Can you feel that? It’s the weighty, inescapable burden of having to market yourself as a freelancer, resting heavy on your shoulders. Miss a beat and you could find yourself in a tight financial spot or stuck in a rut career-wise. With that in mind, we’ve schemed up some great ways to drum up businesses and create a bit of buzz around your product and your brand. Read on and swot up with these tips from our marketing team...
Find your USP
Marketing yourself is going to be nigh impossible without first knowing what it is you’ve got to sell. Yes, you’re a designer/wedding stationer/graphic designer/illustrator, but what makes you different from all those others in your industry? What’s your speciality? Finding this is key to the success of customer acquisition.
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but networking is a really great way to make friends in the industry and make yourself known in the right circles. An added bonus of networking is that if someone is approached for a job but isn’t a good fit for it, they can refer you instead and vice versa. Follow your new connections up online and on social networking sites for a more lasting relationship. No friendship bracelets necessary.
Choose your target market and go after it
Team this with our first idea (find your USP) and you’re laughing. Once you’ve isolated what makes you unique, you’ll start to have a better understanding of the kind of client attracted to your work. You can build a solid marketing strategy on top of this information.
Once you think you know who your customer is, try and introduce yourself into their circles; hand out some business cards and get their attention. Directly addressing your target market means better, longer lasting success, faster. Who doesn’t want that?
Get testimonials and client referrals
This works using the simple power of ‘social proof’; if others are doing it, I want to do it too. Having your business or services verified by others helps to build a strong case for potential customers looking around for a guaranteed good experience.
You can approach this in one of two ways. You can ask everyone who does business with you to provide a few words about their experience and knock potential customers dead with the sheer volume of testimonials you have, persuading others to get involved using the sheer power of ‘social proof’.
On the other hand, you can select customers that most resemble your target market (which you’ll know from getting stuck into step three of this blog post) and using their powerful testimonials to create a more suitable, loyal customer base.
This is the modern day equivalent of having a little black book or a rolodex. Having a Facebook, Twitter or Google+ account stuffed with potential contacts and customers is a valuable asset for relationship building and business growth. You can stay in touch with people you’ve met networking, share work you’ve done to increase your influence and spread customer testimonials and feedback. It all looks good when potential customers are checking you out, just remember to give adequate time to these sites a day and only create ones you think you’ll use. Inactive accounts and old content don’t look very good and will ultimately be a waste of your time.
This isn’t code for ‘spam’, at least not if you do it right. Firing out an information-packed newsletter once a month, or highlighting a new service or product never hurts, and is another way to help your customers stay engaged.
Surely building and designing an email will take weeks? No fear! Sites like MailChimp make it quick and easy for you to do your thing and will even provide stats to help you improve your strategy. Make sure that the content is interesting to those reading it, and you’ll be on to a winner.
This one’s fun as well as useful—generating relevant, interesting content for your customers to enjoy doesn’t just give them a greater connection to you and your brand, but also helps to improve your site SEO and gives you a voice within your industry. Make sure that you keep your posts regular (every Wednesday at midday, for example) so your customers know when to check back.
This is also a great one when linked up with your social media marketing strategy (step four, for those that skipped ahead) and can help you promote the new content and get that view count up.
Are you feeling invigorated with a new lease of marketing life? Good, now get your skates on and start selling your business!