Freelancers, here’s your 2023 marketing plan for your self-employed biz
Are you ready to boost your self-employed business in 2023? Good! Why not make this year your most successful one yet with this simple, step-by-step marketing plan to win new business as a freelancer, build your brand as a sole trader and grow your network.
Exclusively for readers of FreelanceUK, here are my five tips to transform your marketing in 2023 and beyond, writes Emilie Heaney, founder of Start Up Marketeer.
1. Master your LinkedIn profile to win new business
LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful platform for freelancers looking to reach new clients. The website gives you a global network of businesses at your fingertips -- and all within just a few well-placed clicks!
LinkedIn is also an effective tool for growing your network of fellow freelancers and specialists who can help you deliver client projects when you need extra firepower or additional expertise. Simply introduce yourself and get the conversation started.
Make the most of your LinkedIn profile: quick recap
To succeed on LinkedIn, freelancers need to keep their ‘Profile’ up-to-date and make it look polished. Here are some tips to give your profile a makeover in 2023:
- Pick a professional pic: Choose a high-quality headshot with good lighting and a clean background. Don’t forget to smile!
- List your previous projects: Highlight your experience with past clients and projects -- they’re valuable evidence of your expertise.
- Use ‘In-Mail’ wisely: Get the most out of LinkedIn InMail by pinpointing potential clients and reaching out to them with a personalised message. Send some examples of your work to seal the deal.
Use LinkedIn posts to generate engagement
LinkedIn posts are a really useful tool to build your brand and generate leads for your business. Here’s how to ace every post you put out:
- Start with a hook: Grab your audience’s attention with an arresting opener.
- Keep it simple: Make your posts easy-to-read with a clear statement or theme.
- Ask a question: Use questions or talking points to encourage responses in the comments and drive engagement.
- Use keywords: Utilise relevant keywords to reach your target audience.
- Add external links in the ‘Comments’ only: LinkedIn’s algorithm prefers posts that don’t link to other sites so keep links in the comments only.
- Post at peak times: Post when you know your followers and connections are likely to be online. The first 60 minutes of engagement on your post will shape how the algorithm promotes your post -- and how many people will get to see it.
- Add images and videos: Posts with images get TWICE as many comments than text-only posts and posts with videos get FIVE times the engagement.
Like all social media platforms, you get out of LinkedIn what you put in. Invest the time in this unique platform and you will start to reap the rewards.
2. Update your freelancer portfolio
Whatever your specialism, there will be a database to match it. Identify the right one for your sector and get your profile loaded up ASAP! For example, use Clutch if you're creative.
Here’s how to make your portfolio stand out:
- Show off your best projects: Whether you use your own website, an online database or Instagram, your portfolio should always reflect your best work so you can win new projects!
- Keep it updated: Schedule time in your calendar every month, or quarter, to add your latest work to your portfolio.
- Make it searchable: Check out the SEO, hashtags or tags within your chosen database and add them to your profile -- if your portfolio isn't searchable, you won't be found!
3. Perfect your elevator pitch
In the age of information overload, it’s vital that you can quickly and succinctly explain what you do, and why a client should choose you over another freelancer. If you can’t sum up why you’re the best person for the job, you run the risk of missing out on new clients.
Not sure where to start? Here are simple 5 steps.
- Identify who your target market is.
- Outline your core services.
- Pinpoint an example of ROI you delivered for a client. Be specific!
- Write them all down, then strip out any unnecessary waffle.
- Practice saying it aloud a few times until it feels natural. Get it under 60 seconds if you can.
You’ve now got a great elevator pitch! Record yourself saying it and post it on social media so you can tell the world what you offer.
4. Focus on ‘people-first’ content
We all know the importance of having an up-to-date website and adding regular content updates. But in recent years, Google and other search engines have put more emphasis on 'People First' content.
To help your website come up top in searches, you need to make sure your content is written for the reader rather than for SEO. That means no keyword stuffing, and no writing just for the sake of writing something! Your website needs to be genuinely interesting for a human being -- think easy-to-read, easy-to-understand oh, and easy-to-access on mobile too!
This change is for the benefit of all of us. As users it means we have a much better experience when we’re searching online. As freelancers, it gives us the opportunity to showcase what we do in all its glory, without worrying as much about links and keywords (though these shouldn't be abandoned completely!).
5. Make time for face-to-face networking
Though Zoom is still a useful tool for all of us, there are a wide range of great opportunities to grow your network in person by attending some of the many brilliant business networking groups out there.
Here are the top benefits of in-person networking events or creative industry meets-ups:
- It’s a fantastic way to learn from and enjoy the company of like-minded freelancers and potential clients in an informal setting. It's hard to beat that feeling of feeling connected!
- It’s good for your mental health to get out of the home office and speak to people face-to-face, helping to break up the working week and learn something new from talking to other freelancers and business-owners.
- It’s a powerful way to make people feel valued. Making the effort to see someone for a coffee makes them feel specialand it’s more likely to clinch the deal with a prospective client!
Don’t underestimate the importance of in-person networking to grow your business in 2023!
Finally, now go LAUNCH your 2023 marketing plan!
Marketing your business doesn’t have to be a headache.
If you can make marketing part of your weekly routine with small, simple steps to get your name out there, you can make the most of the benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls.
Editor's Note: The author, Emilie Heaney, is a freelance digital marketing consultant and founder of Start Up Marketeer. Emilie specialises in helping freelancers, start-up businesses and SMEs to establish and grow their business through effective digital marketing.
7th February 2023