If you’re new to freelancing or have recently set up your own business, you probably don’t have piles of cash to spend (yet!).
However, it’s a bit of a ‘catch-22’ as you need to get your name out there, in order to start bringing in new business. The key is to start off with low-budget marketing tools. Then as you build momentum (and funds) more options will become available to you.
So what can you do to market yourself right from the start, with little or no budget?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: networking has been hugely influential in bringing new clients into my business. If you’ve never attended a networking event before, I highly recommend you try it.
Most groups will let you attend a few times as a visitor, without asking you to sign up for a membership. Some groups are free to visit, whilst others will charge around £5 to £30, depending on the meeting.
I’d advise Googling for groups in your local area. I’d also highly recommend trying a group called BRX, of which I am currently a member. You can take a sneaky peek at a BRX meeting, here. (Video at the top of the page.)
Social media scheduling
I know, I know, ‘social media’ is an obvious tool to suggest. I’m sure you’re aware that you can use social media for free. However, I meet a lot of people who complain that they either don’t have the time, or they ‘always forget’ to post on social media.
In order to engage with other businesses through these platforms, you need to be using them proactively. That’s why I’d recommend using a scheduling tool. This allows you to set aside a few minutes on a regular basis to create your posts. Then your scheduling tool will fire them out at pre-selected times, on your behalf.
Each of these scheduling tools has a free option you can try:
As you begin to build your network, you’ll want to find ways of keeping in contact. One way to do this is to set up a regular mail-out. There are plenty of tools online for this, some of which have free options.
A few popular tools include:
… And I’d highly recommend MailChimp:
It’s user-friendly and lets you create professional looking, branded HTML emails.
One thing to remember is that marketing emails can quickly become annoying if they’re unsolicited. It’s good practice to ask people’s permission before adding them to your list.
As I see it, it’s better to have a small list of people who are interested in your content, than a large list of people who find your emails annoying.