If you’re an introvert, you must have already read numerous articles and Twitter threads on “putting yourself out there” and are aware you have to do many exhausting and challenging things in the name of self-promotion.
So, how do you effectively market a freelancing business with a personality type you cannot simply shake off?
In this piece, I share strategies for introverted freelancers like you to make the best out of your marketing efforts without burning out.
From one introvert to another, I’ll show you:
- How To Market Like An Extrovert
- Tips to Leverage Social Media To Reach Your Target Audience
- Effective Networking Strategies for Introverted Freelancers
Whether you’re just starting out or looking to level up your marketing game, this article is for you.
Here’s the hard truth: Introvert or extrovert – marketing has principles. To effectively market your freelancing brand, you must find a way to bend the rules and make them work for you.
Here’s how I get ahead:
You know the drill—if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
A little bit of planning helps you clearly understand what you’re doing. If you start marketing without a plan, you will burn out in no time. And if I know anything about people like us, it’s that burnouts are just one step away from completely throwing in the towel.
Your best bet? Create a marketing plan. Identify what you want to achieve with your marketing efforts and outline the steps to reaching those goals.
A great marketing plan should answer these questions:
- What do I hope to achieve from marketing?
- What is my Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?
- Who is my target audience?
- What is my Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)?
- What medium will I use to reach them?
- What platform is my audience on?
Make SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals and take as much time as you need to plan effectively. Don’t be in a hurry to take the plunge.
It took me over a month to meticulously put together my marketing plan and content strategy, and I’m grateful for every second I spent doing it.
Pick an area of interest, then master it. The more skilled you are, the more confidently you will promote yourself or your services.
One sure way you can show authority in your area of expertise is with a rich portfolio.
“Uh, Jasmine, I’m only starting out? How do I build a rich portfolio with no clients?”
Create for free if you’re free to create. Build a portfolio with the quality of content that you want to be paid to create.
When I started freelancing, I was stuck waiting for clients to pay me to write so I could build a portfolio. Eventually, I stopped waiting, picked a couple of popular niches, made content briefs, and wrote like my rent was due. I also reached out to friends and small business owners to write for them for free. That way, I had samples and testimonials to show prospective clients and built valuable writing skills. It didn’t take long before I landed my first paying client.
Create for free if you’re free to create.
Introverts thrive on structure. You have to know your optimal working times and plan the bulk of your active work around it.
Break down your day into time blocks dedicated to specific tasks. It helps not to get sidetracked by distractions. You’ll quickly see which blocks are the most productive and which are draining your time and energy.
As you grow, filter out repetitive and time-consuming tasks and automate them. These tasks can be anything from sending follow-up emails to scheduling content.
Al Gore’s internet is the only thing standing between you and your next opportunity.
Gone are the days when freelancers relied solely on traditional methods like TV commercials or flyers to reach an audience. Social media and the algorithm have now emerged as the ultimate bridge between freelancers and their prospects.
And here’s the best part– it’s introvert-friendly.
Here are five of my favourite tips on leveraging the power of social media.
So, you’ve set marketing goals, created a marketing plan, and found your target audience.
Way to go!
But have you studied your audience? No?
The behaviour of your target audience determines the following:
- The type of content they are interested in, and
- How they consume that content.
Understanding your audience helps you create content that gets them to engage with your brand.
Here’s a quick guide to understanding audience behaviour:
Study their online behaviour and interests
Check your ICPs’ social media habits; find out what type of content they engage with, what websites they visit, and the online communities they belong to. It will give you insight into their interests and preferred platforms to influence the content you create and the best time to post to reach them.
Understand their pain points
Customer feedback, intent-led market research, and industry reports are a few ways you can understand your target audience’s challenges. This will allow you to address their needs and provide valuable solutions.
Keep an eye on your audience’s engagement levels. How are they responding to your content? What topics generate the most interest and engagement? Use this information to create your content strategy.
If you’re starting your freelancing journey and don’t have enough personal data, research similar freelancers or businesses for insights and analyze their available data.
2. Create quality content
A great way to leverage social media for marketing is with content.
You don’t have to dance in videos or go live every Tuesday to hack social media.
Asynchronous content like writing (articles like this, threads, listicles), infographics, carousels, reels with actionable tips, and even podcasts, if you’re feeling adventurous, can promote your freelance brand and engage your audience.
Quality content has to be result-focused, consistent, engaging and straight to the point.
