Every freelancer learns that income is never guaranteed. Having a steady pipeline of clients is the key to growing a business that is financially strong and sustainable.
To make this happen, you have to be effective at reaching new audiences and showing potential clients you have something of value to offer them. Think about it from the client’s perspective. Does it make more sense to hire an obscure, unknown freelancer or someone with a strong brand reputation?
Proactive marketing is what sets successful freelancers apart from struggling ones. Give these proven freelance marketing tips a try to expand your audience and attract more business.
Optimize Your Online Presence
Most consumers start their research online, whether they’re buying goods or services. You can gain a wealth of new business simply by creating a website that ranks well in search engines. Picture the internet as a crowded airport brimming with traffic. Using search engine optimization (SEO) is like holding up a welcome sign to help your clients navigate the chaos and find what they need.
Start with keyword optimization. Research phrases that relate to your business and place them strategically on your website and social media profiles. What questions bring visitors to your website? What specialized services and expertise do you offer? What geographic base do you serve?
Instead of focusing on short, highly competitive keywords, try to rank for long-tail keywords with less search volume. For example, you won’t have much success ranking on the first page of search results for broad keywords, such as makeup artist. The phrases “wedding makeup artist in Chicago” and “prom makeup artist in Dayton” are more specific, so your business is more likely to show up in relevant searches.
Keep Your Google Business Profile Updated
Local searches offer a considerable advantage to self-employed professionals who own a physical store or do business in person. More and more, consumers are using location-based searches to find solutions quickly and close by.
Google reported a 900 percent increase in mobile searches for products and services “near me today/tonight” between 2015 and 2017. Searches containing variants of “can I buy” with “near me” went up 500 percent during the same period.
By setting up a Google My Business profile, you can make sure potential customers have the most up-to-date info about your business. Your profile can include:
- Business hours
- Directions and map
- Customer reviews
- Website and phone links
- Links to posts
Not only does this service make your business details concise and easily searchable. It also allows you to make a strong first impression because online visitors have all the information they need to contact you or move forward with a purchase.
Gather and Respond to Reviews
Consumers trust the opinions of past clients more than they trust your marketing claims. The great news is your past successes can keep working for you. Always ask customers to leave a review shortly after a purchase when the experience is fresh on their minds.
Reviews offer proof that you consistently work hard to please your customers. Even negative reviews give you a chance to show clients that you’re listening to their feedback and committed to doing better. When you make the extra effort to respond to reviews, customers are more likely to trust you and give your business the benefit of the doubt after a poor experience.
Design a Memorable Logo
Boost brand recognition by creating a unique logo for your business and using it across all your marketing channels. Visuals can strengthen brand recognition. The more you use your logo on different media, the easier it is for clients to distinguish your business from close competitors.
Logos are increasingly important online. It’s common for web users to scan their email inboxes and social media feeds for messages and posts about their favorite brands. Having a trusted, recognizable logo gives your brand more visibility in environments where it’s incredibly easy to be overlooked.
Plan a Content Strategy for Your Blog
Business blogging isn’t about sharing your hopes, dreams, and random musings for fun. The real goal is to win people over through the personality and authority of your brand. To build a steady readership, you need to offer:
- Timely, relevant topics
- Actionable tips and advice
- An engaging point of view
- Original content and media
Make sure each post offers something useful to the reader. Develop a large content base by talking to your clients about common challenges they face and factors that motivate their buying decisions. You should plan your content calendar around seasonal events that affect you and your customers.
Vary the length and type of content you post to keep readers interested. Long, comprehensive guides and lists encourage visitors to stay on your site, which earns you backlinks and higher search rankings. Whenever possible, conduct your own studies and interviews to differentiate yoru blog from the countless sites online. After all, you want people to see you as an expert with firsthand knowledge in your field, not as as copycat.
Most importantly, promote your blog on popular social media sites, such as LinkedIn and Twitter. The hours you spend researching and writing won’t matter if no one is reading or sharing your posts.
Start an Email Subscriber List
Make your content strategy twice as effective by letting clients know when you post something new. Email marketing is a good way to keep your business top of mind throughout the year. You can notify subscribers of sales promotions, industry news, professional tips — whatever content they find engaging.
Take a look at your own inbox for inspiration and branding tips. Pay attention to the types of headlines and visuals other companies use to grab attention.
For added efficiency, you can track which types of content perform well and organize subscribers into groups, so recipients only receive messages that are relevant to them. Segmenting your list helps to retain subscribers, since you aren’t bombarding readers with emails they don’t want.
Share Your Expertise on Q&A Sites
While self-promotion doesn’t come easily to everyone, discussing topics you’re passionate about may feel more natural. Channel your passion for your business into answering questions from people who can benefit from your expertise.
Q&A websites, such as Quora and Answers.com, allow you to reach a vast audience of people who are interested in niche topics. In addition to being featured on Q&A pages, in-depth, well-thought answers often land at the top of search engine results.
You can include a brief description of what you do at the top of your posts and add relevant links, making it easy for people to learn more about you. Your popularity increases the more you write informative and helpful answers, which can eventually drive large amounts of traffic to your site. If you want to reach a highly focused audience, write answers on niche sites that cater to specific industries, such as Askbot or Avvo.
The key to a powerful marketing plan is to continually evaluate your strategy and figure out what works. Not every tactic is right for your business, so you shouldn’t waste effort on marketing channels that don’t yield results.
Look to your current customer base for insight on how to improve your strategy. By surveying your clients, you can find out what led them to your business and optimize your marketing performance.