As a freelance writer, your goal is to spend most of your work time writing and reaping the profits of your talent. Freelance writing is a rewarding career for many reasons, but like any small business, it needs to be managed and marketed. Because of your creative skills, it’s easy to come up with copy and ideas-but how about inexpensive and free ways to market yourself?
These methods work differently in online and offline communities. Here are some tips to start marketing yourself inexpensively without compromising quality.
There are many easy-to-use free or low cost web site hosts that will allow businesses to use their services. A recommended host is UK-based Moonfruit, which offers its own simple site development program. Even free site users can select from a variety of professional templates. Ads on Moonfruit are unobtrusive and in AdSense format.
When you design your site, be sure to include some key information clearly on your page, such as:
- Contact information
- Description of services offered
- Example of your work
Free E-mail and Signatures
Unless you are set on having your own dot com, there is no reason to pay for e-mail services. Google’s GMail is generally considered professionally acceptable as an e-mail provider, and many technologically savvy individuals tend to use it. Aside from being simple to use, GMail has a great deal of storage space, allowing you to easily categorize messages instead of saving or deleting them.
Regardless of your e-mail service, be sure to include an e-mail signature. Your signature should list your name, professional phone number, business name, and web site address. Aside from being professional and legitimate, every recipient of your email receives your ‘advertisement’ in the form of the signature.
Online Forums and Signatures
If you regularly participate in online forums, read, write, and respond to posts about writing or requests from those that need help with writing. Never spam-it’s terrible etiquette and very unprofessional-but always set up a forum signature with the same information you’d include in an e-mail signature.
You have a fan base for your writing, even if it just includes your immediate family. With their permission, start an email list or Yahoo! group and include them on the list. As friends become interested in your writing, invite them to join and to keep abreast of your recent publications. When you publish new content, send a short notice to the list. Repeat clients will remember that you’re active, and friends and acquaintances may consider hiring you.
In Your Community
VistaPrint: Free Business Cards and Other Marketing Materials
Business cards are a very expensive cost for anyone wanting to use them. For the small cost of shipping, VistaPrint will send you 250 free business cards. Simply visit their site and select one of the free designs and customize with your information. In turn, VistaPrint will include their logo and URL on the back of your card in small grey print.
VistaPrint always has promotions for new and existing products, so be sure to check out their website for other free products.
Freebies for Potential Clients
Once you receive your free business cards, attach them to something that people need or find fun. Hand them out to new acquaintances and local businesses. It’s easy to attach a business card to some inexpensive and fun items, such as:
- Single tea bag
Give a freebie that reminds a potential client that you will help him or her to relax or find time to enjoy other things.
Your Local Chamber of Commerce
The Small Business Association and your local chamber of commerce are great resources. They provide a plethora of free information, and host free or low-cost seminars and other events. Pass out your business card or other marketing materials at these events and develop mutually beneficial relationships with other small business owners.
Many small business owners are very good with finances and management, but lack the creative touch that you possess. Ensure that they remember you when it comes time for them to make a new brochure or write content for their website.
Whether marketing online or offline, always keep a careful record of your receipts and other business expenses and income. Set a goal for the percentage of capital that you spend on marketing and try to stick to it, and once you determine the most effective and inexpensive advertising method, use it repeatedly.