Freelancer: How to beat the competition and win your market share
Whether you like it or not, the competition is still there. There will be many companies like yours, fighting for the same work and fighting to survive.
Whether you like it or not, the competition is still there. There are a lot of companies that are fighting for the same work. Here are some tips you can use to become the best, standing out from the crowd.
In today’s economic climate, freelancers and small design studios will fight to stay afloat like never before. With such fierce competition, how will you beat them? How do you stand out in front of all these people and make sure you earn new customers and money?
There are many ways to beat your competitors. Whether you are focusing on your customer service or getting the most out of web search engines, there are many tricks you can use to strive to be the best. The following tips will help you along this journey, allowing you to stand out from the “crowd”.
1. Know your SPU
If you don’t know your “Unique Selling Proposal” yet, find out now! To discover it, you need to ask yourself some essential questions: What is unique about your company? How do you compare to other freelancers in your industry? What makes you so great and unique? Why should people hire you over someone else? Why would a customer want to buy your product, your design rather than the thousands existing on the net? All this will allow you to find your own strengths, your strengths in an internal and personal reflection.
Find your strengths by asking your customers/family/friends what they think of you? Are you fast at creating? Reliable? Are the services you provide high quality? Are you creative? Choose two or three adjectives to define your SPU and make sure you stick to them, including communicating them on all your communication media.
Your PSU must group three essential criteria:
- Unique: It should differentiate your product/service from your competitors with its positioning.
- Salesperson: Define a value that is attractive enough to reach your potential customer.
- Proposal: This wording must make an offer to the client and motivate them to take action, “call to action”.
Keep in mind that your customer is not actually buying a product or service, they are mostly buying the profit, the result or the solution to their “problem”.
To guide you, your final PSU may include :
- Your Product A
- Your client type B
- Product description and benefits C
- What you do best/ differently from your competitors D
Your proposal may for example have the form “A is a product designed for the B, who need the C, but compared to its competitors it has the exclusive advantage of allowing to make D for only X pounds. “
2. Define your brand
When you start, or if you’re changing your brand, make sure you make a good first impression on your potential customers. So, take a look at your competitors’ websites and see how they look. Consider the look and feel of their logos and web designs. Are they institutional sites? Are they fun? Affordable? Sexy?
Now, see if there are any weaknesses in their brand image? Look for areas where you could do better. Define your brand with your SPU in mind and try to convey what your business represents – not only with your visual identity, but also with the tone and language you use in your writing. Your brand will make all the difference, work with application and commitment.
3. Find your niche
If there is too much competition to enter the local market, consider finding a niche product or service. How do you find that niche? By looking at your competitors to see what services they provide and what they don’t. You can also analyze whether they target specific sectors. Other questions to ask yourself: Is there something you can specialize in that others don’t offer? Is there a real demand for this?
Your goal will be to find an untapped area and rush into the rift. After your research, you may come to the conclusion that you need to specialize in drawing faces of guinea pigs for masters who want to immortalize their pet… Do we ever know! 🙂
4. Don’t be afraid to experiment
When you’re a small business, you have the fantastic advantage of being agile. You can change things whenever you want, without too much expense or inconvenience. This means you can experiment and try new things to see if they help you beat your competitors or not.
For example, you may want to test a new brand, a new logo, a new slogan. Or you may want to change your keywords on your website. Remember that change is good and helps you improve. Again this morning, I spent time playing with my own website. It is built on WordPress according to a chosen theme, but it does not matter. I love it like this because it allows me to adapt and constantly test new things without calling on the needs of a computer development team or other web experts. By being a small structure, I benefit from a real adaptability and a timeless responsiveness.
You may make mistakes and things may not work out – but it is an extremely valuable lesson and mistakes always guide you in the right direction. On your scale, these errors will normally have little impact and you can turn back at any time if necessary. And then, after all, it seems:
5. Never stop learning
Whenever the work is quiet, don’t sit around twiddling your thumbs. Get online training videos or download interesting PDFs to read and gather new stuff to expand your skills. Today, we are lucky to be able to find absolutely everything on the internet, without too much effort and for very reasonable prices.
Still not sure about the SEO of your website? There are thousands of learning content on the subject. Have you always dreamed of editing videos of your products? Discover how to use Adobe Premiere with thousands of tutorials on the web! Do you feel weak in a particular area and want to boost your activity? Learn! Learn constantly and don’t stay on your laurels!
Our view is that you should never rest on your laurels. You should always strive to improve your skills. This will set you apart from other players in your industry.
Tip: Always carry a notebook with you wherever you go (or a digital notepad). So when something pops up in your mind, something you’re not sure about, you can write it down and make sure you learn more about it later, when you get back home. You will thus gain in know-how almost every day.
