Being self-employed isn’t a rarity any more. We can work remotely, from home, and stay connected with our teams, clients or employers. If you’re your own boss, that means no employers, which can give you an extra layer of confidence, but don’t let that deceive you: being self-employed means you actually have to pay more attention to business management, while digital marketing can make or break your business.
Working at a home office and having to answer only to yourself can be great if you know how to do it right. This means you need to know how to manage your time, keep up with deadlines, stay in touch with customers, but also keep constantly developing your business. This is why digital marketing is especially important. If you want a strong brand, if you want your business to thrive, you need to develop flawless digital marketing skills.
Developing such skills isn’t easy, but once you’ve got that covered, you’re on the right track to establishing a strong brand, including brand loyalty and customer relations. Learning digital marketing should be a step-by-step process, and it should include much more than just going through a couple of social media tutorials.
Yes, social media is a crucial part of digital marketing, but you also need to know about the importance of having a great landing page, developing a personal brand, customer engagement and connecting with influencers.
Let’s look into what self-employed professionals really need to know about digital marketing.
Every business needs a home page. If you’re self-employed, you need a website that showcases your business, what you do and who you are. This is why having a landing page is considered the first and most important step in digital marketing.
What is a landing page, anyway? It’s your main web page, the one people come to after clicking an ad for your business. It should feature a simple, responsive design, a layout that is easy to navigate, and it should instantly convey what your business is all about.
Ask yourself the simplest, most important questions about your business, and think first of your target audience – your customers. Let’s say you’ve just discovered a company and you’re visiting its site for the first time. What do you want to know? Your landing page should provide such answers.
Your landing page needs to explain your business and feature content that makes people stick around, come back, buy your products and services. Don’t rush, conduct research, go through tutorials and discover the best ways to design the perfect business landing page.
Of course, you don’t have to go for the total DIY approach. Hire someone to design your landing page, if your budget allows you.
We’re taking about digital marketing, so it’s obvious that you need digital tools. Apps and online services included. This is especially important when you’re self-employed, as you’re more inclined to do tasks by yourself, and apps can most certainly help you work more efficiently, and with less stress.
There are specialized apps for pretty much everything, while self-employed professionals can choose between a wide selection of helpful digital tools that can handle anything from time management, team management, taxes, documentation to payments and data protection.
Social media can be used to your advantage, but if you don’t know how to use it right, it could very well destroy your business. Be wise, patient, take time to develop skills, test out methods, stick to what works.
There are many social media platforms out there, too many for you to use all of them, so pick the ones that are most relevant to your business. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are necessary in most cases, while you should also consider LinkedIn for B2B communicating, Reddit, if you want to promote your business to a large audience – or a niche audience, by using a specific sub-Reddit – Tumblr, Pinterest and many more.
Showcase your work. Talk to your audience, ask for their opinions, humbly accept criticism, give freebies. Most importantly, and this is something you should never disregard: be constant. In order to use social media for digital marketing, you need to use it regularly. Stay in your clients newsfeed, every day.
You might think this isn’t important for digital marketing, but it really is. Basically, to do digital marketing the right way you need a proper office, and if you’re self-employed, you’re most likely working at a home office.
Take your home office seriously. It’s your HQ, the home of your company, the place where you develop your brand. Taking it seriously means that it needs to be set up like a proper office, and this implies no clutter or messiness. That’s the only way you can stay productive.
Make sure you’re home office isn’t taking anything away from the rest of your home, and it isn’t imposing on anyone’s personal space. You need a quiet spot with plenty of natural light and sufficient sources of electricity. A big enough desk, a comfortable chair, and have all necessary tools and items easily accessible. Add some personal items to make it feel homey, add plants to give the area some much needed life and greenery.
Finally, don’t forget office management. Take care of your office space, keep it neat and tidy, make yourself a regular home maintenance plan if necessary and don’t get lazy. You can’t run a proper business if you’re working in a mess.
You are your own brand, remember that, and you want your brand to be strong. You can’t be strong unless you don’t reach out to your audience and engage. How? By providing great content, special offers and discounts, limited time deals and sales, and don’t be scared to introduce yourself to customers, take part in comments and discussions.
Not just customers, but peers as well. Use your landing page and social media outlets to branch out, but, as was implied before, don’t spread yourself too thin, you could lose focus.
Q&A sessions are a great way to stay in touch with your audience. Share stories. Include a blog on your landing page and invite guests to write for you, and offer to write for them as well. Offer newsletters and free tutorials. Give something extra with each purchase. All this will help you develop a brand that is long lasting and profitable.
Reaching out will help you establish an online presence, which is one of the cornerstones of running a successful business.
Here’s an example of a great brand:
If you’re going to use social media, then it’s important that you reach out and develop a relationship with influencers.
In case you don’t know who influencers are, let’s explain. Basically, they are individuals, professionals in their respective industries, that have a large and/or strong following. Your task? Find those influencers who are related to your business, get to know them, build a working relationship and help each other out with mutual promotion.
What can influencers do? Talk about your brand, your products, and what makes them great. They are your communicators, your brand ambassadors, your agents of native advertising. Of course, in order to connect with influencers, make sure your relationship is beneficial to everyone involved.
If you’re a self-employed creative professional, you need to use digital marketing to not only promote your brand, but introduce it to new customers, build client relations, engage with your audience and help your business grow. It’s not an easy task, but if you take it one step at a time, you’ll go as far as you want to.
About the author
Heather Redding is an avid reader, freelance writer, coffee snob and a tech enthusiast from Aurora, Illinois. When she is not working, Heather enjoys swimming and hanging out with her friends.