Marketing plans aren’t just for large-scale businesses or retail operations. Anyone who is selling anything (products or services) needs a marketing plan. Psssst…that means you, you fabulous freelancer. Though it may seem like a daunting task, creating a marketing plan for your freelance business doesn’t need to be.
You can easily pull together a basic freelancer marketing plan in a few hours. It’s as simple as answering these questions: What, Who, Why, Where, How & When?
Creating A Freelancers Marketing Plan
I am going to use a freelance photographer named Jill as an example to help bring some context to the steps of creating a freelancer marketing plan.
Start with the “What.” What is it that you are trying to sell? This, of course, would be your freelance services. Get specific here, particularly if you are trying to own a certain niche.
For example, Jill is a freelance photographer, but she doesn’t photograph anything and everything. Her speciality is corporate headshots that showcase the personalities of her subjects. So her “what” might be “extraordinary corporate headshots.”
Who is your target audience? Again, get specific here, because “everyone” is not a target audience. It’s really important to hone in on your ideal client.
Jill’s ideal clients are medium to large sized businesses, particularly professional services firms, located within the Wilmington, Delaware region.
Why does your ideal client need your service? What are the reasons that your service is a solution for your ideal client?
For Jill, her clients need her services to help humanize their brands and set them apart from their competitors. Her photographs are more compelling than ordinary headshots and breathe life into what might be considered bland brands like accounting firms, insurance agencies, and financial advisors.
Where can you best reach your ideal clients? Social media makes a lot of sense for a freelancer marketing plan versus traditional marketing methods like radio, television and print, because of its affordability. You could also make a list of clients you’d like to work with and reach out directly via phone, email or snail mail.
If you want to pursue social media as a marketing angle, don’t be random about choosing the platform(s) where you are active.
Consider where on social media are your ideal clients are spending their time, and prioritize those platforms for your activity.
This step may take a little time and some research, but it will be well worth it.
For Jill, since she is trying to reach corporate decision makers, LinkedIn makes a lot of sense for her freelancer marketing plan. She could place ads on the platform or gain visibility by actively posting on the platform, following targeted firms and liking, commenting, sharing posts that are relevant to her target audience.
She could also make a list of all of the area accounting and finance firms, dig deep to find the best contact and send an email introducing herself and her services along with a link to her portfolio. Any outreach like this should include a plan to follow up on the initial email if it goes unanswered.
Jill also might consider a chamber of commerce membership as part of her freelancer marketing plan. That could open opportunities for her to connect face-to-face with her ideal clients at networking events. Networking is a longer game though. It likely won’t yield immediate results, but it might help her build visibility and relationships that could become very valuable over time.
This step of the freelancer marketing plan digs a little deeper. There are several “how’s.” How much money do you have to spend and how will you spend that money? If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, you might instead consider how much time you will devote to social media activity, cold outreach etc. as your investment.
Write all of those specifics into your plan.
Also, how will you define your success and how will you measure it? Make sure you have a process in place to help you measure whether your investment of time and/or money was successful.
For Jill, that measurement might include the number of inquiries about her services, new photo shoots scheduled, etc.
When will you activate your marketing efforts? Keep in mind consistency is important. Don’t just plan one big burst at the beginning of the year, then go quiet.
Create an annual calendar for your marketing outreach and use the decisions you made in the previous steps to build out a strategy for the next 12 months. Plan on some level of consistency throughout the year, but also consider investing more time/money during times of the year when your ideal clients would be more likely to be needing your service.
For example, Jill might spend more time reaching out to potential clients in the accounting industry after the busy tax season, when she will have more luck getting their attention.
Questions About Creating A Freelancer Marketing Plan?
Have questions? We’re here to help, and we’re growing a collaborative community of freelancers over in our Women of Wobizzle Facebook group. We’d love to have you join us there.
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