Effectively marketing your business is important to create a brand identity, drive a steady flow of projects, and spread the word about your services. As an independent contractor, not only do you have to do great work, but you have to find it as well. Keeping your brand visible and relevant in the marketplace may often seem like a job in and of itself.
Luckily, there are a wide variety of tools today that can help you achieve these goals. Here are 10 content marketing tools and professional tips to effectively drive visibility for your solo business along.
A personal website identifies your business and service offerings to potential clients, and is a key first step in developing a robust marketing strategy. A well done website can help you stand out from your competitors, establish a strong online presence, and showcase creative work or past projects.
Best of all, you don’t need a technical background or coding skills to build a great website. Today, there are many tools that help walk you through the process with pre-made, customizable templates. Wix and Squarespace are two popular options that provide fully managed website hosting, drag-and-drop interfaces, and a variety of pricing plans.
Wix and Squarespace starting plans average $15/month.
Once you know the topics your audience is interested in, use this insight to inform the content you create. Whether your content is a blog, social media post, or eBook, generating information about the topics your audience cares about will help drive them to your business.
Answer the Public is a tool that generates questions and topics people search for in Google based on a keyword you enter. This can be a useful way to find relevant topics for your content.
Answer the Public is a free tool.
A logo creates brand recognition and makes your business more memorable. It can also help with brand consistency when used across your personal website, social media platforms, and business cards.
Tailor Brands is an online tool that walks you through creating a logo, stores the files you create, and ensures you maintain the rights to your design.
Tailor Brands pricing ranges from $2.99 to $10.99/month.
Including a visual component in your content is a great way to pull readers in and keep them engaged. Luckily, you don’t have to be a design whiz or invest in expensive software to create eye-catching graphics.
Canva is an easy-to-use graphic design tool that provides images, photo filters, icons, shapes, fonts, and useful templates—such as infographic templates—that you can customize.
Canva offers a free plan, or an upgraded plan for $12.95/month.
You probably already know that social media is a great way to promote your business, but managing it can quickly consume a lot of your time. Use a scheduling platform such as Buffer to curate, schedule, and send social posts from one dashboard. With an upgraded version, you can even create marketing campaigns, and use analytics and reports to see how your posts are performing.
Buffer offers a free individual plan, and prices increase depending on desired number of social accounts and scheduled posts.
Email can be a great way to stay connected to your network—whether you use it to drive specific marketing campaigns, or to send out a weekly newsletter. MailChimp is a popular email-marketing platform that helps you send marketing emails, automated messages, and targeted campaigns. Target emails based on customer behavior or preferences, and use analytics reporting to monitor how your campaigns are doing.
MailChimp’s free plan allows up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month, and prices increase depending on subscribers per month.
It’s important to make a good first impression, so you don’t want a glaring spelling error to be the first thing potential clients notice. Grammarly is a Google Chrome add-on that will check over your content for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.
Grammarly offers a free plan, or an upgraded plan starting at $11.66/month.
Once you’ve put in the hard work to create a website, generate content, and maintain a social presence, it’s important to monitor your brand and keep an eye on your competitors.
By connecting your website to Google Analytics, you can track and report on website traffic. This free Google service offers many features including the ability to see how individual website pages are performing, which pages and links visitors click on the most, and social analytics such as the geographic location and type of devices visitors use to access your site. If you’re not sure how to get started, check out the Analytics Academy for free courses on how to set up and use Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a free tool.
Customer feedback is a valuable way to gather trends and insight to improve your services. Use SurveyMonkey to quickly and easily design and send out surveys. Once you receive feedback, use analytics to evaluate your results.
SurveyMonkey offers a free basic plan, and prices increase depending on desired features.
Networking is an essential part of building a brand and boosting business prospects. Even if your business isn’t big on social media, one important place to maintain a social presence is LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows you to showcase your services, connect with clients, and display your skills and successful projects.
LinkedIn offers a free, basic account as well as premium subscription plans.
MBO Partners rounds up news of note pertaining to independent contractors from around the web. This is the October 19, 2015 edition.
Establishing strong relationships with other independent professionals can lead to many benefits including referrals, strategic partnerships, and valuable advice.