7 Ways to Identify and Market the Uniqueness of Your Freelance Business
Posted April 9, 2010 in Managing Clients, Marketing
As a freelance web and graphic designer, I realize that I am one tiny fish in a huge sea full of countless others in the same field. I am also aware that, although I am relatively successful and skilled at my craft, I am definitely not the best. So how can I go about attracting clients when they have so many other choices?
This post will look at the value of identifying unique traits and services your freelance business offers and how to promote them to make your business stand out amongst the others.
I’ll share how I market my uniqueness and explain how you can apply this same methodology to your freelance business. I’ll also provide seven steps for you to take toward identifying and marketing your own uniqueness.
Over time, I have become aware of one of the primary benefits I can offer my clients that they may not necessarily receive elsewhere: along with my specific standard of quality design work, I strive to treat my clients the way I want to be treated. Believe it or not, I have found this approach often pleasantly surprises potential clients and aids in retaining current ones.
Far too often clients have come to me with horror stories of their previous experiences with a designer who treated them badly, overcharged them, or in some other way created a working relationship and experience that drove the client away. When I begin to listen to them, work with and for them toward achieving their dreams for their project, and do everything I can to make the experience enjoyable and rewarding for the client, they usually respond with relief and express their appreciation for how I am accommodating them. I have come to realize this is something that makes me exceptional in their eyes, and therefore is a strong selling point for my freelance business.
After identifying this uniqueness, I set out to capitalize on it by purposely incorporating it into my online promotions and branding. On my social media channels and my blog I strive to be helpful, personal and engaging so when someone is looking for a web designer, my name gets passed along. So far, it has been working quite well and has boosted the reputation of my business. It has become a key ingredient in attracting new clients, since over 90% of my current clients have come from word of mouth recommendations.
What Makes You Special?
In my case, the discovery of the uniqueness of my own approach to extremely personal customer service was accidental. I idealistically assumed that everyone treated their clients with the same care that I do, so it took some time to realize that this was not the case. Some of the ways I stumbled upon this discovery could possibly save you time now rather than waiting for inadvertent signs.
- Pay attention to positive responses and interactions with current and potential clients. This could tip you off on something they are not finding elsewhere.
- Analyze negative responses, too. While not only helping you to avoid making the same mistakes in the future, this will assist you in recognizing and fine tuning your strengths.
- Look at why and how someone recommends you–professionally or personally in any context. Pay attention to their wording. What do others see as your strong points?
- Compare and contrast others in your field. Look at what they do and do not promote about their business or themselves and compare with your own offerings. What elements of your services are not being marketed–directly or indirectly–as a selling point for your peers?
How Can You Market Your Individuality?
Once you’ve nailed down at least one major difference you offer in comparison to your peers, it is time to promote it as a reason you should be considered by potential clients. How you do this is dependent upon the specific trait(s) you are going to market, but here are some general ideas:
- Update all of your online profiles to include it. This can be an outright sales pitch or it can be adjusting how your profiles or bios are written to incorporate it. For instance, if your uniqueness is your sense of humor, you could say “My sense of humor makes working with me entertaining.” Or it could be less direct, by writing a witty bio that makes people laugh. Make sure to update social media profiles, your website, and anywhere else that potential clients or referrers may come in contact with you.
- Determine to purposely integrate it into all of your interactions. For instance, if you are on social media channels, be mindful of utilizing your uniqueness in your status updates and conversations with others, regardless of whether or not they have the potential to become a client. In your emails, phone calls, networking–wherever you interact with others–make sure to include your new discovery as an element of who you are and what you offer. In other words, still running with the humor example, make an effort to interact in a way that makes people laugh and remember you for it.
- Rebrand yourself if necessary. If the discovery of your uniqueness does not already display prominently in the branding of your business, it is worth rebranding in order to promote it best. This could include a new logo, website, photos, avatars and more. While this could be the most intensive and possibly expensive step, it will most likely have the biggest rewards. Ask respected and trusted people if they see your uniqueness in your branding. If they don’t, it’s time to rebrand.
These are some of the ways I personally came across my own unique offerings and began to market them as selling points for my freelance business. Have you developed your own methods that utilize these or other steps? Be sure to share them in the comments below.
One of the beauties of this focus is that every single person has unique traits that are specific only to them, so it is possible that every single freelancer could identify and market a different uniqueness! Since no two people are exactly alike, it stands to reason that focusing on our individuality could bring great growth to our businesses and enable each of us to stand out in our own special way.
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