When you work as a freelance professional translator, it’s up to you to do your own marketing. Do it well and you could have a constant stream of clients clamoring for your services. Do it badly and you can waste time, effort and money (as you could have spent that time translating and thus earning). A poor approach to marketing can also leave you feeling demoralized as your efforts are not paying off.
Marketing activities don’t come naturally to everyone. For some people, the thought of picking up the phone and cold-calling potential clients fills them with dread. For others, it is the systematic tracking and analysis of different marketing approaches to find out what works best that they find off-putting. And others are lacking in the confidence and/or knowledge to market themselves appropriately through social media.
The good news is that you can build a bespoke marketing plan that plays to your strengths when it comes to telling the world about your services. Marketing is a professional skill that can be learned, so take the time to do a bit of research online and find out about it. You can start here with these practical tips for translators who want to up their game when it comes to marketing.
Marketing for freelance translators
Little and often is a great approach with marketing. Build yourself a basic marketing plan and divide the activities into manageable chunks, from emailing former clients to joining online forums and approaching new contacts through social media. Task yourself with completing a set number of activities per day or per week, depending on how urgent your need to find more work is.
It’s a great idea to tackle marketing activities as soon as you start work for the day, particularly if marketing is something that you don’t enjoy. That way, by the time you start translating, you can relax and enjoy your work without the marketing work still hanging over your head. Completing marketing tasks first thing also avoids that, “but I’m too busy to do marketing today,” moment as the end of the working day approaches.
Reaching out to people first thing in the morning also means that potential new clients have the whole day to respond and interact with you. Catch them first thing and they can review your email while drinking their morning coffee. Contact them when they’re rushing to get out of the office at the end of the day and you could well end up in their ‘deleted items’ folder within seconds.
While the particular range of activities that you undertake is very much up to you, don’t underestimate the value of reaching out to former clients when undertaking your marketing work. If you’ve translated for someone before and done a great job, then why not contact them with a special offer? It might just make the difference between them using you and them using one of your competitors. Even if they’ve got nothing that needs translating at present, it puts you back in mind for the moment that they have.
Above all, remember that marketing is a means to an end – if you take the time to do it well and make it an integral part of your daily or weekly routine, the result will be more clients coming to you with the kind of work you love – translating!
Louise Taylor is the content manager of Tomedes and she writes content on the Tomedes Blog as well as other sections on the website.