A definition of self-marketing
We often refer to activities like telephone prospecting and advertising as 'marketing' activities.
Specifically, they are examples of self-promotion, and promotion is just one aspect of marketing.
Marketing is an entire business ethic that involves improving your service as much as it does improving your methods of gaining exposure.
So what exactly is marketing?
You may be familiar with product life cycles, guerilla tactics, and segmentation, but what aspects of marketing apply to you as a freelance artist?
Here’s a definition in a freelance business context:
“Freelance self-marketing is about identifying and responding to the needs of your clients through constant honing and promoting of your service.”
The key word here is ‘clients’. Ultimately, everything you do should be directed by your clients.
The skills you learn, the design you specialize in, the extra services you offer--should all be influenced by the needs of the people who are most likely to hire you.
In many situations, the most important area of marketing is in tailoring your service to keep it relevant to your clients.
To stand out and remain valuable, you need to offer a level of service that clients find appealing--and then shout about it in your promotions.
An appealing level of service may be based around your specialism of media, the speed you work at, the facilities you have, the consultation you offer, how you deliver proofs, how you hand over artwork, additional services you offer, or the contacts you have.
More often than not, offering a desirable level of service is a case of identifying one thing your clients like most about you, honing it further, and amplifying it in your promotions. In other words, focussing on what you're best at.
At other times, you may see a gap between what you are set up to offer, and what your clients want from their designer. That's when you may need to learn new skills, trial new software, venture into new areas, or start networking for contacts.
The above article is adapted from the introduction of Shaun's new book, The Freelance Designer’s Self-Marketing Handbook. The book is now ready for download at www.marketing-designers.com.
Shaun Crowley has worked as a freelance copywriter and marketing consultant. He currently works as a communications manager for a major UK publishing company and is the author of The Freelance Designer's Self-Marketing Handbook and 100 Copywriting Tips for Designers and Other Freelance Artists.
© Shaun Crowley 2007