If you aren't consistently marketing your freelance writing services – even during the busiest times, you should be. It's what can ensure that you have enough new business coming in at all times. I can't stress this enough. Set aside a certain goal each day or week for marketing. Period.
I know that marketing is time consuming and can take away from time spent working on paying projects. That's usually when freelance writers slow down their marketing efforts in favor of projects that are paying NOW. You need time saving strategies to help streamline your marketing tasks. Here are a few simple ones I recommend:
Create a contact list
Create an ongoing list of businesses you send information to. You can rotate this list to contact prospects on a monthly basis. For example, if you find 10 businesses to send emails to, add the contact emails to your list along with the date you contacted them to stay on track. Focus primarily on businesses in your niche (e.g. PR companies, Internet marketing or SEO businesses, etc.).
Create a basic marketing template
I have a basic marketing letter that I send prospects. In it I briefly introduce myself, my writing experience and services, explain how outsourcing can be beneficial to their business, add a link to my portfolio and rate card information and end it with my contact information. This basic letter can easily be tweaked so that it's more personalized. Always personally address each contact letter you send.
Cross market services with another freelancer
Find a complementary business willing to refer clients to you, and you can do the same in return. I have a graphic designer who refers her clients needing web content or other copywriting services to me, and I do the same for her. It's a win-win situation.
Use social networking sites wisely
There are literally hundreds of social networking sites on the web. You can't devote time to all of them, so the best thing to do is choose a few that can really help you promote your freelance writing services. They are great for socializing, but make sure to leverage their potential to help promote your business. I belong to Face Book, Linked In and Twitter. So far I have gotten a new client from Twitter, and Twitter has also helped me developed a stronger relationship with two ongoing clients resulting in more work.
Considering outsourcing your marketing tasks
If time management becomes a constant struggle, consider outsourcing the task of searching for company contacts and/or emailing contacts to a virtual assistant. The constant flow of business marketing can bring you makes this a worthwhile investment to consider. Entry level VAs charge clients anywhere from $10/hour on up to $20/hour.
Commit to bumping up your freelance writing business revenue in 2009 by marketing your services smarter, not harder.