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
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.
Years ago, the idea of networking brought to mind stuffy business suits, too many cocktails, lots of artificial smiles and polite nodding. Then came the internet, allowing people to network from safety, tucked away behind their keyboard. With a sigh of relief, networkers gained newfound confidence and began mingling with almost anyone. The pressure to get out and attend face-to-face events diminished.
But there’s still something to be said for personal connections, and today, successful entrepreneurs are realizing that good, old fashioned meetings are still an important part of the recipe.
If you’ve spent years cultivating a strong presence on social media, don’t panic – social networking is, and will continue to be, an important part of your overall marketing campaign. But if it’s been a while since you’ve gone out and actively met with your prospects, it might be time to see what’s out there. Continue Reading
Previously, I shared some simple ways to find your first Facebook fans.
When you’ve got you’re first few likes on your Facebook Page, you’re ready to start getting to know your fans through Page updates, photos, videos and contests.
There are two main reasons for keeping your Facebook fans engaged:
- People are more likely to hire freelancers they know well. Engaged fans, who know you and your work through Facebook, will look to your business when they need a helping hand.
- The purpose of your Facebook Page is to spread the word about your business and pull in more prospects. Engaged fans will draw in their network to Like your Page, boosting the visibility of your business. It’s word-of-mouth marketing, but online.
You can find thousands of guides full of recommendations on how to excel on different online networking platforms. But to succeed as a freelancer, you need to have some old school skills as well.
Being able to network effectively in person can bring you great clients, some of whom may even be easier to work with because you know them better than someone who hired you online.
Make a Plan to Get Out
It’s easy to spend every hour of your day glued to your computer. In order to successfully network in person, however, you actually have to go out and meet people.
Try setting minimum expectations for yourself: attending one event each month or introducing yourself to a new person each week.
If networking events aren’t your thing, that’s fine. You can meet with people one on one or create other situations you’re more comfortable with. The important thing is to make a habit of regularly meeting new people, even if you’re just chatting up the person sitting next to you in the coffee shop.
Try setting minimum expectations for yourself: attending one event each month or introducing yourself to a new person each week. Start small, because it’s important to handle each new connection carefully — you want to build relationships with these individuals, rather than just collect a huge stack of business cards. You can always go out of your way to meet more people if you feel that you’re not moving fast enough. Continue Reading
As we approach the end of the year, it’s a good time to begin thinking about next year’s goals for your freelance business.
Maybe you’ve played your freelance marketing strategy loose so far in your freelancing business. Or maybe you have put together a roughly functional marketing plan in the past but want to improve upon those past efforts.
No matter your level of business marketing skills, building an effective marketing plan for the upcoming year is doable. It is also highly recommended as it will help you with your budget, marketing methods of choice, and results. Plus, you will feel much more confident and organized in your marketing efforts with a set of guidelines in place. Continue Reading
When you’re a new freelancer, it can seem impossible to get anybody to hire you. It’s easy to feel like you can’t get a job without experience, or experience without a job.
But you can break the cycle of being brand-new at this by marketing your budding freelance business. Concentrate on finding better-quality clients, and you can move up quickly and start earning a real wage.
Remember that every successful, six-figure freelancer out there today once started with no samples or experience. Somehow, they managed to build their portfolio and start getting lucrative assignments — and you can, too.
Which marketing strategies work for new freelancers? Here are my 10 best tips: Continue Reading
In this post, I show you how to increase likes on Facebook, drive Facebook fan engagement, and overall grow the number of your Facebook page fans. Learn how to get a bunch of Likes on your freelance Facebook page.
We’ll take a close look at the type of people you want to like your Page, and share tips and tricks for turning these people into engaged Facebook fans. Continue Reading
Facebook Pages, in Facebook’s own words, “give a voice to any brand, business or organization to join the conversation with Facebook users.” To engage on Facebook as a brand, business or freelancer, you need a Page. As Facebook puts it, “Everything you do on Facebook starts with your Page”.
In a Freelance Switch screencast I showed you how to create your Facebook Page, which covers basic facebook page setup.
Once you’ve created your page, you’re ready to configure it. That means getting a profile picture, a cover, and a vanity URL. It also means filling out your about page, and tweaking your Page settings. Continue Reading
Finding gigs isn’t hard for most of us; actually a lot of freelancers know what works for them in order to secure jobs. Over time, however, we can become so busy with the influx of gigs that we forget to continually market our businesses. We know it’s something that has to be done, yet, we don’t do it.
If you cease marketing your business, not only can that dry up your pipeline of incoming work; it can also be a detriment if you’re relying on new business so you can increase your rates over time.
Working with the same clients regularly can be fantastic, but if you are raising your costs like many freelancers do, it can be hard to constantly ask for an income boost. Many of us take on new projects and set our “new” rates with fresh clients, then grandfather in the old ones if we like them.
I have to admit, I think I am in a rut. After months of working hard on many projects and penning my third book, I’m not hurting for work–but I have let my marketing efforts fade a little. And while it’s nice to know that it’s not hurting my business, I know I can’t ignore the need to market myself forever. I have to refresh and reboot my marketing!
So I’m regrouping and thinking of some fresh ways to enthuse myself and revitalize the way I market what I have to offer. I’m using a combination of new tactics and inspirational ideas to get myself rolling again. And you can apply these same techniques to your freelance business too. Continue Reading