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Digital tablet which reads “online marketing” to help freelancers grow their business

Many freelancers don’t think of themselves as small businesses but even without an LLC or S Corp, you’re running a business. That means you need all the small business essentials like a marketing strategy.

Success in freelancing depends on a steady portfolio of incoming clients, and marketing yourself online is the ultimate way to make it happen. With digital marketing, though, more expensive options aren’t always better. There’s plenty you can do for little or no cost to grow your business. Start with these top strategies.

Make a Magnetic Website

First of all, if you don’t have a website including your portfolio, list of services, background information, and contact information or some type of contact form, that’s step one. From there, it’s time to turn that site into a traffic magnet.

Blogging is one key way you can do this, especially if you keep an eye on search engine optimization and build content around popular but relevant keywords. These blogs should share tips or insights from your area of expertise while answering common questions that future clients might Google.

Don’t forget that consistency is key. Aim for one or more blog post publications each week. Add them onto your task list so they’re in your schedule.

Network Online

Networking is always great for meeting potential clients, and the web is a networker’s playground. Hop onto LinkedIn and look for small business groups in your area. Connect with people in your target industry who could become clients as well as fellow freelancers who might have leads of their own to share.

It helps to keep track of those networking contacts too. A simple spreadsheet in the company’s digital storage drive will suffice, tracking the contacts you’ve met so you can reach out to them for collaborations, recommendations, and possible contracts down the line.

Create Your Google Local Business Listing

Having a Google local business listing that shows up when people Google your specialty is like gold, but it starts with creating a profile. On Google My Business, create a business profile with the basic information: website, contact information, description of services, and so on. You need an address for this, but Google lets you use your home address and hide it from the public.

When the listing is up and verified, start building it up more. Add posts every week or so and most importantly, ask clients if they’ll leave reviews for you.

Post Guest Blogs

You’re not the only one who wants to take advantage of the SEO power of blogging. For some sites, it’s their entire business model. Those sites are often open to guest blogging. You write a post for their website or blog based on your professional expertise. In exchange, they include your bio and website link at the end. They get free content while you get free publicity, greater credibility, and an SEO-enhancing backlink to your site.

Interact on Forums

Many freelancers have particular industries or niches they target, and that should play into your marketing strategy. Say you’re a graphic designer specializing in nonprofits. Look for online forums about running a nonprofit and share your two cents wherever appropriate.

This gets your name out there and shows your expertise to a precise audience. The minimal time involved can open the door to profitable freelance work.

Invest in Social Media Marketing

If you look beyond the baby pics or memes, social media is a tremendous opportunity for marketing your product or service. Facebook alone has 2.4 billion active users each month, and many of them are potential clients. Start by simply building a business profile, separate from any personal accounts. Post there regularly sharing tips, tricks, inside looks, and more for the business.

To take it further, you could try paid ads too. This lets you target any specific type of clients based on their location, job title, and more. You can set any amount you want starting with a few dollars per day, so the investment is minimal.

Publish Videos

YouTube is another huge opportunity for freelancers. After all, how else will you get in front of their two billion users?

No high production quality is necessary. Shoot videos with similar topics to those you’d use for guest blogging. Share how-tos, offer tips, demonstrate skills, answer common questions, and so on. As with blogs, the video topics should be based on popular keywords if you want to market your freelance business the best way.

Creating Your Marketing Plan

To give any freelancing business the best success, you want an ongoing marketing plan that fits into your schedule. The tips above will get you started, but ultimately every freelancer needs to discover the strategies and goals that work best for them. There’s no better way to find out than to start experimenting, so dive in!

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