For most freelance business owners, success isn't about how well they do their job but rather how well they market themselves. You see, even if you're the most talented at what you do, it won't matter if no one knows you exist. Starting a freelance business takes a bit of effort, but by following the steps listed below, you can build a large client base in no time at all.
Starting a Freelance Business and Marketing it Right
If you're reading this, you're probably new to the freelance game, and you have no idea how to get started finding your first clients. That's okay. They will come. The trick is to figure out your plan and stay with it. There are several ways to target the right audience and let the world know you're open for business.
1. Always be where your customers are.
Whether it be online or off, your goal is to be in the forefront of your customers' minds. You want them to automatically think of you when they are looking for what you have to offer. Even if they aren't actively looking for your products or services themselves, you want them to recommend you to anyone they know who is. Use social media and print ads to get your name out there. Consider also the numerous benefits of direct marketing.
2. Take advantage of word of mouth advertising.
It costs you nothing. However, word of mouth advertising is a powerful tool because, once it gets started, it tends to take off exponentially. Your first few customers will refer you to their friends who have an even higher number of friends and so on. Treat your customers right, provide a valuable service or product, and your customers will do the work for you. Cultivate the kind of relationship with them that you can comfortably say, "Hey, if you enjoyed my services, give my business card to someone you know who might benefit from what I offer."
3. Learn email marketing.
Almost everyone has an email address these days, and most people check their email daily. This gives you an opportunity to insert yourself into their everyday lives with little effort. You can create email newsletters to send to current customers to keep them apprised of sales and specials, or you can send welcome emails to potential new customers who might be interested in what you have to offer. When you add clickable links back to your website in these emails, you make it extremely easy for people to find you.
4. Let it be known that you're an expert in your field.
As soon as possible, it's important you establish yourself as an expert in your field. You can do this by offering free consultations, giving workshops, providing informative and valuable content for your website or even writing a book. The more knowledge you share with your customers, the more they will see you as their one and only source in your niche.
5. Network, network, network.
Networking is something you should be doing all the time. Whether you're actively working, attending a neighborhood barbeque, or grocery shopping, there is always opportunity for networking. You never know when someone might need your services, so always be ready with a networking spiel.
6. Always have business cards on hand.
While all of the above methods are extremely important in starting a freelance business, one of the best ways to help people remember who you are is by giving them a customized business card. Business cards are tangible, and their design possibilities are virtually endless. They catch the eye of potential customers and give them something physical to refer to when they are in need.