Why contractors need to be marketing their services

2017 is nearly upon us and a new year could also mean finding a new contract.

Investing some time and money into marketing could make finding your next lucrative contract a little easier.

If marketing is not amongst your key skillset, it can be confusing knowing where to start.

In this article, we run through some of the things you can do as a contractor to market your services.

What is the purpose of marketing?

The purpose of marketing is to inform clients (recruiters or direct clients) about your services and your expertise and persuade them to hire you to work on the contract.

Contractor marketing

Operating as a contractor means viewing yourself as a business. The service your business sells is your knowledge, experience and expertise.

You should, therefore, focus your marketing efforts on activities that will engage the audience you need to reach.

Your audience consists of recruiters and direct clients.

You should focus your marketing efforts on some or all of the following:

A contractor CV

Your most effective marketing tool is your CV. Typically a CV should be no longer than two A4 pages. However, as a contractor, this can be hard to stick to, as you may have worked on lots of different contracts.

If you are putting together your first contractor CV, or are think of updating it, you will find our article ‘Golden Nugget — CV advice for Contractors’ very useful.

Researching job boards and agencies

There are hundreds of job boards out there all stating they have the most clients and the best result rate. Don’t believe what you read. This is their marketing hype.

Spend some time researching job boards and agencies, and ask other contractors for recommendations.

When doing your research. consider the following:

  • how many vacancies they have advertised on their website
  • how frequently they update these vacancies
  • the quality of the writing. If they are happy to put something on their website that looks like it has been written by a 5 year old. It may be advisable to avoid them.

Social media

There has been an incredible rise in the number of social media channels that have come onto the market over the last couple of years. The biggest social media channels for contractors are; LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

You may view Facebook and Twitter as methods to catch up with friends or search for news topics. However, more and more business are investing money into building a coherent social media presence.

Take for example recruitment agencies. Nearly every recruitment agency we have come across has a Facebook page and a Twitter account which they use to post their latest vacancies. If you connect your Facebook page or Twitter account to theirs, their posts will automatically appear in your timeline.

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is the number 1 business networking site. It has an incredible 467 million members across 200 countries. Having a polished LinkedIn profile is a must for every contractor.

LinkedIn is the number tool for recruiters. If you don’t have a profile you are missing out on opportunities.

Our article ‘Do contractors need a LinkedIn profile’ explains why you should have a presence on LinkedIn and tips on how to create an exceptional profile.

Website

Developing a website is not as expensive as it was 10 years ago. You can build a professional looking site for around £500 these days.

Whilst it is not essential for you to have a website, it can be used as an opportunity to showcase your portfolio of work and also use it as a lead generation tool.

Adding content onto your website that clients will find interesting and educational you are giving them the opportunity to contact you directly instead of through an agent.

Summary

As the contractor market becomes more competitive it is vital that you consider other ways to differentiate yourself from other contractors on the market. Investing some of your time and money into some or all of the things we discussed above could increase your odds of finding new contract work, open up new avenues and increase your networking circle.