I have coached a lot of freelancers, and I often hear the same question, “How can I get more clients?”
When they ask this question, many freelancers are hoping I can provide a simple answer. They want me to provide the “secret” to marketing a freelance business.
To put it a little less kindly, many are looking for the easy button. “Nick, please just tell me which button to press so I can quickly get more clients.”
Then I tell them the truth….that there is no easy button.
I also tell them that even after 30 years as a freelancer, I am still marketing my services and products. I’m marketing myself every day. Marketing isn’t just something you do three or four times a year.
Next they might ask me what my best marketing tactics are. Cold calls? Direct mail? Event marketing? Content marketing? Video marketing?
Well, one or more of the above might be part of one’s marketing mix. But that’s just a small part of what marketing a freelance business is all about.
Here’s what I tell people:
“Every single thing you do, say and feel as a freelancer is about marketing, and will impact how you are perceived and valued by your prospects and clients.”
That may sound a little odd. So let me first make something clear. Marketing and promotion are not the same thing. Sending out some direct mail letters is a promotion. Marketing is much broader than that.
Marketing comprises absolutely everything that might influence people’s perception of your business.
For example, Apple may launch a promotion for one of its devices or services. A promotion has a beginning and an end.
But when Apple markets itself as a company, that’s a whole different story.
An in-store display is part of Apple’s marketing. But so is the design of the iPad.
When Apple prices its products – and they are generally more expensive that competing devices – that’s marketing. Their premium price is saying, “We are worth more.” Are they worth more? That’s not the point. Their pricing adds to the perception they are worth more.
When Apple CEO Tim Cook steps onto the stage to present a new product, wearing an open shirt and black jeans, he is marketing. His casual dress adds to the overall message of the Apple brand.
If he is having a bad day, personally, and that gets in the way of his presentation, that’s marketing too. Bad marketing.
When Apple designs its stores – and that design in now trademarked – they are marketing.
Everything is about marketing.
And the same is true for you as a freelancer.
The name and design of your site’s homepage is marketing, for better or worse, depending on how good your site looks.
The headline on your homepage is marketing.
That last post or article you published is marketing.
Your choice of companies you approach and work with is marketing. If you work with small companies, that says something about you and your business. If you work with big companies, that says something else.
The prices you charge are part of marketing. As with Apple, your pricing gives people an insight into your value.
How you dress when going to a client meeting is marketing. You are making an impression, for better or for worse.
How you feel about yourself – your level of self-confidence – is about marketing. If you come over as someone with low self-confidence, in how you write, or in person, that will reduce people’s perception of your worth and value.
The look and contents of an estimate you send to a prospective client is marketing. Does it look professional? Is the information presented in a clear and professional manner?
As with Apple, or any other company on the planet, marketing is not just about the promotions you plan, it’s about every aspect of yourself and your business that is seen or heard by your prospects, your clients and everyone else in your industry.
Look carefully at every aspect of your freelance business and ask yourself the question, “Does this enhance people’s perception of the value of my freelance services, or does it reduce it?”
If you feel something is reducing that perception of value, schedule some time to fix the problem.
NOTE: I have just completed a 16-part virtual coaching series to help you achieve clarity in your purpose, build your confidence and market your freelance services more effectively.
This virtual coaching program is called Marketing Confidence, and it’s available through American Writers and Artists Inc until February 15th.
About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach. Read more…