Promoting Your Business

When you become a contractor, you also become a business and businesses need to be promoted in order to be successful. Getting noticed means getting work.

The problem with promotion for contractors is that, in most cases, you might never have had to be a salesperson. Contractors are often experts in their field and are great at what they do but when it comes to selling and promoting their business, the prospect can get somewhat intimidating. The great news is that it needn’t be. There are a number of ways by which you can promote your business both online and offline and most of which are completely free.

Networking events, seminars and exhibitions.

These contractor or industry-focused events can be great for meeting potential clients and other contractors or professionals in your field. Don’t be afraid to engage in conversations with people and hand out business cards like they might explode. Don’t forget to follow up with meetings afterwards via a friendly e-mail and/or via social media.

  • Social media
    We love social media at Qdos; it provides an informal platform with endless possibilities for businesses. You can use social media in many different ways and there are many different sites to use:
  • Twitter is certainly one of the most widely used and popular with celebrities, which allows short updates within 140 characters. You can also post links and photos.
  • Facebook has come out of the purely social profile era and into the business world with the option of company pages and adverts around the site targeted specifically to each user.
  • Instagram is a newcomer which has spread like wildfire. Photos and short video clips are the name of the game making this the most used platform for visually based businesses such as artists, yoga gurus and anything where food is involved.
  • LinkedIn is considered the professional’s social media platform as it is far less focused on the ‘social’ aspect but more of an online networking platform for professionals. Profiles exist but are focused around your business profile (CV) as opposed to your personal preferences in life and you follow companies and other entrepreneurs instead of celebrities or your best friend.
  • Other platforms include video-based YouTube, mood boarding Pinterest and Google+.

The majority of contractors will find Twitter and LinkedIn to be their most useful allies when it comes to promoting their business. To get the most out of your social media efforts, engage with potential clients and other relevant professionals, remain informal and not pushy or ‘salesy’ (remember these are social sites) and post interesting content and updates such as relevant news articles, topical discussions and of course, what you are up to (keep it business related). Don’t forget that social media also puts you in contact with a community of like-minded individuals who may be able to help you if you need it and who you can help out as well, displaying your expertise to the wider world.

Websites

Having a website is often seen as ‘too big’ for small contractor businesses, but a contractor’s website doesn’t need to be more than a page, simply confirming the services on offer, your business profile and contact details. A clean and easy-to-read (no crazy fonts or headache-inducing colour combinations) page can be beneficial to your marketing efforts. A blog is also worth considering, writing about your work, current topics in the industry and so on. You can incorporate your blog into your website too and it gives you something else to tweet about. Websites and blogs can be done on the cheap with free platforms such as Wordpress making professional looking websites. You will only have to pay if you would like your own domain (e.g. www.iamacontractor.com) but these can be found cheaply with sites like GoDaddy. 

Direct contact

Equally as intimidating as attending networking events, contacting potential clients is a method too often overlooked. Sending letters, emails and making phone calls directly to potential clients are often seen as archaic in the marketing world but still remain as good, solid methods for getting yourself out there. Don’t forget that your efforts will be more fruitful if you can get in contact with the hiring manager for the firm or similar such as the HR manager or even Director.

Despite all of the available options for marketing, most will simply make use of recruitment agencies to source their contracts, and there is certainly nothing bad about that. Recruitment agencies have long been acting as middle men for contractors and clients, and remain an integral part of the contract-sourcing process. However, some contractors will prefer to steer clear from recruiters altogether or complement their efforts with some self-promotion. However you intend to get your business noticed, make a plan and commit to it, and remember that your marketing possibilities are only limited by the extent of your own imagination.




By:Jane Hailstone

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