As a freelancer, you know that time means money.
However, you’ve probably also worked out that there never seems to be enough of either!
No matter how tight your budget is, ensuring you have an effective marketing strategy (and always looking out for new advertising opportunities) can mean the difference between a successful freelancing enterprise…
…and one that never gets through the door.
It’s a misconception that advertising needs to be expensive; in fact, there are plenty of ways you can advertise your freelance business without spending a dime!
If you’re seeking free ways to improve your brand’s visibility (or you’re ready to engage in paid marketing on a budget), here are our top 10 ways to advertise your freelance business without breaking the bank!
1. Start A Website
In 2020, it seems almost unnecessary to tell freelance entrepreneurs that you need a website. However, studies show a staggering 46% of small businesses in the US lack this vital tool!
Without a website, you’re unlikely to be able to attract new clients; almost all of your prospective clients will expect to be able to check online for business information.
Creating a website is quick and easy, and there are a tonne of resources and tools to help you do it.
You can create and register a unique domain for as little as $2.99 per month, and some sites even offer free web hosting (although you will miss out on many premium features) to get you started.
In short, your website is the core of your brand identity.
Be sure to include a ‘Contact Us’ page, an ‘About Us,’ and a portfolio showing off your work.
You might also want to include a page that allows clients to write reviews, as well as an option to join your mailing list.
2. Use Social Media
Another free tool that’s commonly underused by freelance businesses is social media.
Be sure to post regularly about any new products or services you’re offering and notify your followers whenever you publish a new blog. Once you get a bit more cash flow, you can start engaging in paid advertising on platforms such as Facebook. It can be quite confusing at the beginning, so here’s a useful guide to Facebook ad terminology.
Even if you don’t have the cash to participate in a paid social media marketing campaign, simply being active on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram can make a massive difference to your freelance business’s visibility.
You should also become part of the conversation on social media and connect with other professionals in your industry (in addition to potential clients).
3. Start A Blog
Your blog is arguably one of your website’s most essential components, particularly when it comes to attracting new customers.
It’s a chance to prove your expertise and become a trusted name in your industry.
Hosting a blog on your website also offers another significant benefit: keeping your website updated, relevant, and visible to prospective clients.
If you’re not a writer, then you might want to consider hiring another freelancer to aid you with your blog posts. Clients will quickly be turned away if your posts are poorly written or don’t add any value.
By hiring a copywriter, you’ll obtain relevant, valuable and well-written posts that can be a lifeline when it comes to attracting customers.
4. Update Your Email Marketing
Yes, we all hate spam emails.
But email marketing is still a vital tool when you’re growing your freelance business. It’s also a very affordable marketing technique.
The key to advertising (and not spamming) is to ensure your marketing adds value and offers something unique to the potential client. An excellent idea for an email campaign is to provide some sort of training that can be completed over several days or weeks.
Follow-up emails are also essential when it comes to advertising your freelance business. This doesn’t just improve your brand image, but can also be used as an opportunity to ask clients for reviews or referrals.
5. Leverage Automated Tools
Whether you’re sending out dozens of cold emails or are focusing on your social media strategies, taking advantage of automation tools can be an absolute lifesaver in the hectic world of freelancing.
Stop wasting time writing out every individual email and focus on creating excellent products! Many automation systems are surprisingly affordable and packed full of extra features to make your life easier.
Remember that time means money, particularly as a freelancer. Sometimes, it’s worth spending a little to gain a lot in return.
6. Attend Networking Events (Including Virtual Ones!)
You never know when you might meet a potential client. As a freelancer, every event should be seen as an opportunity to network.
Merely posting on forums or seeking out guest blogging opportunities are brilliant ways to expand your audience and showcase your knowledge.
You could also host a content event such as a webinar, mastermind group or possibly a Q&A session directly on your website or social media.
Remember to advertise these as much as possible to get the word out; it’s also well-worth asking your friends, family and clientele to share upcomging events with their followers too.
It’s also a great idea to attend as many IRL (in real-life) events as possible. Look for events being hosted by others within your industry for a chance to connect with other knowledgeable individuals. You might learn something or make a new ally!
7. Foster Your Client Relationships
As a freelancer, chances are it’s just you and your client. Use this to your advantage by moulding your advertising campaign around a customer-focused attitude.
Be kind and sincere in all communications, and be sure to keep your word on the promises you make.
If you show that you care about each customer, they’re far more likely to use you for repeat work (and may even help boost your visibility with some good old-fashioned word of mouth marketing for you)!
You’re not a huge faceless company, you’re a freelancer. Most people will much-prefer working one-on-one with a human being, which can be leveraged to your advantage.
8. Ask For Referrals
If you’re starting out on your freelance venture, it might feel uncomfortable to start asking favors from the few customers you have. However, studies show that up to 90% of buyers are influenced by their peers, and you simply can’t beat good press!
If you’re not comfortable asking for favors, you could offer an incentive for referrals, such as money off a client’s next purchase when they get someone else to sign up for your services.
According to Hubstaff, clients obtained through referrals also tend to be approximately 18% more loyal and generate 16% more profit than customers who arrived at your business via any other medium.
9. Optimize For Search Engines
There are two sides to Search Engine Optimization you need to know:
On one hand, optimizing for search engines will help your website rank higher in search results.
On the other hand, solely focusing on SEO can leave you with a piece of writing that’s unpleasant to read.
The best way to utilize SEO is to do your research and pick a few popular key terms that you can scatter throughout the post.
If you’re not confident writing for SEO, it can be well worth hiring someone to help you with this or take part in an online course to improve your skills.
10. Try Something Different
Depending on your business, starting a YouTube channel or podcast can be a fun and lucrative way to improve your brand image across multiple platforms.
These channels could be as simple as talking through some fundamental aspects of your business, discussing changes in your industry or providing short tutorials.
Whatever you do, the most important thing to remember is that clients are looking for value in every piece of content.
Every piece of content you create should be aimed at showcasing your skills and expertise in order to attract and maintain new clients.
Having a quality website, a value-driven blog, an effective email marketing campaign, and an active social media presence are all great and inexpensive (or even free) ways to boost your brand awareness.
Simply being online, active, and helpful are great ways to build an audience who will know and trust you to have their interests at heart.
Sure, it would be quicker to build a client base using expensive tools such as Google ads…
…but it’s well-worth taking the time to grow your presence organically. If you do, you’ll end up with clients and customers who are more loyal and more rewarding than anything money can buy.
Remember that it’s not always about shelling out the most cash. Advertising doesn’t need to cost your business and nothing can substitute for quality.