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Marketing Your Freelance Business Locally


The time has come when Lorna and I are starting to outgrow our web-based-only work. Don’t get me wrong, I feel that a company/individual freelancer can be perfectly able to keep business running through internet-only means. With the right combination of bidding on freelancing venues, using online marketing, and developing a knock-out website, there is no reason why you should ever have to leave the comfort of the internet world in order to make a living. 

However, there is much money to be made on a local level, and direct marketing to the local crowd can be cost-effective and fairly easy (not to mention fun). We have always planned on getting a number of clients with whom we will build long-lasting relationships that include face-to-face meetings. We happen to think we are pretty personable gals, so meeting us in person may be just what it takes for some organizations to sign us right on. To reach this next goal of ours, we plan to start by taking some pretty simple approaches. 

1) Brochures

A few months ago, we developed a general business brochure that has (if I may say so) some pretty compelling writing. We intend to use our current client database, which we have categorized into fields (e.g., law, online retail, education, etc.) to determine where it will be most effective to start sending these brochures to local businesses. We will change the copy slightly to fit each field in hopes of marketing ourselves in the most advantageous way possible. There will be costs associated with printing the brochures, but we are excited to see what kind of interest this generates. 

2) Meet and Greets

Our bank has invited us to a small business “get-together” that they hold two times a year. The woman who signed us up for our bank accounts said that they often feel frustrated because they work with different local clients they know could really benefit one another, but they are tied by confidentiality agreements not to disclose one client to another. To get around this, they host a meet and greet to which select small business clients are invited, in hopes that we will hit it off and discover a mutual business need. We hope that our attendance at this one will lead to future business and networking opportunities. 

3) Hitting up our Friends

Between the two of us, Lorna and I know quite a bit of people. I have some pretty good friends in real estate, hospital human resources, and product development in my little black book, and Lorna’s is equally distinguished. I have no qualms about asking my friends to spread the word about our business, and we even offer a friends and family rate to encourage them to use our services themselves.  

4) Chamber of Commerce

Our city’s Chamber of Commerce is a pretty helpful place. We have already met with an organization called BizStreet, which helps to connect small business owners with mentors in their field. Our mentor was able to get us quite a bit of helpful start-up materials as well as lists of contacts for future marketing and networking ventures. We will also register with our Chamber, so that other businesses will see that we intend to be a fierce local presence!    

Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list of marketing ideas. However, we feel that these represent some pretty solid (and fairly inexpensive) first few steps as we test our services out on the local level. Do you have any marketing tips that worked well for you? Any disasters?

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    On October 25th, 2007 at 7:14 pm, Allena Tapia said:

    Have you tried MerchantCircle?
    Also, be careful: I branched out into local and my business was flooded BUT I found out that my local clients were not willing to pay the exact same amount for the exact same services that, say, people in NYC or LA pay. I don’t know where you are, but my state is in a bad time and place. Theres no money here. Doesn’t effect me, though, if I keep things virtual. :) GL!

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