How to create quality content for social media
A solid content strategy is the secret to creating quality content as a freelancer. A content strategy outlines what type of content you want to make and how it aligns with your marketing goals. Think of it as a giant hat from which you pull ideas for your social media.
Creating a content strategy can be a lot of work. If you have a lot on your hands but still want to create consistent content without compromising quality, consider outsourcing your content strategy creation to a professional. That way, you have a relevant supply of ideas tailored to keep your audience actively engaged.
After a content strategy, you need a social media calendar. You can have all the ideas, but execution starts with a content calendar. It is a valuable tool for planning and scheduling, allowing you to see the big picture and ensure that you consistently post high-quality content across platforms.
Having a clear content strategy and calendar in place can also help you save time and reduce stress, as you won’t need to constantly come up with new ideas or worry about missing a deadline. Bonus points if you batch-create and automate your content posting, so your pages remain active even when you’re away.
Trends come and go, but one sure way to be ahead is by staying updated. Being a part of a community allows you to do just that.
Freelancing communities provide an opportunity to network and interact with other freelancers and prospects. You can gain valuable insights and advice from experienced professionals and access educational resources and freelancing tools, sometimes for free.
Many freelancing communities also have job postings and hiring calls that never make it to the public, so if you’re client-hunting, it is a great idea to join one.
One of my favourite communities, especially for jobs, is TheMinCave.
Freelancing communities also support their members, as having a community to turn to can help boost morale and motivation. Joining one is a great way to advance your career, be inspired by others, and gain a sense of purpose in your work.
Keeping track of key metrics, like engagement rates, click-through rates (CTRs), traffic, views, reach, and conversion rates will show you what works well and what either needs improvement or removal.
Data tracking helps you understand your target audience’s behaviour and preferences to cater your content to their needs. You can effectively leverage social media to reach your target audience by consistently monitoring your data and adjusting your strategy accordingly.
Whether you use built-in analytics tools offered by social media platforms or third-party tools, regular tracking can help you make data-driven marketing decisions that actually work.
As a freelancer, networking is necessary for finding new clients and opportunities. However, the idea of networking can be intimidating, especially for independents. I used to see the networking scene as a treacherous ocean filled with hungry sharks until I discovered a comfortable yet effective approach to navigating the waters.
Here’s how I swim, easily.
Try to determine what you hope to get from networking, whether it’s new clients or connecting with other freelancers. Having a clear goal in mind will help you focus your efforts and achieve better results.
A robust online presence is essential for building a network. To achieve this:
Separate your personal life from your professional life
It helps reduce the burden of oversharing and allows you to maintain a focused and professional image while encouraging you to share more about what you know, not your personal life.
Engage with others in your industry, commenting on relevant posts and sharing your work and experiences.
Demonstrate your skills and experience through your content. Share your portfolio and actively engage with your audience, offering valuable insights and advice.
Variety is the spice of life and is also true for networking.
As a freelancer, you can explore different methods to diversify your audience and increase your reach.
Some ways to diversify your audience include:
- being a guest on a colleague’s podcast,
- leveraging the network of a well-established authority in your niche by smartly responding to questions from their audience that they might have overlooked in their comments,
- joining Twitter Spaces, or
- participating in online forums and discussions.
Engagements help you increase your visibility and build positive relationships within your industry. You often have to make the first move to get people to notice you and reach out or reciprocate.
Some ways to engage with social media content from other people are:
- leaving them comments,
- reposting their work.
- giving them credit for inspiring your work,
- buying their digital products,
- signing up for their newsletters,
- attending their events, and
- responding promptly to their posts.
If you overthink engagement, you’ll end up not doing it.
Try connecting on the timeline first before reaching out to anyone—prospect or fellow freelancer—via private message. When the person is familiar with your name or face, they are more likely to respond positively to your messages.
As an introvert, it is important to remember to take care of yourself while steering the often-demanding marketing world. Recharge by setting aside designated downtime for self-care, taking a step back from social media, or simply taking a walk to clear your mind.
Marketing yourself is not a one-time effort but requires constant attention and improvement. Stay on top of your game by continuously implementing tested marketing strategies, and watch the algorithm do its magic.
As a freelancer, I understand the struggles of marketing and self-promotion. Overwhelmed and need an extra hand? I can help you create a customised marketing strategy tailored to your needs. Check out my services and how I can help you reach your target audience without burning out.