Who has time to look after their marketing when running a business? Freelancing is busy enough without having to worry about blogging, social media and all the rest of it.

But as you’ll want to keep attracting enquiries, and beat your competition; marketing should always be a priority.

You time-poor, self-employed professionals can instead focus on the following essential marketing techniques; ones that will give you the maximum return for the least amount of time and effort.

1. Find a niche. Embrace it.
Freelancing becomes so much easier when you find a specialty, grab it with every ounce of your soul, live and breathe it, and become an expert in that field.
If you’re passionate about what you do, and whom you do it for, marketing will become a breeze. Your journey from attracting clients to winning them is so much clearer. Your love of your chosen field will shine through everything you communicate, and that’s infectious.
A word of warning: by niching yourself, you may close a few doors. But marketing always has a better chance of working when you confidently target a specific area, or promote a certain specialism. People want experts. When one door closes, another one will open.

2. Convey confidence and expertise through consistency.
When clients are looking to hire you, they want to be immediately reassured that you’re reliable and professional, and know what you’re doing. How do you convince them? If you have a website, blog and social media channels that are consistent with quality content, and back up your niche and specialty, you will exude confidence.
You can share your focus through content, crafting blog posts that show off your expertise and attract potential customers through the search engines. Add credibility by adding images and video on your Instagram feed that relate to your sector, and match what’s on your website. You can follow relevant influencers on Twitter and retweet their updates.
To get started, for example, ‘Blog’, ‘Twitter’ and ‘Instagram’. Add daily or weekly reminders to put your plan into action. Because there’s nothing worse than being attracted to a website, only to find that the blog is outdated or it’s been three months since you tweeted.
Consistency conveys confidence, and people love doing business with those who are passionate about what they do, and clearly know what they’re doing.

3. Make sure your website converts, and continuously refine it.
What’s the point in spending all that time and energy on your marketing if people land on your website and bounce straight off?
Once you’re up and running, you can check web analytics to see if visitors are converting or abandoning certain pages. You can take another look at how you’re presenting yourself, and adjust accordingly. Keep improving your website until something works. Your website should never stop evolving anyway. You should see it as a living, breathing part of your business, one that constantly needs attention.

4. Get testimonials.
Nothing beats a great review from a credible source. A testimonial from a happy customer will do wonders and attract more business, so fill your website with recommendations. Add them to your ‘case studies’ or ‘portfolio’ page. Splash a few on your home page. Write about successful projects on your blog, and throw in the odd client comment, if you can.
And if you can get at least eight reviews on Google Maps too, that only boosts your local SEO – helping you beat your competition for your chosen keywords.

5. Create a monthly newsletter.
A regular newsletter is a great way to keep in touch with existing clients, as well as potential ones. You can share your latest projects, shout about recent achievements, and – more importantly – remind people that you exist.
Mailchimp is free to those who have less than 2,000 subscribers, and is highly recommended. Its templates and functionality are awesome. Get started using its Knowledge Base and you’ll soon pick up how it works.

6. Volunteer to other outlets
You’ve got your niche and you’re crafting great content to show off your expertise. You’re active on social media and your website looks amazing. Now it’s time to explore other channels to help you share your skills and knowledge with a wider audience.

You want to think about the kind of places where your potential clients might be active. The kind of magazines they read. The social media they love to be part of. And you want to reach and impress them by becoming a ‘thought leader’, i.e. the go-to person in a field of expertise.

Get yourself out there and extend your marketing to these wider channels, and you’ll be picking up a wealth of new clients in no time.

The market needs to hear about the great work you do.