Over the years that I’ve been freelancing the number one complaint that I’ve heard from other freelancers has to be about the dread that they have for promoting their own business.
If anyone had told me twenty years ago that I’d be responsible for marketing and selling for a service-oriented business, I’d never have believed them. Yet, as a freelancer, that’s exactly what I do. I market and sell my writing services to my clients.
Back then, if someone had asked me to list twenty potential careers in order of how interested I was in each of them, sales would have come in dead last every single time.
“I just can’t do it.” One freelancer told me. “I hate to sell things.”
Another freelancer added this: “Promoting my business seems so boastful. How can I market my products and services without boasting?”
I absolutely understand those concerns. In many ways, they echo my own fears and worries. However, if you are going to be successful in your freelancing business, then you will eventually need to learn to promote that business.
There’s been a lot written about promoting your business online. If you’re like me, then you’ve already read a wealth of materials about online promotion. You may already even excel at promoting your business online. Good for you!
Now, it’s time to explore offline promotion. When added to your online promotion, these easy offline promotion tips are sure to increase business.
Here are 6 simple ideas for promoting your online business offline:
Pay attention to what you say about your work when you meet someone new. Whenever I met someone I used to simply say, “I’m a writer,” or “I work from home.” Those responses did absolutely nothing to promote my business. Most people think that a writer is the author of a novel and working from home could mean that I telecommute. Now when I meet someone I say, “I own a business that provides web content, writing, and editing services.” With that response, the person that I’m talking to gets a much clearer picture of what I actually do.
2. Friends and family
Make sure that your friends and family understand your business. I know that this can be a tough assignment. Sometimes family are the very last people to “get it” when it comes to how a freelancer earns money. However, if your friends and family do get it, then when they meet someone and describe your work to them that description will be accurate. How many times have you heard someone say that they got a project from a “friend of a friend?” That can only happen when the friend knows what to say about your business.
3. Business cards
Have one and share it with others. It’s amazing how many freelancers don’t even bother to create a business card. Yet, for many people getting a business card makes a business seem more legitimate. When you create your business card make sure to include your name, your website URL, your e-mail, and any other contact information that you may have. Once you have a business card, hand it out whenever you meet new people, enclose it with letters that you send, and give it to friends and family members.
Advertising doesn’t have to be expensive. You can take out an advertisement in back of the business section of your local newspaper (look for a smaller paper). You may also be able to place an advertisement in a small, regional magazine. Often, sports teams from local schools and civic organizations are looking for sponsorship. For a small donation, the team is often willing to place an ad for your business in their program. Finally, don’t forget to explore the possibility of placing an advertisement in your local telephone directory.
5. Join a group
One of the easiest ways to promote your online business offline is to become part of an offline group. This expands your network of contacts. Most towns and cities have business-oriented organizations such as the local Chamber of Commerce that you can join. However, an organization need not be business-related for you to engage in networking. If you have a hobby or other special interest, then you can join a group that focuses on that particular interest. Even though your fellow group members may not be potential customers, they may know of someone else who can use your services.
6. Direct mail
Prepare an informative packet for a small, targeted group of businesses (or customers) in your local area that could use your services. Personalize each packet with a letter describing specifically how your business can be of help. Mail the packets out and follow through in a few weeks with a friendly call to see if the potential customer received the packet. Ask if they have any questions about the information that you provided.
Those are my offline marketing tips. They are relatively simple to follow. Most can be implemented on even a very small budget. A few cost nothing at all.
How do you market your freelancing business offline? Leave a comment and share your offline marketing tips.