Does this sound familiar?
You’re busy with web design work, so busy that you don’t have time to market your freelancing business. You have multiple projects going on at the same time,so many that you can barely get them done.
Then, when you’ve finished your last project, there’s a deadening silence. Projects aren’t coming in. You aren’t hearing from potential clients. And you’re starting to panic.
What’s happened is simple. Your web design client pipeline has simply dried up. Seasoned freelancers refer to this as the feast or famine cycle.
The fact is that your slowdown happened because you stopped marketing your business while you were busy.
You may think that you don’t have time to market your freelancing business, but you can continue to market your business when you are busy without spending a lot of time. In this post, I’ll share five mostly quick marketing tips that you can use even when you’re very busy. By using one or several of these tips, you can keep your client pipeline flowing.
If you liked this post, you may also like Facts About Marketing for Freelance Designers.
Tip #1. Stay Active in Social Media
Do you ignore social media entirely when you’re busy? If you do, you may be making a huge mistake by not keeping your name in front of prospective clients.
It’s easy to think that social media marketing needs to take a huge chunk of time for it to be effective. But actually, you can scale participation back during busy periods without disappearing from your social profile entirely.
Try this. Each morning pick about a half dozen relevant articles to share with your social media contacts. Use a scheduling tool like the one that comes with TweetDeck or Hootsuite to make sure that the shares are spread throughout the day. Each evening spend about ten minutes responding to anyone who has tried to interact with you during the day.
(Of course, you’ll want to increase your social media involvement once things slow down.)
Total average daily time spent: Less than 45 minutes.
Tip #2. Keep Up with Relationships
When was the last time you sent an email or made a phone call to your former clients?
That’s what I thought. It’s been a long time, if ever. Freelance web designers are notorious for not staying in touch with former clients. That’s unfortunate, because if you ended their project on good terms it’s possible that they may want to use your services again.
If you’ve been out of touch, why not take about an hour a week towards the end of your current project to check in with a former client? Each week, write a quick email asking how the client is doing now. Here are some points to include in your email:
- Ask how the web design you completed for them is working. Some clients may ask you to make additions to their site based on that question alone.
- Let them know how much you enjoyed working with them (if you did). Most freelancers forget to be appreciative of the good clients. Being grateful will help you to stand out.
- Finally, ask them if they have any further need for your services. Tell them you’ll be available when your current project ends. Give a specific date.
Continue sending emails until you have touched base with all of your former clients. Even if you don’t immediately get offers of new projects, at least you got your name in front of your former clients and strengthened the relationship.
Total average weekly time per email: About an hour.
Tip #3. Update your Freelancing Blog
Blogging has been called a waste of time for freelancers. And it can be, if you do it wrong. Blogging can also be a great way to draw attention to your freelance web design business and attract clients.
Unfortunately, when we get busy our freelancing blog is often the first thing we neglect. There’s just no time to write a new post, so we don’t. Before long it’s been weeks or even months since we’ve updated our blog.
An abandoned looking freelancing blog sends the wrong message to clients. You should try to publish something on your blog several times a month.
Fortunately, there are ways to keep your blog up to date even when you are busy. Here are some of them:
- Accept a high quality guest post. Even if you don’t normally accept guest posts, publishing one while you are busy can keep your blog from looking abandoned.
- Publish a photo or image. Remember, blog posts don’t have to always be in words. An eye-catching image can sometimes be just as effective as the written word.
- Do a resource roundup. Make a quick list of articles that will be of value to your prospects and clients. (Maybe include some of the articles you shared in Tip #1.)
Total average weekly time: About an hour.
Tip #4. Answer Emails Promptly
It should go without saying that you should respond to email inquiries even when you’re busy, but it’s easy to put off responding until it’s too late. Ideally, you should respond to all emails within a business day of when you receive them.
A quick trick for responding quickly to an email is to acknowledge it. For example, if a prospective client is inquiring about your services and you don’t have time on that day to discuss the project in detail with them, you could respond with something like this:
Thanks for asking about my web design services. I’d love to learn more about your web design needs. I’m currently wrapping up a rather intense project, but I’d be happy to discuss your needs with you. Are you available for a phone call on [day after tomorrow] at 10:00 a.m.?
With this response, the prospect knows:
- That you received the inquiry.
- That you’re still in business.
- That you’re interested.
Once you meet with them, negotiate a starting date for after the conclusion of your current projects.
Total average time to acknowledge an email: About an hour.
Tip #5. Run a Limited Time Special
If your current project is winding down and you don’t see any future work on the horizon, you may want to start promoting a limited time special discount for when your project ends.
While I don’t normally recommend lowering your prices, a sale with a definite start and end date can stimulate business.
Use your freelancing blog to announce the special deal. Your announcement could look something like:
For the Next Week Only, Save 10% on All Web Design Projects
Now is the time to schedule your web design work. We rarely discount our work, but for the next week we are offering a 10% discount. To receive the discount, you must schedule your project and pay the initial deposit by Friday, X, XXXX. Click here for more information about our services.
If you have any prospects who have been hesitating about using your services, this may be enough to get them to commit to a project. And won’t it be nice to have work lined up for when you complete the project you’re working on now?
Total average weekly time: About an hour to write the announcement and publish it on your blog.
How do you market your web design business during your busy periods?