Once you’re clear about what you’re going to sell to whom, it’s time to start banging your freelance drum. At the start of any business venture, it’s tempting just to give promotional activities a go and see what happens, but the problem with this is that you’ll end up sending out your business message randomly which rarely works.
What you need to do is focus all your promotional activities on speaking in the right voice and delivering the right message to the right people. In order to achieve this, you need a plan. Plan your promotional activities by establishing exactly what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it and how you’re going to work out if it’s effective or not.
Here are five of the main activities you should be including in your initial plan:
- Freelance websites. It goes without saying that you need to get your profile and portfolio on a selection of freelance websites, such as People Per Hour and Elance. But before you do this, make sure you invest the time you need to get your profile and portfolio spot on. Think about keywords as well as describing the benefits of what you do succinctly and seductively. It sounds really obvious, but make sure your portfolio looks professional and that both your profile and your portfolio are grammar, spelling and punctuation perfect. If you need help with this, contact me email@example.com.
- Your own website. Your website is your shop-front to the world and should show off your wares in their very best light. A clean, easy to navigate website will encourage your visitors to stay and explore what you have to offer. If you plan to freelance in a real niche, it’s probably worth investing in a bit of SEO, but other than that, it’s likely to be waste of money (at least at the start). Use your portfolio and your business cards to get traffic to your website, as well as article writing.
- Local businesses. Many freelancers forget to include local businesses in their promotional sights, because they tend to think of their potential clients as far-flung folk, only contactable by phone or by email. All of that said, you’d be surprised at how many businesses on your doorstep are beefing up their workforces by recruiting freelancers. Do your homework on this one, pick up the phone and make an appointment with the decision-makers. Make sure you’re well prepared and knock ‘em dead with your pitch.
- Networking. In most areas of business, there are groups of people who get together to share a common goal. This is what networking is. If you’re going to network, it’s really important to know the purpose of the event you’re going to attend. Once you’re at the event, make sure you get to meet the host or the main organizer and give them your best ever elevator pitch, but at the same time be humble (in networking, ‘in your face’ selling rarely works). And remember, there’s more than one way to skin a cat…you can use networking to sell or you can use it to educate people about what a great referral looks like.
- Social media. Facebook, Twitter and in particular LinkedIn are great ways to promote your freelance activities, but again you need to make sure your message is clear, going out to the right people and saying the right things. Don’t ever be tempted to mix your personal social media activities with your business social media activities, because more often than not that winds up in disaster.
If you’re struggling to get your message out or would like a winning LinkedIn profile, give me a shout and we can work on that together. firstname.lastname@example.org