It’s crucial to show prospective clients what you have to offer. However, again and again in our workshops, it is clear that many freelances are not marketing themselves well – often because they are not fitting in the time (amongst the many other tasks in our working day) to do so.
As I mentioned in blog 1 this month, the cycle of freelancing is constant and a regular review of your marketing activities and actions to develop new work leads is very much part of that cycle if you are to maintain career success.
Effective marketing tools
Like any business, you’ll benefit from establishing a marketing plan - it doesn't have to be complicated. Your overall strategy should ensure that you use the most effective tools that are available to you. Reviewing what you're doing on a regular basis and adapting accordingly will help:
- Make a list of the marketing tools you are using currently, e.g., cold calls, social media and networking
- Decide how you can improve those tools, e.g., schedule in specific time for cold calls, get on Linked In and attend at least one networking event per month
- Decide which tools work best for you and those that you can get rid of for the moment - it's important to use your resources efficiently, e.g., the networking events that I have been attending are fruitless so perhaps it's better to concentrate my efforts on social media and try to arrange one-to-one meetings instead
- Make a list of the tools that you think you should develop - perhaps you've heard about something specific that is working for other freelances, e.g., Twitter
- Make an action plan to amend your marketing tools over a given time period, e.g., three months (remember you'll need to fit this in with your other work so be realistic)
- Review the results of what you are doing to see which ones are working the best for you and so on...
Some popular marketing methods that many freelances find successful include:
Maintaining contacts – most freelances would put this at the top or very near the top of their list. It is crucial to keep up with your previous contacts and to continue to cultivate them. It’s far harder to get back in touch with a contact if you have not been in touch for a long time, so get into the habit of making regular contact. For example, a regular quick email just to remind them you are around.
CVs – ensure they are always focused to client needs. Emphasise the skills and experience that are most wanted for a particular occasion. Freelances should have various versions of their CV available, depending on what you want to sell/promote.
Cold calling – not a favourite task for many people but it is important to make new contacts that offer new avenues of work. Put some time in to research who you should target and what you can offer them. Try to find something specific from your work that would most grab their attention.
Website - keep it looking fresh and up-to-date. Otherwise, it may act against your interests if a client checks you out and sees that your last news entry or blog was three months ago.
Networking events – these can be great opportunities for making contacts. To make the most of them, set yourself some goals beforehand, e.g., to meet three people before you leave.
Social media – as a marketing tool, social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Linked In is becoming an increasingly important way to communicate with target audiences and shouldn’t be ignored as a marketing tool.
Want to learn more?
FEU Training is running a number of free marketing workshops around the country this autumn. If you would like to attend, look out for updates for workshops coming to your region or register your interest at firstname.lastname@example.org (if we have sufficient demand, we’ll come to you).