Freelancing 101: Finding Customers

Lesson 6: Finding Customers


Finding customers

When you are self-employed as a freelancer, you’ll need to learn what sets you apart from the competition.

Branding is what makes certain companies stand out, while others fail to connect.

 Everything from posts and comments to the colors and images you use on your website reflect your brand. This includes your Facebook page and any social media accounts you may have such as Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 

 Virtually everywhere you have a presence online can and should be part of your branding strategy.

As a freelancer, your name is your brand. After all, you are the one offering, completing, and guaranteeing the work. So you always want to make a good impression since everyone is a potential customer.

 You need a clear and consistent brand “voice” that will help people recognize and remember you. Your brand story illustrates who you are and provides the core reasons why your customers should want to do business with you.

As you develop your brand story, think about what you stand for as a freelancer. Are you sincere, dependable, and responsible? Or perhaps, you're sophisticated, offering high-end services. Maybe you're cheerful and organized. The perfect personal assistant.

 Think about your brand in terms of human traits, like gender, age, and economic status. This will help you attract the right customers and allow you to develop an effective brand story. Also, consider what people see when they look at your website, advertisements, blog posts, and social media profiles.

Visual elements such as color, type, images, and other media all add to your brand's identity. Color can increase brand recognition by 80 percent. And people feel more confident when they recognize a brand.

In other words, the more consistent you are, the more people will have faith in your services.

  Of course, you need to know who your audience is to connect with them effectively. Regardless of your services, you need a clear target demographic. Otherwise, your marketing will be unfocused.

 Start by building what’s called an “individual buyer persona”. A description of the perfect customer for your services. Be specific and list their age, gender, occupation, income level, educational level, and industry.

 If you want to market to businesses, you can also build a “business buyer persona”. Listing things such as: The number of employees, Type of business, and their annual revenue.

The more details you know about your perfect customer, the better. Why is this important? Because then you can determine the right tone to use when marketing on social media, industry platforms, or your web site.

Developing buyer personas will also allow you to think about which types of online content your audience connects with most and which social media platforms they spend their time on. It helps you determine where your audience is online so you can then try to reach them with your services.

Many professionals use LinkedIn and LinkedIn groups. Some are mostly on Twitter. If your target audience is designers or florists, you might find them on Instagram and Pinterest. Maybe you're looking for creative agencies to serve, then Dribbble and Behance are platforms to explore.

The whole idea of market research and audience personas is to help find the people, or businesses that need your services. You can't assume that you'll find all your clients in just one place online. Be sure to always be looking for all the various places that make sense for your target audience.

It is always a good idea to attend trade shows and live networking events, but the internet is often the easiest way to find customers and businesses.

The thing about freelance work is that you must ensure you always have a steady stream of clients in order to keep the money flowing. So you must create a web presence and strive to continually expand it over time.

With a clear purpose and the proper brand positioning, you will be able to find the right customers for your services.