You’ve been working as a web developer for as long as you can remember, and you want to break the monotony by going freelance.
As a freelance developer, you can use your skills to contribute to meaningful work that you are truly passionate about.
Over the next five years, 43% of the working US population will begin freelancing. People state reasons such as better work-life balance, more flexibility, and the freedom to choose your working hours, clients, and pay as the main reasons why they freelance.
In this article, we are going to talk about the different ways in which you can market yourself as a freelance developer and land some good clients.
But before we get into that, let’s first check out the reasons why you should market yourself as a freelancer.
Why Should You Actively Market Your Freelance Developer Skills?
When you decide to become a freelance developer, the first challenge you are going to face is looking for clients.
Here are some of the reasons why you need to strategically market yourself as a freelancer, rather than expecting clients to come, no matter how impressive your work history.
Stand out from the crowd
Almost one-third of the U.S workforce has freelanced at some point in their careers. Between 2014 to 2018, the number of freelancers increased by 3.7 million to 56.7 million.
By the year 2024, 43% of the US workforce is expected to freelance either part-time or full time. And by 2027, freelancers would make up the majority of the US workforce.
With so many freelance developers in the market, you will need to do something to stay ahead of your competition.
Marketing yourself efficiently will help your clients to understand who you are and how you can help them.
Establish yourself as an expert
Most freelancers focus on marketing two to three different skills. And nearly all of freelancers accept jobs that require them to adjust and improve their skill set.
Focusing on just a few core skills and marketing yourself accordingly will help you establish yourself as an industry expert.
Once you have done that, you will have clients who are specifically looking for someone like you to work with.
No one wants to place their work into the hands of an amateur or a jack-of-all-trades. Instead, they are looking for someone who shows that they understand their niche very deeply and can produce high-quality work.
How To Market Your Freelance Developer Skills
Now that you understand how truly effective marketing is as a freelance developer, here are some popular and effective methods to do it:
1. Build An Online Portfolio
An online portfolio shows clients you are serious about what you do. It also gives yourself a chance to showcase your skills as a developer.
Designing your website where you can post your content is one of the best ways to demonstrate your skills.
Case in point, this interactive resume portfolio:
Not only is it entertaining and creative, it directly shows the expertise of the freelancer in full effect.
2. Use Lead Magnets To Build Your Expertise
Lead magnets can help you capture information like email addresses from your website visitors. You can then send them quality content right to their inboxes.
This will help you build trust with them, showcase your knowledge in your niche, and finally, turn them into potential clients.
Here is an example of a well-planned lead magnet from LFA Machines:
The eBook offered at the end of the landing page provides some valuable information in a convenient format. Potential clients would want to download the eBook to check out its contents, learn more about the value, and subsequently convert to services.
Lead magnets help you drive value for potential customers to keep them interested and coming back for more.
3. Guest Post On Different Developer Websites
Guest posting is another simple yet effective way to build your authority and get your content in front of your niche audience.
When you guest post on high authority websites, it helps potential clients find you easily and get in touch with you. It also shows them that you have deep knowledge of the subject, and are trusted by the website that you have guest posted on.
Start by researching websites in the design and development niches that accept guest content:
Build connections with editors at the blog, deliver fantastic content, and you’ll quickly make a name for yourself.
4. Build Relationships With The Right People
Connecting with the right people in your professional or even personal circles will help you get referrals through word-of-mouth.
75% of people do not believe in advertising, but 92% trust recommendations from their friends.
Having the right connections is therefore crucial in getting your name out and marketing yourself more easily. Even if you haven’t done any work for a particular person, building a good relationship with them will allow you to gain recommendations.
Never underestimate the power of a good referral..
5. Use Social Media To Network
About 42% of the population (that’s 3.2 billion people!) use social media.
73% of marketers say that social media marketing has been effective for their business.
Social media marketing has huge potential to bring you valuable leads for your freelance developer business. You just need to figure out a strategy to find your ideal clients.
Your social media strategy need not be complicated. It could be as simple as checking out who follows you on Twitter. The reason why they follow you is that they are interested in what you do and want to hear more about what you have to say.
6. Reach Out To Prospective Clients
When you have identified potential clients for your business, you can pitch your ideas to them by using presentations and proposals.
To do this successfully, you must first provide them with value. Publishing blog posts that are packed with insights and information is one way to do it. You could also share tips and advice on your social media profiles to help your clients.
Once you are sure that your clients will be open to hearing more about what you do and possibly working with you, you can send them your ideas in the form of presentations.
You can use the ideas and examples from this post as inspiration for your presentation to your clients.
7. Build And Display Your Social Proof
Testimonials are a highly valuable asset that you can receive from your satisfied clients. There are many ways in which you can display social proof for other potential clients to see.
You could display a real-time number of people who have used your services or downloaded a resource from your website. There is power in numbers. When people see that so many people have benefitted from working with you or hearing your advice, they will want to try you out too.
You could also display the names and logos of recognizable brands you have worked with in the past.
Take this example of a landing page from Medical Alert that displays “trusted by” various sources like Yahoo, abc, msn, etc. as social proof:
8. Create A Podcast
Podcasts are pre-recorded audio files that are available on host websites for users to download and listen to whenever they like.
With the busy lifestyle that we lead, and the way smartphones have become so essential to us, podcasts are a great way to alert yourself to your niche audience.
Creating a podcast and submitting it to a platform like Spotify can help you build your authority in your industry.
In your podcast, you could talk about web development tips and tricks, branding yourself as an expert on the topic. This will allow you to attract relevant traffic that has the potential to turn into paying customers.
There are multiple ways in which you can effectively market yourself as a freelance developer and land some great clients.
Building your own freelance website/ portfolio is one powerful way. However, there are 342 million domains registered around the world, meaning you are competing with millions for website traffic and customers online.
That’s why you need to incorporate more than one marketing strategy.
No matter what methods you choose, be sure to showcase your talent and knowledge in your niche.
Need to brush up on your development skills before setting out on your own?
About the Author: Alex Sloane
Alex Sloane is a freelance writer and content optimization specialist. He has worked with dozens of SaaS and B2B companies to capture more organic traffic from better content. Recently making the full-time jump to freelance work, Alex loves forming new partnerships.