MARKETING 101… FOR YOUR FREELANCE GIG
There are only two types of people in the world.
· People you know
· People you don’t know (yet).
The easiest marketing you will ever do always involves that first group — people you already know.
These people already know you! I’m betting they like you, too.
Begin your marketing by contacting everyone you know and making them aware that you are looking for new clients.
Don’t assume because they don’t have a business to market or aren’t an editor that they can’t help you. Who knows who will hear a business owner griping that their website sucks? Or who will get a new job at a company that needs marketing help?
Beyond current clients, friends, family, and co-workers at a current or recently concluded full- or part-time job — there is one particular group of people you already know who should be your prime target.
ARE YOU IN TOUCH WITH ALL YOUR FORMER BOSSES?
I’m always surprised at how often the answer is “no.”
How about other writers you’ve worked with in the past?
Unless you hated each other and it ended in screaming or flaming emails, you should stay connected to each and every one of these people.
Why? They are a great source of referrals.
And referrals just rock.
They’re the marketing that does itself.
Once you let people know you need referrals, they might just send you some gigs
Beats having to actively market your business, hmm? I thought so!
There’s something about social-media platforms… They are the perfect place to get back in touch with former professional colleagues. There’s something casual and friendly, yet businesslike, about the interactions especially on LinkedIn.
And sending a message through LinkedIn is a lot less intimidating than trying to call a former editor on the phone. Also, more likely you’ll get through to them and get a response.
HOW TO RECONNECT
A lot of writers have told me they feel uncomfortable reaching out to former bosses.
But I’ve done it a lot, and my experience is — it’s fun! Sort of like a high-school reunion, only professionally. And virtually.
Your goal should be to simply check in, catch up and find out what they’re up to now. Then, you’ll drop in your news that you’re looking for clients.
SEND INMAIL MESSAGES
Write something along the lines of:
(SUBJECT LINE): (Long time no talk!) (Hi from one of your writers)(Congrats on your new job)(Just found you — would love to catch up)
Hi (editor name)!
I just noticed you are on LinkedIn — I’d like to stay connected with you on here.
I see you’re (still at X company) (now over at Y company)
I’d love to catch up sometime and hear about what you’re doing now.
Me? (I’ve been working as a freelance writer for X years now) (I just quit my job/was laid off and have started working as a freelance writer) (Basic facts of your freelance situation here —
NO SOB story please.
I specialize in (your specialized industries and/or types of writing here). Recently, I’ve really enjoyed (describe favorite recent client or assignment). If you’d like to see, let me know a good email for you and I’ll send you a couple links. Or you can take a look at my writer site or linked in profile.
OPTIONAL PITCH LINE:) If you hear of anyone looking for a writer along those lines, I’d appreciate your referral.
Let me know if you have time for a quick phone chat!
Sometimes I prefer to wait until I speak to them live or get an email response to make the referral request. With others, I go ahead and put it right in the connection email. Sort of depends on the relationship you had, and how likely it is that you can line up a phone call.
Tip: Set your message so that the recipient is allowed to see your email address.
Once you’ve connected, try to stay in touch every few months — maybe send them a link to an article of mutual interest.
The request for referrals does not necessarily pay off immediately. But it can bring you some great new clients.
Why? Many freelancers tend to travel in herds — they know each other.
Referral work can really add up and cut back on how much active marketing you need to do.
My referrals brought over $5,000 of income this year — from clients I didn’t have to spend marketing time to find.
Trust me, this is the most efficient marketing you will do.