Helping Mums and Dads create a career that fits into family life.

How to find freelance clients with low-cost advertising

Google Ad for Freelance Parents

It works for any business, from the biggest brand to the newest freelancer – advertising lets you get the word out fast and wide. Today’s strategy focuses on some low cost advertising options that you can add to your marketing arsenal. 

What it means: 

There are plenty of places where you can tell the world about the skills you have on offer without the need for a massive marketing budget, such as local newspapers or magazines and ads on Google, Facebook and LinkedIn. You might get a small ad in the local press for around £30 – £50, while you can get started with online ads for £2-3 pounds per day.

How it works :

  • Think about the place where your target clients are most likely to see your ads (at a time when they are in the mood to be interested in your services).
  • If you use Google Adwords ads (they’re the ones you see at the top/bottom and right hand side of Google search results), you’ll target people searching for particular words or phrases (‘keywords’). The price will depend on the competition for that keyword, and you’ll only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
  • Facebook ads and LinkedIn ads both allow you to target clients very specifically according to their demographics and interests so can be very powerful. For example, you could choose to target “Female small business owners with children under the age of 12 who live in Staffordshire”. Do you know who your ideal client is?
  • With all of the online ad options, you’ll need to have a relevant ‘landing page’  to which you can direct people (e.g. a website, Facebook page or LinkedIn page).
  • To put an ad in a local newspaper or magazine, simply check the back pages or website of the publication that you think your clients might read – there will usually be details of how to advertise and how much it costs. If you have a bigger budget, try to go for a small magazine or website associated with your ideal clients’ industry, so you can be sure the readers have an interest in your services.
  • Whichever medium you go for, make sure your ad conveys your skills and credentials well and gives clients a no-commitment way to contact you. Over time, you can test different wording to see what works best.

The Freelance Parents view:

Ads let you expand your marketing to a far greater audience than your network might reach. However, they need some fairly careful planning and execution, otherwise you risk spending money (and time) for no return at all.

As research for this post, I set up a Google Adwords campaign for Freelance Parents (you can see one of the ads in the image above). In 24 hours, I received 12 clicks for the grand sum of £6.46. The visitors who came from the ads seemed to be the right type of audience (in that they stayed longer, read more pages and signed up to the email list more than the average visitor).

In all, the quick setup and instant response feels very powerful. If I had turned just one of those twelve visitors into a freelance client, then the advertising outlay would have provided an incredible return on investment.

Of course, it’s much easier to capture people with adverts which promise free advice than one which is offering paid services, but there’s no reason why you can’t draw people in with a freebie then convert them into a client once they’ve experienced your expertise first-hand. In fact, it’s very common to have this kind of a ‘sales funnel’ – I’ll cover it in more detail once you and I have both recovered from this marketing strategy marathon!

What other freelancers say:

I advertised in Parish magazines. Local advertising on a low budget. I got my first 2 clients who I am still with 3 years on!

Becky Lister, Virtual Assistant
‏@BeckyatBBS | beckysbusinesssolutions.co.uk

I had a lot of recent success with google adwords, REALLY didn’t expect that to be quite so good for some reason.  I just thought I would see if anything happens, and as such I got one REALLY big lead, and a few small jobs.

Richard Bagshaw, Web Developer
‏@bagwaa | richardbagshaw.co.uk

To round up:

While many freelancers live off their network referrals, it’s always good to diversify your pool of clients, and low-cost advertising is an excellent way to do that.  Make sure you know how you’ll treat clients who respond to your ads, and make it a pleasant ‘landing’ experience, whether they come to you online or by phone.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with ads – do let me know in the comments below!

Next strategy: Work for free…but make it worthwhile

Comments

  1. Great post Lyndsey! I haven’t yet delved into the advertising world just yet, but I didn’t realise just how cheap it could actually be. Google adwords might be a great way for me to promote my freelance writing services, once my contract with my current client ends.

    Would you suggest keeping a small portion of income to one side for advertising costs?

  2. Hi Stacey, yes that’s a great idea. I’ll be covering setting up your finance and admin systems next, and will definitely be advising that you set aside some of your income to invest back into your business. A few pounds a day on Adwords doesn’t sound like much but it could give you a shock if you let it run and run and haven’t planned for the bill!

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