5 Brand-Building Actions Every Freelancer Should Take Now

Memorable BrandingWhen it comes to creating a steady stream of clients, your brand isn’t just something that helps — it’s a make-or-break part of the deal.

If you don’t deliver a brand that’s powerful and memorable the very first time a potential client comes across your website or blog, you’re taking the risk of being passed over for someone else who is. 

Check out this list of branding essentials to make sure you’re not giving up any business that you don’t have to.

#1 — Get a high-impact website

If you’re using a cookie-cutter theme for your site, your visitors may think you’ll give cookie-cutter service as well. A professionally made design goes a long way towards building credibility — and is more affordable than you think. Pick up a premium theme that isn’t overused yet or invest a small amount in getting a designer to customize an existing free theme. A few tweaks can make it look like a million bucks.

#2 — Take SEO seriously

As a freelancer, you don’t need “hunting down clients” to be something that eats away at your billable time.  Invest a little bit in some targeted SEO so that you show up higher in search results and lock your name in a client’s mind at the moment they’re searching for what you do.  If you want to invest your own time rather than hire an SEO consultant, check out this list of 10 SEO tips for Freelancers or pick up an ebook like SEO School to get a basic education fast.

#3 — Craft compelling copy

Does your sales page look like it was thrown together as an afterthought, or does it look like some serious time was spent making it read in a way that captures attention and drives a sale?  

It’s hard to write great stuff about yourself, so consider hiring a copywriter — even a low-priced beginner — to write objectively about why people should hire you.  It makes a real difference.

#4 — Deliver your brand to other audiences

It’s much easier to establish a brand following when you can piggy-back on top of an existing brand.  And in the age of blogging, getting exposure has never been easier.  Guest post on other blogs to draw their audience your way and building your reputation becomes that much easier.  Here’s a great series on guest posting that can get you started.

#5 — Create a product to establish authority

There’s no better way to show a potential client that you know your stuff than to have a product or download to back it up.  Write an ebook or offer a free download that’s relevant to your freelancing experience and show that you’re more than just another hopeful somebody who has a domain name.

You Don’t Have To Break The Bank

Putting these tips into action doesn’t require forking over thousands of dollars — there are plenty of ways to keep costs down. 

Get your hands on some quality free or low cost training materials if you’re going to do it yourself, find up-and-coming service providers who haven’t raised their rates yet, or barter your services with theirs to make boosting your brand a zero out-of-pocket experience.

How Can You Implement These Actions?

With over 6000 freelancers reading this blog daily, there are sure to be a few who are can help you to get these tips done.  If you don’t have the money, consider bartering with someone in a similar situation. Whether you need these services or are willing to provide them, leave a comment and let the rest of us know what you need and what you can do.  You may just find that building a strong brand can be easier — and faster — than you imagined.

images by powerbooktrance and rpongsaj

Comments

  1. says

    Good tips, #5 is very important as it establishes your expertise in the niche you offer services. Even better when the product is a free download – even if it’s just a simple case study.

  2. says

    Great tips! As a web designer, I definitely agree with #1 – you’re just not going to stand out from the crowd with a free template web site. Ideally you’ll want to get a completely custom design, but as you said, even making tweaks to one of the free or premium themes can make a huge impact – changing to a custom header graphic, updating colors to fit your own brand, etc… every little bit helps!

    I’ve also just recently found how helpful #4 is too, thanks to Freelance Folder! I’ve recently written two posts here, and have received quite a bit of traffic to my own blog because of it. But better yet, I’ve received two inquiries for design work, one that I believe will materialize into a new client by the end of the week!

    As for who uses and needs these services, I hope it’s not too forward to say that I offer custom web site design and development – originally for static web sites, but I’ve been doing a lot of WordPress work lately.

    I do all of the design and front-end development myself, but I often sub-contract back-end programming. I also frequently refer people to a few copywriters and programmers that I know, as well. It’s great to have a network of people you can share referrals with, or even barter with!

  3. says

    Recommending a website theme – premium or otherwise – in an article about brand building is very bad advice. A website’s design should be as original as its content, and that goes way beyond having a design that most people haven’t seen yet.

    Hire a good designer to built a site that presents your content in the right way, not one that forces it into a design that was made before your content even existed. Such a designer can also provide lots of options for making important parts of your content especially visible, and teach you why that’s the case.

    Hiring a good designer also lets you off the hook with action #2, as he/she will already be doing all that stuff.

  4. says

    I’m pretty confident with how my site looks. It’s more of a blog, actually, though I plan to create pages with sales info, testimonials, etc. My problem is that I have absolutely not made enough time to work on the site. I’m so busy actually working that I don’t have time to promote myself. I guess that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it annoys me to no end. I am hoping my situation will change when I no longer have kids at home during the day, and can commit to a regular full-time schedule. Regardless, I’ll always be one of those writers who hates the marketing end of things. Thank God for social networking or I’d have not work coming in…

  5. says

    Nice writeup! I couldn’t agree more with point #1. Templates are great for the casual user, but if you’re a legitimate business with a budget – spring for the custom design.

    Point #4 – is there meant to be a link on the word “here’s”?

  6. says

    Great post Dave, I totally agree what you are saying here, especially number one, I hate it when you visit a website, and you have seen the design before, its like c’mon change the theme, or colouring, make it look a little different, that is what puts me off instantly and makes me move on.

  7. says

    I think #3 is one of the hardest things for many people to do. Many people do not understand the power of great copy vs. average copy. Having just the average copy can result in no sales or just a few inquiries. Your website needs to not only look professional (#1), but sound professional when reading through it. If you have #1, a great looking site, then why blow your chances with crap content or sales copy.

  8. says

    Good posting, but I think I am going to have to hire a professional for the site. I can only do so much in a day in order to make money, so sometimes it pays to outsource.

  9. says

    I love your tips and appreciate the awesome advice. Yep, those are very simple. I need to get better with SEO for myself and my clients…Thanks for the inspiration.

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