Freelancing is one of the best deals when it comes to employment. You get to do what you love, for as long or little as you please and be your own boss, all from the comfort of your own home or any place you choose, really. Which is fantastic, if you know how to promote your work correctly.
The main problem with freelancing is that nothing and nobody can guarantee a constant stream of clients. And the freelancer’s time has to be split between doing their job, satisfying clients, finding new clients and so on and so forth, with no help at all, which means that their time is limited to none.
And who wants to get zero rest? Nobody.
But what’s a freelancer to do in this situation?
Well, apart from utilizing social media and using referrals to grow your following, there’s another thing you can do: utilize email marketing.
Email marketing is the tool to establish, nourish and create lasting relationships with customers. Oh and don’t make me get started on its ROI: email marketing can generate far more than it costs:
Saving that much cost while generating that much revenue is needed when it comes to large businesses and freelancers alike. But how are you going to go from the great freelancer that my best friend knows, to that freelancer my business absolutely needs to hire?
Invest in email marketing and automation software
The logical assumption should’ve been that, until you build a large email list, you don’t need to invest in something like that. But this is wrong.
Email marketing and automation tools are what will save you time, effort, and, eventually resources. Especially if you’re not a freelance designer and, therefore, have no idea how to make a designing tool work in the first place.
With automation tools, you can build and set campaigns and then allow the software to do the work for you, as you won’t need to worry about the emails that get sent out. Other than creating them, of course.
And there are plenty of options that offer flexible prices and free forever plans, such as ConstantContact and Moosend, which both are great alternatives to MailChimp.
Create buyer or audience personas
Before going ahead and building your list, you’ll need to have a little brainstorm sesh with yourself and think and-eventually-determine your buyer personas.
A buyer/audience persona is an imaginary ideal customer, complete with different traits, genders, educational background, location and so on and so forth.
That ideal customer is the person you’re creating content for, whether it’s stunning visuals or perfect content writing with insightful ideas.
You’re your best-and only-salesperson and you need to do the job as best as possible, in order to create a funnel that will last.
Buyer/audience personas will give you insightful ideas when it comes to what you could do if you want to promote your work effectively. For example, it is known that a freebie is a lead magnet, but just how many and what kind of freebies should you hand out?
And this is what it’s supposed to look like:
Cassandra Vane has all the characteristics of a real person, and by the looks of it, she needs some guidance on implementing change in a large company and wants to improve employee retention.
Therefore, if Cassandra Vane is your ideal persona, that’ll help you decide what kind of content would be helpful for her and, eventually, you as well.
Build your following, aka leads, aka email list
Don’t worry, it’s easier than it sounds.
a) Through social media
Let’s assume that you have a blog, through which you’re promoting your work. People are not exactly expected to know about it, correct?
Well, social media could be a freelancer’s saving grace. So, here’s what you should do, to increase your subscribers: Post your creations on your social media, post any and all things and make sure to encourage people to share if they liked your content.
Also, make sure to study the people who like and share your content. Study them very closely and check how similar they are to your personas.
After that, act accordingly: Create an ideal landing page, packed with the content, words, visuals that you’ll deem fitting for that kind of audience.
This landing page will convert your prospects in no time, seeing as you’ll be offering something of value in return, whether it’s a subscription to your newsletter or a freebie-or both.
But don’t think that only shares will get you all the attention you need, in order to have a great funnel as a freelancer.
Hold contests and giveaways. Make sure to give your clients (potential or existing), a reason to share your content online, by giving them something that won’t be too grand, just grand enough for them to want to partake in this.
Ask them to tag a friend or two when they share your content, for maximum reach.
b) Through referrals
Another thing you can do which I’m sure you’ve done already, but not in the way I’m going to propose-is work through referral marketing.
While I’m sure that friends and trusted, beloved customers, bring you some much-needed referrals, I don’t know if they’re as many as you’d need them to be. But there is a way to score more leads through referrals.
You can always offer something to everyone who refers a friend, be it a discount or a special offer, or even something small for free. Kind of like…
I chose this email because, first of all, I really loved the colors and the clever GIF design. However, there is more to it.
The value is crystal clear. Five dollars credit for the client’s next purchase(s), for each friend they refer. Easy peasy, right? And there’s huge value right off the bat. It’s clickbaity, but not too much, it’s fun, the dollar bill is happy and your client as well.
Your client, afterward, will share that email with people that could be interested in your work. And that way, you can turn your client into a brand ambassador.
Another great way would be to hold a contest, where one would be able to refer a friend to your product or service.
The person who gives you the most referrals wins. Count the referrals’ referrals as well, if you want to reach a broader audience, fast.
Just make sure that the prize is well worth the effort and that everyone gets something, without you having to break the bank. Free shipping, for example, or some small discount for their first purchase would be the best way to go, the former for the existing followers, the latter option for the referrals.
c) Through surveys
I bet you didn’t think of that, did you?
Send a survey to your already existing customers, either before your client makes the purchase, just to make sure that nothing interferes with their will to buy and to ask about feedback on the quality, or after the purchase, in order to make sure that your client was satisfied and ask whether or not they would refer a friend.
Referring a friend is a whole metric on its own, of course. You can calculate your Net Promoter Score through a survey. Just add a bar at the bottom of the email, like this:
The rating you get indicates the likelihood of your customers referring you to friends. Add a share button and an offer to those, and you’ll get all the conversion you need, reaching your KPIs in no time.
What do we get from that information, then? That the more emails you send to your clients, the more your list will grow.
Keep in touch
Don’t underestimate the power of getting a bit up close and personal with your customers. They may not need something at the moment and you know they’ll contact you if they do, that’s for sure.
But on the other hand, maybe they know someone that needs your help and don’t have the time to contact you.
Everyone appreciates someone who thinks of their customers as friends they collaborate with and freelancers fall into that category more than anyone else, as they’re their own brand. So, make sure to make an after-sales call or send a follow-up email just to see if everything’s alright and if your customers need anything more.
You see, Human To Human business is what rules the world nowadays, seeing as the breakthrough of social media has made it so that people consider brands, no matter how faceless, to be their “friends”. The opportunity for messaging a brand instantly has given us all this opportunity.
So, why not use this to your advantage, as a living, breathing freelancer that makes custom, tailor-made work?
One more tip for the road…
Keep in mind that you need to be patient, persistent and keep calm and cool when it comes to leveraging email marketing as a freelancer.
Always add your social media links in your emails, no matter what the reason for sending them out maybe.
And remember that, while social media can get you viral pretty quickly, social contests and the likes can get you all the wrong crowd for all the wrong reasons. But email marketing is not social media. Social media is a sprint, email marketing is a marathon. It may take you long to see the inbox full to the brim with orders, but I promise you, you’ll get there!
Back to you!
And we’re done with the most important tips on building your list and using email marketing to promote your work as a freelancer.
What say you? Is there anything you have used, that worked, but haven’t seen in that list?
Feel free to tell us in the comments and share the knowledge with your favorite freelancer!