Does content marketing have any relevance to you as a self-employed professional? When you hear or read conversations about using free content to attract and persuade clients, the type of marketing being discussed may often seem out of your league. After all, you don’t have a marketing department down the hall that you can ask to produce a video documentary or customer magazine.
But creating content for prospective clients that is useful and relevant to them doesn’t have to be out of reach for a solo professional or small partnership. Much of the best content for professionals to use in their marketing is based on the written word. Consider these forms of content that you may already be producing, and that others like you frequently create:
It’s harder than ever for a self-employed professional to land clients unless you appear credible. Once upon a time, you could get clients based on not much more than a business card, decent clothes, and your ability to present yourself well in a conversation.
Now what happens is that prospective clients check you out online before they decide to do business with you. Even when prospects are referred to you by someone they trust, they will typically visit your website, search online for your name, or look for you on social media. If what they learn doesn’t shout “credibility” to them, you’ll have a tough time getting their business.
One of my coaching clients complained, “I’m really good at what I do. I shouldn’t have to market myself.” In fact, he is quite good at his profession, but the problem is that not enough prospective clients know about him. Like many professionals, he is reluctant to talk about his capabilities and accomplishments. “It feels like bragging,” he says. “Doesn’t it make me seem unprofessional?”
If thoughts like these often cross your mind, ask yourself this — who are the biggest names in your profession? In your line of work, who might be considered unquestioned experts, those with maximum credibility? Now, how did you get to know about those people’s work?
I’ll bet you do great work with your clients. But if your clients are the only ones who know what you can do, you won’t stay in business. We all hope that satisfied clients will refer us to their friends and colleagues, but clients aren’t always your best source of referrals. So, we need to let more people know how terrific our work is.
There are many ways to let prospective clients know about your work, But for most self-employed professionals, there are only four categories that make sense: networking, speaking, writing, and media. These are the best avenues for people to become familiar with not only you, but with how your work creates tangible benefits.
Never underestimate the power of a thank you. Not long ago, I thanked someone for helping me solve a technical problem. She replied to my note of thanks by inviting me as a guest speaker for a group she chairs. I didn’t even know she chaired this group and I had never considered speaking there. This speaking opportunity would never have occurred if I hadn’t taken a moment to say thanks. It started me thinking about how often saying thank you turns into paying business.
Here in the U.S., it’s Thanksgiving week, when we often pause to reflect on our gratitude. So it’s an excellent time to consider seven ways of saying thank you that can bring you more clients.
As my spouse Dave and I were sitting one morning at our respective computers, I wondered aloud what topic to choose for my monthly newsletter. Dave, staring at his own screen, complained, “Who has time to work and still keep up with Facebook? Hey, why don’t you write about that?” Now since Dave isn’t even working at this time of year, if he feels overwhelmed by the endless stream of social media posts to read and make, what’s it like for the rest of us?
For the average independent professional who is trying to serve existing clients, run a business, and market for new clients in multiple ways, social media can be only one small piece of the picture. Yet it seems that to use social media well, it can potentially consume an endless amount of time.
Here are five ideas to consider about where social media marketing may fit — or not — into your already busy life.