Market yourself as a freelancer

From marketing yourself as a freelancer to marketing your business — Hectic’s guide to putting your best face forward.

Chapter 4

Branding in action

Branding is how you use your brand identity. It’s the unique invoices in your brand colors, it’s the custom packaging your products arrive to buyers in, it’s the copy on your website that incorporates your mannerisms to read like a conversation with you.

Branding can be your secret marketing weapon, especially if you’re in a field where brand marketing isn’t a popular strategy.

See some awesome branding in action here from our friends at Cognoscenti Creative and at Weekend Creative.

Maybe you’re a friendly, person-first brand. Use photos of yourself working directly with clients throughout your website and choose a smiling headshot that’s making eye contact with the viewer for your hero image. Maybe you’re the only dog walker in town who specializes in working with shy, reactive, or otherwise difficult dogs. Opt for a calm color palette and a tagline that communicates your expertise so dog owners are at ease with your brand before they even meet you.

4 key ways to build a trustworthy brand
So now that you have a brand, it’s time to do some brand marketing—starring you! Here are a few strategies you can use to market your one-of-a-kind one-person brand in ways that will stick in clients’ heads and build relationships that keep them coming back.  

Tell stories

One of the most effective ways to market yourself as a freelancer is to tell stories that connect with your target audience. These stories can appear on your About page, your homepage, your blog, your social media posts...wherever you’re connecting with potential clients, do it through a story.

For example, your “About” page might be about an experience you had that drove you to cultivate specific values or how your affinity for a certain city made you choose it as the place to launch your business. These stories feature your brand, but they’re really about the client—and how you’re perfectly equipped to provide what they need.

When it comes to storytelling, don’t forget about one of your brand’s greatest assets: previous clients. Their testimonials provide a type of credibility you can only get from third-party reviewers, and this credibility only amplifies everything you’re promoting about yourself and your brand.

Highlight your best testimonials on your website and in your ads so prospective clients can see that when it comes to your ability to deliver what they need, they don’t have to just take your word for it—others have been very satisfied with their experiences with you.

Sell experiences

Marketing yourself as a freelancer, rather than just marketing your services, is essentially selling experiences. When a small business needs a website, they can hire any web designer—or even design it themselves. By focusing on the experience you provide in your marketing, like 24-hour support, weekly SEO audits, and the most thorough web design consultation they’ve ever had, you’re marketing the experience that only you provide.

Charles Etoroma on Unsplash

Differentiate yourself from your competitors

When you differentiate yourself from your competitors, you communicate your niche more clearly—especially if your competitors don’t have as clearly defined niches as you have.

You can do this by simply being yourself. What makes you amazing at what you do? Talk about it on your social media. Why do your clients routinely book you again and again? Make the unique experience you provide a key focus in your marketing. This means on-location photos of you doing what you do, candid shots of you hard at work and interacting with clients, content featuring actual projects, and plenty of focus on the results you get for your clients. This is another area where testimonials are one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal—when clients talk about why they chose you (and why they’re so satisfied with your work), prospective clients with similar needs immediately see why you’re a good fit for them.

Always keep your promises

Lastly, always keep the promises you make in your marketing. This isn’t just your business’ reputation on the line, it’s your personal reputation. The easiest way to maintain a strong reputation as a freelancer is to always deliver exactly what you promise to deliver...or more.

Transparency goes hand-in-hand with honesty. If you want people to view your brand like a person, rather than a corporation, make it feel human — imperfections and all. Be realistic about the workload you can take on and how much time it will take you to complete projects. As freelancers, many of us are quick to over-commit ourselves and underestimate how long tasks take. That can lead to missed deadlines, delays, and burnout. Build extra time into every project you take on as a buffer to help you avoid these issues — trust us, your clients will appreciate a job done well a lot more than a job done quickly.  

Express who you are, not just what you do

Luka Reedy on Unsplash

People connect with brands the same way they connect with friends. When they’re looking for brands to interact with, they want to feel like they’re interacting with people, not faceless corporations.

Build your business — and your professional brand — with the help of Hectic, a single digital workspace with all the tools needed to start, manage, and grow a freelancing business. Get started today, your first client on Hectic is free.