Are You Making These 8 Marketing Mistakes?
It’s the beginning of a new year and you have decided to get serious about marketing yourself as a freelancer. Congratulations—that’s half the battle.
You have a lot of work ahead of you, and I found some tips in this article by Steve McKee for businessweek.com that will help you avoid some pitfalls. I’ve taken these tips and turned them towards the freelancing crowd, so you can make quick use of them.
Aiming at Everyone
My bet is that you are a freelancer who has a niche. Perhaps you work to help small businesses build a web presence, write articles about health and medicine, or work as a fashion photographer. Realize you can’t be all things to all people. If you are a wedding photographer, you need to market yourself to couples who are planning a wedding…and forget the rest.
Aiming at everyone is an oxymoron; the best marketers understand that by narrowing their target audience they can increase the intensity of their brand’s appeal, piquing interest and driving margins. You’re better off being the first choice of 10 percent of the population than being one of 10 options for everyone.—businessweek.com
Betting on Rationality
Don’t try to convince your prospects; connect with them. They’re depending on their gut more than you realize. —businessweek.com
This is where client engagement comes into play. You want to subtly sell yourself. Don’t spend hours on social media outlets selling yourself to everyone—people will stop listening. Offer advice and share your expertise rather than shove your agenda.
Getting Seduced by the New
Have you ever bought a new piece of technology only to find the next best thing comes out on the market days later? There will always be new marketing and media options out there, but do you really want to be the first person to try them out? Heck, I don’t even have a Google+ account yet! Instead of jumping in head first to any new options, keep using what works for you while you conduct some research into the new options.
Advertising Your Aspirations
Of course you want to be number one at everything you do—but if you advertise your aspirations, you are asking people to catch you failing at them. And when you do, there are unlimited ways for people to spread the news that you aren’t “keeping your promises”.
Aspirations are, by definition, promises that can’t be fully kept. Don’t announce them, just try to live by them—use them within the walls to rally your troops but don’t let them escape to rouse the ire of your customers. —businessweek.com
Following the Leader
I liked this advice: Don’t try to be better. Just be different. There will always be competition out there. Focus on doing what you do to the best of your ability. There will always be someone with cheaper rates, who works longer hours, and gives up a lot for seemingly a little. As a freelancer, you might not be able to match the claims of your larger competitors. This is where you offer your clients something the other guys can’t, like more personal customer service.
Starving the Budget
You have to get the message out about your business somehow, and you may have to spend a little money to do it. Paid advertising isn’t right for everyone, but it could be worth it to spend some money on a consultant to help you figure out the best way to market yourself.
As a freelancer, you probably don’t have your own marketing team—and unless you are a marketing professional yourself, there is always something you can learn from someone else. You could hire someone to work on your SEO or help you create a social media marketing plan that you can implement yourself. Don’t rule it out—work it into your budget.
It’s amazing how much time and money companies spend getting their acts together, only to succumb to stage fright when it’s time for the curtain to rise. —businessweek.com
The same goes for freelancers. Plans are great to have, but until you take them from the paper and do something about it, they aren’t worth much. Know that not everything you try will work for you, but you don’t know what works (or doesn’t) unless you try.