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This is Day 20 of 31 Days to Start a Freelancing Business (or Make Yours a Better One). If you want to catch up, click here to read Day 1.
After working on your freelancing biz for the last 19 days, guess what? You’re ready to promote and market it! You’ve created your income and expense spreadsheets yesterday. Now time to start filling up the income column.
Today, you’re going to put together your marketing plan. If you’ve never created a marketing plan before, this task may seem daunting. You may not know where to start, how to begin. What the heck is a marketing plan anyway?
Marketing Plan in Layman’s Terms
Let’s step away from the corporate lingo so you’ll realize that a marketing plan is actually very simple. In fact, if you’ve been doing your tasks these past 19 days, you already have everything you need to make one.
Think of a marketing plan this way:
Your marketing plan is how you intend to get in front of your target clients.
See how simple it actually is?
Parts of a Marketing Plan
Now, let’s do this systematically. Fire up your word processing or mind-mapping software, or take a big, blank sheet of paper and some markers – whatever gets your brain cells excited.
Here’s what your marketing plan should have:
- Your freelancing goals and objectives – Simply take this out of your assignment on Day 3, when you set your freelancing goals.
- An analysis of your target clients – Don’t panic; you’ve done this! Go back to the assignment on Day 4, when you got inside your target clients’ heads.
- Marketing activities
- Schedule of implementation
- Monitoring and evaluation
Marketing Activities & Schedule
Under marketing activities, brainstorm how you can meet your target clients, or network with those who interact with them regularly. If you’ve done your Day 4 task well, you won’t have a hard time coming up with tons of ideas.
Here are some activities of marketing activities:
- Publish a blog post weekly about a topic your target clients are interested in.
- Submit articles in article directories.
- Create a Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn account and network with prospective clients there.
- Join an online forum.
- Attend a live conference.
- Give away a white paper or special report.
- Join freelancing job boards and bidding sites.
- Pay for advertising, like an ad in the yellow pages.
If you want more marketing help, listen to the Savvy Freelancing Webinar on the topic, “Online Marketing for Freelancers.”
When you think you’ve thought of every possible marketing activity possible, pick the top 5 – those that you think will work best, those you would enjoy doing, and that you can afford to do.
Now put a schedule on each of your top marketing activities: how often can you realistically do each one? And when – a specific date – should you begin doing it?
Until you get yourself fully booked, marketing is an ongoing activity. Even then, you’ll still have to continue networking and marketing, although on a much lesser scale – just in case your current projects dry up or end.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Monitoring and evaluation are often the most neglected parts of any plan. You need to create a plan to monitor and evaluate the success or failure of your plan.
For example, in terms of monitoring, make a list of things you’re going to keep an eye on, to find out how well your marketing plan is working. For example:
- your blog’s traffic, in terms of number of unique visitors daily
- number of queries you receive from prospective clients
- where prospective clients hear about you
- number of projects you receive per month
- number of bids you win from Elance or other bidding sites per month
- income you make per month
- and so on, and so forth
You should be able to know how you can get all this information. For instance, don’t include “degree of prospects’ liking and trust towards me” as something you will monitor, because you simply can’t measure or observe that.
Set aside time, say every month, to go over these numbers to decide which of your marketing activities are really working. Then, regularly tweak and adjust your marketing plan until you reach your freelancing goals.
1. Is Anyone Really Listening? Social Media Marketing (from FreelanceSwitch) – Quick tips for finding clients through social media and how to measure results.
2. How I Used Blogging to Land $20,000+ Worth of Clients (from FreelanceFolder) – A good case study to motivate you to start blogging. You can also read the pros and cons of blogging for freelancers here.
So how’s your marketing plan shaping up? If you run into any problems, just post a comment below.
photo credit: numberstumper