You’re ready to promote your freelance services now; you’ve slogged through the many design and technical challenges of building a website and finally managed to publish it to the World Wide Web. You have a solid website that answers a potential customer’s questions and overcomes initial objections and, most importantly, compels them to take action:
- Fill out a contact form
- Buy a product
Your website visitors should always be told what you expect them to do and given instructions about what to do next.
Its not enough to optimize your site for search. You have to optimize your site for action.
Next, you’ve written your first super-helpful blog article (something that solves a problem or educates your customers), chosen a catchy image, maybe even made an introductory or explainer video and posted it to the Interwebs.
Congratulations!!! (But NOW what???)
Often, nothing happens after that… clients aren’t beating down your door and by the lack of comments under your article, no one is visiting your website or engaging with your perfect prose.
NOW you feel you’ve wasted your time and that blogging isn’t a good way to attract potential clients to your freelancing business. You’re probably cursing us at Video Entrepreneur Magazine now, too, because maybe we convinced you that the world is clamoring for Vtreps just like you who are creating video content and offering video related services (marketing, editing, etc.).
Rest assured, this is simply not the case… you’ve not wasted your time at all. It’s just that you have forgotten something…
It’s called “follow up.”
Quite frankly, getting your website up and posting your first article is the easy part; now, you’ve got to use that tool to ATTRACT the clients you want. To promote your freelance services business you have to build traffic to your website and you will always have to continue to create compelling content.
“‘If you build it they will come’ RARELY applies to the real world – getting people to visit your website takes real work.”
There’s a fine line between driving traffic to your website and driving people crazy if you market your content incorrectly or too aggressively. Make no mistake, there’s a major difference between being helpful and sharing your great content and being spammy by foisting it upon them.
So, what can you do to get your blog noticed and help it find a bigger audience?
Here are 10 ways you can promote your freelance services and business website:
1. Influence Your Influencers
Your first job as a new website owner is to find the other big players in your niche and start following those thought leaders on Twitter and their blogs.
It really is about who you know in blogging; start making high-powered friends by commenting, favoriting and retweeting their tweets. Engage with their online content and write thoughtful comments on their blog posts. Be persistent but not pesky.
You can also write articles about these influencers specifically and link to their websites, social media accounts or blogs. If they’re flattered by the mention, they may share your post with their much larger audience which will bring you many more readers. A no-fail strategy is to write about the best ways your favorite influencer’s use a particular type of social media. When you write a post like “John Smith’s 5 Best Facebook Posts and What You Can Learn from Them,” you’d be correct in guessing just how easily that article is going to garner a TON of traffic, especially if you promote it heavily on Facebook.
In a short time these influencers will come to recognize your name and content as well. High-powered friends often become high-powered partners, even in the same market segments.
2. Ruffle Some Feathers. Write About Something Controversial
Do you disagree with others in your field on a hot-button issue? Write about it and promote your post in social media – maybe even directly on the social media accounts of those with whom you disagree with! Others who disagree may well want to respond and, of course, they’ll probably even link to your post to explain why they’re so heated up.
3. Always Be Newsworthy
You can take advantage of current affairs and the immediacy through which social media shares breaking stories and notable events through a strategy called “newsjacking,” which is essentially taking a breaking news story and writing about it through your perspective. This can easily generate tons of media coverage and social media engagement while providing a never ending supply of blog topics if you can capitalize on trending topics.
4. Become a Guest Author
If you think getting retweeted or mentioned by an influential blogger or expert can bring a flood of traffic to your website and win new followers, wait until you experience the power of writing guest posts for other popular websites and news sites!
Many websites are literally starving for a stream of fresh content and, consequently, are open to discussing guest post opportunities, in which an author will write content for the website in return for a couple of back links to their own website and an “author resource box” where the author can include more information about themselves. Some top blogs are being inundated with offers for guest posts and are getting more selective about who they take as a result. Becoming a familiar face or name to the website owners (See tip #1) before you pitch an article idea comes in handy.
If you can’t convince any of the big-name websites to publish your guest post on their sites, try targeting blogs with a smaller following but a similar topic. That will get you some new viewers and build your reputation as a good guest author to help you build a portfolio that can be leveraged to get into your ideal websites later.
In choosing your places to guest post, try to determine the websites, blogs and social media accounts that your prospects follow. They may not even be the biggest or most obvious places, but the key is to be where your “dream clients” hang out and get in front of them. Think about asking existing clients who they read and admire for a starting point.
5. Use Facebook CORRECTLY
Make sure that your Facebook page clearly links to your website and other information how to immediately reach you; give them more than one option through which to connect with you. Once that is in place, jump start the discovery process by reaching into (not out to) other pages where your potential clients are probably lurking and participating. Personally, I like the TV/Radio station and local newspaper/media Facebook pages. There’s always a lot of local discussion going on and they are probably already paying Facebook for advertising. Local Chamber of Commerce pages and city-specific pages work to promote your freelance services, too!
