The question of “how do I market my freelance business?” and “Where will I find freelance clients?” is something I hear asked again and again from readers and students who want to start a freelance business.
And I get it: finding freelance clients is HARD when you are new to freelancing!
While it’s going to be different for every freelancer and every business (after all, your ideal client won’t hang out in the same place as another freelancer’s ideal client!), there are 10 general ways to market your freelance business that will apply for most freelancers:
1) Play the long game
By that I mean, focus on building relationships for your freelance business!
Connect with people. Get to know them. Listen to their problems and concerns, and help them out. Provide value. Then, when they need to hire someone with your particular set of skills, you are going to be the first person they think of—and the person they automatically turn to.
2) Attend networking events
Attending in-person networking events (where you know your ideal client will be) is a great way to get face-time with potential clients and to get yourself noticed.
Plus, even if you run an online business, many clients will actually prefer to hire someone who is based in their region—giving you an advantage over other freelancers who live elsewhere in the country or the world.
Note too that these don’t have to be “official” networking events. Any type of event where you’ll spend some time interacting with other people and getting to know them could lead to amazing things for your freelance business. For example, I was part of a 6-week boot camp with half a dozen other women, and one of them turned into a client (and she referred another client to me, too, who I ended up working with for several years!).
Market your freelance business effectively with these 10 tips #freelancetip #freelancelife
3) Join directories of freelancers in your industry
This is a very passive way of marketing your freelance business, but it can be effective!
For example, when I was marketing my freelance editing services, I was listed on the Editors’ Association of Canada directory of editors. When I was marketing my nutrition consulting business (waaaay back!), I was listed on a local health website directory.
And yes: I really did have people find me and contact me as a result of being on those directories—and those people hired me for my services very quickly upon initially contacting me, because those directories carry weight. Being listed on directories indicates that you are associated with legitimate organizations, and that those companies recognize you as an expert.
4) Write blog posts that answer your ideal client’s questions
If you already have a blog on your website, it will be a fantastic tool for you to answer questions your clients have, and provide detailed, valuable content. If you want to build an email list, you can even add content upgrades to those blog posts to make the articles even MORE valuable!
Linking back to your freelance services webpage is a MUST any time you blog about your business or anything related to the topic of the services you provide for clients. Don’t forget to share those articles on social media and add attractive Pinterest-worthy images so that more and more people will do the sharing (and thus the marketing) for you.
5) Choose a social media platform that makes sense to you—and utilize hashtags
For example, freelance personal stylists, photographers, and makeup artists could all make great use of Instagram to showcase their work… especially if you use hashtags for the city you live in (since in this case, that’s where your ideal client would be), and hashtags that your ideal client would also use and search for.
Depending on your freelance business and the type of social media platform you prefer, you might find that Periscope or Facebook or Twitter or something else altogether is a better option for you. Choose one or two social media platforms to spend the majority of your time on, and do it well. Don’t forget to follow potential clients and interact with them to get on their radar! Marketing your freelance business on social media can be extremely effective if you do it right.
6) Join social media groups (such as LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, and Twitter chats) where your ideal client (not your peers!) hangs out
It’s totally okay to spend time with your peers, and it’s a very good idea to participate in some groups where you can connect with your fellow freelancers and learn and share with one another.
…but please don’t ONLY spend your time on social media connecting with your peers!
If you are trying to market your freelance business, you should focus much more on connecting with potential clients. Join groups on social media where you can interact with potential clients in a friendly, helpful way so that they can get to know you and see that you are an expert in your field.
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7) Try “warm-calling” potential clients
This is one of my favorite strategies that I teach to my students in Pitching Clients 101!
The idea is to email people who you have already met or who know of you, and who will likely have a need of your freelance service, and make them an offer they can’t refuse: for example, if you are a social media manager, you could warm-call them by letting them know it was nice to meet them at XYZ event, and that you’d love to continue your conversation about social media tips over coffee. This will then allow you to share more tips with them, get to know them better, and position yourself as an expert so they’ll be that much more likely to hire you.
I get into more detail on exactly how to do this (plus a special Email Pitch Formula that you can swipe and use yourself!) in the Pitching Clients 101 e-course.
8) Invite trusted loved ones to help promote your business
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to market your freelance business! Ask your friends to keep a few of your business cards in their wallet in case they happen to come across someone who needs your services. Check if any of them would be willing to share your services on social media occasionally. These little things can add up and make a big difference over time when you are starting a freelance business and trying to get freelance clients.
9) Follow-up with past clients for more work
When was the last time you checked in with a past client to see if they have more work for you? Sometimes your past clients need a little boost or reminder about a project they’ve been working on. They might have a need for your freelance services, but perhaps it’s just not urgent, so they haven’t made the effort to reach out to you yet.
10) Join freelance job sites
While this isn’t an ideal option, freelance job sites can be a good way to get work in a pinch if you need some cash!
Besides that, because you’ll probably work with clients who are rather demanding and you won’t get paid very much through freelance job sites, it can actually be a nice opportunity for you to see how to navigate difficult clients and a chance to look at freelancing without rose-colored glasses.
What type of marketing technique will you try this week? How are you planning to market your freelance business? Share in the comments section below!