1. You Can Catch More Flies With… A Better Website!
In the old days, business websites looked like billboards: a big title in bold, a logo, and some basic contact info. Not much better than a business card! Now, potential clients expect more from your website, and it has never been easier to provide entertaining content, photos, and essential information.
You want your website to be any extension of your brand, so give it some personality. Add photos and videos. Write up a short history or bio for your business, and include a mission statement. This will help customers see not only where you're coming from, but also where you are going.
As you build your online network, give people a reason to 1) sign up for your e-newsletter, and better, 2) forward it on…
Make sure that your contact information and any other essential info is front and center. You know what it's like when you are searching for a piece of information on the web: If you can't find what you need right away (and I mean right away), then you'll jump to another site.
Pull up your website and pretend you are seeing it for the first time. Where does the page direct your eye? Is it a cluttered mess, or is it barren, almost a blank page? Ideally, your website will be engaging, aesthetically pleasing, and it will deliver a clear message: look here, click this, let's do business.
2. Build Your Network of Contacts on Social Media
As a freelancer, you should already have an established presence on social media. If not, then I want you to follow along only as far as the end of this sentence, at which point you should hop over to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and get busy building profiles.
Are you finished? Great, now it's time to network! Ask your friends, family, and clients to connect with you by liking, following, or joining your pages. Make sure that your sites and pages present a single, coherent message: use a single profile photo, provide links that connect your pages, and develop a tone or style that you will use across all media.
Be active and post content regularly, but pay attention to your audience. If you are posting 15 times a day and never receiving any feedback, then you might need to fine-tune your approach. The point is to generate buzz, attract new contacts (friends of friends), and keep your clients, fans, and followers happy.
3. SEO is NOT a Four-Letter Word
Search Engine Optimization is the new “thinking outside the box.” Everybody agrees that it's good for business, but very few people know exactly what it means or how to make it work.
As a freelancer, your SEO options are relatively straightforward: when it comes to social media, such as your Facebook profile, you want to present a clear brand identity and fill in as much meta-data (essentially your “About Me” page) as possible; for a website or blog you should focus on providing and maintaining content that will address common search queries and keywords.
4. E-Newsletters Help You Keep in Touch With Clients
As you build your online network, ask your friends and followers to subscribe to an email newsletter. Whether you publish once a week, once a month, or once a quarter, you can use your newsletter to promote special offers, pass along updated information, or simply stay in touch.
How do you present your freelance business online? Share your story and leave a comment on The Self-Employed Facebook page today!