So you've launched your career as a freelance web developer. Now what? You've probably noticed that your inbox isn't overflowing with requests from clients who want you to build or upgrade their websites. If you're in business for yourself as a freelancer, you're also responsible for all of your marketing plans and strategies. Here are some tips to help you promote yourself as a web developer.
Word of Mouth
This is always the first and best strategy when going into business for yourself. The power of word of mouth advertising can never be underestimated. As a web developer, you want to target start-up companies and organizations, as well as existing offline businesses who could benefit from having a web presence. That means you have to be where they are. Attend seminars for new business owners and any internet related seminars.
Tell friends and family about your web development business, and ask them to refer clients to you if they know of anyone that needs help. Practice telling people about your business. Develop a pitch that you can use in 60 seconds or less to tell someone everything they need to know about your skills. Use that pitch when you're at seminars, or anytime you have a few free moments around a stranger. Introduce yourself, give them your pitch and hand them a business card: marketing in 60 seconds or less, one client at a time.
You'll need a supply of business cards to promote yourself, even if you'll be doing web development primarily online. Cards are an essential leg of your marketing stool. You can pass along a card to anyone who takes a few moments to listen to your pitch. Include a custom logo on the card that you designed yourself or a link to your blog. Try not to be too technical on your card. List your services in laymen's terms so that even those who are not web savvy can understand the development services you provide.
Develop and Maintain Your Own Blog
A blog can be a great way to showcase your web development skills. You can link examples of work you've done for clients. You can talk about web development, and establish yourself as an industry expert through blogging that's geared towards potential clients. You can also list all of the services you provide, your skills and training, the rates you charge and any other information your clients might want to have. Because you're developing your own blog, it's the perfect way to show customers your level of unique skills. Learn SEO (Search Engine Optimization) writing to help drive more visitors to your blog.
Provide free information on your blog that will be useful to potential clients. This can help your clients trust you more, and it helps build relationships with your customers. Make sure to include all of your business contact information on the blog.
Diligence and Honesty
Work hard for every client, finish the job on time and keep your word. Your reputation as a web developer can go a long way, and it helps build on word of mouth advertising. If you have a good reputation, people will let their friends and associates know about you.
Join webmaster and support forums on the web, and offer helpful advice and insights. Leave comments that solve web development problems on relevant blogs, and be sure to include a link to your website or blog. Join your local chamber of commerce, Rotary Club and any other business civic organization where you're likely to meet clients. Business leaders from your local community attend meetings and other events with their civic groups, and it's a great place to meet and network with other business owners and potential clients. (Take lots of business cards to these meetings.)
These are just a few strategies to help you promote yourself as a freelance web developer. Study marketing plans and get creative; it's an essential part of any home based business.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.