Freelancing doesn’t come easy but offers plenty of benefits such as, flexibility, chance-to-be-your-own-boss and work across a diverse range of projects. I don’t write this as a freelance expert (I have no claims on that!) but as a marketing professional with advice for marketing your brand.
I will start by saying that marketing yourself is a tough assignment and this is with all of my knowledge of marketing theory and practice. So whether you do or don’t have marketing experience you are likely to be exploring new ground with brand ‘you’. Here are my tips for getting your brand out there:
1) Assess yourself
It is important to fully understand your skills and identify what makes you unique. Draw up a basic SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) to see what you have to work with. Use the ‘Opportunities’ section to consider areas you could develop with training or work experience.
Focusing on your ‘Strengths’, number each one you have listed to indicate which you believe is your strongest (#1) down to the weakest of your strengths. This may seem like a strange exercise but it will bring your Best Selling Point (BSP) to the fore. Pin this list to a wall because this is the information you will use to market yourself.
2) Check out the competition
You may know your BSP but it is important to be sure people want what you are selling. Take a good look at the people out there offering similar services, see what they are promoting and how they do it. Jump into groups that include the kind of people you believe are looking for your services and see what questions they are asking. Add a post telling the group you are setting up as a freelancer and ask if your services would be of interest to them.
3) Create your identity
Now you know what you need to communicate, you require an identity that will help people find and remember you. This may require a small investment but a strong identity will serve your freelance business well. For your identity consider the following:
- Your business name
- Brand logo, colours, font
- Offline – business cards, letterhead, presentation template
- Online – Domain name for website, blog and social media
Before settling on a name, consider how it will work as a domain name for your website and how it will appear on smaller formats such as business cards and social media icons. A name that indicates what you do is a great way to be found online. Unless you have design skills it is likely that you will need to pay for this expertise (a great way to utilise a fellow freelancer!). Your name and logo is your brand identity. Work this into your website, blog and social media so that all of your communication channels look consistent.
4) Market your brand
Armed with marketable skills and brand identity, you are ready to get yourself out there. Allocate time in your work schedule for marketing yourself as this will be a continuous process. In the first instance you will have to invest a good bit of time to get established which can be reduced once your business goals have been met.
- a) Website
This is your key selling tool, make sure it looks great and communicates exactly what you can do for your customers. Link back to your website as much as you can because this will help to increase the number of visits you receive. If you can keep up to a blog, this is a great way to attract people to your website. Use copywriters to help with content should you need help.
- b) Social Media
Just like your website, ensure your chosen social media pages are looking good and get busy with your posts. If you are running a blog, announce new articles and don’t be afraid to share relevant 3rd party information – give them credit too! Join in conversations with targeted people and organisations to get your business noticed. Be sociable and regularly interact to grow your following.
- c) Network
Online or offline, all networking activity is useful for marketing yourself. Search for relevant groups online and join discussions to share expertise and learn new things. Always be gracious and help others to promote products or services you have found useful.
Go for it!
It has never been a better time to be a freelancer with so many marketing tools freely available. The biggest investment you will need to make is your time, it may feel slow at first but results will begin to show. As I said at the beginning, you may not find marketing yourself easy but develop a brand personality that you can jump into and make sure as many people as possible know you are there.
This blog was guest-written by Rebecca Greenwood
Freelance marketing expert, approved copywriter and social media manager.