Over the past few years, the freelance game has changed. No longer are freelancers the social pariahs of the working world, instead we’re welcomed into the community with open, if slightly envious arms. We have the status of the ‘lone wolf’, the risk taker, the epitome of ‘work for no one’ and although our working schedules might be slightly hellish, we’re absolutely killing that work-life balance.
But for every high of freelance life there comes a low. There are periods of quiet spells, where the only client communication you can have is that late invoice payment from three months prior. Especially over the winter period, your inbox can feel like it’s slowly drying up throughout the slow post-Christmas lull. So how do you get new clients? Or rather, how do you help those new clients to find you?
I’ve put together a few tips to help you make your services known both online and offline in 2020. So grab your notebooks, a cup of coffee and let’s get on with it!
A glossy, up-to-date website is essential
Whilst most freelancers will have set up a website in the early days of their careers, or at least some form of portfolio, it might not be completely reflective of the work you do today. Set out some time on a quieter day and start refreshing your content. This could mean updating some images, re-wording a little bit of copy, adding in a new case study or testimonial or just taking a look at the SEO. A glossy new website really can help to bring new traffic to your business, making your services and skills seem sleek and profressional, rather than outdated and dusty. If it doubt, I’ve added a checklist of website updates to run through every couple of months, to ensure everything it up to speed!
Invest some time into great SEO
If you really want to help your potential clients find your site, take a walk in their shoes for a while. How would you go about finding someone to help you with your business? Straight to that Google search with a couple of keywords and a location thrown in? Sounds about right. So it’s worth taking the time to really understand the SEO for your portfolio. If you’re using a WordPress site, download the free Yoast plugin to start editing your meta data and hitting the right keywords for your pages. From your page titles to the alt tags on your images, there is so much you can do to improve your search ranking and help more potential new clients to find your business. For some useful tips, check out these resources as they really helped me to understand the basics of SEO: https://ahrefs.com/blog/seo-tips/ & https://www.theukdomain.uk/get-online/top-seo-tips-new-websites/
Boost your social media presence
We all know the power of good social media marketing. A single post can reach millions of people, impact thousands of lives and influence so many users around the world. Whilst no one should approach their own social marketing with this goal in mind, getting to grips with efficient social media use can really help to boost your online presence. Make sure you have an account on at least the key five social media accounts: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Depending on your niche, the more interactive platforms such as Youtube, Snapchat and TikTok might be useful to set up as well. Make sure your business can be seen to regularly upload original content to each platform – whether it be sharing a new blog post to Pinterest, tweeting your latest case study, posting an Instagram story of your client meeting or simply promoting your services on Facebook. These updates help to alert your customers that you’re still an active business and that you are seeking new work. Try to keep a certain brand voice across all social media platforms, keep them clean and professional, and make sure to link all of your profiles on your website.
Write useful blog posts about your services
Finding the time to write a full length blog post, whilst managing client expectations and trying to hit deadlines isn’t always easy. But creating new, original and insightful content in the field you work in can be a really big source of traffic to your site. Try doing a little bit of research about the most commonly asked questions in your field, such as ‘how do I get new clients to find me in 2020′ (see what I did there???’ ) and create an honest and useful post on that topic. A good blog post should be between 500 and 800 words, with a few strong keywords repeated throughout. Break up the blog post with high quality, optimised images to make it more readable and make sure to check your spelling and grammar as this can cause you to rank lower in a Google search listing. Sometimes if you’re going through a quiet spell, it can be useful to bulk write 3 or 4 blog posts and release them weekly, to build a schedule readers (aka new clients) can rely on. Make sure you post these on your site or on a Medium account to help them reach the right audiences.
Design beautiful, branded business cards
Your solo marketing efforts don’t always need to be on screen. Having simple and effective business cards that clearly describe what you do, how to contact you and reflect your key branding can be a really useful tool for getting your name out there. I designed my business cards using the free design site Canva, and then simply printed 100 to start with over a year ago. Once printed, I simply popped along to coffee shops, independent retail spaces, cafes and community buildings and attached them to notice boards and on counter tops (with permission of course). Last year I even dropped them inside Christmas cards to some of my favourite businesses in the city, so that even if they can’t use my services, someone they know might enquire instead. Although designing your first business cards can be scary, Canva offers so many beautiful templates to work from and all you have to do is pop your information and find the right priced printer.
Sign up for free business listings
In 2020, there are now more free business listing opportunities than ever before. Although for the younger generations, platforms such as Yell might be an untouched industry, for many traditional businesses, these databases are the best place to outsource projects. Try and research some of the free listing opportunties, making sure that they are actually free (without any hidden charges after signing up) and make a list of the most reliable looking sites. The easiest way to start adding your listings is to write up a simple document with your contact information, name, business name, any social media links and a description to allow you to simply copy-paste into each of the forms. This can save a lot of time and a serious amount of repetitive strain injury.
I hope these tips have help to provide a little inspiration for your business marketing in 2020. It’s the era of digital, but I still believe that offline marketing methods are still greatly appreciated too, so why not give these a go!
To check out my last post, click here, and thanks for reading!