As a creative professional, you have a number of choices when it comes to making money from your work. Whether you intend to work with clients one-on-one or take advantage of an online marketplace, a proper promotional strategy is crucial to getting your work noticed and sold.
Thanks to the internet, you can quickly kick off a digital marketing campaign without ever hiring a professional marketing agency or spending thousands of dollars on advertisements. 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 launch a rigorous marketing campaign, all without ever enlisting professional help.
Here are 10 essential online marketing tips that will help you boost your popularity and your income as a creative professional.
01. Build a website
Creating a stylish and modern website that showcases your best work to prospective clients is one of the most effective ways of getting hired. Your website acts as an online portfolio and resume, telling people about the kind of skills and experience you bring to the table.
If you have never created a website before, don’t worry! It’s really easy to do and can be set up over a single weekend. Our guide to the best website builder and the best web hosting services will help, and these great portfolio websites (opens in new tab) can provide some much needed inspiration.
02. Launch a blog
Once you have finished building your first website, launching a dynamic blog with regular fresh content is a good way to attract returning visitors. Think about it this way: not everyone who’ll visit your website for the first time will want to do business with you. However, if your website features a blog that’s always updated with quality content, they will keep coming back for more until they’re finally sold!
Launching a blog is easy. Most website builders out there have built-in options that let you attach a blog to your new website in moments. You can also consider going pro and using an advanced content management platform like WordPress.
03. Leverage social media
Social media outlets can serve as powerful marketing tools and boost your chances of getting hired or making sales. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are all examples of big social media platforms that can be leveraged to this end.
Your best chances of attracting prospective buyers and clients, however, come from niche social media platforms. For example, in our social media platforms for designers (opens in new tab) article, we recommend frequenting platforms like Behance, DeviantArt, Artstation, and Dribbble. These sites can help you get more eyeballs on your work and attract like-minded people who may be interested in working with you.
04. Shoot some videos
As a creative professional, a lot of the work you do will be visual or audio-oriented, or perhaps both. Short-length videos that showcase your work are therefore a great way to attract people’s attention. They take much less time to skip through than your typical blog post and offer a more sensual way for clients to get acquainted with your work.
One way to get your videos across to viewers is to use social media. There are a huge number of video-oriented social platforms out there, such as YouTube, Instagram, and TickTock. You can even try launching your own vlog (short for video-blog) to capture a returning audience. Don't miss our round ups 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 audience of faithful readers to your flock: a newsletter. This is a recurring email you send to subscribers consisting of news and updates pertaining to your industry and/or creative work. By encouraging people to subscribe to your newsletter (for example, through your website or social media platforms), you attract returning subscribers and establish a direct line of communication with your audience.
The more frequent your newsletter is and the better the content it features, the more engaged your subscribers will be. Newsletters can be free or paid, but if you’re just starting out, we’d recommend not putting it behind a paywall just yet. You’ll want to build a solid relationship with your audience first.
06. Launch a store
Once you have begun to develop a reasonable audience for your website, launching an online store is the best way to convert those visitors into paying clients. 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.
Launching an ecommerce website is very easy. You can either use a free website builder like Wix or Weebly, or use a combination of addons like WooCommerce for WordPress.
07. Do some networking
Establishing a regular flow of fresh content and promoting the same through social media is a valid strategy. However, to achieve the best results, you will need to do some one-on-one networking as well. This involves sending emails, attending webinars, joining interest groups, and even participating in physical meetups to improve your reach within the creative industry.
This may seem a bit daunting, but sometimes the simplest way is to just go with the natural flow of things. If you like someone’s work, for example, drop them an email to tell them that you appreciate what they’re doing. Or look for dedicated online communities (opens in new tab) that cater to developers, designers, writers, or whatever your particular industry may be.
08. Participate in forums
Forums are a hotbed of industry conversation. Lots of important people in your industry may already be participating in an online forum. If you’re new to your profession, joining one or more of these forums and participating in regular discussions can be key to developing connections and attracting clients.
However, it might be worth noting 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 discussions as opposed to being a spammer.
09. Use search engines
SEO (search engine optimization) is a common term amongst web developers, but one that is often undervalued due to its technical aspect. Search engines use algorithms to determine how content, including websites and social media posts, is ranked 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’s easier for the algorithm to parse through, making it more likely that your content will appear higher in search results.
While it may sound a bit technical, SEO is key to attracting organic traffic to your website, blog, and online store. If you would like to learn more about SEO, check out these 5 ways to boost your website's SEO (opens in new tab).
10. Pay for advertisements
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 advertisements on your behalf, driving niche traffic straight to your website or ecommerce store.
You can also consider investing in a service like Google Ads or Facebook Ads, which will leverage the corporation’s network of publishers to promote your content through the best channels. While this may be a costlier affair, it’s also often the more popular one.