Let’s face it, learning how to market your freelance business isn’t the easiest thing in the world. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s one of the hardest parts of being a freelancer.
But why is it so difficult?
Because it’s so damn relentless. Once you land a client, you have to start the process all over again to get another. It’s never-ending. It’s overwhelming. And it’s certainly made me want to give up one too many times.
If you’re anything like me, when you started freelancing you devoured every piece of content you could about how to get clients, how to market yourself, and how to build your business from zero to hero in as quick a time as possible.
But those methods that are shouted from the rooftops (or the keyboards of other freelancers)?
They take up so much time. You constantly have to be “on”, remembering to check job boards every day, sending out Tweets every day, and generally working in your business, rather than on it.
So what if I told you there is a way you can market your freelance business without having to set an alarm so you can be the first to submit applications to the ProBlogger job board?
You’d probably balk at me, right? “But Lizzie, this is just a part of freelancing. We have to be on it all the time, hustling hard every single day.”
“Hustle is an act of focus, not frenzy. Hustle is about subtraction and addition. It’s not about doing more, it’s about focusing on the things you need to do, in order to move your business forward.” – Jon Acuff, bestselling author of Do Over.
And yes, while I agree your hustle game needs to be on top form if you want to be a successful freelancer, you also need to cut yourself some slack on the marketing front.
That doesn’t mean you should give up entirely.
Oh no. We always need to be marketing, but marketing doesn’t necessarily mean doing little bits of this and that every day in the hopes that something will stick.
So instead of telling you 25 unique ways to market your freelance business that may or may not work for you, here are three core things you can do to get your marketing off the ground without burning out.
Market Your Freelance Business Without the Burnout
1. Determine Who Your Market Is
“By taking the time to find a profitable niche for your freelance business, you’re actively seeking out an industry and type of client that values quality. When you’re in a space that competes on quality, you’ll completely change the ways in which you sell your services.” – Ryan Robinson, founder of RyRob.com.
The very first stage in any marketing process, whether you’re a freelancer or a multi-billion-dollar company, is figuring out who your market is.
This goes much, much deeper than simply saying you want to target female business owners. You want to really get into their psyche and determine why they need your services and why you’re the person to help them out.
Ask yourself questions like:
- What does my target client do in their spare time?
- What are their biggest struggles in business?
- If they were a superhero, what superpower would they have?
- If they could click their fingers, what one thing would they change about their lives?
These kinds of open-ended questions really get to the nitty gritty of your target client’s pain points, and that’s where you need to be to begin to successfully market your freelance business.
Because once you know who you’re targeting?
Then you can figure out where they’re hanging out. For example, if you want to write for creative companies, head over to Instagram, where there are feeds filled with handmade art and creatives selling their wares all over the shop.
Look for Facebook groups where these people might be hanging out and asking questions, find forums where they might be creating discussions, and attend in-person events that are filled with your target client.
Once you start hanging out with them, you can start conversations with them, which leads on to the next step of the marketing process.
2. Provide Value
Once you’re in the inner circle of your target client, you can start showing them you know your stuff. If you’re in Facebook groups with them, you can answer their questions in detail, highlighting your expertise and helping them solve their pain points.
Why does this work?
Because when they have a problem, they instinctively look for an answer. And, if you’re there showing them how they can do that, you’re going to be on their radar.
What Value Looks Like
Value doesn’t just have to be answering questions. It can also be sharing your skills and knowledge in other ways.
Creating detailed blog posts that answer some of your target client’s biggest questions is a really great way to a) attract them to your site, where they’ll hopefully stick around and find out more, and b) build up your authority in your niche.
If you’re constantly blogging about how creatives can write great product descriptions (because that’s your niche and main service), you’re quickly going to become the go-to person for it.
- Guest Posts
If you don’t have your own blog, you can provide value through other portals, like other blogs in your niche or publications that cater to your target client.
The key with providing value is to be consistent, and to not make it sales-y in anyway. Once someone knows who you are and what you can help them with, they reach out to you if you’re constantly on their radar providing awesome value in the area they need help with.
3. Measure and Adjust
One of the biggest problems we have when we market our freelance business is to be consistent and strategic in the moves we make.
It’s all well and good trying a little bit of everything, but how will you know what’s working and what’s not?
If you stumble upon a new post from the latest shiny freelancer telling you to do this and do that to get more clients, you’re constantly going to be mixing up your marketing.
And guess what? The key to doing anything well is consistency and practice.
It’s exactly the same with marketing. Just like if you were learning an instrument, the only way to get better and see results is to keep at it.
So instead of skipping from one thing to another after a week, try sticking at a method for a month and, more importantly, be consistent.
Rather than replying erratically to questions in Facebook groups, assign yourself the task of answering five of your target client’s question a week in detail. Wait a month, and see what happens.
If nothing has come from it, either go in harder and reply to more responses, or change to another method to find one that works better for you.
The key here is to find what works for you and your business. Replying to Facebook questions might be a great marketing method for some freelancers, but it might fall on deaf ears for others.
The ultimate aim of any marketing strategy is to measure, adjust, and persevere, tweaking and tweaking until you’ve found a formula that is consistently getting you the results you want.
Does this help? Hopefully this shows you that you don’t need to spend hours each day chasing leads on umpteen job boards, or that you don’t need to be Tweeting twenty billion times a day.
Instead, it takes just three simple steps to create a way to market your freelance business that works:
- Determine who your target client is (in minute detail) and figure out where they’re hanging out. Join them there and take part in conversations.
- Provide value, whether it’s through blogging, answering questions on forums, or guest posting on publications that cater to your target audience.
- Measure and adjust your strategy until you find a system that works for your business.
Remember, no two freelance businesses are the same, and it takes time to figure out what works for you – but that’s part of the fun, right?!
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