Freelancing is a great opportunity to bring out the best in you. It can be very effective at any stage of your career. For some, freelancing can help them indirectly to reach where they want to be, while for others, it can be a long term destination. Irrespective of your approach, the competition will be fierce in any case. Many web designers are attracted to the freelance marketing arena because of its ease of entry and set up. But always remember that this also means that there will thousands of web designers competing against you to get clients for their business.
One thing that can set you apart from others is a good marketing plan. You may not have a great portfolio, but still, if you have a decent marketing plan, you can be sure that you will find clients and will be able make profits from your freelancing campaign. A successful freelancer takes more than just being an excellent designer. A good solid marketing plan is required to reap the maximum benefits of your efforts. This post will help you lay out an excellent freelance marketing strategy to make your freelancing campaign a success. Let’s get started.
A. Identify Your Goals:
The first thing that you need to do is to identify your freelancing goals which will indirectly help you in your freelance marketing strategy approach. Different freelancers have different purposes. If you are able to identify your goals, then you can market yourself properly to stand at a better position to achieve your identified goals. If you have no goal, you are simply a wanderer. There’s no target and no objective. Such freelancers always fail, either quickly or may face hard difficulties in long race. Here are some of the possible few goals that you may have.
Freelancing For Employment:
Many people take up freelancing to land a job at their desired web design agency or at a reputed web design company. Such people treat freelance marketing strategy as a bridge from where they are to where they want to be. Freelancing allows them to showcase their potential, work samples, client and work experience, developing quotes, managing and handling projects and most importantly running a profitable business. You are able to sell yourself, your work, your ability and your qualifications to your desired employer. If this is your goal, then personal branding is important. Take a look at our post on Personal Branding:How To Optimize Your Online Portfolio Website.
Freelancing For Work Experience And Skills:
Every person who wants to land on a good job understands the importance of work experience. While there are some who have already developed their skills and are sharpening it for job competition (as in the first case), there are also people who want to gain critical experience over a period of time to build their skills. Such people start from scratch to build their work experience and skills and then go out to compete for their desired job. freelance marketing strategy provides great platform to do so. As you build your freelancing career, you’ll face more and more challenging projects and ultimately your skills and experience will also rocket exponentially.
This is actually what freelancing means. Some may see freelancing as a temporary stage (springboard) that will help them achieve their desired job, while some web designers prefer to pursue it as a long term career. By long term, I mean expanding their business by hiring other designers and other developers and starting a web design agency. In this case, your freelance marketing focus should be on long term stability, rather than emphasizing on short term success.
There are many freelancers who exactly know what they want with their freelancing career (job or self-employment), while there are a majority of people who start freelancing without any goal. They are not able to settle upon any target unless they have a little experience under their belt. In such cases, freelancing begins as a full time work to earn an income, but it can take several paths on future depending on their freelance marketing experience. If they are able to get more clients and good money, they prefer to stick with it. If they are able to get some work and experience, they prefer to use it for employment.
Needless to say, but your portfolio is one of the most significant components of your freelance marketing strategy and demands a lot of attention. There are some basic components of a portfolio site that is applicable to all types of goals, but your approach towards your portfolio site may change depending on your goals.
If you are trying to use your freelancing campaign as a springboard to land on a full time employment, your portfolio should emphasize on your skills, qualifications. You can also communicate your work experience and specific skills to expand your portfolio site to act as an online resume. In this case personal branding is very important as you would want to leave a memorable impression of yourself on the mind of your portfolio viewer. With this, you will always remain in the forefront of viewers’ mind when they take a hiring decision.
List All The Personal Branding Posts
If you are trying to gain experience through freelancing, you should emphasize on inviting queries and questions from potential clients and trying to be problem solver for them.
More tips on portfolio building are given at a later part on this guide.
More have been emphasized on the branding term in this post. Well, the amount of importance that you need to give to branding depends on your goals. Branding is extremely important for those who are using freelancing to market themselves. While for those freelancers, who are looking to expand in future to build a web design agency, branding may not be as important. If you are good at marketing yourself, but are not “extremely” talented in web designing and land up on having good clients, you may prefer to hire someone to do the design work. You take the credit of the work and pay accordingly to the actual designer. Such cases also happen when you are unable to handle more projects. This strategy will definitely fail when you are looking at a future employment, but works great if are able to do freelance marketing yourself effectively.
