Generating passive marketing can help you land clients
Gaining clients is one of the never ending tasks of being a freelancer. Regardless of where you’re at in your freelance business, it’s important to have a strategy in place to help clients find you. These steps are a good place to start.
1. Build authority and experience
Building a solid reputation is the backbone of your freelance business. A strong reputation will help you eliminate competition, charge higher rates, and gain referrals.
Gaining authority and a solid reputation is easier than you think. Over-deliver. Aim to be remembered as someone who completes quality work on time, every time. Being a freelancer means knowing how to execute your craft and how to run a professional business. In addition to delivering good work on time, you also need to communicate with your clients and set boundaries.
2. Optimize your social profiles
Every social media profile is a marketing tool. Your social media bios should include a call to action. You should have a link to your portfolio on every professional social media profile.
On Twitter, you can pin tweets to the top of your timeline. You can use this feature to promote your work. Create a pinned tweet that includes an elevator pitch and a link to your website.
On Instagram, skip using a third-party for your link in bio. Manage links on your Instagram bio by creating a dedicated landing page on your website for Instagram. This will save you time from manually updating your link in bio every time you have a new link to promote.
Since your name is easily searchable on Instagram, make sure the name you share on Instagram is your name, not your Instagram username. Since Instagram users also search for keywords, adding a keyword to your name helps your chances of being found.
Your Instagram bio should also include a call to action that leads people to click your link. This could be as simple as “Check out my portfolio” or “Work with me.”
3. Create an updated portfolio
Your portfolio is more powerful than your resume: it’s a marketing tool that can showcase your talents, skills, and past work experience.
Your portfolio should have the following:
- An “About” page that has a small bio about you.
- Work samples, published work, and/or case studies.
- A “Contact” page that has easy-to-locate contact info. This is typically your email or a contact form (never your phone number).
- If you’ve won awards, feature them on your homepage or “About” page.
- Links to your social media profiles that you use exclusively for professional reasons.
- Clearly define your services on your website. People can’t hire you if they don’t know what you offer! You can include this information on your homepage, “About” page, or create a “Services” page.
- Testimonials from previous clients, coworkers, bosses, etc. If you don’t have them, ask!
Don’t just make a nice portfolio to showcase your work: promote it too! Link to it on your social media profiles. Whenever you comment about your services, or tweet that you’re available for work, include a link to your website.
4. Update your LinkedIn profile
Hiring managers, editors, and recruiters search on LinkedIn to hire and will sometimes post job opportunities there. LinkedIn profiles also tend to rank high when people Google your name (which you should expect all recruiters and employers do). An outdated LinkedIn won’t help your chances of getting hired.
Your LinkedIn should have the following:
- A summary that addresses your most important and relevant skills and the kind of work you’re interested in pursuing
- A link to your portfolio
- A professional profile photo
- Recommendations from former employers and coworkers (If you don’t have recommendations, ask for them!)
If you’re a freelancer working with multiple brands, there are two ways of listing your experience on your LinkedIn:
- Option 1: If you freelance for multiple brands, add a work experience section with your title (Freelance Writer, Freelance Designer, etc.). Then list the brands you’ve worked with and your accomplishments.
- Option 2: If you have freelanced with a specific brand for a long time, then you can add specific work experience sections with the specific brand. Don’t add separate work experiences for one-off assignments.
5. Network online and in-person
Relationship building is a cornerstone of freelancing. You never know where people will go, or who will be looking for freelance talent now or in the future. Even if you live in a remote area, you can connect with other people in your field! Networking is a scary, intimidating word, but it basically means just being yourself.
Attend local events in your area (obviously Zoom for now, but also in-person events in future non-COVID times). If you live in a city, there’s probably lots of networking events available. But even small towns have events, just on a smaller scale.
Since we began living in a pandemic, there are even more ways to connect with people on a local and national scale. Many organizations, including business organizations, libraries, and freelancing groups, are hosting virtual events.
Joining Slack groups or Facebook groups is a low-key way to make professional connections. Even just participating in Twitter chats is a great way to connect with people. There’s a Twitter chat for just about every field. I personally recommend Michelle Garrett’s #FreelanceChat.
Part of networking is also maintaining connections. This can be as simple as reaching out with a holiday card
6. Talk to your network
People trust people, and a personal recommendation from a coworker or friend will go a long way. Let people know that you’re available for freelance work.
Do good work for your existing clients. Turn in your work on time, every time. Establish a great reputation and build trust. These clients can then refer you to other clients or provide testimonials.
Blogging on your own website can drive traffic to it. Writing about topics that are relevant to your field gives you the chance to showcase your expertise. You should write articles that the people who want to hire you will read. Blogging is a passive marketing tool, but one you’ll need to be consistent and strategic with.
However, if you want to blog about a subject unrelated to your portfolio, you may want to consider using Medium instead. It’s really easy to set up a Medium, and if you don’t have a lot of writing clips, these blog posts can act as your writing samples.
Your Next Steps
Regardless of if you’re starting to freelance while working full-time, or trying to expand your existing client base, these tips should help you level-up! Finding freelance opportunities and landing recurring clients takes time — there’s no overnight success story. The easiest place to begin is with optimizing your social profiles.
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