Many freelance consultants have a rather hit-or-miss approach to marketing their services. In truth, quite a few consultants do not learn to market themselves in the early days of their businesses because they are lucky enough to start out with business in hand.
That is, they leave a corporate environment, only to do their first few projects for their former employer. They moonlight until a solid long-term project comes along, so that when they give up their day job, they don’t have to do any selling.
Eventually, of course, they run as far as they can on their existing network and referrals and they have to start getting the word out about what they can do for new clients. They read a lot of books and blogs, and even take some seminars, on how to market themselves. They collect a lot of good ideas, maybe even plan some good steps toward building visibility and earning trust among their target prospects.
But I often see some unspoken assumptions underlying the details of those marketing action plans, myths about how marketing works that seriously undermine the results consultants achieve. In my work helping consultants be more effective in marketing and selling their services, I have seen several of these myths over and over again, perhaps because in some ways, freelance consultants are particularly susceptible to these assumptions. Continue Reading
If you want to be found online these days, you have to invest at least a little time into search engine optimization — effectively telling search engines what search terms your site should show up for.
Trying to show up just for the word ‘freelancer’ isn’t going to cut it. Companies like Freelancer.com have that particular word sewn up in just about every search engine. If you search for the word ‘freelancer,’ it’s rare to get the name of an actual freelancer, including in personalized search results in search engines like Google. Continue Reading
Looking for a new client? The FreelanceSwitch job board is a great resource of freelance gigs and opportunities. These opportunities are in various fields, from development to writing to design, and come from a wide range of potential clients. The job board is hand-moderated by dedicated staff and volunteers from the freelance community.
Each week, we’ll feature a selection of the best job opportunities posted for the week. This week, we’re featuring jobs in Programming, Web Design, Web Development and more!
Many creative freelancers struggle in their businesses because they don’t do enough promotion.
Face it, promotion doesn’t have the greatest reputation. It’s as if you’re supposed to don a promotion hat that turns you into one of those overly gregarious car salesmen.
Well, here comes Alex Mathers from a help site for creatives called the Red Lemon Club. His advice for the rest of us? Promote less.
If you’ve been freelancing for a while, you probably already know that you often have to juggle several projects at a time. That’s not to say that you necessarily have to multi-task, but simply need to manage overlapping task schedules.
The more successful your freelance career is, the more likely it is that you’ll have to manage multiple tasks simultaneously. They might be part of a single big project or parts of several smaller projects. Continue Reading
Many clients just don’t feel comfortable if they aren’t constantly in touch with you. Of course, there are also the clients who assign you a project and then drop off the face of the planet until the deadline.
I’ve found, though, it’s better to assume that you’re working with the type of client who wants the most from you, particularly when it comes to communication. That way you can actually build a workflow that requires you to put very little effort into keeping your clients up to date.
Sending out status emails, asking for specific information you need from a clients, reminding stakeholders for deadlines — all of these can be time-consuming tasks, as well as incredibly repetitive. You probably have similar questions during each of the similar projects you work on. So why not automate at least some of the communications flow to your clients? Continue Reading
You don’t want to make yourself out to have experience you lack. But at the same time, you don’t want to give away that you’re a greenhorn.
The best course of action is to focus on your strengths and present yourself concisely and professionally. Remember, pros write one sentence or two about themselves as a bio — and in my experience, new freelancers write two paragraphs or more.
If you pitch right, your lack of experience may never come to light and you’ll have the best chance of getting the gig.
Whatever you do, don’t run afoul of these common problems I’ve seen in new freelancer’s prospecting pitch letters:
1. Highlight what you lack
Common examples of this approach include:
“I don’t have any samples yet.”
If you don’t, you don’t — definitely don’t pretend you have a bunch of clips if you have yet to do even a free sample for a pro bono client.
But why go out of your way to specifically mention it? You’ll be surprised how many prospects might not even ask to look at your portfolio before they hire you.
For freelance writers especially, a well-written letter of introduction or query letter may just get you the gig on its own merits. So if your portfolio isn’t in great shape, simply don’t bring it up.
2. Broadcast that you’re a newbie
I know writers and designers who have years of work under their belt at staff jobs. Then, when they start freelancing, they feel all insecure about their credibility. Not sure why, but if you’ve done this work in any context, you have experience.
Which is why you never want to volunteer a statement like:
“I’ve only been freelancing for a few months.”
That’s not really relevant, and certainly not putting your best foot forward. What’s important is whether you can show you could do the assignment.
So stress any related experience you have, not how long you’ve been a freelancer. Continue Reading
It’s rare that a client will decide right off the bat to hand you a big project: most people want to test the waters with a new freelancer, spend some time considering the project and generally get a better sense of how things are going to work out. Sometimes, a client is even willing to wind up with a time crunch to get that opportunity.
But what if you could start your clients out on some smaller purchases — projects that aren’t as likely to stress them out with big budgets and even bigger decisions.
The secret is to create a sales funnel: by leading your clients through multiple sales, you can build up a long-term relationship that creates the trust your clients need. Continue Reading
You’re offering a service that’s in demand. You know who your potential clients are. You’re engaging on Facebook as I outlined in my previous post.
If you’re doing all these, your Facebook fanbase will grow. But what next?
Marketing consultant C. J. Hayden refers to marketing as a pipeline. Once a client is in your pipeline, you follow up with them, make a presentation of your services, and (hopefully) close the sale. But before you can do any of that you must fill your pipeline with prospects. You do this through your sales funnel.
Your Facebook Page is an online hub for collecting contacts to pour into your sales funnel. It’s a good place to make first contact before pulling prospects deeper into your pipeline.
In this post, I outline some advanced strategies you can use to fill your pipeline on Facebook. These include strategies to:
- Boost engagement directly on your Facebook Page, in a way that helps you cultivate qualified leads, and move prospects towards becoming clients.
- Use your Facebook Page as a networking and outreach tool. With this strategy, you’re not simply expecting clients to come to you. You’re going to them.
For many of us heavily invested in eCommerce, the an economic recession has one positive spin: it bolsters and quickens our culture’s direction online. We are increasingly moving to the Web not just for product research, but actual browsing and buying. This year, more shoppers are comfortably online for all the reasons we expect: 24/7 access, no lines, gas prices, convenience.
In terms of marketing, online sales success is also thanks to well-crafted offers and promotions like free shipping and discounts that quickly expire. These are delivered through the simple, workaday effort of links in emails. Despite issues with spam, email is still a hardworking champion for sales and currently the ultimate marketing delivery vehicle for an online audience.