No matter how excellent we are at the services we perform, unless others know about us and hire us, we may find that our freelance living loses some of the luster as our finances dwindle. I will be sharing other articles on marketing in the future - this one is just the beginning.
Define your niche market. If you don't decide who the ideal client will be for you, you can get caught up in spending a great deal of time spreading yourself out too thinly. This way you will never become well versed and an expert in particular areas. Ask yourself about those you have worked for in the past and for whom you have enjoyed working the most. For example, when I decided to become a full time freelancer I had already worked for ten years as an editor and marketing manager for a non-profit community development corporation.
since I left that career, all the projects I have tackled have
come to me through contacts I made in the non-profit and community development
field. I am familiar with their organizational structure, their aspirations,
needs, and problems. They know me and I know them, and they know that
they can trust me to do the best job possible for them because I understand.
our first step with a potential client is to discover their problem(s)
by asking questions and listening attentively to the answers. If we can
solve the problem, we can move on with our marketing by describing the
solution along with its outcome - not the process at this point. The person
who helped me with this incredible, yet sensible and successful, marketing
strategy is Robert Middleton, who calls himself the InfoGuru. You can
find his Action Plan Marketing ideas and helpful online marketing manual
If you don’t purchase
the manual, at least sign up for his thoughtful, weekly newsletter, "More
Clients." It is loaded with ideas.
you can write articles for local papers, magazines, and web sites, even
if you are not paid in cash, ask to have your by-line, address,
phone number, and e-mail included along with a photo, if at all possible.
In other words, you want to have you face and name visible enough that
you are remembered by a lot of people. One additional note that expresses
my own personal preference for appearance. I feel it is important to have
a particular style that is sharp and unique. I don't mean that we should
spend a huge amount of money on clothes, but I do feel that even though
it isn't always fair, people do judge a book by its cover. Remember that
this is my bias, but I pay attention to how I look when I walk out my
door to meet the public.
you have a deadline for a project, always try to complete it
ahead of time, unless it is absolutely impossible. If you are going to
be late, be sure to let the client know. I also feel that if I am involved
with a long project, it is a good policy to keep in touch with my client,
so they are aware of the progress I am making. At this point, you may
be asking what does all this have to do with marketing. Even in a large
region, the word gets passed around a niche market about whom it is good
to work with, who is a professional, and who always over-performs, never
under-performs. Word of mouth is still going to be your most valuable
marketing tool, as long as it is complimentary. Written testimonials can
also add credence to your marketing materials.
A brand new FREE eclectic e-newsletter, Handling a Portfolio Career, is in the works! I will be in touch with former subscribers to Portfolio Potpourri and to all who have taken the Portfolio Career Self Test. Watch for the announcement.
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