How to Promote Yourself Online as a Freelancer

The freelance life can be as exciting as it can be challenging. One of the issues you’ll inevitably face is figuring out how to promote yourself online as a freelancer to attract new clients.

As a freelancer, you most often don’t have a team of marketers and advertisers behind you taking care of attracting new clients. It’s completely up to you. This means that on top of providing the services and making sure you’re staying ahead of the competition, you also have to become your own marketing team. Your other job essentially becomes marketing yourself and your services.

While self-marketing may sound like a huge pain (especially if you don’t know much about it), it still remains a freelancer’s most powerful tool. 

There are many ways to market yourself as a freelancer. However, not all of these self-promoting strategies work in today’s environment. 

We’ll show you the 7 most efficient ways to promote yourself online as a freelancer that ensure you attract new customers and establish a firm position on the market.

Why do freelancers need inbound marketing? And what is it?

Given the extent of digitalization and fixation on the online space in today’s new media age, traditional outbound marketing strategies, like TV or YouTube ads, are simply not as effective as they used to be. 

In fact, people are becoming more and more creative in filtering outbound marketing interruptions with tools like AdBlock or email spam filtering. On top of that, these strategies usually require way more work, more time, and more money to draw in new clients. Utilizing an email finder can be an effective strategy for acquiring new clients as it enables you to locate their contact information and reach out to them directly via email.

If you’re looking to optimize your workflow and achieve better results in your email marketing efforts, consider hiring email marketing consultants. These experts can bring a wealth of experience and proven strategies to your team, enhancing both efficiency and effectiveness in reaching your target audience.

But the good news is that its modern online counterpart — inbound marketing — has a much better prospect of attracting new freelance gigs all while costing you less. 

This strategy is built around the marketers (or, in this case, the freelancers) providing quality information and creating valuable content online using a set of different techniques and online tools to attract customers.

The whole point of inbound marketing is to provide quality over quantity and to let your customers come to you, instead of you flooding them with ads. A textbook example of inbound marketing is, for example, creating useful content on social media, a blog, or a website. 

And, while online inbound marketing requires a bit more thought to engage your potential customers, if it’s done right, it yields a much better client influx whilst reducing your spending. 

Without further ado, here are 7 self-marketing strategies to promote yourself online as a freelancer:

1. Create a personal website

A personal website is a website created by you, about you. Imagine you have a digital business card that everyone on the internet is able to see. Plus, you can never lose or forget this digital business card. And what’s best, you don’t even need to hand it out to people!

It’s essential to ensure that when a prospective client googles you or your service, the first thing they find will be your personal website. On this website, you should include everything about yourself and your services. 

There are now lots of services out there that enable you to build a website that looks and feels extremely professional without any prior knowledge of graphic design or coding. For instance, Kickresume’s personal website builder, Wix, or Squarespace. These tools usually let you choose from a variety of website templates (free or premium) or build your own customized website tailor-made for your business. With personal website builders, you can also add sections like social media, work experience, references, text, and many more.

And with a VPS hosting plan, you’ll ensure that your website loads quickly, which is very important if you want to keep clients on your page.

To get you inspired about what you can include on your website, we compiled a list:

  • Online resume. You can either attach your resume on your website as a PDF or build your website as a resume itself by including traditional resume sections — work experience, skills, education, etc. 
  • Portfolio. An online portfolio represents and shows off the work you’ve created in a way that’s visually appealing, coherent, and selective. It can be in the form of photos, videos, graphics, articles, etc. 
  • Social media. You may not like the sound of it, but social media is a must for every freelancer. But more on that later. On your website, you should make a separate dedicated section that lists all of the platforms you’re active on. To further enhance your online presence and engage with your visitors, you can also integrate Instagram posts on your webpage. This gives a dynamic feed of your activities and easily showcases your work portfolio.
  • Blog. Your website should also include a relevant and devoted blog. Blogging helps direct people to your services, attract website visitors, and ultimately helps collect leads. It’s still a very powerful self-marketing tool — but more on that later.
  • Reviews. It’s only natural for potential customers to want to know the honest opinion of your previous clients. It also shows your transparency. By implementing an NPS survey, you can gather feedback from customers and measure their overall satisfaction, helping you continuously improve your offerings.
  • Your story. Adding personal information about yourself and about how you got where you’re now is a great way to humanize your business and make it more personable.
  • Bio. Every personal website should have a short bio on the main page, which makes it clear who you are and what you offer from the get-go. 
  • Your past experience. Every prospective client wants to know this isn’t your first freelance gig.
  • Your skills. Clients can be very particular about what they expect from you. Including hard skills, like photoshop or HTML, and soft skills, like problem-solving and strategic thinking, can really make a difference.
  • Contact form. Finally, you want to make it easy for potential clients to contact you! Including a phone number isn’t enough. A contact form ensures people can contact you 24/7 and also lets them detail their plans and concept. 

