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Last updated on 2/6/20

Prepare your freelance marketing action plan

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Congratulations, you now know the main opportunity sources for freelancers. The next step is to prioritise them for your marketing action plan.

The marketing action plan for a freelancer is simpler than that of a company. In preparing your own, you’ll efficiently organise your search for clients and swiftly modify your strategy if you don't get results.

To produce your freelance marketing action plan, you need to:

  • Set SMART marketing goals;

  • Choose one or more opportunities, according to your ambitions for your business;

  • Plan marketing activity in these areas.

Set SMART marketing goals

As an independent worker, you are the service provider and salesperson, which can be a very enriching exercise. 😊

Make a list of your marketing goals as an independent worker:

  • Your financial goals (turnover per month);

  • The number of clients, type of services and the average sum of each order (known as “average basket”);

  • The time allotted to your sales canvassing each week or month;

  • Any other goal that you might have in mind.

Your marketing goals must be SMART:

  • Specific (they must serve precise ends for your business)

  • Measurable (to assess progress and results)

  • Attainable (to remain motivated in the long term)

  • Relevant (with regard to your experience and to the market)

  • Time-based (with a schedule that will be observed) 

Here’s an example of the marketing goals of Pierre, a hire car chauffeur in the London region, for the year 2018:

Goals:

  • To have a turnover of £40,000, i.e. approximately £190 gross per day invoiced (210 days per year).

  • That corresponds to 12 trips per day at an average of £15 per trip, or to 3 trips from the airports into London (at an average of £63).

  • To find these clients, I estimate the marketing working time at one week when starting up the business, then one day a month.

These goals form the first part of your marketing plan. The other half is based on the opportunities selected (agencies, platforms, adverts or direct clients) and the action taken to achieve these goals.

Choose the opportunities most suited to your profile

How can I achieve my marketing goals?

By choosing opportunities for assignments, and actions to take in order to get these assignments using these strategies.

Don’t forget to choose your opportunities according to what you want (bread-and-butter job, increased skills, development of a solid entrepreneurial business, etc.).

The easier the assignment is to access and identify, the greater the competition will be (e.g. on platforms). Also, remember that assignments that come through intermediaries are more limited (budgets, non-negotiable deadlines, the scope of work), but you won’t have to repeat the whole procedure for each new job.

As a reminder, here are the main business opportunities for freelancers:

Opportunity

Advantages

Disadvantages

Ideal for:

Platforms

+ Regular assignments (predictable turnover)

+ Flexible assignments

+ Swift payment

+ Guarantee of being paid

- Low budget

- No contact with the clients (if the service is online)

- Not much room for development

Bread-and-butter job, need for money quickly and/or regularly, need for flexibility, second job

Agencies

+ Regular assignments (predictable turnover)

+ All the organisation is carried out by the agency (project management, quality control)

+ Learning new methods

- No negotiation possible (deadlines, budgets and scope of assignments)

- No contact with the clients

- No control over payment deadlines, which are often long

Need for a predictable basis of remuneration, to get references in the sector, or to gain experience

Adverts

+ A client already aware of their needs (and seeking solutions)

+ A clear view of the assignment (deadlines, budgets, services to perform)

+ Procedurally similar to recruitment, rather than to the sale of services

- Answering adverts is time-consuming

- Lots of competition

- Not much control over the sales procedure

- Very unpredictable assignments

Discovering new services to offer, finding one’s first clients without getting into the system of direct selling straight away, testing out an activity

Direct clients 

 + Direct contact with the client, which allows you to be proactive

+ Budgets, deadlines and the type of service are negotiable

+ Assignments are generally better paid (no intermediary)

- Time-consuming prospection

- Long payment deadlines and risk of non-payment

- Very unpredictable assignments

- Impossible to know if the prospect has a need before contacting them

 Long-term development of your freelance business, freelancers who are comfortable with unpredictable income, freelancers wanting to increase their income

Don’t hesitate to choose a hybrid system, e.g. to make you financially secure while allowing you to develop your business, by choosing several sources of opportunities at once.

Write your marketing action plan

This is what a marketing action plan looks like:

Opportunity

Action

Steps or stages

Estimated time

Start date

End date

Goals

Results achieved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It comprises the following categories:

  • Opportunity: platform, agency, advert, direct client;

  • Action: how you approach a goal;

  • Steps or stages: the action you take is broken down into several stages of work;

  • Estimated time: amount of working time required to carry out the action;

  • Start date and end date: scheduling the deadlines to carry out your actions;

  • Goals: as you have specified them (SMART);

  • Results achieved: completed once the end date has passed and considers your success (or otherwise) compared to set goals.

This dashboard will help you to know why your business is developing or failing to get off the ground.

Let’s return to the example of Pierre, the hire car chauffeur; here's part of his action plan.

By scheduling and measuring your marketing activities, you’ll have the information to make strategic choices and to react swiftly in the event of problems (e.g. a low turnover).

Let's recap!

If you’ve followed the training in order, you will have a business proposal and an action plan with clearly identified marketing opportunities. Bravo!

The next and final stage consists of creating a sales system, to start selling operationally.  😉

Example of certificate of achievement
Example of certificate of achievement