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A freelance career in the creative arts
A freelance career in the creative arts

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2 Marketing my business

When you are a freelancer, you don’t generally have a large budget for marketing but there are a number of things you can do to market your business without having to spend lots of money.

Woman shouting into a megaphone

Solovic (2021) makes the following useful suggestions:

  • Craft an ‘elevator pitch’ – so you won’t ever miss an opportunity to talk confidently and briefly about your ideas. You’ll look at that in more detail in the next section.
  • Leverage your community – think about local opportunities to raise your profile with potential customers, audiences or collaborators. Could you sponsor a local event or prize, leave promotional bookmarks in your local library or sell your product at local craft fairs?
  • Collaborate – are there opportunities to work with like-minded individuals in the same or different specialisms, or to cross publicise your offer, e.g. through reciprocal website links or vouchers? Depending on your own specialism, you might be able to swap expertise, for example designing a logo in return for marketing advice.
  • Network – aim to attend relevant local and/or industry-related events and meet as many people as possible. Even if they aren’t your target audience themselves, they may know people who might be interested in your product or service. For example, there might be a local small business network in your area.
  • Give a speech – although this might seem daunting, it is a useful way to raise your profile. Depending on your target audience, one option might be to give talks to local groups, e.g. the Women’s Institute (WI) or University of the Third Age (U3A), about what you do.
  • Build relationships – keep in touch with existing customers, collaborators or other contacts, as they will often use your product or service again.
  • Give it away – don’t be afraid to offer a free trial or sample to build customer awareness. Alternatively, you could do some volunteering or accept a reduced fee for a project that you think will lead to other things.

Activity 2 Which tactic?

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Look at the following three case studies and, in each case, decide which marketing tactic (a, b or c) could work best for them in promoting their business idea:

  • a.Leverage your community
  • b.Collaborate
  • c.Network.
  1. Grainne is an artist with an idea for some large-scale pieces of art. She doesn’t have a studio but will need some space to work in. There is an artists’ collective in the city that is working on similar themes.

  2. Jenny is a choreographer. She is putting on a dance performance at her local town hall to celebrate a local historical event. She already has funding and permissions in place but needs to sell some tickets.

  3. Brett wants to use his acting experience to coach people in their presentation skills. He’s sure there will be a lot of interest from local businesses but he doesn’t know where to start.

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You could have chosen:

Grainne = b)

Jenny = a)

Brett = c).

In fact, every one of them could benefit from building their network and Brett could consider collaborating free of charge with some local businesses to showcase his skills, perhaps in return for some reciprocal service from them or a promise of referral.

Another way to market your offer is to create valuable content that you can share with your audience. You’ll find out more about that in the next section.