How to promote your freelance business when you’re just starting out
Building a freelance business may be both an exciting and overwhelming process. Sometimes it can become especially challenging, for example if you lack relevant experience in areas that are key to keep your business blooming. One such area is marketing.
Without regular paying clients you won’t be able to keep your business afloat. Finding the first clients is not an easy task, but there are many strategies that you can use to promote your services:
1. Make sure everyone around knows what you do
Word-of-mouth publicity is the best publicity you can get. Most people trust recommendations received from their family, friends and colleagues, so make sure your family and friends know what you do. Maybe they won’t need your graphic design, IT or translation services, but at some point they may hear the question: “Do you know any good photographer/designer/developer/translator?”. If they’re familiar with your business profile, they’ll be able to recommend your services and maybe help you gain a loyal client.
But that’s just a beginning.
The biggest reward is when your customers give you positive reviews. Every time you complete a project for a new customer, ask for a short review that you could place on your website or social media profile. That’s how you can showcase your value and prove that your brand can be trusted. In fact, customers read an average of seven reviews before they decide to purchase a product or service, so the more positive reviews you have, the bigger your chances of attracting new buyers.
Word-of-mouth is an invaluable strategy for growing any business, so make sure people talk well about you and your services. This step will be easy to achieve if you…
2. Always keep networking
The bigger your network is, the more chances you have that someone will recommend you. Of course, that’s not the only purpose of networking. When you visit networking events, workshops, conferences or seminars you also get an opportunity to expand your knowledge, grow your community, meet professionals with similar or complimentary skills, and discuss your ideas.
Maybe your conversations and skills will inspire someone to take the next step or maybe you’ll get motivated to take your business to a new level after chatting with other freelancers or small business owners.
A big network will also let you recommend other service providers to your customers if they need help with different tasks. It’s also useful when you need to team up with other professionals to collaborate on a bigger project. In this way you can add more value to your services and help your customers save time on searching for other professionals.
If you’re just starting out, making new connections may be a hard work. But over time your skills and confidence level will grow, so don’t let anything stop you from building your network. Entering a room full of people might be scary, but soon you’ll become that person who speaks with strangers effortlessly and shares their tips or advice with enthusiasm.
Successful networking doesn’t have to be face-to-face only. You can also attend online networking events or…
3. Engage with your potential customers on social media
That’s probably one of the cheapest and easiest way to draw more attention to your freelance business. The key to success is to build a strong online presence with consistent and regular engagement. Don’t expect to find regular customers straight away, but rather focus on a long-term approach. Regular status updates, comments or shares will help you drive traffic to your website, prove your expertise in the particular field, showcase your work, or more importantly – truly connect with your target customers or other professionals in your industry.
You can make a quick research first to check where your target customers hang out – what social platforms they use and what type of posts they share. For example, if your target users spend more time on LinkedIn, you’ll need to hang out there as well, if they prefer to use Instagram, you’ll need connect with them on that platform.
Even if you set up a professional profile on many platforms, choose one that will be dominant. This is where you should invest more time and effort to build valuable content followed by many people. It’s better to be successful with at least one platform than to have a small impact on several different platforms.
There are many ways in which you can promote your freelance business online and offline. Some strategies will be more challenging than others, but remember to try different methods, even if it means leaving your comfort zone. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. Very often it takes time to build new relations that could eventually help your business grow.
Over to you
What strategies do you use to promote your freelance services? Which method is the most effective for you?