With the many privatized design agencies it’s common to see freelancers growing in numbers. Illustrators and digital artists are among the most prominent with freelance graphics and design work. It requires a skilled artisan to juggle project works with freelance time management and business ethics.
Marketing is possibly one of the biggest considerations when first launching your own business. Whether working alone or with a few partners you won’t be advancing anywhere without some startup clients and referrals. And although it seems difficult these days to land work I’ve added a few tricks for marketing on the viral web for social media newbies.
As the Internet has expanded to include all cultures of people the audience has been growing. The creation of social media and social news outlets provides a brilliant plan for marketing to gather new clients.
Build Your Presence
The first step before any other is to make sure your brand is out there. In the intertubes of the world wide web comes a jumbled mess of Google search queries and top news stories. Your goal is to flood the market with your name in every source.
This means find a branding and stick to it like glue. Whether that’s just your name or a clever pun is up to you. Some of the most infamous design agencies have run with a common theme, even if it’s just a single person running the whole operation! You’ll want to create an account on nearly every popular social network branded under your name (or agency name).
Examples of these are included below in no particular order. Granted this is a short list for the many of web 2.0 networks out there today. It’s recommended sticking to websites you’ll want to use as these accounts will help get your name out there while building your reputation within niche communities.
Instead of creating 20 accounts which you never use, try creating 4 or 5 which you can log into every day. The amount of time may vary from 5 minutes to an hour or two. Regardless it’s important to be active in the communities you join.
Social bookmarking provides a unique opportunity to get your links out in the open. Delicious and Diigo are the two most popular with Mister Wong slowly gaining attention. If possible create a blog either on your own domain or through Google’s Blogger where you can update with posts and freebies.
These types of resources will get your name out into the web and garner a lot of attention. If you also have a semi-active Twitter stream you should include links to your page. Google will recognize the connection and you’ll find yourself ranking higher for keywords related to your niche. Twitter followers are the perfect word of mouth and will often retweet posts with free icons or bits of code into going viral.
Run with Pligg Networks
As a newer system on the market Pligg CMS has seen a lot of attention recently. The open source project is a clone of the classic Digg-style web system. It’s updated by two very intelligent web developers who release plugins and templates within the support forum.
Many of these social news communities have risen through the ranks and dominate in Google. If you can join a few and submit your articles you may notice higher rankings for your title keywords. For example, writing a blog post with “freelancer” or “web design services” in the title may net you some traffic if you can hit the front page of Design Float(widely popular Pligg network).
It is very difficult to find the highest quality in websites. Many of the launches under Pligg just run spam links and submissions may even discredit your website rankings. Check with Google as there are plenty of blog posts offering the highest ranking Pligg-based websites. Also the founders created a sponsored Pligg gallery which boasts a handful of new and trusted web launches.
Other designers and web developers are looking for work and need to get their name out there just as much as you. Collaboration on a project or even an article can bring together a close bond with others in the field. Digital illustrators and icon designers specifically are oftentimes very willing to work on open source projects.
Freebies can go a long way and devotion to an entire set will build up both your reputations’. This is also the case with releasing new HTML templates or CSS3 tutorials.
There are more accomplished designers than developers working on today’s web, so snippets of code can be passed around like hot cakes. Custom functions for WordPress are often the most popular as the CMS is gaining massive popularity.
If you’ve got any extra money to put into your advertising campaign there are many partnerships available. Google AdWords is by far the most advanced technologically, offering a huge library of clients to choose from. Not to mention the Google branding behind the system proves integrity and powerful security.
However there are other options which target the niche of web design/development. BuySellAds is possibly one of my favorite ad networks. It caters to many design blogs and tech-themed digital magazines. Ads sell in block format which give visitors more of a graphical experience than text links. The opportunity to improve your branding can be increased tenfold!
If you’re approaching the scene with no money there are still other options. If you contact blogs or top-priority websites you may be able to trade advertisement spaces. Many webmasters are more than happy to help out fellow designers, often in exchange for services such as icons or small bits of programming. Exchange marketing offers the best way to gain a small audience without requiring costly bills.
These swift bouts into social media should get you moving down the river towards success. Marketing isn’t an overnight process and will require dedicated time and effort each day. E-mail is a huge system and possibly the best way to meet your first few clients.
If you’re having trouble landing any work I recommend reviewing your portfolio as the structure can dramatically effect the feel of your possible clientel. Similarly web design job boards have been flowing for years and now offer sophisticated means of connection. We offer a complete list from 2010 freelance job boards and direct links to new launches.
If you have similar ideas for beginning freelancers please share them in the comments section below. Along with social media a strict schedule and means of communication will boost your marketing potential tenfold.