Everyone is trying to promote their freelancing business. Here are some ideas to help you get a jump on your competition:
This is something many freelancers don’t even think about asking for a referral from business associates. You can even give them something in return such as a small-fee or discounts on services if it leads to a contract.
2. Show Yourself
Being active is the best way for others to see who you are and what you do. Join the Chamber of Commerce and go to the meetings armed with your speech and lots of business cards. Go to social gathering site to see if there is anything going on in your town that you could attend. This is an area that you have to be outgoing and not a wall-flower.
3. Design Consultations
You may see this as a way of giving away your expertise, but it is really showing potential clients that you know what you are doing and can help them with their graphic or design needs. Of course, you dont have to give away a lot of information just enough to get them excited about your working with them.
4. Walking Advertisement
You are your work. Let everyone know that. How? By having a t-shirt made with that information on it in a clever way. If you are not good at copy ask someone who is to help you. I look at t-shirts for business as something that should be a little fancier then the standard white ones. Perhaps one with a simple collar. You have to remember you are on display. Also; have a lot of business cards to give out.
5. Advertisement Hunting
One way to find clients is to look at advertising if your field. Check the internet, local mailers, junk mail to see how you can improve on what you see and present some ideas (not designs) to see if it attracts interest. You have nothing to lose and could find a new client.
6. New Business Hunting
New businesses can be a good way to finding new clients. If you see a new store in your town go in and drop off your business card. You may thing that they already have the design, but never know who is looking for additional design help.
7. Your Portfolio
This is a very important way to get new clients. The portfolio tells potentials what type of work you do and gives them information about you. There are several ways to get it seen. Post your work on portfolio sites, make a CD that you can put in the mail and one you can email. Be careful with the email part because of the spam rules. Also; consider sending out post cards to local retailers and businesses describing your services.
8. Sending Thank You Cards
This is something you should automatically do if you get a referral. Send the person who gave it to you a thank you note. Don’t type it. Hand write it on a nice card and put it in the mail. Oh yeah, forget about texting it too.
9. Find Partners
This will take some research, but could lead to a lot of design work. Look for people who work in your field, but do different work then you do. For instance, if you are a web designer look for a copywriter or graphic designer and partner with them. You will need to have a contract to do work to be sure there are no issues down the road. Or, you can bill the client individually for your services if agreed.
10. Promotional Products
This is an area that will keep your name in front of prospective clients. It is not free, but not too expensive. Promotional products can be calendars (keeps your name in front of the prospect all year if it is nicely designed), pens, etc. They are printed with your business name and you can leave them at meetings, social events or trade shows as another method of promoting your design business.
11. Simple Video
Video as we all know is something that can go viral if it is attention getting. If you are creative you could produce a simple sales video with a clever twist to attract attention. What kind of twist, well that all depends on your type of business. You are creative, so you can think of something clever.
12. Website Design
Today a website is probably the best way for prospects to see your work. So, you want the site to be attractive and not cluttered with any outside ads or banners. Keep it clean and simple. Remember that flash will not be able to be played on some devices, so you may want to find an alternative such as jQuery. If you have a website, use a QR (quick response) code on your printed material that will take prospects directly to your website.
13. Voicemail Message
Here is an area that may be overlooked for some simple advertising. The voicemail. Craft your voicemail to give a quick and simple ad about your work such as: This is Bob the designer that can help with your creative problems. Of course, dont use this. You need to be a little more creative and clever.
14. Volunteering Your Services
A good way of giving back to your community is to give away your services to a non-profit or group that could use that work. They may be planning a fundraiser that could use some great design work. Check with friends and family or neighbors to see if anyone knows of a business that needs some new or updated design work. Let them know you will do it for free, but would like them to give you a testimonial, post it on social media and referrer you to others. You never know who may be part of that organization that may be looking for a designer. Besides, giving back is always a good thing to do.
15. Write Articles for Blogs
As we all know content is king, so you may want to try your hand at writing some articles or a PDF that you would giveaway. This let readers know that you are an expert in your field and may get to some influential people needing design work. This is not a rush project. You need to take your time and craft something that gives readers some great information about your type of work. It is not a resume or portfolio. Remember to add your bio and link to your website.