Personal branding

2. Start a blog

Do you think blogs are a thing of the past and no one reads them anymore? Well, think again. The truth is, blogging is one of the top inbound marketing strategies out there. 

Let’s have a look at some stats from Hubspot, a content marketing powerhouse:

  • Marketers who prioritize business blogging are 13 times more likely to see a positive ROI (return on investment).
  • Marketers who blog are able to generate 67% more leads than marketers who don’t blog.
  • Websites with blogs have 97% more inbound links to their domains than websites without blogs. 

Hence, if you’re wondering how to promote yourself online as a freelancer, the answer is blogging. But not just ordinary blogging writing about your personal life. On your blog, you need to write about topics your buyers care about. That’s also the way to becoming a freelance writer. If you want to convert leads into sales, the content you publish must be relevant to your business as well as informative and useful to the visitor.

In your blog posts, you have unlimited space for self-promotion, advertising, and product placement. If you want your blog to generate even more traffic to your website, you should also pay attention to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Why? Well, the better you optimize your blog for Google, the higher your blog (and web) will rank in the Google search results, thus attracting more potential customers. 

One of the powerful ways to improve a blog’s SEO is to invest time and effort into content collaborations and incorporate link building outreach services into your blogging strategy. And using a backlink API from time to time will ensure the links are high quality.

By sharing your knowledge on blogs and platforms besides your own, you can boost your authority and online presence, seeking new readers and potential clients. Besides, such practices will provide additional value to your core readers, who will have an easier access to authoritative content on various topics.

However, remember that your blog should still contain quality content, which remains the hallmark of inbound marketing. For instance, videos are always great additions to your blog content. Furthermore, by seamlessly incorporating a text to video option, you can effortlessly convert your written content into visually compelling narratives, fostering a more immersive and accessible experience for your audience

They can help you engage with your viewers and explain complex topics more easily. Most popular bloggers use video editing software to create trendy video clips that people can relate to and share.

Additionally, leveraging content optimization tools can significantly enhance your blog’s quality and impact. By utilizing such tools, you can ensure that your blog content aligns with the latest trends and industry best practices, ultimately attracting a larger audience and driving more traffic to your website.

3. Promote yourself on social media

Having a solid social media presence is the key to attracting new clients as a freelancer. You can leverage what social media offers — the connection to millions of others at virtually no cost — to find and secure work. 

Here’s how you can do that.

First, you should decide which social media platforms you want to use and then set up a compelling profile to promote your services. For instance, if your specialization is anything visual, like graphic design or photography, Instagram or Pinterest are for you. You can create video for instagram to attract new clients and showcase your skills. If you’re a freelance writer or copywriter, Twitter might be of more importance (beware of Elon).

Instagram Followers Apps will give you much more support to increase your followers. Your profile will shine among people in different parts of the world.

If you’re not sure which social media fits your freelance business the best, you can never go wrong with reaching out on LinkedIn. You can directly message potential leads with personalized pitches. Besides LinkedIn, you can explore platforms for podcasts. You can go traditional with audio podcasts or consider video podcasts to boost your social media shareability.

What you should also consider is separating your business persona from your private life. Potential customers don’t want to see you go to parties, they want to know you’re professional and that providing a high-quality service is your priority. 

Finally, consistency is one of the fundamental components of successful freelancer branding. You should aim to always post high-quality content, be consistent in the number of posts per day (yes, per day), and make sure the content is visually coherent, too. Also, be consistent when engaging with your followers — don’t forget to write them back, answer their questions, and reply to comments.

