If you’re a graphic designer who’s gone freelance, there are a lot of changes you’ll have to consider. When you were working in-house, your work was given to you on a platter. All you needed to do was meet deadlines and keep up quality.
When you go self-employed, however, you need to start thinking like the business owner you are. Here are a few tips for marketing your freelance services.
One of the most effective and easiest things you can do is network. Start doing some outreach, both locally and online. Remember that when you’re a graphic designer, any business is a potential client. That excludes other designers, of course! It might be worth running a mail marketing campaign for some of your local businesses. When a freelancer operates in the local area, it can create an immediate sense of trust. Also, with all the spam email floating around these days, a professional letterhead will stand out a little better. In terms of online networking, be sure to set up a well-presented portfolio and an engaging LinkedIn profile. When you start liaising with potential clients, always emphasise what you can do for them, rather than simply how great you are!
My next tip is to start a blog and update it regularly. For any small business, this is one of the most important parts of building your online presence. If you don’t have much of a literary flair, then this tip may feel a little hard to tackle. If you need inspiration, think about some of the FAQs you get from clients. Write posts that both answer common questions, and show that you know what you’re talking about. This will get across the professional and helpful image you want to show your target audience. If you’re not too stingy to offer your knowledge to other designers, then tutorials are pretty easy to write. Look at Vectips.com for some good examples of this. Whatever your blog focusses on, strive to filter a lot of professional knowledge through a casual, approachable tone.
My final tip is to post content which stands out from the rest. Blog posts are an important marketing tool for freelance designers. However, if you mix things up a bit, you’ll have something which a lot of the competition doesn’t! You might want to put up some video guides or tutorials. These are not only attractive to busy clients, but can be a great way to present your professional knowledge. It may surprise you to learn that you don’t need a big budget to create professional-looking videos or infographics. You can get some great smartphone tripods at Joby.com. Often, simple editing software is enough for you to create a sleek, professional infographic.
Take these tips on board, and your entire marketing drive will start to feel much simpler. There are a number of other things you can do, but these three steps will lay a great foundation. Just make sure you put the work in. Marketing is boring for a lot of creatives, but it’s integral for a freelance career!