Marketing strategies, and finding ones actually work, can be daunting for novice freelancers.
Because there are so many to choose from!
And that often makes it far too tempting to sign up for every possible option.
But what do I mean by that?
I visited hospitals quite a bit this past summer!
And, as I'm writing this I'm reminded of an advertisement I saw at a rehabilitation hospital I often visited.
The advertisement was for an app for seniors that want to track how their recovery process is going on their smartphones.
I would often laugh because... I mean... how many seniors become patients at a hospital, and think:
I've got a brilliant idea! I'll use my cellphone to track my recovery process!
Well... I'm sure there are some, but not enough that the hospital will make a profit off the app, and get the mobile-based referrals that they're looking for!
And the same principle applies when determining which marketing strategies are best for your business.
So which marketing strategies should you use?
Recently I spoke to 11 different entrepreneurs about the marketing strategies that help them get clients.
Hopefully, their approaches will be a source of inspiration for your business as well.
What marketing strategies do you use to market your business & why?
And the answers...?
1. Brittany Berger
2. Lizzie Davey
"Guest posting was my most successful marketing strategy in the early stages of my freelancing career.
New clients would get in touch after seeing my posts on high-profile sites like The Huffington Post and Social Media Examiner.
Now, I don't really guest post for free anymore, but I still get a lot of enquiries from potential clients who have seen my other (paid) pieces online and like my style. "
- Lizzie Davey, Marketing & Business Writer
3. Nela Dunato
"It took me years to figure out that I was leaving so much on the table by not keeping my immediate community – friends and acquaintances – in the loop with my career.
Referrals are my #1 source of clients.
But I was busy blogging like a fiend and sending a weekly newsletter trying to attract an audience of complete strangers. And I was only getting clients occasionally through my website.
Then I realized that I should double up on what is already working instead.
My community already respected and supported me, and I needed to nurture these relationships better and stay top of mind. Now I post my blog articles, client projects, and announcements on my personal Facebook account. And I used to only publish them on my page.
As a result, I'm getting more targeted referrals. Because people know what type of projects I typically work on. And I'm getting much more inquiries than I used to, mostly through referrals.
The online world is enticing. But for service-based freelancers, it really helps to become a domain expert in your local community."
- Nela Dunato, founder of Nela Dunato Art & Design
4. Elise Dopson
"Guest blogging is a fantastic way to promote your services. Not only does it mean that your brand is exposed to (potentially) millions of people, but if you land an article on a publication that has a really specific demographic, you could be positioned in front of your target audience.
Being a freelance marketing writer, I submitted a guest post to Social Media Examiner.
From there, I had the content managers of other marketing companies read my articles and contact me to write for them. It's a fantastic way to grow a business and very worthwhile if you have a bit of spare time!"
- Elise Dopson, marketing writer
5. Liz Frederiksen
"For me, old-fashioned word-of-mouth has done more to help my freelance business than anything else. Having satisfied, well-paying clients recommend me to their colleagues or friends is invaluable for both me and their colleagues.
I've read many blog posts about optimizing one's LinkedIn profile or using Facebook groups to find work, and I'm also trying these things. However, I think making use of the network you already have is the strongest starting point."
- Liz Frederiksen, Digital Content Creator & Social Media Coach
6. Leesa Klich
"For me, it definitely involves hosting a monthly vote and flash sale.
I sell long-form, researched, pre-written 'done for you' health articles, and always want to drum up some visibility (and sales). So, to get people to know what I offer, I host a vote at the end of each month.
I choose four articles for the vote, and the price of the one with the most votes at the end of the month drops for the following month.
This not only gives people an idea of the topics I've written about for them (by seeing the choices they have to vote for) but also allows them to have an inexpensive opportunity to try out my products (one is always on sale). I also use this monthly sale as a 'tripwire' on my thank you page so new subscribers know that they can try out my work."
7. Gina Horkey
"I would have to say that building relationships have been the most productive, but not the quickest method of marketing my business. I didn't start with a strong network but have been able to build one by serving others first and asking for help as needed.
My affiliate program is a prime example of that - without my affiliates (many of whom are previous students or peers I've gotten to know), my business would look A TON different!"
- Gina Horkey, founder of Horkey Handbook
8. Becky Mollenkamp
9. Marriah Tarango
"Actively engaging in Facebook Groups has definitely proven to be very valuable for my business. By this, I don’t mean just sharing my social media accounts and websites in the promotional threads (although it does bring some awareness to my business.)
Instead, I mean providing helpful information to other members of these groups. When I see someone ask a question in an area that I specialize in, I really try to help them and answer their question while providing value.
This creates a small connection with the person who asked the question and shows my expertise. This also makes me more memorable when something else comes up and they need assistance in the future. I’ve received multiple clients and referrals this way.
Plus, it feels awesome to help people out when they need it (because we all started somewhere!) It even helps solidifies my knowledge because I often do a little research before answering the question, and by the time I finish chatting with them, I know the subject a little better."
-Marriah Tarango, Graphic & Web Designer/ Photographer
10. Wendy Jacobson
11. Michael Stover
"My number one most successful marketing strategy has been steady proposals to interesting projects on Upwork. My most steady and valuable clients were found through Upwork and most still contact me through the Upwork interface.
I know all the naysayers say to avoid Upwork and other such sites. But I started there and continue to reap great benefits from steady and occasional new clients.
A close second would be networking with other freelancers through groups on Facebook and Alignable. Those relationships have connected me with two valuable and reliable clients with whom I now work on a regular basis."
Michael Stover, Writer & Editor
The one thing you need to remember...
Notice how the entrepreneurs that I talked to had extremely diverse marketing strategies?
That's exactly what you can do too.
In fact, just because the bloggers you respect believe that one or more marketing strategies are the best possible solutions doesn't mean that it's how you have to run your business.
And that's exactly how the entrepreneurs that I spoke found marketing strategies that work best for them.
No idea how to market your business?
The real question you should be asking yourself is the following:
Where is your target audience hanging out, and where are you the most likely to reach them?
And if you're confused about how to do that, I wrote a guest post on this subject a while ago, which is available here.
And over to you...
Which marketing strategies have worked best for you and why?
Are there any that you're thinking of trying?
Feel free to comment below.