a position of high knowledge about website building, but you’ll also be implanting the seeds in the minds of those people who may need further teaching, which you could turn into a side business to earn extra cash in order to fund other aspects of your business.
Plus, by putting on the event at the coffee shop, you could talk the owner into giving you free coffee in exchange for the added business you’re attracting to their place of business
Offer something extra
One thing you could do if you’re meeting clients locally is to offer them free coffee or a free meal in exchange for having a meeting with you about your business. The $20-30 it might cost to feed you and a potential client is a small amount compared to the sale you could close before the meal is over. And who can refuse a good meal or a good beer, right?
Another thing you could offer when you’re reaching out to potential clients is 6 months of free hosting in exchange for the meeting – even if they don’t hire you. Get yourself a reseller account at a hosting company like Hostgator and you’re set to give away hosting in exchange for the meeting. If you’re a good enough salesperson, by the end of the meeting, you’ll have a new client and at the very least you have a potential hosting sale after 6 months when they need to renew their plan with you.
Join a forum
There’s a million forums out there (realistically, many more than a million but you get the point) and I can almost guarantee that your target market for clients are hanging out on forums right now. Go to Duck Duck Go (or Google if you don’t care about #Prism) and search for forums your niche and start ineracting with them.
Don’t spam the forum with your services, but talk to people and be genuinely helpful in your responses to people. Make sure you add your website link to your signature and you’ll reap the benefits of SEO that you get from the linnk as well as the eyes of potential clients seeing your link under a well thought out reply.
Comment on blogs
For all of the same reasons as above, you need to comment on blogs to get the SEO benefits as well as the benefit of people seeing your great replies (always leave great replies or it’s worthless).
Commenting on blogs of potential clients is a great way to get on their radar without ever having to mention what you do for a living. As a blog owner myself, I can vouch for the fact that most, if not all, blog owners will check out the sites of people leaving comments on our blogs.
Search for “______ blog” in your favorite search engine and find blogs to comment on that are in your target market.
Now that you’ve got 10 new ways to market your freelance design business and zero excuses not to, what do you plan on doing today to market your freelance business?