Would like to start a conversation on how people are currently marketing themselves in the freelance industry. I've come up with my own solutions, and generally keep tabs on what is most effective and how things are changing, but would love to hear some other voices. Social media networks, referrals, meet ups, side projects?
Usually like this guy:
Username checks out
Interested in this as well. Got laid off couple weeks ago so I decided to pursue my own company. Planning to do a list of all local businesses with no websites or uneffective websites and reach out through cold emails /calls and get business through that. Would like to hear any tips/suggestions!
Also I believe we should't be scared to trade secrets within design/development community. Even though all freelancers are basically competitors to each other, it wouldn't make a difference because we're cities/states/countries/continents apart, and the amount of people in need of graphics & websites grows each day. There's no risk involved of losing potential clients.
One thing you need to keep in mind is whether those companies care about their websites or understand them to be bad. When I tried that strategy (in Birmingham, UK) most people didn't even come back to me, my email looked the same as the 20 others they got in that quarter from Indian companies - Give me money and I'll improve your website.
Naturally, it hasn't worked very well. So if you're going to try cold calling, make sure you find companies for whom the website is crucial or who understand the value of a good website.
Great point. A counter point to that, I guess cold calling would be more efficient, hence you can talk to a person and try to sell the NEED in web presence. Gonna try that.
What worked out for for you though?
One thing I found to work for me is finding something a prospect's site is missing that could hurt SEO. For example, if their website isn't responsive you could call attention to this. It's not a big project but it gets you in the door. From there if they ever have need to expand or you sell them on expanding they already have trust in your role assuming you deliver good work.
Oh yes, it's always good to offer something relevant and of value to a prospect. It does however mean you'll have to be more selective with the people you approach and put in the effort for.
I do think this is a far better approach though.
I think all the examples you mentioned are great ways to spread your name. The key is consistency.
A common gotcha I see many freelancers do is market to other designers/developers which isn't really the market they should be targeting unless you actually want to be.
Realistically, you need to market to the clients you want to get. Doing so involves tapping into those markets and finding an authentic way to stand out. Maybe authoring a downloadable guide, or publishing articles, and videos on certain topics may pique interest? First get them to take notice all for free. Later on down the line, you can ask for an email address to market directly for future projects, products, and more depending on what type of work you do.
Aside from all of that, before marketing anything, you need to get your own facts straight as a freelancer. When someone visits your website you'll want to avoid using the term "we" at all costs if your business is solely you. I've seen some freelancers try to appear bigger than they are and represent themselves as an agency. This would trick those that visited their portfolio sites and come off a bit shady.
At the end of the day, I think transparency is important. Be real. Make people comfortable and not afraid to approach you. Good design and copy can do this well. The same is true for in-person connections.
I've found guest blogging to help quite a bit as well. Then on those articles, you can interact with comments and the audience that takes interest. If you contribute to popular blogs you may find people reach out to you regarding the topic you wrote about in search for help.
I personally do a combination of everything. Blog, Import Blog Posts to Medium, YouTube, Twitter, Contribute on DN, Author Books, Side Projects, Apps, Redesigns, Freebies, etc... It's a lot to do for no immediate reward but If done consistently over time it will pay off.
I'm nowhere near my goal yet but I also don't think having the largest numbers is a good metric to be represented as a good designer. The same goes for job titles. If you're good at what you do and you share it openly, people will eventually take notice.
Sorry for the length!
How the hell do you have time to offer up all them freebies and such .. and maintain a regular work week?
I'm on like 70 hour weeks(not a complaint btw) and my first blog post for my unreleased portfolio has been on hold for 6 months !
If you hold something for such a long time I think you have time management problems. What I suggest is always think of MVP. Make sure you build/create something in a minimal time and include only what is expected.
Agree with this. Try to test an idea out early before you start building anything. "Fail fast if you're going to fail" is a quote that resonates with me.
I work for two startups and freelance on the side. The portfolio just hasn't been a priority considering work is flowing in. But everyone could improve their time management most likely lol.
It certainly doesn't come over night. I often have to find balance in my week where I pick a day to work on my own internal stuff. What also helped is that I recently left a full-time job to open my own agency last summer. In that time I allowed myself MORE time to contribute to marketing myself, my blog, and my agency. Not everyone can say this and I get that my side of the story is a little biased. Before I quit my full-time job I worked as a freelancer at night and on the weekends. Many hours a week so I can relate to not having time to market!
Currently every week is about 2 days worth of marketing my business/products. This could be anything from developing apps, writing blog posts, cueing social media shares, chatting with new colleages, etc... The rest of the time is spent on actual work. Kind of like the movie office space but a lot more work gets done and there's no bastard fax machines to deal with lol.
Sorry late reply: Thanks for explaining a bit. I commend your efforts, I should probably start looking to block out a day for marketing every week. Crazy thing is I've built all these assets for personal use. Maybe its just time to put them up and see what happens.
Agreed, I definitely don't find the time to be able to manage all of those side projects, maybe 1 or 2, but they can easily grow out of control. Hiring people might be a good way to go for that, so you can focus on the bigger picture.
Hi. I have a similar question what do you think? Focusing on publishing a lot of good works on dribbble and behance will bring you clients? Or it is a bad strategy?
Can I say yes to all of this?