Essential Marketing Materials for Freelancers and Best Use Tips

As a freelancer, you need to know how to best use your time and energy when it comes to marketing. We already spend enough time actually performing our jobs, invoicing, collecting, and other tasks. To add marketing to the mix can be incredibly frustrating.

Essential Marketing Materials for Freelancers and Best Use Tips

The good news is that you don’t have to waste your efforts on marketing if you jump into it with the right activities. Often, the most important choice is knowing what NOT to do and knowing that handing off some tasks to professionals may be your best bet. For those ready to go to the next level, consider these marketing materials and how to use them the most effectively.

Professionally designed logo

While not a physical piece of marketing material, your logo is an invaluable marketing asset. Hire a professional design agency, if possible, to create a logo for you. The benefit of a professional design includes the ability for your logo to work well regardless of its placement or size in web or in print. A professional corporate identity takes a great deal of thought and planning but is definitely worth it in the long run. No company should be without a logo before beginning a marketing campaign. A logo is what will help your target audience recognize and remember you no matter where or how they encounter your company’s marketing materials or products.

Trends in logo design have varied wildly over the last few years, but a few key concepts are timeless. Look at what your industry is doing first and foremost. This does not mean you should copy competitors, but you do want to be in the same general vein of design within your industry. For example, if crest logos are common, consider getting yourself a crest logo as well.

Also, make sure your logo is legible from a distance. Complicated logos can get hard to see if they are small or far away. Test to make sure your logo is clear at any size and from a reasonable distance before committing. A simple logo is also easier to remember.

Business cards

Utilize all the space on your business cards. Include a short description (tag line) of your company’s services as well as contact information. Graphics and design are important, but be sure to avoid sacrificing any descriptive qualities, potentially confusing prospective clients. Keep in mind that on your business card is where your logo can really shine.

Use both sides of your business card keeping the front of the design simple and using the back for any details. The front of your business card should be limited to very basic contact information. The back of your card can have all the details you can fit into that space. You can squeeze around 300 words in 10pt font into that area if needed. You could consider including a QR code on the back of your card to give customers quick and easy access to your website. Or you could reserve the back of the card for all of you social media information. Get creative but do keep in mind that too much information will look cluttered and unprofessional.

A common mistake is to use non-traditional sizes for your business cards. While it is accepted to use rounded corners, avoid odd shapes. Many people still store business cards in holders created for business cards to fit into. If yours won’t fit, it will likely be discarded. The only exception to this rule is if your odd-shaped card will easily slide into and out of a traditional holder.

Create and manage a comprehensive website

Make sure you have a functioning website immediately upon starting your business, or before you open your doors for business if at all possible. On your site, include helpful information about your company’s services. You will also need to include links to other, relevant, non-competitive sites, videos, pictures, and blogs if possible to create discussion with your clients and increase brand recognition with your client base.

Even if you cannot afford to go with a full-featured website, a basic site that has a professional design is absolutely critical. Companies with no websites are quickly considered to be too small to be of concern. Consumers almost always research a company’s website before making a purchase, so having even a basic site is important.

If you can’t afford a complex site, you can use a site like Blogspot.com or Wix.com and purchase a domain name of your own. From here, you can design a professional site fairly easily using the provided templates. Make sure to keep your blog up-to-date and take advantage of the blogging features as a way to create relevant commentary. Even if you have a professional website, creating a separate blog on which you post news, how-to articles, inspirational roundups, and anything else of relevance to your target audience is a great way to guide new customers to your site as well as create brand recognition.

Create company uniforms

Adding company t-shirts, uniforms, or simply dress codes will increase brand recognition. Your company will also appear more professional and competent. Once again, this is where your logo can come in very handy.

Uniforms are not necessarily a complete wardrobe. You may just stick with a ball cap or a logo on a polo shirt. The key is to get your brand in front of customers on a regular basis. The more they see it, the more likely they will remember you when they need your services.

Establish a formal brand definition

Make sure your marketing designs adhere to basic design principles and you stick with consistent use of colors and logos. A brand definition does not have to be complicated; in fact, some can be defined on a single page. The key is to include your color swatches you want to use and re-use, your logo, and the fonts you plan to stick with throughout your marketing campaign. You can go so far as to define the voice or tone of your marketing campaign and other stylized details.

Some brand definitions are incredibly exhaustive, pushing several hundred pages. As a freelancer, you probably don’t have the time to create such a formal policy. But you should take the time to put your color swatches and logo files in a single location so you can find them quickly when needed. You can also save a short list of fonts you want to stick with if you end up taking the time to look through some sites like DaFont.com and finding some fonts you want to use for marketing purposes.

Create brochures

Brochures are capable of being used for multiple purposes. Hand them out at networking events, mail them to potential customers, or use them to elaborate on the range of services you provide when talking to clients. A brochure is an indispensable tool that you should keep on hand at all times.

