The newbie freelancers guide to engaging marketing
Tell me if this sounds familiar.
I spent the first few months as a freelancer in a whirlwind of fast paced action, trying everything I could to get clients, and most of the stuff I did was unproductive.
I tried every tactic I read from numerous blogs and never paid attention to the power of a properly prepared game plan.
Pretty spot in, right?
As you start your freelance career, you’ll be bombarded with tons of advice, and most of it will be of no use to you. Articles about how to spend your marketing budget will be useless, because you haven’t even made enough money to justify the expense yet.
You’re bootstrapping your business, and that’s perfectly fine. You can always find ways to look big on a small budget.
The real power you have as a newbie freelancer is that you’ve got nowhere to go but up. The trick is to find the right type of advice, to get you moving in the right direction.
When you’re thinking about marketing, do you picture these crazy, off the wall – and sometimes overly expensive – guerrilla marketing examples? Or do you try to think of ways you can utilize your time and let it earn money for you?
Starting out, the one thing you need to fully understand is this – there’s a thousand other freelancers out there trying to land the same work you are, and the winner will be the freelancer who engages the most.
Flooding your twitter stream with constant promotions for your business is bullshit and will get you nowhere.
Tweeting “If you’re looking for a freelance web designer, I have 10 years experience, get in touch” 12 times a day is not marketing, it’s foolish and counterproductive to what you’re trying to accomplish.
Who are your target customers?
You need to find out who your customer is at their core. Ask questions to your current clients and find out how to better serve new clients in the future.
Engage with your target market on a more personal level. If you design blogs, hang out with bloggers. If you write copy for medical professionals then you need to interact with more doctors, nurses and people in the medical industry.
Find out what interests outside of work you have in common and bond over that. You notice that a potential client mentions a certain band a lot? Listen to their music and discuss your favorite song with them.
Does your target client talk about sports a lot? Find a way to make a playful jab at their favorite player, make them laugh and you’ve instantly got a new connection.
Your marketing efforts don’t always have to be hard and fast down the middle.
A slow curve ball does the trick just as well, and when people are expecting a marketing speech from you, but instead you show your human side, they’re thrown for a loop in the best way possible.
Become a storyteller
Want a sure fire way to get more engagement from your marketing efforts? Tell a story that your customers can relate to. Point your story towards pleasure or pain, get all up in their emotions and engage the shit out of them.
A great story can be told over and over again, and never get old. The goal of your great story is to be passed on from a customer to a dozen more potential customers, so make it entertaining as hell.
Its why we all love stupid cat videos. We laugh at them, and share it with others so they laugh to. Figure out a way to tell a great story, and you’re well on your way to a thriving freelance business.
The more entertaining your story, the more engaging it becomes.
What’s your story?
The first thing you need to do is sit down and figure out what type of story you’re trying to tell.
What makes you tick as a person, as a freelancer and as a friend?
What do your friends say when they have to describe you to someone? Are you the funny girl? Are you the crazy guy who will try anything on a dare? Do you like off the wall, obscure death metal music?
Your personality will dictate your story. You can only fake it for so long before your real life catches up to you and hits you in the face, so stop trying to run from it.
Do you listen to gangsta rap more than radio pop? Use that to your advantage, explain how you grew up in an environment that allows you to relate to the music.
Your hobbies, tastes in food and approach to your business should all be a part of your story. From the way you write your business blog, to the way you approach potential clients, it’s all part of your story.
So, what’s your story?
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