#119: The 6 Most Effective Marketing Tools for Freelancers in 2017

If you’re planning your marketing efforts for the year, you don’t want to miss this episode.

I’ve brought back my friend and colleague Ilise Benun to talk about how you can market your business more effectively this year.

I love how Ilise has broken this down into six tools or strategies to focus on. And how she’s grouped those strategies into:

  1. Things you should deploy or refine
  2. Things you should do a regular basis

These interviews with Ilise are some of our most popular on the show. And this will probably be no exception.

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.

Tell us about yourself

Ilise Benun runs the Marketing Mentor consulting practice. She coaches creative professionals on the business side of their businesses, including marketing, pricing and client relationship issues.

She also has an online store where she sells marketing tools, sample proposals and her Pick a Niche Kit.

Why is marketing such a challenge for freelancers?

Freelancers struggle with marketing for a variety of reasons.

  1. We’re not trained to do it. Most creative professionals don’t like doing it. They don’t realize they can bring creativity to their marketing.
  1. Marketing has to become a habit. Most people don’t commit long enough for marketing to become a habit.
  1. We get distracted by too many marketing tools. When have too many tools, it’s harder to figure out what’s actually working.

You’re better off choosing just a few marketing tools and putting your efforts into them.

What do you mean by “connecting the dots” with your marketing?

Connecting the dots means:

  1. Having the right mindset
  2. Choosing the right market
  3. Using the right marketing tools.

If these pieces don’t coalesce, then your marketing is random. As a result, the right people aren’t seeing the right message at the right time.

What do you mean by mindset?

Mindset is more than having a positive attitude. You need to cultivate three specific mindsets:

  1. Curiosity. Be curious about your market and your prospects. What do your prospects need? What are their challenges? Ask questions to better understand and demonstrate what you know.
  1. Generosity. Be generous with your ideas. Don’t worry that you won’t land work because you’re giving too much away. People who need outside help will be more inclined to work with you when you share your ideas.
  1. Gratitude. Be grateful when people respond to your questions, content and proposals. Even if their response is “no,” be gracious and grateful. The goodwill will come back to you.

How can we pick the right target market?

In episode #80 we talked at length about how to pick a niche.

You can have an awesome website and LinkedIn profile, but if you don’t know your target market, your efforts may come to nothing.

Choose one, two or (max) three markets/industries/types of work and focus your message on them. It makes connecting the dots that much easier.

What marketing tools should we be using as freelancers?

Ilise has identified six marketing tools freelancers should deploy:

  1. Elevator pitch
  2. LinkedIn profile
  3. Marketing smart website.

All three should share the same message and be targeted at the same market. Show how you’re perfect for your ideal clients and different from your competitors.

Elevator Pitch

You can’t wing your elevator pitch. You have to work it out in advance.

At the same time, you should adjust your pitch slightly depending on whom you’re talking to.

LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn profile should mirror your elevator pitch.

LinkedIn is becoming a search engine for professionals. Make sure people can find you.

Marketing-Smart Website

A marketing-smart website isn’t about you. It’s about the needs of your prospects.

Most people start with “here’s what I do” and then talk about who they do it for. Instead, they should start with what they help people with.

What are the other three tools?

Ilise has identified three other tools you should deploy on an ongoing basis:

  1. Networking
  2. Content marketing
  3. Direct outreach.


Find your ideal clients in person, if possible. It’s much easier to make an impression in person than online.

If you only have budget to attend one conference, do some research. Study each website. Call the organizers. Make sure the conference will address the issues that you help to solve.

Content Marketing

Issue a monthly email newsletter to your prospects to keep your name top of mind. Provide relevant content. Keep them relatively short.

Direct Outreach

Direct outreach is essentially warm email prospecting. Choose your best prospects and do some research to write customized messages to them. Your goal is to start a conversation.

Tell us about your new marketing plan

Ilise’s new marketing plan is called The Marketing Blueprint: How to Connect the Dots of Your Marketing.

The plan includes a prospect tracker spreadsheet that has a four-week marketing campaign embedded in it. It also provides messaging fodder you can tailor to each person. It makes it much easier to track responses and keep going.

The package also includes has 54 excellent examples of LinkedIn profiles, email marketing newsletters and marketing smart home pages in three different categories: designers, copywriters, agency owners.

Click here to learn more about Ilise’s marketing blueprint.