Written by Kathy Rosemary
Freelancers are often considered as part geek, part artist individuals which in many cases lack the self-promoting gene. However, marketing is an integral part and practically bread and butter of being and independent worker. Although they say that ‘there is no such thing as bad advertising’, it is advisable to take your self-marketing strategy seriously. It should not be spammy, too expensive and annoying. On the contrary, it must be an organic part of your daily routine, do not affect your comfort zone and be implemented with the sense of style and art. Thus, below we have gathered the most essential self-marketing skills and tips every freelancer needs to know.
#1 Be confident and decisive
If you are a freelancer, no one is going to promote your services for you, unless you pay for it. Of course, there can be a ‘word of mouth’ ad, but it can’t guarantee a line of clients and a stable income. Therefore, you need to think up a strategy and stick to it to get the best results.
#2 Be respectful
It goes without saying that self-promoting is a rather tricky task, and it can be very burdensome for many people (especially the introverts) to brag and boast about all their talents and skills. It is important to be professional in your self-marketing, never cross the line and stay respectful.
#3 Be benevolent
Don’t hesitate to share your expertise with your community: impart your knowledge and experience by giving delicate advice on blogs and forums, or by commenting articles in newspapers and magazines. By doing so you will make other people notice your name and do further research about your profile and works. When offering your advice online you can also enhance your website’s SEO by posting backlinks to your web page. However, it is not recommended to post too many backlinks (you can be banned).
#4 Speak and you will be heard
There are many online and offline methods for self-marketing. People are still using traditional listings to find various services, employees or jobs: The Yellow Pages, Craigslist, the Freelancer Directory or LinkedIn to name a few. Moreover, this way of self-promoting will not cost you a penny.
#5 Stay tuned
You may have graduated from your school and university with honors, but you must never stop evolving. All spheres, especially the online businesses never stop evolving, therefore it is crucial to keep in pace with the latest accomplishments in your field and related domains. If you can show that you stay abreast of recent news in your sphere, you will make your customers know that you are passionate about your service. The clients always prefer to invest into business which is the freelancer’s cup of tea, but not just a part-time job.
#6 Be approachable
Make sure people can reach you when needed. Provide your clients with as many contacts as possible: your mobile phone number, skype name, email, as well as links to profiles on various business/freelance communities. Develop your communication skills.
#7 Learn to cowork
Coworking is in many cases the keystone of a successful freelancing. If you are in touch with people who work in a related field (for instance, if you are a copywriter you may cowork with content managers and SEO professionals).
The aforementioned skills will help you to plan your self-marketing strategy, and the tips mentioned below will be useful for hands-on experience.
#8 Make the most out of business cards
Business cards and stationery featuring your contact data are great offline marketing tools. Keep a stack of your business cards in a special case or card box on your desk so people know how to reach you when you are not there. The most beneficial are smart, easy-to-read and clean cards.
#9 Create a website or an online portfolio
A great website or an online portfolio speaks volumes to clients. A good website endows your services with a professional, reliable image. In addition to image, you will be able to furnish your accomplishments without need to attach heavy files to emails. In case you can’t afford creating a website, you can use one of the absolutely free site building services. Although their functionality may seem to be somewhat limited, it is enough for a simple portfolio).
#10 Attend events
Once you have great business cards, find places where you can distribute them. Attending events and various workshops must become a part of your job. Rub shoulders with as many people in your industry as possible, but don’t be a nuisance.
The most common mistake freelancers do in terms of self-promoting, is that they start their marketing campaigns during periods of down-time when their work ‘has dried up’. It’s wrong. In order to get a steady, high monthly income, you need to conduct smart self-promotion regularly.
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