Marketing Yourself: A short guide for freelance architects, designers and project consultants
Some of you will be inundated with work but if you’re just starting out or if things have slowed down, you may need to consider alternate ways to market yourself and your business. We have put together a few handy tips:
Social Media – Social media is a free tool which you can use to showcase your work and expand your network to thousands of potential customers, thereby providing the capacity to improve both your business and your reach. Why not consider providing a portfolio of your work on your social channels which allows people to see what you can do? – For example when I had an extension built on my house the architect asked me to follow her social media page. I now often see her recent work when scrolling down my timeline so when a friend asked me recently if I knew any local architects she was in the forefront of my mind.
Online Job Sites – These can be a great way to procure your first clients, especially if you are starting out on your own, and best of all they do the marketing for you. Many of these job sites have huge marketing budgets, and while they of course take a fee or % of your income they do have their place. If you are dipping your toes into the freelance world, online job sites would be the perfect place to start. They are also a useful way to eyeball your competitors and obtain important information about what they do and charge. As they say knowledge is power and it is important to know your competition.
Networking Events – These are probably a thing of the past, for the moment anyway. However, when they do get up and running again, they are a great way to meet potential clients and market yourself. There are loads of events out there and inevitably some trial and error as to which ones work for you. It is worth considering events that may not be the most obvious for you to attend. For example, if you’re a landscape architect, try attending something aimed at interior designers, they may have clients who either have landscape requirements now or in the future. The more people you meet, the more possibilities of work arise.
Professional Groups/Forums – There are lots of networks and groups that you can join which promote the referral of work to other members. These really can be fruitful and are also a great way of getting your name out there. We would also recommend that you consider localised groups as well, as while the bigger ones may seem more appealing, a lot of our freelancer clients tell us that they have obtained some really good quality contacts from local groups. Many local people like dealing with other local people. So, even if they are small, don’t necessarily overlook them.
Recommendations – I am sure that you have lost count of the number of times that a client has thanked you for the work you’ve done or expressed their satisfaction with it. You’ve probably walked away with a spring in your step and the warm fuzzy feeling that you get when you can see the hard work you’ve put in has been worth it. But, could you have missed a business opportunity? Many of us find it difficult to capitalise on the praise we get from existing customers, but it really is a good opportunity to turn praise into pounds. Next time why not try saying “thank you very much and if you are happy with what I have done for you, please recommend me or put me in touch with someone who may need my services”, it could be worth your while.
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