How do you promote your services?

by Yan Krukov (Instagram @yankrukov)

The shoemaker always goes barefoot. Mechanics have the worst car. The computer expert is the last person to back up their work.

A lot of freelancers face this same issue.

Why is that?

Freelancers love to help others share their stories. We put all our time into client work, not in our own business. Sharing our own story is then the hardest thing to do. We just don’t put in the work to get it out there.

It’s also because, well, we might not like to be the focus of attention. We give attention to our clients. We can get uncomfortable showing our face or feel the cringe when hearing our voice.

Promoting your business is a job. Freelancers are shorthanded and simply don’t have the time to do two jobs at once.

The icing on the cake, we cannot publish all our work. Some works are part of a business secret sauce or might be under an NDA. We do have some level of professional discretion.

The mindset

It’s not about posting 5 times a day on all Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook. It’s not about sending the same cold emails to 100 businesses who might be interested. It’s more nuanced.

It’s about you, who you are and how you work. Give your time, expertise and attention. It is what’s valuable for your customers. Sure, there are a lot of plates to keep spinning, but you own the results.

Be generous, honest and confident. Be your own hype man. Be the one they think of first. Don’t pitch your skills, showcase your brilliance. They aren’t hiring your abilities, they are hiring you. Don’t hide, show yourself, be proud of who you are and what you bring to the table. And just be you. The first step of courage is going out there.

Which means… engage with the niche you want to be known in. Work for the betterment of that group. To be known, you have to give, and give not looking for return. You get satisfaction in building a niche that you love. Work for the top person in that field. Do anything you can to make and cement your relationships.

Becoming known as part of the top professionals takes time and commitment, and worth it.

‘What would I want someone who thinks I’m awesome say about me?’

It’s like in an old retail ad. Explain all the cool unique things about the product, how they just have to have it, why they have to hire you. It might be that everyone in the field has the hard skills to get any job done, then you can impress with your soft skills. Share about how your services can help them reach their goals. Raise awareness about both your industry and skills.

The practical solutions

1. Word-of-Mouth

Testimonials and references are worth so much.

Build solid and friendly relationships with satisfied clients. They’ll share your approach with their network. And you’ll get new clients through recommendations from current clients.

You can also reach out to previous clients. Ask them for reviews and testimonials.

But a referral is just that. Someone threw your hook into the right pond. To make the fish bite, you must have one or several links (yummy baits) to send them. Those can be links to your LinkedIn profile, website or portfolio.

2. Connect with people

Stop creating content, start creating connections.

It’s business coaching and networking rolled together. It helps a lot in talking about yourself, learning how to explain what you do, finding out people’s needs or expectations.

People who do this always end up offering something. It can be a piece of good advice, practice using zoom skills, pass off work they weren’t able to do, or set you up with a direct introduction for work. They do it because they simply enjoyed the conversation, and can tell you have good intentions.

Be part of the community, listen to their story. You’ll build new friendships or potential business partnerships along the way.

Reach out to people incessantly. But often people don’t answer. So try to start at least one new conversation a week.

It can be as simple as saying:

‘wow I’m really interested in what you got going on, do you have time to jump on a discovery call to chat’

Or as deliberate as:

‘hey I love your brand, I offer these specific services and would love to jump on a call if you’re looking for assistance in those positions’

If you’re not a people person, you can keep your interactions to a minimum. People person or not, if you overdo it, you’ll only get burned out and everything will suffer — quality of work, personal, relationships, family.

Don’t directly market your services or ask for help to find work. Instead, be genuinely interested in what they are up to. Start the conversation by being transparent. Explain how you found their contact info and why you’re reaching out. It tones down the sales part and encourages real conversations.

A nice way to break the ice is to give away, like a small booklet of your services with links to your website and/or LinkedIn profile. Most people are suspicious, then stunned you’re giving something to them for nothing, and no pitch attached.

Where?

On social media — Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, messages

Networking groups — the chamber of commerce, BNI, …

Others — events, emails, video calls

Who?

