Set yourself apart through marketing

Do you want better clients? Tired of leads not panning out? Feel like you waste time with tire kickers? What are you doing in your marketing that drives these leads to you? Are you setting yourself apart through marketing?

In a conversation I had with Justin Jackson (which is inside of Feast btw) he said “Marketing is setting yourself apart from the crowd. Showing them specifically why they should hire you instead.”

There are so many people out there talking about lead generation. So many people talk more and more about building your email list and that the money is in the list. I include myself in both those conversations.

However over and over that freelancers want better clients. The higher quality clients that have a budget and have respect for the service that is being provided.

The more I think about this the more I can’t help but think about to the phrase “You get what you pay for.”

It’s quick and easy enough to drop a form on your website with a lead magnet attached to send off to someone who drops in their email address. It’s also quick and easy to shoot off a tweet or Facebook Ad with the idea that it’ll drive a sale. Not much effort was put into either of these exercises, right?

Sure you may hit a few nice leads that turn into clients. In fact, if you hit around 5%, you are doing great, according to the “experts.”

The vast majority of these leads though will be tire kickers and leads that really won’t pan out. There’s a good chance that these leads will try and fight with you on price and look to you for fulfilling just a few simple tasks rather than actually becoming a raving fan of your services.

Which begs the question, how do you stand out apart from all the other noise out there? How can you, as a freelancer, set yourself apart from the crowd?

You need to invest, not just money, but in the effort, in your leads. Just like you want your clients to invest in you.

Outside the box

During my chat with Justin, he sparked the idea that freelancers have a unique opportunity.

Being a freelancer you are already a business that isn’t confined by the conventions of a company or a boss looking over your shoulder.

You can try things here and there to see if something works.

In fact, by being a freelancer you are already someone who’s broken the norm of business so why do you market like every other business?

Remember that as a freelancer you don’t need 1000 clients in order to maintain your business. You only need a few great clients to build sustainability.

Instead of throwing out a large net in hopes of grabbing a couple of great clients out of the sea of tire kickers, put the best piece of bait on the hook and cast out for that one big fish.

Put the effort into getting your ideal client.

Inboxes are full, but their mailboxes are empty

When you get a package in the mail, or even a letter that isn’t a bill, don’t you stop what you are doing to open it?

The same can’t be said for email. In fact, we often talk about how we need to stop checking email so much.

If your ideal client has an office or location, send them something in the mail that, in Justin’s words, “will delight them.”

I love that word “delight” because you aren’t selling them anything, you aren’t trying to get them to do anything either. You just want them to open the letter or package, nod, and say “this is pretty cool.”

You can do this with stickers with a nice hand-written note fairly easily.

In fact…

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Send them a photo that the can hang in their office. Especially if you’ve visited them and notice a pattern in their office and able to see what is important to them.

If you are in an industry where social media is prevalent, chances are good that you’ll get a thank you tweet or post on your Facebook page.

Not that is something you are hoping for, but it’s an added bonus.

But isn’t that expensive?


Remember you don’t need to do this for everyone. Only those folks that you really want to get as clients.

With postage, you’d probably spend around $1-2 to send a letter with stickers in the mail.

What is your cost per click for your ad campaigns? Probably higher than that, right?


This is the important part that most freelancers are terrible with. You need to followup with them.

1 or 2 weeks later send them another letter asking them if they’ve received the first and something about their business that you know they are struggling with that you can solve for them.

If it’s something that keeps them awake at night, they’ll jump at the chance to sign with you.

Now you’ve spent close to $4 to land that lead that is your ideal client.

For comparison, if you are in the financial or law space, the cost per click (not acquisition) could be well over $10.

Get on the phone

When was the last time you picked up a phone and called your clients? Better yet, how about past clients?

Another way to get work from ideal clients is by asking them. Find out what about their business that you can help with.

It doesn’t have to be a formal one hour conversation, just make it a quick 15 minute phone call.

In fact, here’s a script for you.

“Hey Tom,

I just wanted to touch base with you for 10 or 15 minutes and make sure that all is well with you.

It’s been a couple of months since we spoke last on anything else other than a task.

What can I do to improve your business?”

Then allow Tom to talk for the next 10 of 15 minutes. All you need to do is echo back what Tom says.

For example, if Tom says “well, it feels like I’m always being pulled away from every task that I’m working on so nothing ever gets finished for you.” You can respond “what sort of tasks are you getting pulled from?” or “what is pulling you away most often?”

After a few minutes of doing this exercise you’ll see what Tom really struggles with and his problem that really needs solving.

Maybe he’s trying to write blog articles but internal business tasks are pulling him away. Can you offer a service to write the content for him? If not, refer him to a writer and maybe get a commission off the top from the writer?

This is an opportunity for you to be a solution rather than a problem.

Tom knows how important his blog is, yet he struggles with posting content to it. You’ve given him a tool to do it, yet still he just finds it a struggle to use that tool.

Instead of giving Tom something else to worry about by figuring out how to produce content and being a bit frustrated with the whole thing, you’ve gone ahead and solved it for him with a simple phone call.

Set Yourself Apart

With a little bit of investment, you’ll land those big fish. You can’t expect to get high quality clients with low quality effort.

Pick out one client, could be a current or past client, and put one of these 2 marketing tactics in place and see what happens.

See if you can land more work from them. See if you can revive an old project that was back burnered. See if you can solve a problem they have. All the while delighting them with personal attention.

You are a freelancer! Set yourself apart from the crowd with your marketing and you’ll be sure to make a fan for life.

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/ Jason Resnick

Jason is a WordPress developer helping small businesses, design and marketing agencies achieve their goals by specializing in Ecommerce and increasing conversions. Learn more about him here.

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One response to “Set yourself apart through marketing

  1. Thanks a lot for this. One of my biggest challenges is coming up with the right strategy to sell my services and using the right channels to reach out to clients. This piece goes a long way to assist me brainstorm on better ways to achieve my goal.

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