9 Often Overlooked Ways to Market Your Freelance Business

9 Often Overlooked Ways to Market Your Freelance Business

Marketing your freelance business can often be frustrating. You’re already busy trying to make ends meet, and it just seems like there’s not enough time to do everything you know you need to do.

There’s no “magic formula” to making marketing easy – you just have to do it. But lucky for you, there are simple, often-overlooked techniques you can use that take just minutes to put into practice.

Here are 9 of them. Have you tried everything on this list?

Your Email Signature

This marketing tactic is deceptively simple but definitely one that’s most commonly overlooked. I ignored it myself, initially. But once I set up a great email signature, guess what happened?

I had a new client in less than a week.

In your email settings, find the section where you can add an email signature and set one up. Include your name, your profession, your website, your phone number and the link to your preferred social media profiles.  If your business has a tag line, include that too.

Yes, even on your personal email account as well.

Don’t forget that most forums have a “signature” option as well.  For any forum profile or account you have, use this feature. Every time you post a message, you’ll be marketing easily.

Without even thinking about it.

Your About Page

Most About pages make big assumptions that your readers know who you are and what you do. It’s easy to overlook what seems obvious to you.

It’s rarely obvious to new visitors on your site.

So edit your About page and add that you’re a freelancer for hire. Mention your speciality, how long you’ve been freelancing (if you’ve been doing it for more than two years), what kind of clients you work with, and why you’re qualified for the job.

Don’t just assume that your reader knows you’re looking for clients – make it completely 100% obvious you’re available for hire.

Your Hire Me Page

On your About page, you told readers you’re looking for clients.  On your Hire Me page, you explicitly ask for the sale.

Sometimes clients need that extra little step in order to make the hiring decision. So include specifics about your services and tell people what they’ll get from you.

And like any other sales page, state how you can help your client’s business. Show how you’ve helped other clients succeed, the results you can bring, and include testimonials – the whole shebang.

Your Hire Me page is also a good place to mention important working terms and conditions.  You may want to limit it to the most important three points though, because you don’t want to look difficult to work with or scare clients off.

Lastly, make sure there’s an easy way to contact you on that page.  Web forms (like Gravity Forms) are great for this.

Your Portfolio

Sure, you have a few clients under your belt, but are you showing prospective clients that work up front?

Prospective clients naturally love to see samples of your work. Personally, I love portfolios because they often speak for themselves. It’s also easy to send potential clients a link to your portfolio.

You can create a portfolio on your own website with links to your work, or you can use a service like contently.com. It picks up the images from your published work, including an excerpt, and displays it on your own unique portfolio page.

The result is a professional and visually appealing portfolio.

Wait a minute!  You’re just starting out? Got nothing to show?  That’s fine!  You can still create your own portfolio by doing some mock-ups of your own. A portfolio shows what you can do – it doesn’t just have to show what you’ve been paid to do!

Your Personal Network

Your friends and family already know that you have a freelance business.  But they may have no idea what you actually do until you explain it to them – and once they know, they can be your best referral network ever.

Send a short email to your friends and family—including your mom. Tell them about your freelance business and go into detail about what you do. Tell them what type of work you’re looking for.  Show them you’re serious by giving them examples of your work.

Then ask them to refer you to anyone in their circle who might be looking for a freelancer like you. They will – these people want you to succeed!

Your Social Media Profiles

How long has it been since you updated your profiles?  Yeah, I don’t think about that often either.  But social media profiles do get outdated and often need refreshing.

So make sure your social media profiles are completely up to date and clearly state you’re a freelancer for hire.  Update your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+ profiles – keep going until you’ve updated every account you have.

And don’t just update them with pretty words – link to your website, blog, portfolio or any other relevant pages that help get you hired. (A well-written Hire Me page would work fantastically!)

Your Client Search

Searching through job boards or help-wanted ads can turn up new clients quickly. Set a timer for 15 minutes each day and browse through ads, applying to ones that interest you. My personal favourites are FreelanceSwitch and Problogger. If you’re in a pinch, you can also try Craigslist.

But be careful – job board searches can take those minutes and stretch them into hours easily. You don’t always have that kind of time on your hands.

An alternative is to set up a Google Alert to email you updates revolving around a keyword or phrase that you’re interested in and that relates to what you offer.  You can limit your search to a single site (which is helpful for open job boards) or search the entire internet, if you’d like.

Your Local Queries

Yes, local means actual brick-and-mortar businesses and companies in your area.  It’s obvious – your potential clients could be just down the street!

But they can’t hire you unless they know you’re available, right?

So introduce yourself. Start with your immediate neighbourhood. Use Foursquare and find out the businesses listed in your neighbourhood. Go to their website, look up the required information and walk through their doors with a smile and a business card.

If this idea gives you the willies, send them a simple email. Tell them about yourself, including who you are and what you do (link to your portfolio!). In-person contact is great, but emails often work just as well.

Your Referrals

We all know that the best marketing is word of mouth.  Have you asked your customers to tell others about you?

Contact clients who are extremely happy with your work and ask if they’d be willing to refer you to anyone looking to hire a freelancer. As a perk, you could even offer a referral discount or bonus to encourage your clients.

At the very least, this request gives you the opportunity to ask how your client is doing and if he needs any work from you. You might be surprised to hear yes!

Fly Your Freelancer Flag High

No one can know about your freelance business unless you tell them.  And telling people about your business is marketing. You don’t need a big campaign or a time-consuming strategy.

You just need to hustle a little.

Start telling people you’re for hire. Don’t be ashamed of it. Stand on top of the Empire State Building and shout it out!

Or make sure you’ve tried each of these nine tips and have each one announce it to the world for you.

Post by James Chartrand

The concept for this post was originally submitted by Samar Owais and was jointly contributed to by in-house blogger and editor Kari Wolfe, James Chartrand and Samar herself. Thanks to all involved!