People offering complementary services to yours

Colleagues

Friends in different industries

Professionals in your industry whose path that resonates with you

Potential clients

3. Social media

It all starts with your profile. On LinkedIn, it’s similar to your CV, your very own window display. Level it up and add your experiences, courses and examples.

Then, look for your target market Facebook and LinkedIn groups. Comment on others’ posts, when you have something relevant to add.

You’ll meet new people through events, networking groups and social media. Send them a connection request on LinkedIn. Always including a personal note, nothing salesy. You’re not there to pitch your services but to connect.

Finally, you can post many different things on social media.

You can post on the spot. Or you can prepare content during one day and post the rest of the week.

The work you do is mainly your content. Post about projects you finished or are working on.

You can share what you learned, for example, a tool you never knew existed. Even if not everyone understands it and it shows your professionalism.

Don’t pitch your services, explain them. Explain your work and how you work. Showcase your expertise, skills, processes or reviews.

Finally, you can take the time and answer questions, when you know the answer(s). It can be on Facebook groups, LinkedIn, and also Quora, Indeed or other local publications.

4. Website

Your own website is valuable.

You can choose the look and feel and have more options to actually ‘talk’ to your potential client. You don’t depend on the whims of the algorithms of a social media platform.

People will look at what you did, what you’re good at, what other people say about you and what kind of person you are. Showcase the kind of things you want to do more of and good examples of projects or work you did. Your ‘about’ page and general tone of voice are what will make people click, or not.

You can also publish content that will drive traffic to your website. They can be blog posts, videos, podcasts, … Making sure everything is on your website.

You need to write enough text for Google to read, and rank you high. Your blog post can be both short (300 words) or long (1000+ words).

Add new things regularly. It can be once a week or once a month. Pick your frequency and stay consistent.

Now, you have somewhere to point your referrals and new connections. The strongest is to have both a website and an updated LinkedIn profile. It’s a huge plus, but not always a requirement.

Thank you

‘How do you promote your services?’

I asked this question on 8 Facebook and 2 LinkedIn groups. It started from my personal interest and ended with 242 comments. The conversations I had were so interesting, I decided to make an article about it.

The text is inspired by their answers or is their answers themselves. I’m not the writer of this article, only the editor.

Many thanks to the 22 wonderful freelancers who took the time to chat and help!

Brett Willms

Piotr Kulaga

Lindsey Blakely

Hassan Sahib

Gary Grinkevich

Linde Jacobs

Marie-Hélène Lattes

Jan Oris

Alexandre Valente

Hélène Mulder

Alex Harris

Wouter Schroeven

Sissel-Tove Åsberg

Johnny Ray

Jamille Cruz

Jennifer Barrington

Thomas Weathers

E U Jayadev Shaastri

Rosi Ro

Cy Alcala

Rachel Muehlenberg — www.rachelmuehlenberg.com

Hi, thanks for reading my article! I’m Fanny and help busy freelancers simplify their marketing, and finally relax.

Check how I can help you: https://www.fanny-marcoux.com/

Read more about marketing basics: https://www.thefreelancerjungle.com/

--

--

--

Busy bees have so many things to do. Here, make your marketing work, take little time and focus on what you need.

Recommended from Medium

Let’s build a powerful network of freelancers here in Denver

Why I fizzled on FIRE

How did I fail to make 100 USD?

Money Mindset| Yvonne’s Independent Entrepreneur Tips

How One Freelancer Used LinkedIn to Build Her Business (and You Can, Too)

So You Want To Be A Freelancer?

How to keep freelancers free, happy, and in demand

3 Side Hustles That Just Aren’t Worth It — And 3 That Are

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Fanny Marcoux

Fanny Marcoux

I help busy freelancers simplify their marketing, and finally relax.

More from Medium

Ultimate Guide to No-Code Platform (2022)

6 Things To Include In A Freelance Marketing Proposal

Get a permanent client here as a freelancer!

Technical SEO Intricacies: What Are The All-Important “Page Speed Metrics”?