A strong brand is just as important for you as a freelance professional as it is for a major international corporation. Carefully cultivated branding helps you stand out in a crowded marketplace and makes you memorable.
Without a clear and defined brand, your freelance business might find it very difficult to attract the quality of clients you need.
Your brand is how your customers perceive you in their minds when they come across any aspect of your business. Just like some people are instantly likeable and intriguing, so your freelancing brand needs to be to prospective clients.
This doesn’t mean everyone will love your brand but that’s the point. You only need to focus on attracting your core target market.
So what are some of the ways you can make your personal freelance brand stand out from the crowd?
Here are just 10 suggestions:
Define to yourself what it is you do
What is it you do? For most freelancers the answer to this question will seem blatantly obvious. A freelance web designer might say they design websites, for example. The trouble is, there are tens of thousands of similar freelancers out there. There needs to be more to a brand identity than a simple job description.
What you do as a freelancer is actually solve problems and help business owners and individuals improve their lives in some way. When you can define exactly how you do that and why you’re the best choice, then you have an ideal foundation for the creation of a strong and unique brand.
Convey a succinct and powerful message
The next step is to clearly convey the benefits you bring to your target clients in your tagline and even in your business name. A tagline is a memorable sentence or two conveying succinctly what it is you do and how you can help. When your perfect prospect sees it, they should know immediately you’re the perfect professional for their needs.
There are many competing freelancers out there, with similar capabilities to you, but a good tagline and business name makes you stand out to the right people.
Move into a niche area
Sometimes a marketplace is just too saturated. There are too many competitors. You might also feel your services are too general leading to many project tasks you’d prefer to avoid even though they’re under your job description.
In both these cases narrowing down the services you provide into a single niche service can help strengthen your brand, cultivate distinction, and make your work more enjoyable.
Invest in good logo and web design
A strong logo stands out. People see it as soon as they come across your website or marketing documents. They remember it. It’s sensible to invest in a good quality logo which helps define what you do and the quality of your work.
The same applies to your website. If people visit a freelancer’s site and see ugly pages badly formatted and with out-of-date graphics, they’ll assume the freelancer’s skills are of a similar standard. Your website needs to work for you in attracting and converting visitors into paying clients. Make sure it looks nice.
Add personality to your brand
When everything else is equal, a client will hire a freelancer based on their perceived personality and likeability. People do business with people, as the cliché goes, and it is important to have a good freelancer-client relationship, especially on long-term and expensive projects.
When prospects feel a certain sense of trust in your abilities and professionalism, you’re likely to stand out from your competitors. Use your website copy and blog posts to shine a light on your personality.
Genuinely care about your audience
Successfully marketing your freelance business requires some knowledge of your target market. A strong freelance brand tightly focuses on a core audience, rather than trying to appeal to anyone and everyone.
Getting to know what makes your target clientele tick goes a long way in drawing them to your services. It’s a lot easier to do this when you genuinely have an interest and a desire to help these businesses or individuals.
As a result, you will stand out from competitors who don’t really care that much and just want to get paid.
Create and share only good-quality, relevant, and helpful content
Whether it’s on social media or via your blog, it’s important the information you share is relevant to your audience. Articles and findings related to the problems your clients face and the solutions you can provide will catch the attention of prospects in a busy stream of updates.
Sharing or writing sub-standard articles, on the other hand, will reflect poorly on your judgement levels. Combine personality with unique and well-research advice, and prospects will soon take notice.
Develop brand continuity
Whenever prospects or clients see your business, it’s important they recognize your brand immediately. Your website, as the central hub of your online business, will feature your logo. However, there are many other places your logo and color schemes need to be seen so as to ensure brand continuity across all touchpoints with potential and existing clients.
These places include social media profiles, printed marketing materials, proposal and invoice documents, business cards, email signatures, videos and presentations, downloadable case studies and whitepapers, letterheads, and more.
Your brand image as a whole will appear increasingly professional and be seen more frequently.
Show up, every week
Repeat – Show up, every week. Self-promotion requires dedication. Growing your business and getting your brand recognized takes time. When it comes to content marketing you need to be consistent in frequency and quality. A prospect is more likely to choose a service provider they’re already familiar with when the time comes to hire that service.
Vanishing from social media or leaving your blog to gather dust highlights an inconsistency which can negatively impact on how prospects perceive your professionalism. Develop a publishing schedule and keep to it.
Be great at what you do
As the saying goes, cream rises to the top. When you do excellent work, your reputation soon grows. The more skills you develop and perfect, the better the results you achieve for your clients.
They’ll provide more recommendations, you’ll gain more glowing testimonials, your portfolio will look great, and in a short space of time you’ll be raising your rates just to reduce the number of prospects making enquiries.
Be great at what you do and your brand will inevitably stand out from the crowd.
Strong branding is vital for every freelance professional. With careful consideration, creativity, and cultivation, your brand identity can help you stand out from a crowded marketplace and attract the type of clients you really want to work with.