Guest post by Del Mauricio
5 Tools to Build Credibility for Your Freelance Business
Starting your freelance business is an arduous but exciting job. Bringing in new clients is a tougher undertaking however. That’s because you not only have to find them, but also convince them to choose your services over others. As the freelance economy grows, it is increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd and convert clients over to your business. Therefore, the key to your success goes beyond positioning your business to stand out; you must also focus on building credibility so that clients are confident in hiring you.
Credibility is important because it promotes client conversion. Think of it this way, would you have your car repaired by someone with no experience? Would you go to a restaurant with bad reviews? Would you pay hundreds of dollars each year for unreliable cellphone service? Absolutely not. If you are going to invest time, energy, and money into something, you want it to be dependable and worthy of your limited resources. People are more likely to engage a business that they trust. That is how your clients think and how you should approach your unique value proposition.
To establish credibility, you must do a few things. In this article, we will cover 5 tools you can use to build trust for your freelance business.
1. A Smart Portfolio Website
A portfolio website is a great way to showcase your best work and a fantastic way to highlight your level of expertise. Remember that clients are more likely to hire professionals with experience. Therefore, your portfolio website is an excellent tool to promote your knowledge and skills.
You should approach each one of your portfolio pieces as a case study. Tell a story, discuss who the client was and what they do, what problem you helped them with, and how you met their needs. This demonstrates to potential clients that you have the problem-solving skills and experience to deliver a remarkable solution. If you do not have any, or just a few projects to add to your portfolio website, then you can either create a few on your own or consider doing pro-bono work, which has a few benefits of its own (more on this later). With a solid portfolio you provide proof of your professional experience and skills – and both are essential in building trust.
2. Client Testimonials
How often do you read product reviews before buying a product? How likely are you to buy something that was highly recommended to you? Testimonials work exactly the same way as product reviews and recommendations. They are stories from clients whom you have worked with and were happy with your service. Testimonials demonstrate your ability to work well with clients and provide them with a solution that met or exceeded their expectations. Thus, testimonials reveal how dependable and successful you are at providing solutions. Clients will contract freelancers they can count on to satisfy their needs.
Ask your existing clients for a written testimonial you can post on your website. If you don’t have any clients yet, then consider doing pro-bono work. Reach out to non-profits and offer your services in exchange for a written referral. Not only will you end up with more referrals, but these organizations may consider hiring you in the future as well.
3. Social Media Marketing
Social media can be used for various purposes including networking and promotion. It can also be used to build credibility for your freelance business. How exactly is that achieved? For starters, it solidifies your online presence by creating more accountability, visibility, and transparency. It also gives people more access to your business. The more accessible, accountable, and transparent your business, the more reputable it will seem. In addition, social media demonstrates your business’ ability to lead and inspire a following. Does the content you share provide value? Does it target a specific niche? Does it share relevant useful knowledge? If the answer is yes to these questions, then you will experience a growth in followers. When you inspire others to follow you, it demonstrates you have gained their trust and have something valuable to offer other than just your services, and that is knowledge.
4. Blog, blog, blog!
Contributing to a blog, whether it is your own or a well established one in your area of expertise, is an excellent way to communicate your expertise and knowledge in writing. Write about things you know well, like your experience working in your field, discuss a particularly challenging project you worked on, give advice to people just starting out, or share ideas about how to do a process more efficiently. The possibilities are endless, but remember the goal is to come across as a knowledgeable expert in your area of expertise. Clients will hire and trust professionals with abundant knowledge and competence.
5. Video Marketing
Video is a unique online marketing tool that gives you the opportunity to introduce your business and tell your story. Think of it as meeting someone face to face for the first time. You immediately form impressions of that person based on your interaction with them. Videos have that same intrinsic effect because they put a face, product, or personality behind your business, and when done well they will make the right impressions and build trust. Videos also connect with your audience at a deeper emotional level and engage them more successfully than plain text.
There are many easy video editing tools available on and offline for both experts and beginners. Remember that the goal is not to go viral, but to communicate the value your business offers to clients. You should promote your business by sharing the video on social media or email marketing. Video marketing will do wonders in telling your story and building trust.
To recap, showcasing your expertise, reliability, ability to work with clients, knowledge, and success stories is how you build credibility for your freelance business. You should remember that it is a combination of things that promotes trust, rather than just one thing. Therefore, using these 5 tools will help you establish a reputable business that clients will want to work with and trust.
Del Mauricio is CEO/Owner of Aesthetic Philosophies, a marketing and graphic design company that specializes in developing brand identities and marketing communications. Del has over ten years of experience helping diverse businesses build stronger and more engaging brand experiences. He joins us with expertise in branding, graphic design, marketing, and advertising.
Twitter: @aesphi, @delhmauricio