There are two ways you can market yourself when you're freelancing. You go out on the prowl like a hunter and use outbound techniques to stalk your potential prey. Or you can choose inbound marketing, and hang out quietly on the riverbank and reel in fish after fish.
What you need to know is that outbound marketing techniques like cold calling and emailing turn most people off. You need to fish where the fishes are, and these days that's either online, or on mobile.
You might enjoy cold calling, but how many times do potential clients put down the phone? If you're freelancing, advertising budgets are out and using craigslist won't net you those quality customers. Emailing gets a return rate of around 3%, whereas SMS has a 98% hit rate.
So what's so great about inbound marketing? First, your potential customers come to you. In the old days you might have relied on a salesperson to give you information about a service or product. Now your potential customers are online and savvy, and they've landed on your website because they want what you have to offer.
First, you need to bait your hook with some great content - content that's timely, relevant and adds value for the customers you're hoping to land. Keep it fresh and interesting and be sure to optimize your content by using SEO practices.
The best thing about inbound marketing? It's free. Set up a blog or website, making sure the design reflects your vision before populating it with all that creative, entertaining and innovative content you produce.
Before you go any further, be sure to set up your social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, all for free. You can still use email, but for inbound marketing you'll make it an opt-in by using a content form on your website landing page. And you'll drive customers to that page through social media.
If you're going to get serious about inbound marketing, you'll need a content calendar so you can schedule posts around promotions, events and special themes. It's a job that Google calendars can do well. Create one calendar to rule them all and sub-calendars for various projects.
Then sit back, relax, and wait for your customers to take the bait.