Katie Katie Parsons is the creator of Mumbling Mommy and is a freelance writer, editor and communications specialist. She works from her home office on the east coast of Florida. Most often she writes about life in a combined family of five children and what it's like being a full time work-from-home parent. Feel free to pitch guest post ideas or just drop her a line at katie@mumblingmommy.com.

I will be the first to admit that I do not market my own freelance writing and content creation business as aggressively as I should. The truth is that I usually have more work than I can feasibly finish (not because I’m such an in-demand writer, but because I am a work at home mom with four kiddos under foot) so the idea of actively looking for even more to add to my schedule is not always a priority. Long term though I’d like to have many more clients than I do today and the ability to keep those individuals and companies happy.

So there are a few things I do regularly to market my business — and a few others that I am starting to throw into the mix. None of these things require bypassing groceries or a second mortgage to finance.

Here is what I would suggest you consider when marketing your own small business of any type:

  • Build a resume website. You do not need to be a retailer to need a website. I learned early on that sending potential clients several emails with attachments and links all over the Internet was time-consuming on both ends. Instead I built a simple site with help from Moonfruit and direct my clients there. I have referrals from clients (with names and URLs so the potential new client can follow up if necessary) and even a blog with tips for people hiring writers. I did not build this site with the intention of bringing in tons of unsolicited traffic; I built it as a destination site. If you do not have the budget to bring in a professional SEO team, start with something very simple.
  • Create a blog. If you are a freelance writer, a blog is a no-brainer but really every small business owner can benefit from having one. For one thing, the content of that blog may bring in people who would have never known about you otherwise. For another thing, it shows your expertise in your particular industry. If you sell items that make good baby shower gifts, then write a blog full of “Top 10” lists of baby shower gifts, or baby shower games, or anything in your buying demographic.
  • Get business cards.

    Stop in local businesses and introduce yourself

    And then keep them with you all the time. I could kick myself when I think about all the strangers I have met at the park or Starbucks who ask me for a card after I tell them what I do for a living — and I am empty handed. I end up scribbling my website URL and email address on old crumpled receipts or napkins. Not professional. Keep a few business cards in your purse, car and pocket everywhere you go and do not be afraid to hand them out. Also look for local places to pin or leave your business cards. You can invest in hang tags and other branded items too (check these out).

  • Ask for referrals. If your clients are happy and you know it, ask them to share that love. You can add referrals to your own website, as I mentioned above, or ask for feedback through the forum where you connected. Every now and then it is even appropriate to let them know  you are always taking on new clients/customers and would be grateful if they passed your name along. You can even include a referral option in your email signature line.
  • Think locally.It is great that there are options to connect with clients around the world, no matter what your industry, but remember to also think locally when it comes to your small business. What individuals or groups in your own town would benefit from your products or services? Also think about building your brand image by sponsoring local events or aligning your company name with community outreach. I am personally trying to take a step back and target my own area a little more aggressively by  launching my first local campaign this Fall (that includes a lot of showing up places to drop off my information — not any print advertisements).

The bottom line is that you do not have to spend a lot of money to have a winning marketing plan. Use the resources you already have, and pay a very minimal amount for the rest, and watch your small business grow.

What free/inexpensive tips would you add?


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Category: Working From Home

Tags: Freelance Friday