Once you have started your own service business, you will need a continual stream of prospective clients willing to give you a try, and happy clients willing to give you word-of-mouth marketing – for example, on the social networks. One way to drum up business is to advertise. However, since ads cost money, you need to develop a strategy that will give you the most bang for your budget.
Determine Your Specialty
Freelancers and service providers usually do best when they specialize in a particular area, such as finance or self-help. Decide which niche or industry best suits your talents and interests. Create a portfolio that showcases the work you have done in these areas.
Determine Your Services
What do business owners in that niche or industry need most? Make a list of services you can perform well that will take the burden off busy executives.
Identify Your Target Audience
Who is most likely to buy from you? Where do they spend their time? How old are they? What are their interests? By creating a profile of your ideal customer, you can start to focus your ads with a greater accuracy.
Determine Which Ad Networks and Formats Will Work Best for You
A lot of business owners run ads through Google AdWords in an effort to compete in the search engines in relation to certain keywords. This is one way to drive traffic with paid ads, but the Google system can be complicated to learn and expensive to compete in. Their “quality score” is a mystery to most users, but it is one of the main determinants as to whether your ad will ever even run, and what placement it will get if it actually does.
Social media sites now have a range of advertising opportunities that are generally easier to set up than Google AdWords, and are better targeted too. They also tend not to have lots of mysterious rules. This means more visibility and clicks, for less money.
Facebook and Instagram will allow you to run ads with an image. Come up with a great headline and a link to your Facebook or Instagram account page, and you will get a good deal of traffic because you are not sending them off site. Make sure your home page has lots of interesting information about you. Include a link to your portfolio, and on your portfolio, details about your services. Linking straight to your service page is not a good idea in this case.
Twitter has a similar set of ad choices to Facebook, allowing you to promote one single post, or your entire account in order to get more followers. The best thing about Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is that you can be a great deal more precise about who you want to target. If you wish to find an audience of men or women 35 to 45 who are interested in computers, for example, all you have to do is set those parameters and your ad will show only to those people.
LinkedIn also has opportunities for professionals to connect with their target audience. Again, you need to create an eye-catching ad and send them to a page that offers them useful information, not just a sales pitch.
The LinkedIn Pro service will also allow you to see jobs related to keywords you choose, but you need to be quick. They only accept five quotes for each assignment, and most assignments listings tend to expire within 24 hours. Showing them your portfolio, rather than your rate card, is the best way to generate more interest in your services.
Ads cost money, but the right ad can make a big difference to the number of clients you get. Find out as much as you can about the most popular social network(s) for clients in your niche, and focus your advertising on that to start with.