In order to become the successful freelancer you’ve set out to be, you ought to effectively market your brand and it all starts with a marketing plan.
The thought of creating a marketing plan might scare, bore, inspire or excite you. Whether your reaction is positive or negative the success of your marketing efforts will ultimately depend on what’s in your plan.
A lack of marketing means that your freelance business will experience thick and thin periods, so planning, stating what you want to do with your business and where you want to take it, will help to make the work coming in, more consistent.
When you choose to develop a marketing plan, you are taking a professional approach that brings opportunities to build relationships with clients, instead of being someone solving an emergency the night before a tight deadline. You market to clients who need and value your services, and you follow up with them to keep yourself fresh in their minds. Your marketing plan opens the door to a whole new type of relationship with clients.
What Is Needed in a Marketing Plan?
Consider the following steps:
- Define your current situation
- Find your target market and ideal clients
- Decide what services to offer that will help your targeted clients
- Develop SMART goals
- Create a marketing budget
- Define marketing tactics
- Schedule marketing activities
- Track and follow up
A market analysis is a great place to start your plan. We can’t go to market without knowing what to bring for the customers in that market. Similarly, in translation, we have to find out who needs our services, but in this case, so that we can bring our offering directly to them. Translation after all is not a commodity, but a service that provides value to clients. And your marketing efforts need to reflect that. At this point you may want to consider the following questions:
What is my market?
Who are my customers?
Who am I competing with?
What is my unique selling point?
Making a marketing plan involves knowing the potential businesses involved in what you are buying and selling. Before deciding on the actions you’ll be taking to reach these clients, you need to understand their businesses and how you can bring value to them.
When you learn about your competitors, keep an open mind. Some great relationships can come from working with other translators – and this can benefit you and your clients over the long term.
Your marketing plan consists of information about the industry, sector, type of company and branch of knowledge that you want to work with. This information gives you insight into your customers’ needs, paving the way for you to provide value to clients who need cross-cultural communication. When you understand your ideal clients, you can create a connection by approaching them with something you know they need. Your next step: customizing your marketing to their needs so that they recognize you as an asset to their business.