There are many sites that accept (after checking to be sure they are not copied or duplicated) articles on their blogs, so check with ones that are relevant to your specific field of work.
16. Volunteer Speeches for Groups
If you are the type that can speak in front of a group of people you may want to consider talking to a local group or Chamber of Commerce. You could speak about How Advertising/Design Affects Your Bottom line or The Issues That Businesses Have in Today’s Marketplace and that would be speaking about problems and solutions.
This helps attendees know that you are in-touch with their problems and can help solve them.
17. On-Line Seminars
On-line seminars are good for learning about marketing, but also give you a way to network with attendees. You don’t speak with them directly, but will know who was there, so you can contact them later and see what they thought about the seminar. This will give you a foot-in-the-door for further conversations and maybe some business.
18. Forums and Message Boards
Locate some forums that are relative to your business. If you are a website designer look for ones that addresses website design issues. Then answer the questions with responses that really help and you may find someone that will ask: Do you design websites? You never know until you try and you may make some valuable contacts in the business.
Podcasts (word or video) seem to be getting more popular with the mobile set. It is much easier to listen to an article then to read it if you are using a cell phone. Podcast make it easier to produce and post than in previous years. All you need is a script (you have to write this), microphone and editing software. A ton of these are free on-line and then posting it on line is easy and free as well.
20. Newsletter Cross-Promoting
This involves finding other people in a similar field as your, but not a direct competitor. You put information in each other newsletters that promotes business. You have links and some information similar to an ad. For example if you are a designer you may want to find a printer or web designer. This of course is about networking, so get moving and network.
21. Clients Past and Present
Past clients are ones we feel are not important anymore because we finished the project, but they are very important if they loved your work. Keep in touch with all of them on a regular basis and offer some discounts for more work or a discount if a referral brings in business. Also; ask them if they feel there is a way for you to improve on your services because that will also make them feel that you really care about their input.
22. Offer Discounts.
Dont confuse discounts with lowering your prices. This is just a sales technique to bring in more business. For instance, you can offer to do a stationary re-design (not a logo design) at a discount for a brochure design at a regular price. This is a tactic you will see on many websitesBuy this and get this one free. You get the idea.
23. Freelance Sites
There are quite a few freelancer sites where you can bid on work for hire. This is a good way to also practice your craft and make some money. But, you are competing against many others (many I would say just use clip art) so-called designers, so you need to make your work outstanding to win the project. Some of the sites ask you to bid and others already have a set price for each particular project according to the client.
This is a great area to show off your creativity and especially if you can apply it to your field. Do a search for infographics and you will see a lot of designs, but not many very creative ones. Most are done with stock graphics, so you need to be creative and stand out from the others. Then post them on your site, Twitter, Facebook and some of the free infographics sites available. Be sure to add your name and links to the bottom of the design.
25. Special Mailings
This is good when you are actually mailing an invoice to a client. Be sure to include a discount coupon (for the next project) or offer to take them out for a cup of coffee or a lunch just to shoot the breeze. It is good business and creates a simple business friendship that can go a long way in more work or free referrals.
26. Sell Your Designs
There are many sites that can sell your designs. These can be ideas that you designed and didn’t sell such as a cool poster or special infographic. Behance is one of those sites and they charge you a few if it sells. A great way to make some extra money on unused designs.
27. Email & Text Design
Emails and texts are something that gets sent on a daily basis, so you should always include your name, website, affiliations/memberships and a small slogan about your business at the end of each one. This will keep that information in front of anyone that is reading it, so make it clever and not too busy.
28. Local Newspapers
This could be a place to write an article that is very informative to the readers not only about your type of work, but how it affects sales and consumers. For instance, How website design can grow your business. It has to relate to your business, so check with local editors because they are always looking for informative articles to fill space. You will also have to have a simple bio to put at the end of your story.
29. Post Comments.
Many blogs post stories about things that might relate to your business. Look for those type and post only positive comments and add your thoughts. Such as I love the post, but would do this also. This gives you a way to have other readers see your comments and it may help them with a problem they might be having. Or they just may want to contact you directly for help.