There are thousands of ways you can market your freelance or small business. And when you’re starting out it’s easy to be swayed by the idea that focusing all your efforts on social media will get you front and centre of your target audience.
But before you start strategising a major pincer movement on Facebook and Google, make sure you have the basics in place.
If you’re not sure what I mean, then the simple marketing checklist should clue you in.
GET THE FULL CHECKLIST
You’ll be surprised what you’ve missed. This comprehensive list will make sure you’ve got all the basics covered.
Have you included details of your business on your personal and professional email signatures? Don’t blush if you haven’t. But go ahead and do it. Now.
Of course, it goes without saying that your email signature should contain links to your social media pages. Adding buttons for Facebook, LinkedIn, and other relevant sites is also easy to do nowadays and can help to catch a reader’s eye every time they’re scanning your message.
Your email signature shouldn’t be static either. It’s a great place to promote a new service or product, and up-and-coming events you’re organising such as an online webinar, conference, or training session.
You can also link to digital reviews or great testimonials and case studies.
In other words, your email signature is prime real estate upon which to promote the prominent aspects of your business. So start using it.
List your business online for free
It’s a no-brainer to advertise your business in search engine local directories. Firstly, they’re basically free advertising. And secondly, they can boost your ranking in local search results, which is particularly important if your target clientele are people living in the same city as you.
Google My Business enables businesses to manage their presence on Google Search and Google Maps. And even listing on Microsoft’s default search engine Bing (which, by the way, millions of people use every day), will help your Google ranking.
Network …with who you know
Many people dread networking believing that, for the most part, it’s an uncomfortable waste of time.
But here’s the thing. Networking is simply interacting with others to develop contacts and exchange information. And you can start this process with the people who are immediately around you.
I’m not just talking about friends and family. Old bosses, former colleagues, neighbours and local businesses, and current entrepreneurial pals, are all people you can call up or chat to about what you’re doing, and ask them to spread the word if they know anyone who might need your service or product.
It’s a painless and simple marketing tactic that can help you find clients you’d never reach otherwise.
Testimonials & reviews
Have people tried your services or products? Have they liked them? If yes, great! But don’t keep all those compliments to yourself. Let other potential clients know what folk are saying about you! According to the Pew Research Center, 82% of adults typically read online reviews before making a purchase. That means one satisfied client sharing the love could lead to several other clients.
You can link to testimonials in your email signature (see above), or place them in a prominent position on your website.
Equally, you can turn testimonials into case studies or even blog posts.
Asking for testimonials
If you don’t have any testimonials but you have had satisfied customers, contact them and ask if they’d be happy to provide a couple of lines outlining what they appreciated most about working with you.
Remember too that you can ask for endorsements via LinkedIn or by enabling reviews on your Facebook Page.
And yes, I get that you’re an introvert/shy/don’t know how/ fill in the ______ and that asking for praise makes you feel icky.
But look at this way: if someone who’s service or product you loved asked you to provide them with a few words to help them reach more customers – would you do it? I’m guessing a big fat YES! So, it’s likely your happy clients will be as amenable.
If you’re starting out and you have neither clients nor kudos, a simple marketing tactic to employ is to offer free trials.
You may think this is throwing away good money. But the fact is, if someone has the opportunity to experience your offering, there’s a good chance they’ll come back for more – or tell others about it.
Also a fact: there’s so much choice and freebies online today that most people are more likely to purchase a completely new service if they’ve had a little taster of it first.
You can also offer your freebie as an exchange for a testimonial, referral, or a podcast or blog post mention. So, it’s a greater win-win for everyone involved.
Simple social media
Posting and networking on social media can be a big time suck. So the trick is to take it one site at a time.
Set up a simple business profile or page on the social media site you feel will benefit you most and which you’re confident you’ll be able to manage regularly. These can include LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Be sure your business profile includes a good description, keywords and a link to your website. Again, you can add in links to specific services, reviews, testimonials, freebies, etc.
Commit to updating your page at least a couple of times a week with relevant content, and make sure to promote your profile on your email signature and all other channels (e.g. website, blogs, business cards, etc.)
Write blog posts
Many people get despondent with blog posts because they’ve been led to believe “write it, and the clients will come.”
Oh, that it was that easy! One blog post does not a full client-list make.
But writing consistently about your industry, offering, and expertise is a simple marketing tactic that overtime can help your business in several ways.
For starters, the more you produce high-quality, industry-relevant content the more awareness you create around your business or brand.
Consistency also builds credibility and trust. By providing regular, relevant information, your client-readers will see that you not only know what you’re talking about, but that you’re no fly-by-nighter either.
And, every time you write a blog post about your business or service, you’re not only exercising your writing muscle, making it easier for you to write through the long haul, but you’re also distilling your thoughts and putting into words why you’re in business in the first place and what you aim to achieve. Having a really clear, concise understanding of this will help you in all aspects of your business.
These are just some of the simple marketing tactics you can employ if you’re setting out as a solopreneur or small business-owner. But as I said at the beginning, there are thousands of ways to market and promote your services or products.