Marketing yourself effectively is an essential tool for the successful freelancer and it does not have to cost the earth either.

As a freelancer moving from role to role, your portfolio and image will become your strongest selling tool. It can demonstrate your successes and highlight your experience and expertise, giving your clients confidence in your work. Look on yourself as a product that is continually developing and evolving and regularly needs refreshing.

They will also provide an invaluable first impression your freelancing capabilities and should be utilised effectively to secure business.

Marketing isn’t just for big business, it can work for freelancers too. Some areas to consider are below:

1. Keep your potential clients in mind

When preparing your freelance marketing literature, approach it from your potential clients’ point of view, how it is going to benefit them? Above all, make sure messages are short, concise and meaningful for your potential clients.

It is probably the golden rule of marketing. Buying decisions are not just based on price and features but on what it will actually do. For instance people don’t buy Worcester sauce for its combination of vinegar, garlic and spices but because it compliments cheese on toast. When preparing your marketing literature try and approach it from your potential customer’s point of view, how it is going to benefit either them personally or their business.

2. Review your website

  • Google Analytics: If your website acts like a shop window, as we are often told it does, then Google Analytics is the rough equivalent of following your customers round a store, note book in hand recording everything they look at, pick up or actually buy and collecting all information for future review. You can track where visitors came from, what they looked at and how long they stayed on individual pages and the site as a whole. This has obvious benefits when assessing which web directories, banner ads or pay per clicks are working and gives you accurate data to base further investment decisions on. Plus, it's free!
  • Your website: The best planned marketing can fall down with the slightest of errors. An incorrect email, telephone number or website address can negatively affect both the response rate and the customer's impression of your business. Spelling mistakes can make you seem careless and poorly-structured sentences make it harder to get your point across. One of the most common reasons why this happens is that people proof material they wrote themselves, therefore reading what they intended to write rather than what is actually on screen. Always ask someone else to read your material prior to production or distribution.

3. Advertising

It is essential to measure the success of your chosen media for advertising. Tie your advertising into a special offer or promotion, set up a separate email address, telephone number or link to a specific webpage so you can see if and how it is working. If business is down don't assume advertising will turn things around, make sure it works before committing to a long-term campaign. Never pay rate card.

4. Use PR

PR can be one of the most effective ways of promoting your business and if you get it right it doesn't have to cost the earth. The secret to successful PR is to approach the piece from the editor's point of view rather than your own. By and large they will not be interested in promoting your business but they are interested in newsworthy material. Rather than talk about launching a new product, talk about what it can do for the industry on the whole or what you are doing for the launch. Attention-grabbing headlines, summarising all the crucial information in the first paragraph and providing striking photography can all help get your information in print. E-mailings

5. Direct Marketing

Traditional direct marketing can be very expensive, not only producing the materialsbut also the postage, using a fulfilment house or the cost of staff time stuffing envelopes. E-mailings can prove to be a more cost effective means of reaching your customers; however in this day and age of 'spam' it is increasingly harder to get your emails read. The key is really to only send out materials when you have something to say. When producing your mail remember people are unlikely to scroll down, so place all the crucial information at the top and always give people an easy means through which to 'opt out'. The subject line is what can really grab peoples attention but try and avoid using misleading lines such as 'new business enquiry' as achieving short-term success – i.e. the number of people that open it as a result will be offset by the loss of integrity you will suffer.

6. Try before you buy

If you are looking at doing any form of direct marketing always test your list and materials first. Prior to undertaking a wider scale campaign, pick a smaller representative sample and send that out first, follow the materials up with a phone call and see what sort of feedback you can get. At this stage it is still possible to tweak your message and information you send prior to hitting a wider audience.

Make sure your CV stands out from the crowd and includes the skills and expertise you have gained that will give you the edge. Keep it clear and concise, and most importantly relevant.

Useful Resources

Marketing Yourself