A robust client list is every freelancers dream. Of course it means a steady income, and I know money can’t buy happiness, but it can pay the internet provider bill.
Like it or not, at some point in your business you most likely had to / will have to do a little hustling to find clients. Here are five ways to market yourself and one you don’t need to do.
- Tell your story (briefly). Mine is that I build websites for small – mid size businesses who want to be found on the internet. Yours may be I build websites for wedding photographers. Or I help artists take their physical work and get it online. Tell this story through your own website and at cocktail parties and networking events.
- Don’t tell everything – pick 1-3 things that make you stand out from others:
- I am also an SEO expert.
- My clients like working with me because I am “high touch” and they like to ask questions and be educated about the web design process.
- I am a CSS ninja, whatever customizations you want I will deliver.
- I am a very technical web designer. My sites are fast and secure.
- Listen. Put yourself in the position of the person you are speaking with and imagine what it is like to be them. Have an open mind when they are telling their story and ask follow up questions related to their story. Responding with relevant information shows you are paying attention and that you can solve their problems. This can be done in person or just as easily online. Answer questions you see on blogs, Facebook groups, LinkedIn, etc.
- Be a resource. Solve problems and people want to hire you. It’s perfect that this knowledge is in your head, BUT at the time of this writing, other humans can’t yet read your mind. You need to share your tips. Do this through whichever medium is easiest for you: write it, record a video, have a podcast, answer questions in the Facebook Group. You don’t have to be an expert in everything (you may like this article What You Need to Know BEYOND WordPress to be a Web Designer). Focus on an area that is interesting to you: colors, security, hosting, Divi, and share what you know.
- Collect email addresses. Let me tell you a quick story of a woman I recently consulted. She had a client pull out of a big project at the start of the summer (she is a home builder and interior designer) leaving her with an availability in her schedule. She put together a very pretty MailChimp blast – saying NOTHING about having the capacity for work. The mailer had four sections, one for each of her services, (see how color helps brighten your space, how delightful a screened in porch is in the summer, etc). She mailed it to her list of previous clients (under 100 people) and landed two jobs which will keep her booked through the fall. You may not have a list of clients – BUT by building an email list you will have names of people who have already said that they are interesting to you. In order to build that list you probably will have to create a great opt in goodie. You see them all the time, think about what your clients are interested in and make up a pdf to auto send when they subscribe. A steady drip of 3 & 4 (listen to problems and solving them) will position you as an expert in the field and people will be queuing up for your services. If you are researching email platforms you may like find this article helpful: MailChimp vs MailerLite.
Now, the one marketing tip that you don’t need to do (I know, you scrolled here first, didn’t you!).
- Have others do the work for you. Satisfied customers and your personal connections can spread the word of your fabulousness for you! When asked, how’s work, respond with, great, I just launched a site for an author, landscaper, life coach. As you wrap up a project for one client, let them know you enjoyed working for them and would appreciate referrals.
It has been my experience that clients begets clients. Often the first few are hardest to land. Once you begin launching sites you will start to recognize your skills which make telling your story easier and feel more natural. It also can let you know where your strengths are or where they aren’t. It is just as important to say no to projects that are outside of your skill set as YES to ones that make your heart sing. If you missed it, check out this video interview with Monica Higgins. Monica teaches a course to rock bands on how to market themselves – which leads to some clients hiring her. She loves music and creating, and the bands love her creativity.
How are you marketing yourself? Do you like this part of your business or does a pitch make you queasy?