The global economy has entered a phase of uncertainty and one of the outcomes of this is that a lot of businesses are cutting down on their cash outflow. Advertising expenses have been significantly cut down across industries. Many businesses have cut down their staff count too and are renegotiating their retainers with agencies that they work with.
This presents an opportunity to a self-employed marketer who has traditionally only worked with small business clients. Unlike agencies that work on five digit retainers, self-employed marketers operate at much lower budgets. Businesses that are looking to cut down on expenses might be interested in working with a team of such self-employed marketers to keep up with their strategies while they wait for the economy to bounce back.
Businesses that have traditionally worked with large agencies may find it challenging to switch to a freelance vendor because of the relative lack of defined work processes. If you are a self-employed marketer, it is thus important to set processes in place so that you may continue to keep your contracts even after the economy recovers. Here are some tips on how to go about this.
Set up a multi-channel communication platform
The challenge that self-employed marketers have working with large businesses is that each of these businesses have their own well-defined processes for communication and collaboration. This could either be via in-house tools, or with popular third party tools like Slack, Trello or Asana. A lot of these business tools are free or have reasonable pricing plans for freelancers.
Find what tools your clients use and sign up for them. You may be expected to be proficient with using several of these tools if you work with a number of different clients. The learning curve may thus be steep depending on the number of clients you work with, and the tools they use. While it may be tempting to work with fewer clients on big ticket projects, it also increases your risks since a diversified clientele makes your revenue projections more predictable.
Establish a work and reporting process
As a consultant, every piece of work that you have contributed to the client needs to be tracked and measured. Set up time tracking tools that can effectively communicate your contribution to the client. This is especially useful if you are being paid by the hour. For clients that pay on a per-project basis, timely communication on results is extremely important. It is a good idea to dedicate a few hours each week to speak to each of your clients to appraise them of your progress.
While a lot of clients are perfectly happy to get email reports, a face-to-face meeting over a video conferencing software like Zoom, Hangout or Skype allows you to build a better rapport with the client since you are not only able to establish a personal connection with them, but may also be able to answer questions that come up through the conversation; questions that may otherwise never be asked or answered.
Specialize in a skill
As a marketer, you may be comfortable with a lot of different categories like organic marketing, media buying and affiliate marketing to mention a few. Offering a plethora of services is great; but the challenge here is that it makes you less of a specialist in each of these individual service categories. Businesses that hire self-employed contractors prefer working with specialists. Also, the chances of you being referred by one client to another increases greatly when you offer a specialist service.
For best results, it is important to go as niche as you possibly can (while ensuring there is a good pool of clientele to go after, of course). For instance, organic marketing itself is very broad and includes skills like SEO and social media marketing. You may go a step further and pick skills like link building or content marketing that are part of these skills and specialize in this. With social media, you may position yourself as an expert service provider on a platform like Facebook, Instagram, or even TikTok.
The perceptible drop in pool of clients to go after is more than made up for by the higher chance of being hired. However, while specializing is good, make sure that your specialty is sustainable – do not pick a platform or specialty that may go out of demand soon.
In conclusion, establishing yourself as a reliable service provider for a large business client may be tough, but not impossible. The tips provided here can provide you with the pathway to get started and get hired among your first large business clients.