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Marketing yourself as a freelancer in whatever field can be a challenge, and the key is not always to stand out from your competition, but to do something entirely different that will get you well-deserved attention.  

An Amazon Dash Button

What? Aren’t these for automatically re-ordering Tide or those little dishwasher packets when you run out? Of course they are, but increasingly they are seeing more creative uses. What if your client needed an article or blog post, and could simply press a button on their desk connected to the WiFi in their office, and you would get an email, text, or another message letting you know your services were needed?

Sound a bit gimmicky? It is, which is why it works. Floyd Hayes, founder of creative firm Floyd Hayes Consulting, offers a version of the button specifically for advertising or marketing agencies that often rely on freelance creative people. One press of the button and clients can summon an “Emergency Creative Director.”

In April of 2016, Amazon Web Services released a programmable, Internet of Things (IoT) button that can be designed to do any number of things. The button could therefore be programmed to email or message a creative instantly.

Have big clients or agencies that are often in a hurry? Put this button on the marketing director’s desk, and when they need you, you’ll know right away.

Your Own App

Take things a step further than the Dash button: your client may use you for a variety of services, and you can make it possible for them to “order” whatever it is they need from wherever they are.

Yes, you can do this through a form on your website, but it would be even easier for the customer if, when logged into your app, they can send you a detailed proposal with their needs from their mobile device or tablet.

There are many reasons for you to have your own custom app as a freelancer. You can perform a number of functions without opening several programs. You might use Asana for project management, Rescue Time for Time Management, a spreadsheet to track certain activities, and a financial app to track payments and invoices. But with your own app you can integrate several things.

  • Client Requests: Logged in Clients and even new users can send you proposals.
  • Efficiency and time management: you can clock into and out of projects, tracking exactly how you are spending your time.
  • Calendar: You can track due dates and project progress in a single location.
  • Insights: you can track data about how much time each task takes, ROI on marketing efforts, and more all in a single place.
  • Multi-platform: You can create the app to run on your phone, desktop, and tablet, enabling you to work from anywhere, anytime.

Creating your own app is cheaper and easier than you think, or you can have someone create it for you. This is a simple way to streamline processes for you and your clients, and it definitely sets you apart from your competition.

Create a Game

One of the biggest obstacles we face as freelancers is client education. We need to somehow get across to our clients what they do not know about content marketing or writing in a number of areas.

Gamifying that education is one way to engage the customer without them feeling like you are preaching. Making the user navigate bad websites to get to good ones, showing content examples as obstacles to learning, making optimizing user experience a task to achieve a reward illustrates the way web design and content influences web visitors.

Education through gamification is increasingly popular in many educational settings, including colleges and high school classrooms, and has been proven an effective teaching tool. Not only that, but client education saves you time: each client walks through a scenario at their own pace, and then is better prepared to ask informed questions when they are finished.

Sound expensive? It may be a little pricey at the outset, but you can often trade services with programmers or game creators to launch this type of product, and in the long run the dividends can be substantial. Besides, what is more fun than having a game with your name on it?

Create a Free Online Tool

How many words a day do you type? How many steps do you take, and how does that translate into miles? Feet? Meters? How many visitors come to your site daily? How many meters are in a mile?

These are all simple tools offered by other apps and companies, but you can either create your own tool or import data from someone else’s tool onto your website. What kind of tool should you create? It depends on the type of freelance work you do.

If you write a lot about business, a loan or compound interest calculator could be a good choice. Talk about travel? A trip cost calculator or gas mileage estimator might work well.

You know what your readers are searching for, and what else they look for on your site. This type of tool may sound like just as much of a gimmick as the Amazon Dash button, but at the same time it can be useful and increase your brand awareness.

There are all kinds of normal marketing tools, from blogs to websites, webinars to writing an ebook. But if you think outside the box, you can create some unique marketing opportunities by taking chances others may not be willing to. You’re creative anyway. Apply that to your marketing and you and your clients both benefit.  

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Also published on Medium.

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Troy Lambert
Troy is a Freelance writer, editor, and author who lives, works, and plays in Boise, Idaho where he hikes, cycles, skis, and basically enjoys the outdoor lifestyle of the Northwest. Troy writes about business, sports, GIS, Education, and more. He is most passionate about writing suspense thrillers, and his work can be found at https://www.amazon.com/Troy-Lambert/e/B005LL1QEC/