D. Master Social Media Platforms:
You need to capitalize on the social media boom. Social networks are the fastest way to get recognized. With the ability to connect with anyone from any corner of the world, you can spread your freelancing business easily. Social network platforms can also be a good source of clients, provided social media freelance marketing strategy is done properly. Read our social media marketing guide to get help in this case. Below is a compilation of social networks that you may consider working upon.
- Stack Exchange
- Design Snack
- Pixel Groovy
Blogging is also one of the most popular social media platforms. Post related articles, create communities, build your expertise, engage in discussions etc. If you are not using social networks to expand your business, you are really missing out on a great opportunity.
E. Plan Your Prospect List:
Choose the number of prospective clients that you are going to contact on any given day. Select a number that is easily manageable to reach out on any day. Repeat this every day. If you are able to make more contacts than you actually thought, go for it. The idea is to expand your client list and wait for a prospect to call back or reply.
F. Call Back Your Clients:
There’s a simple rule in freelance marketing business that you should know – the job may not go to the most talented freelancer, but it will definitely go to the most responsive one. Clients often give their projects to freelancers who take their time to understand client’s problems. People don’t call back and if they do, realize that they are taking their sweet and important time out of their busy schedule to contact you. As soon as a client contacts, respond them quickly.
Clients hire freelancers to get their problem solved. Failing to respond to a client makes the client think that you’ll not be able to solve their problems, rather you’ll overburden them. It also makes him realize about your unprofessionalism and irresponsive behavior. Most freelancers are notoriously unprofessional and they call back in their own time frame. This creates a negative impact in clients’ mind which will lose you your project.
Be super-responsive in your freelance marketing strategy to stand out from the competition, understand clients’ problem, respond them quickly with a good reply, and most importantly, make them believe that you are not any other freelancer, you are a professional.
G. Price Accordingly:
People have spent years trying to understand the psychology of freelance pricing. Some price too high while some price too low, but there’s always a reason for it. Various considerations have to be taken place while pricing your services in freelance marketing strategy.
If you price too low, the clients may think that there’s something wrong or may think that you’d be unprofessional and would not complete the project in required time. Low prices make the client think about your deficiencies. “There’s got to be something wrong with this freelancer. Why is the price so cheap? ” This is what your prospective client may think.
Even if you get clients with this low cost strategy, you’ll end up with those who’ll suck the life out of you to get the best for your low price. It’s because you have given them the opportunity to do this by displaying low price for your good work.
Nobody likes to pay more for a service. If you price too high, prospective clients may get repelled with that. But there’s also a brighter side to it. People automatically assume that if something (your service) is expensive, there must be a reason for it.
Having said all that, always remember that your portfolio will always be there for them to verify your price. Your portfolio will reflect your quality and this will make people decide whether you have suitably priced your freelance marketing service or not.
H. Follow Up:
Your freelance marketing efforts are useless unless you follow up with them. Make contacts with clients with whom you’ve contacted a month ago. Say hello, repeat your offer, send an article, offer discounts, ask them to post their project etc. and tell them how you can help them with your service. Follow up your previous marketing efforts as frequently as you can and you’ll see the effects of it.
I. Network With Your Peers:
One of the best ways to get yourself recognized is to connect with other people in your industry. Make contacts with other web designers and industry professionals all across the world.
There are a number of ways with which you can utilize as freelance marketing strategy. The social networks listed above are one of the viable solutions. You can also find similar people in forums, discussion sites, question answer sites and bulletin boards. You can also make use of Dribble and Github to showcase and get comments on your design works.
It’s not enough to simply lay out your freelance marketing plan, you need to emphasize and work upon it. Sometimes you will have to give more importance to certain sectors. Proper marketing strategy can really boost and smoothen your freelancing campaign.
What strategies did you think of, while preparing your freelance marketing strategy? Give your suggestions via comments.
If you are looking for a step by step process to start your own freelance web design, you can visit our Complete guide to become freelance web designer to reach near targeted visitors. Please feel free to leave any comment you have in your mind.