With the increase in available freelance workers, it’s becoming harder and harder for them to market themselves and set their work apart from others. Some are even turning to use guerilla tactics that are outside the mainstream marketing realm like advertising, social media, portfolios, etc. This article breaks down a few guerilla marketing tactics and tips that freelancers can use to secure further work.
More and more freelancers are emerging in every industry. They’re taking their talents to companies worldwide, enjoying the creative and financial freedom attainable in the freelancer lifestyle. Because there’s been such an increase in available freelance workers, marketing becomes that much more critical if you want to be successful.
Traditional marketing tactics are a great place to start, but it’s also worthwhile to look outside mainstream marketing strategies and turn to guerilla tactics. Experts define guerilla marketing tactics as “a form of unconventional advertising that focuses on word-of-mouth, personal interaction, and creativity.”
Freelancers are attracted to guerilla marketing tactics because they allow for creative expression, encourage unorthodox ways of being and doing, and primarily because they work.
Five Guerilla Marketing Tactics for Freelancers
Let’s break down five guerilla marketing tactics that freelancers can use to secure further work.
First, guerilla marketing tactics are all about the element of surprise. One way to wow your target audience with unexpectedness is to advertise in odd places.
Still do your traditional marketing duties, like creating interactive content and digital media, but find a home for them in a place that your clients frequent and wouldn’t expect any advertising to be.
For instance, if you’re a freelance logo designer, you could create logos for public spaces in your neighborhood that your target audience walks by each day, like a well-known oak tree, and leave those designs on the trunk of the tree for everyone to see. Or, if you’re a freelance fashion designer, you could set up a low-cost, garage sale-style pop-up shop.
Look for places you wouldn’t usually advertise your freelance services in and strategize on promoting your freelance brand within them.
Furthermore, leave a distinct sticker in those odd places you decide to advertise in.
It may not seem like a sticker would make the list of guerilla marketing tactics for freelancers, but it holds a spot confidently.
Designing a sticker for your freelance business allows you to show off your brand and reach more people with your marketing message. You can stick them in various places and distribute them to as many people as possible.
The people who receive your sticker may not need your services then, but if your sticker is fantastic enough, they’ll remember your brand first when they do. Your stickers could also catch the eye of people in their circle, furthering your word-of-mouth reach.
If you want to design a few stickers for freelance businesses, we suggest finding a company that can print them at an affordable price and, if needed, can help you with the design.
Another guerilla marketing tactic for freelancers is to establish and grow a social media presence.
Whether they’re searching for products, services, people, motivation, or something different entirely, people flock to social media platforms more than other digital spaces.
So, it’s wise to grow your social media presence as a freelancer. Social media allows you to find and interact with your ideal clients and will enable you to climb to the top of the list of experts in your industry.
First, you want to find out where your ideal clients are in terms of social media platforms. After finding out which platforms are most popular with your clients, create profiles for your freelance brand on them.
Then, you can grow your social media presence by:
- Posting consistently on each platform
- Leveraging cross-promotional opportunities
- Creating video and other visual content that makes you more visible on social media
- Answering all comments, direct messages, and mentions
- Using social listening tools to monitor conversations relevant to your freelance brand
- Live streaming regularly
- Utilizing the story features on social media platforms
- Sharing valuable, relevant content that shows your expertise
Designing a creative portfolio is also a solid guerilla marketing tactic for freelancers.
Freelance writers may have a list of links to their published clips. Artists may have a few favorite pieces they show potential clients. Freelance consultants may have a file filled with facts and figures they share in initial meetings. But if you want to stand out, your portfolio must be intentionally and creatively designed.
For instance, let’s say you’re trying to break into the world of graphic design as a freelancer. You’ve done some traditional marketing, relying on word-of-mouth, print ads, and direct sales, but it isn’t enough. You need to hook the leads once they get to you. Insert portfolio here.
With a graphic design portfolio, you can show exactly what you say you can do for your clients.
All in all, a creative portfolio helps you show rather than tell. Your potential clients want proof you can do what you say you can do, so give it to them. Put your favorite and most successful projects in terms of client results in your portfolio. Additionally, add a few pieces that showcase skills you haven’t utilized for clients yet.
Lastly, include a freebie with any letter of interest you send out to a potential client.
Cold-calling sucks, and cold-emailing isn’t any better. There are freelancers out there that have managed to escape partaking in these less-than-celebrated marketing techniques, but most won’t. However, cold-calling and emailing can result in high-paying gigs and some of your best clients when done strategically.
A considerable part of marketing is showing your ideal clients what you can do for them and how your services can improve their business bottom line. You can do this by taking the letter of interest, or LOI, you send to potential clients to the next level with a well-thought-out freebie.
Granted, this guerilla marketing tactic will take you some additional time and effort. Still, the payoff is tremendous because you’re more likely to get a response from the client, even if it is a “thank you so much for this, but we’re not in the market for a freelancer right now.” At the very least, you’ve started your relationship with them off on the right foot, and they’ll remember you when they do need a freelancer.
Whether you’re a freelance writer attaching a few blog posts to an LOI or a graphic designer attaching a few social media ad banners the client can use, ensure you give them full ownership and use of the freebies you send them.
Guerilla marketing tactics for freelancers are proven to be effective and well worth the effort. Utilize the tips above to start implementing guerilla tactics in your marketing strategy for your freelance business.
illustration: social media illustrations by Storyset