Bold, New Ways to Market Your Services

bold-marketingA brand new year has arrived and with it usually comes new hope and anticipation for better things to come.

The post-Christmas adrenaline rush makes this a good time to try new things. Use this season’s energy to propel your freelancing business to new heights.

If you’re making New Year resolutions, why not include one to try at least one new way of marketing your services — one you’ve never done before? The scarier it is, the better, because you’ll be stretching yourself and diving into something completely uncomfortable.

And doing something new that stretches you only means one thing: you’ll grow. You’ll learn something new, you’ll get better at something, and your confidence will soar. I guarantee it.

Here are seven ideas for bold, new ways to market your services in 2010:

1. Blog

Not blogging yet? Now is the time to start. Blogging comes naturally if you’re a writer, but even if you don’t think of yourself as one, you should still blog.

There’s nothing better than a blog for showcasing your expertise — even if it is in graphic design, programming or audio transcription. Your blog gives you a platform to attract your prospective clients by providing your expertise for free. This way, your blog naturally makes you an expert — one whom prospective clients can trust (and hire).

A blog also gives you an online hub for your social networking activities. Whether you’re active on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or some other online network, it’s easy to leverage your blog for social networking and vice versa.

There are many reasons why it is important to start a freelance blog.

2. Guest Blog

If you have been blogging, then why not get in front of other readers by posting on other people’s blogs? Of course, you’ll choose blogs that are being read by your Ideal Clients. And you’ll write even better posts as guest blogger than those you publish on your own blog.

If you’re nervous about writing, look for article writing templates. They work for blog posts too. Or, make a list of the most frequently asked questions related to your industry and write an answer for each one of them.

Here’s one writing tip for non-writers: talk. Record yourself talking, have it transcribed and presto! You have an instant draft. Just clean it up a little and you’ll have a blog post all done.

3. Give Away Free Stuff

Write a special report, white paper or ebook and give it away all over the interwebs. Promote it like crazy to everybody you know, your list subscribers, blog readers, current clients, Twitter followers, Facebook friends and fans, and everybody else who would care to listen.

Find sites that allow you to upload and share free ebooks. Remember to put a call to action and a link to your blog somewhere in your freebie.

If you refuse to or can’t write, your freebie could be graphics, a WordPress theme, or anything else related to your services. If you’re a Virtual Assistant, you could give away a checklist or even a video tutorial.

Think outside the box and try to come up with something your prospective clients really want and are looking for.

4. Buy Access to Your Ideal Clients

Sometimes you need to pay to get in front of your Ideal Clients. This could include membership in online forums and trade organizations, access to job boards, attending networking events, even buying an information product that comes with an opportunity to interact with other customers.

Consider this cost an investment (and it’s a tax-deductible business expense, but double-check your country’s laws to make sure).

The key here is to provide value by sharing advice freely and having a genuine interest in others. Don’t be all salesy and self-promotional (except in job boards, that is).

5. Start a Referral Program

Give your existing clients a better reason to refer new clients to you: give them a commission for referrals. Anything from 5-20 percent commission, depending on your rates, can be motivating.

6. Write Articles for Syndication

Like blogging, writing articles to be distributed freely online is a good way to build your expertise, bring traffic back to your blog, and attract clients. Most people swear by Ezinearticles.com, which is fine if your Ideal Clients read it. Also try Googling “[your industry] submit article” to find article directories in your niche.

7. Sell a Product

Create a product to sell instead of to give away. PDF documents are common and easy to make and distribute. You can also sell access to video tutorials or audio recordings, such as interviews of experts. You can even make audio and video accessible online or sell them as physical products using a service like Kunaki.com.

Or, design some cool and witty mugs, T-shirts and other souvenir-type stuff and sell them on Cafepress.com.

The possibilities are endless. You won’t make a full-time income from your paid products — at least not at first — but having a paid product to your name gives you instant credibility and authority. The side income is nice too.

Take Your Next, Bold Step

Did this list inspire you to do something completely new to market your services? If so, do tell us what your next, bold step is going to be. How did you decide on that plan of action? And what do you hope to accomplish?

Whatever you decide to do, the most important thing is to just do it! It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work, if you fall flat on your face or make mistakes. Chalk it up to a learning experience and move on to your next bold move. The greater your ability to take massive action, the greater your chances for success.

Looking forward to your comments!

Image by innovision