Some simple points to remember with brochure design are to use professional photographs, be consistent with your brand, make sure to include contact information, and don’t be afraid to go over-the-top. Including your website, social media sites, and even a QR code are great ways to help prospects more easily connect with your business.

A big mistake made all too often in brochure printing is using a cheap design and print quality. A black image on yellow paper in a tri-fold shape doesn’t cut it these days. It’s better to not even have a brochure if you don’t make a polished finished product. Consider hiring a designer if you have no experience with marketing design.

Develop posters

Even as a freelancer you can take advantage of posters. If you can find out where your typical customer may spend some time as a group – a convention, for example – you can put posters up to grab attention. Use a QR code so they can quickly get to your website by scanning the poster with their smartphones.

A poster is one of those marketing materials that has to grab attention fast, so get the help of a designer to put together an eye-catching design that drives clients to your website or to call you. Keep in mind that the less information you include on the poster, the better. A large, catchy headline along with an irresistable image, possibly a line or two for extra explanation, and one or two contact methods (and your logo, of course) is about all that is needed on most advertising posters.

Send postcards

One of the least expensive ways to get your logo and brand in front of future customers and current clients is through a postcard campaign. Once again, you have to grab attention fast, so make sure your design is rock-solid and that you include an incentive, such as a coupon.

A postcard is another great place to include a QR code so that clients can scan it with a smartphone and go straight to your website or other campaign specific page. Posters can be a friendly reminder to stop by a special event, a "thank you" for being a client, or a call-to-action for a special sale. But never miss out on the opportunity to get your logo and brand integrated into the design and in front of customers.

Use professional cameras or hire professionals

Professionally rendered photographs and videos are a strong indication to potential clients that your business is serious and will deliver. Your website will stand out from the pack and promote the growth of your business. This is where hiring professionals may be better than investing in equipment, but the end product should be high-end.

Cheap looking graphics are design killers. Your marketing materials need to look professional and images that are low-quality can absolutely ruin a brochure or website, for example. You can also purchase professional photos from websites as well, but this is only for stock photos. If you have product-specific photos, your own bio image, or other unique photos needed, it’s worth getting professional gear or hiring a photographer to get these taken the right way.

Create an email signature

Each individual email you send out is an opportunity to include a marketing message. Include contact information, a web address, and a logo. Keep the signature simple. Avoid trying to cram too much information into this space as it’s annoying to get an email from someone whose email signature is far longer than the message.

Skip the long quotes or company mission statements. People don’t want to see these over and over. Your logo, on the other hand, is always appropriate, but keep the graphic small. You don’t want your graphics to be too large from a file size or image size standpoint.

Also, always left-align your content. Do not center or right-align your signature. Keep the design simple and standardized – the email signature is not where you want to try to stand out.

Create a company mission and vision statement

A company mission and vision statement can range from a single sentence to a paragraph. Create a statement that can be a reminder for employees and a guarantee to clients of your commitment to maintain a high level of performance and service. Use this statement where appropriate, such as on the company "About" page, in brochures, on business cards, and the like.

The mission and vision statements set the tone for what your company intends to do. You can keep this short and simple. Even statements to the effect of "to provide the highest level of customer service and professional service in the {your industry here}" are fine and let your clients know you are serious about serving their needs.

This also helps potential customers understand what it is you do best. When new clients are researching you, they may not be familiar with your industry, and a concise statement of your vision can help them focus on your strengths. Just be sure that you write in a language that clients will understand. Leave the techie speak for your employee manuals and give prospects a clear picture of what it is you do.

Elevator pitch

Create a 30 second description for your company that details the service you provide. Practice the statement until you are capable of reciting it word for word. You don’t want to sound unsure about the service you provide, and any prospective clients will gravitate towards a confident presentation. You may never know when you might need to be able to quickly give someone a high-level pitch, so be ready!

While you may not go to the lengths of actually formalizing your elevator pitch, the key is to practice hitting the high points very quickly and concisely and then handing off your business card or brochure so you can continue the conversation later.

Resources

For more information, here are a few more resources for finding out how to make marketing work for your freelance business:

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5 Comments

  1. “The back of your card can have all the details you can fit into that space. You can squeeze around 300 words in 10pt font into that area if needed.”

    Are you serious with this tip? It’s a business card, not a brochure!

  2. You got a point here but…
    Really? This much? This is like I have to invest thousands of dollars. Business cards, posters, banners are ok but Uniforms? That is for those who have a billion dollar company.

    I am sorry may not know whole marketing thing but I know one thing for sure… This article isn’t for an average business person and not even achievable by at least 50% of the people.

    Your writing is good. At least it can make you to think about it once.

  3. Thank you for nice post

  4. This does not mean you should copy competitors, but you do want to be in the same general vein of design within your industry.

  5. The by-line explains it. It takes a printing professional to turn paper goods into essential marketing products. Brand recognition is useless without a solid strategy and client understanding. And these only cost the price of a thinking cap (can be unbranded).

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