*Post as your Facebook Page* not from your personal profile. Inject yourself and your expertise into the conversation but DO NOT SELL, DO NOT MAKE AN OFFER, DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR URL IN THESE POSTS! That’s pretty much instant social media suicide.
I comment on stories about building businesses, technical computer assistance, video content marketing, entrepreneurship, photography, and many other topics by simply offering an educated opinion or some tips that other readers might use to get ahead, be successful or avoid frustration. If you are ADDING VALUE to the conversation, users WILL follow you back to your business page to learn more.
Don’t disappoint them when they get to your Facebook page. Fresh, smart content related to your freelance services or specialty area in a ratio of about 9 posts to every 1 self promotional post works best. Use a lot of image-based content because it drives the highest amount of engagement (likes, shares and comments). If the page looks like a ghost town the user will probably bounce right away… they are Facebook users and, right or wrong, have been conditioned to equate fresh content and activity as a sign of trustworthiness and competence.
Where business owners REALLY and TRULY muck up using Facebook as an effective advertising medium is a hard sell, too much self promotion and worse… self-aggrandizement! It’s sad really.
If you are using social media marketing correctly to promote your freelance services, then not only are you being overly helpful by being actively engaged on these pages, but you are building brand recognition through repetition and goodwill and, best of all, you are also getting the attention of the news director, reporters, etc. who will reach out to you as a source to include in their stories. You cannot beat FREE PRESS to drive traffic to your website and get the phone ringing for your services.
6. Be Interesting and Get Interviewed
Perhaps the only thing better than guest posting on a popular blog is being the subject of an article posted to another website – all of a sudden you’re a star, someone interesting enough to be profiled. Expect even more traffic to your website or micro job profile from being interviewed and for people to be even more interested to work with you.
Aside from the typical written “Questions and Answers” type of blog format, consider taking the time to offer a Skype video interview and talk about unique freelance job ideas for video professionals, conduct webcast training or provide information through some other presentation format; podcasts are also effective. More and more website owners are looking to add multimedia elements to their websites and readers love the easy to digest format of video!
Don’t forget to get that shameless plug into your interview! Promote your freelance services so the audience knows exactly where to find you.
7. Create Specific Landing Pages for Your Visitors
Once you’re appearing on popular websites, in blogs and are being mentioned by topic influencers, the trick is to move those site followers over to your website and then KEEP those new readers coming back and interacting with your content. That gives you more time to impress them with your abilities, build trust and then convince them to hire you.
You have to groom your new visitors and make them feel comfortable using your website.
Personally, I don’t like visitors landing on my website’s homepage if they are coming to me for the first time through a content partner. Instead, I set up specific “landing pages” for visitors from specific channels. These are custom pages in which I acknowledge the traffic source they clicked through and give them a quick orientation about how my site works and where they can find the best information I have to offer them based on their interests.
I also make sure that there is a strong offer or “freemium” available and a call to action so that I motivate these visitors to sign up for my mailing list and follow us through our social media accounts. Always promote your freelance services via a premium and work on building your email list!
Getting a qualified lead to come to your website and not having an easy way to bring them back is a wasted page visit!
8. Attend Face to Face Networking Events
I know that you’re trying to promote your freelance services website and/or online micro job profiles, but you’d be shocked by just how quickly you can grow your audience and your business by attending in-person networking events with other business owners. People inherently prefer to do business with others that they know and trust rather than a someone they only know through cyberspace. I’ve found that the #1 rule of “performance networking” is to always give more than you take away from every relationship.
“Ask not what your network can do for you. Ask what you can do for your network.”
(H/T to Ana Carolina Lanuza and John F. Kennedy for the quote!)
Talking with people one on one, face to face, gives you a chance to really talk up your freelance services and your website. Have business cards and other promotional items ready with your website’s URL on it so people can head over to learn more about you.
Don’t be shy about meeting freelancers in your own service niche either, they can be a fantastic source of referral clients, too!
9. Co-Author and Create Ebooks With Other Authors
Another popular method influencers and website owners use to build their audiences is creating quick and easy ebooks that include tips and advice from many successful people focused around a specific niche or subject. You can promote your freelance services the same way.
As a potential thought leader and expert, you want to be a featured author in these collaborative ebooks.
Offer to write chapters in the ebook that are specific to your expertise and be sure to respond quickly to any invitation you receive to be included. I’m in several of these types online publications and I continue to get traffic and name recognition from the ebooks that continue to get shared and passed around online.
Conversely, and perhaps more powerfully, you could also promote your freelance services by putting together your own ebook by gathering individual articles from authors and shaping it into a cohesive digital publication.
10. Get Up Front and Give a Presentation
To promote your freelance services, nothing says “I’m an expert” like giving a speech about the best ways to accomplish some aspect of your craft or making your prospects’ lives easier. Whether it’s an in-person talk or an online webinar, you are positioned as an accomplished, trustworthy professional just by nature of the fact that you’ve been tasked to speak about a subject and others care enough to listen.