Social media promotion

4. Reach out to relevant influencers

Influencers rule the marketing world today. It’s inevitable. Rather than being dismissive of it, you should take advantage of it. 

Perhaps the two main ways you can make the most of influencer marketing as a freelancer are:

  • Paid partnerships and promotions
  • Providing your service in exchange for exposure

Of these two options, the second one is perhaps even more suitable for freelancers, since money isn’t directly involved. Instead, you let your work speak for itself. 

The key here is to find a relevant and suitable influencer. You want to make sure this person isn’t controversial, that they already target the same audience as you, and that their “influencing” is consistent. 

Here’s an example of how a collaboration between a freelancer and an influencer can work:

Let’s say you’re a photographer who specializes in taking pictures of newborn babies. Get in touch with a family influencer who’s known for creating content related to their family, pregnancy, or kids. Write to them proposing to do a photoshoot for free (or a symbolic price) in exchange for them tagging you, sharing the pictures, and mentioning how professional you were. 

Want to learn how to start a photography business? Check out our article for comprehensive guidance!

5. Join dedicated freelancing platforms

Another way how to advertise yourself online as a freelancer is simply to join dedicated freelancing platforms. These are platforms where you can register yourself and join other freelancers offering different services. You only need to provide some key information that a potential client needs to know about you and samples of your work.

Here are our top 6 freelance websites to choose from:

  • Fiverr. Fiverr is a platform that connects freelancers with clients and business owners looking for different services. Buyers can filter freelancers by categories, price, or location. 
  • Freelancermap. Freelancermap has been helping companies connect with freelancers for over 17 years.
  • Freelancer.com. Claims to be the world’s largest freelance marketplace by the number of users and projects.
  • Upwork. A freelancing website that connects clients and freelancers from across the globe. Upwork provides a wide range of categories, from web design and software development to customer service and accounting.
  • Craigslist. An American advertising company allows placing free classified adverts relating to various subjects. The latest statistics indicate that more than 250 million internet users visit Craigslist every month.
  • Lensa. Lensa uses AI and machine learning to instantly connect talent, many of whom are freelancers, with the best opportunities. This is all thanks to AI-based job matching, clean and rapid job searches, tailored job alerts, and job seeker assistance.

6. Engage on relevant online forums

A pretty low-effort high-benefit way to promote yourself online as a freelancer is by joining service-related online discussion forums to ensure you’re visible where your audience is. 

After all, only people who are really passionate about certain subjects join these forums. 

One thing to be mindful of is that you can’t promote your services right from the get-go, but rather engage in discussions first to establish yourself as an expert in the field. After you’ve spent some time providing your expert opinion and advice to build a trustworthy engagement, feel free to self-promote here and there. 

If not sure where to begin, try looking through related Facebook groups, subreddits on Reddit, or discussions on Quora.

7. Build marketing partnerships

A final, yet very effective, way how to market yourself online is to partner with another non-competitive freelancer/business that sells a different service to a similar audience and share your clients. An effective way to do this is to organize a collaboration or a co-branded service. 

Here’s an example: 

Let’s say you’re a freelance makeup artist. You can team up with a freelance photographer and create a “bundle” photo shoot with both of your services combined. When the pictures are ready, you can both share them on your social media or website and tag one another. This way both of you reach your target audience, without being competitors. Your partner can now also promote your services and vice versa.

Key takeaways: Promoting yourself online as a freelancer

In order to secure work as a freelancer, you need to become your own marketing team and create an effective self-marketing strategy all by yourself. That can be a real hassle. Especially, considering that in today’s digital age, traditional ways of marketing aren’t very effective. 

Luckily, online inbound marketing strategies can work wonders for your freelance business all while costing you less. You just need to pick the right one. So, which one will it be?

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About the author

Klara Cervenanska

Klara Cervenanska is a Career Writer at Kickresume, which is a professional resume builder trusted by 1.5M+ job seekers. Her resume advice articles are always thoroughly researched to provide the most up-to-date and relevant advice, which is why her pieces often rank among the most-read on the blog.