As a creative professional, you have many choices for making money from your work. Whether you intend to work with one-on-one clients or take advantage of an online marketplace, a proper promotional strategy is crucial to get your work noticed and sold.
Thanks to the Internet, you can quickly launch a digital marketing campaign without ever hiring a professional marketing agency or spending thousands of dollars on advertising. You can build a great portfolio website (maybe using one of the best website builders available), share your work using the best cloud storage services, and run a rigorous marketing campaign, all without ever seek professional help.
Here are 10 essential online marketing tips that will help you increase your popularity and income as a creative professional.
01. Create a website
Creating a sleek, modern website that showcases your best work to potential clients is one of the most effective ways to get hired. Your website acts like an online portfolio and resume, letting people know what kind of skills and experience you bring to the table.
If you’ve never created a website before, don’t worry! It’s really easy to do and can be put together in just one weekend. Our guide to the best website builder and the best web hosting services will help you, and these excellent portfolio sites can provide much needed inspiration.
02. Start a blog
Once you’re done building your first website, starting a dynamic blog with fresh, regular content is a good way to attract repeat visitors. Think of it this way: Not everyone who visits your website for the first time will want to do business with you. However, if your website has a blog that is always updated with quality content, they will keep coming back until they are finally sold!
Starting a blog is easy. Most website builders have built-in options that allow you to blog post to your new website in a matter of moments. You can also consider going pro and using an advanced content management platform like WordPress.
Social media can serve as powerful marketing tools and increase your chances of getting hired or making sales. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are all examples of large social media platforms that can be tapped for this purpose.
However, your best chances of attracting buyers and potential customers come from niche social media platforms. For example, in our social media platforms for designers article, we recommend that you frequent platforms like Behance, DeviantArt, Artstation and Dribbble. These sites can help you better understand your work and attract like-minded people who might be interested in working with you.
04. Shoot videos
As a creative professional, much of the work you do will be visual or audio, or maybe both. Short videos that showcase your work are therefore a great way to grab people’s attention. They take a lot less time to go through than your typical blog post and give clients a more sultry way to get acquainted with your work.
One way to get your videos to viewers is to use social media. There are a large number of video-oriented social platforms, such as YouTube, Instagram, and TickTock. You can even try running your own vlog (short for video-blog) to capture a returning audience. Don’t miss our roundup of the best camera for vlogging and the best video editing software to get you started.
05. Start a newsletter
This is another way to attract a large following of loyal readers to your herd: a newsletter. This is a recurring email that you send to subscribers that contains news and updates about your industry and / or your creative work. By encouraging people to subscribe to your newsletter (for example, through your website or social media platforms), you attract loyal subscribers and establish a direct line of communication with your audience.
The more frequent your newsletter and the better the content it offers, the more your subscribers will be engaged. Newsletters can be free or paid, but if you are just starting out, we recommend that you don’t put them behind a paywall just yet. You will want to build a strong relationship with your audience first.
06. Start a store
Once you’ve started building a reasonable audience for your website, launching an online store is the best way to convert those visitors into paying customers. Just because it’s a store doesn’t mean it has to be furnished with physical products. In fact, creative services like web and graphic design, content writing, and digital marketing can all be sold through an online store.
Starting an e-commerce site is very easy. You can either use a free website builder like Wix or Weebly, or use a combination of add-ons like WooCommerce for WordPress.
Establishing a steady stream of fresh content and promoting it through social media is a worthy strategy. However, to get the best results, you will also need to do some one-on-one networking. This involves sending emails, attending webinars, joining interest groups, and even attending face-to-face meetings to improve your reach within the creative industry.
It might sound a little intimidating, but sometimes the easiest way is to go with the natural course of things. If you like someone’s job, for example, send them an email to let them know that you appreciate what they do. Or search dedicated online communities that are aimed at developers, designers, writers or any other industry.
08. Participate in forums
Forums are a hotbed of industry conversation. Many important people in your industry may already be participating in an online forum. If you are new to your profession, joining one or more of these forums and participating in regular discussions can be essential for building relationships and attracting clients.
However, it may be interesting to note that many online forums also have specific rules against unrestricted self-promotion. While the actual terms may differ, the general idea is to make a meaningful contribution to the discussions rather than being a spammer.
09. Use search engines
SEO (search engine optimization) is a common term among web developers, but often underestimated due to its technical aspect. Search engines use algorithms to determine how content, including websites and social media posts, ranks in their search results when someone makes a new query. The idea behind search engine optimization is to create your content in such a way that it is easier for the algorithm to crawl, which increases the likelihood that your content will appear higher in search results.
While it might sound a bit technical, SEO is essential in driving organic traffic to your website, blog, and online store. If you want to learn more about SEO, check out these 5 ways to improve your website’s SEO.
10. Pay for ads
Finally, one of the easiest ways to promote your creative work is to pay for it. You can pay specific websites or blogs to display ads on your behalf, driving niche traffic directly to your website or online store.
You may also want to consider investing in a service like Google Ads or Facebook Ads, which will leverage the company’s publisher network to promote your content through the best channels. While this can be a more expensive affair, it is also often the most popular.