One of the most challenging elements of being a freelancer is getting clients who can provide you with frequent work, and pay you a respectable wage. The problem is with 53 million freelancers in the U.S alone, how does one stand tall among the competition? This tutorial will show you how to promote your service(s), find the right clients, and fill up your schedule.
Before we delve in, it is important to note that the freelancing industry has grown by approximately 18% each year since 2012. This presents a great opportunity for new freelancers, or people on the fence about taking a plunge.
I get messages from new freelancers asking me whether they need a website. The short answer- of course. A freelancer doesn't need a website in the same way a skydiver doesn't need a parachute. A website makes you appear more trustworthy and professional- great traits when trying to land high-paying clients. As a freelancer myself, I have seen a massive increase in work offers as compared to when I didn't have one. A ".com" domain name from namecheao costs approximately £7 per annum. Combine it with HostPresto's starter hosting package, and you have a clients pulling machine for less than £2.50 per month. Furthermore, you need to know the elements of a good freelancer's website; because an ugly and dysfunctional website is worse than no website at all.
- Domain name- Your choice of domain name is essential for branding purposes. Anyone who sees your domain name should be able to have a good guess about the service you offer. An easy way to do this is to include your main service in the domain name. For example, mine is happytowrite.com. Visit whois.com and type a couple of ideas into their search box. Once you have found the perfect domain which isn't taken, visit a domain name registrar. For instance, HostPresto offers domain name registration.
- Choice of content management software- This is web app which allows you to update your website. A few examples are Wordpress and Drupal. PrestoWebsite is one such content management site. I had an opportunity to play around with it and handed it over to my 74 year old grandmother. Within approximately 20 minutes, she was able to build a stunning site dedicated to her garden.
- Design- There are so many themes out there. This makes it difficult to make a decision. When it comes to building a client attracting website, simplicity works best. They shouldn't have to struggle in order to read your homepage and access other parts of your site.
- Homepage- Give a summary of your service(s), experience, any awards won, a testimonial from a previous client or person in your industry, and how to get in touch with you. Moreover, give details about what prospective clients can expect once they hire you, and links to samples of your work. If you are just getting started as a freelancer, and have no samples, it is worth creating some so that potential clients have an idea of the standard to expect. Finally, you want to direct them on how to get in touch. This can be achieved by linking to your contact page, Linkedin, social media, Skype id, and email address.
- Contact me page- Firstly, add your average response time. For example, "I have a busy schedule but aim to reply to messages within 24 hours." Your social media links should also be displayed, and Skype. It is wise to add a short form so that potential clients can make contact without leaving the page. In test, the contact form with best response rates had the structure Name: Email address: How may I be of service?:
- Hire me page- In order to become a successful freelancer, you need to convince people that you are the best person for the job. Show them the process of working with you in order to make them more comfortable about hiring you. Below is an example I prepared.
- Firstly, I take a look at your project request, research, and draft out some ideas.
- I get back to you with the turnaround time and cost.
- I bring together my experience, knowledge and research to create something we can both be proud of.
- Your project is delivered.
- Add your best testimonials to the "Hire me" page.
- Samples page- Contrary to popular belief you don't have to load this page with every piece. Show potential clients your best work. It is best to segment links to your samples into different lists, then bolden the subheadings. This makes it easier for people to peruse. If your work doesn't reside on other wesbites, it is best to upload them to Google Drive and give links.
Quite simply, the more potential clients you can get to your site, the higher your chances of getting hired. From this point onward we will look at promotion strategies.
Social media promotion
It is vital to have a professional social media presence. To be more specific, you need to have social media accounts for friends and some for professional purposes. It allows you to reach out to potential clients, network, share links to your work and negotiate while keeping your personal life private. Network with other freelancers in your industry using social media. It might shock you how helpful they can be. The fact is other freelancers are also followed by clients; therefore, it is an effective way of making your name visible to the right people.
Content marketing is the act of sharing custom content with the aim of receiving benefit. In the realm of freelancing, a major benefit is to show potential clients your capabilities and increase the number of enquiries.
Content examples include, but isn't limited to; podcasts, infographics, videos, webinars, case studies, white papers, and reports. When deciding on the type of content to create, consideration must be paid to your services and your idea of the perfect client. For example, a freelance business writer who's main target market are ecommerce site owners could write an ebook titled "The ultimate guide to increasing online sales and dominating competition." In a similar vein, a freelance graphic designer who wants to attract small business owners could create an infographic titled "10 small business growth ideas that work." In both of these situations the freelancers could give out the ebook in exchange for an email address. This can easily be done by creating a Google form and setting it to display a link to download/view the content after form submission. Moreover, it is vital that each content piece displays a link to your website and the service you offer. This way as it gets shared around the web, it becomes an ambassador for your services. Furthermore, it gets people thinking "I wonder if he/she could do something like that for me."
Other promotion methods include:
- Favoriting interesting tweets of people in your industry. Twitter shows them a notification and most people check the profile.
- Setting up Facebook/Twitter ads to promote your services.