6. Get the right prices
An obvious way to beat your competitors is to beat them on the basis of price. Try to find out how much others charge and set your rates accordingly. Don’t make yourself too affordable because you’re not a charity and low prices can often give the impression that you’re too “cheap” to offer quality. In another sense, it can be complicated if you are more expensive than anyone else, so find the right common ground.
If you start, it’s probably best to play it safe with your rates. You can test the flexibility of your rates with your future customers, but avoid doing so with your loyal customers who may not understand these price changes.
7. Stay thin and frugal
Sit back and browse your income and expenses to find ways to reduce costs and save money. The leaner you are, the better.
When you are lean and frugal, you are less dependent on all the jobs that come your way. Instead, you can focus on getting better work that will lead to bigger projects, bigger opportunities.
It also means that you will not struggle during lean periods and that you can even offer competitive prices to your customers, beating your competitors at the same time.
8. Work on your weaknesses
Be totally honest with yourself and discover your real weaknesses. Are you bad at meeting deadlines? Poor communicator on the phone? Do you promise more than you can offer? Are you shy in meetings? Whatever your weaknesses, make sure you work hard to improve and erase them gradually. Because note this:
Vbone competitors will detect any weaknesses you may have and exploit them.
9. Work on your marketing
When things get complicated for a business, most people cut their marketing budgets. But that’s the worst thing you can do. At the same time, this represents a fantastic opportunity, because when others do not advertise or invest in SEO, you could take the opportunity to do so and stand out.
It is very important to always stay in the spotlight and face potential customers. Don’t rest on your laurels with your marketing and make sure you push hard every day, even if it means you have to learn to do it on your own. Communication is essential to make a difference, use it all the time with efficiency and accuracy.
10. Provide excellent customer service
Keep all your customers happy by offering them the best possible service. It will prevent people from going elsewhere, and you may even get recommendations through word of mouth. Remember that you are always building a reputation, so make sure everyone speaks positively about you and the lived experience of working with you.
So think about caring for your clients, without doing too much, of course. It’s often the small things that make all the difference. A coffee and pastries offered when your client comes to see you for the first briefing meeting. An end-of-mission gift to thank him for his trust or his loyalty to your work. These are all small actions that you need to list and perform. This often takes time and not necessarily a lot of money.
11. Listen to customer feedback
Sometimes things can go wrong with customers and even get worse. When they do, listen to your customers’ feedback and act accordingly to improve your offer. If a customer has not received some printed documents on time, find ways to ensure faster deliveries in the future. If they feel neglected, go beyond that to make sure that communication is improved next time. Don’t worry if you make mistakes with customers. Turn a negative into a positive by learning something from the experience and move on.
We learn more in failure than in success.
12. Become the friend of your enemies
Remember that saying :
Keep your friends close, but your enemies even closer
Well, the same could be said for freelancers. Ideally, create friendships with all your competitors, as it is better to have allies than anything else. After all you never know, your competitors might help you or they might need your backup for a new job too big.
Caution: Remember to “trust merit” and keep your cards safe… because not everyone will be morally healthy in this adventure
13. Develop a customer database
It’s incredibly difficult – and expensive – to attract new customers and convince them to work with you. Once you have convinced and seduced them, you should not see them as a one-time and unique opportunity. You should think about keeping them over the long term by creating a real relationship.
This means that you need to keep a customer database and keep in touch with people who have worked with you in the past. We hope this will strengthen relationships and encourage people to hire you again. Keep communication channels open by sending regular newsletters to your former customers – Mailchimp is a tool of choice and very intuitive for that. You will find in addition to many tutorials on the internet to take it in hand in the best of ways. In short, remind people that you are always available for new missions and to express your incredible creativity.: p
14. Abandon aggressive selling
If there is a golden nugget of wisdom that I can share with you to beat your competition, it is this: don’t give in the “aggressive sale”. This type of behaviour is so discouraging for potential customers… no one likes overly insistent sales tactics.
When talking to a prospect for the first time, be friendly, confident and helpful. Don’t expect anything, you will be more relaxed and less clumsy. Just be yourself and offer friendly advice. This will set you apart from your competitors as many people are still too aggressive in their business approach.
15. Turn people on
There is nothing more contagious than a freelancer who is excited and passionate about his work. Be enthusiastic about your customers and put a lot of passion and creativity into everything you do. Be a bright and naturally attractive person.
Customers love their business, so imagine how they feel when a stranger arrives and shows the same enthusiasm and interest for their “little baby”. So beat your competitors by being a very positive and energetic person, because believe me, you will stand out from the crowd with these character traits.
After all, remember that you chose to be a freelancer to throw your heart and soul into your passion. It is therefore important to work to preserve and spread this passion all around you. A passionate person is inevitably exciting.
YOU GOT IT
Here are 15 tips that should allow you to make your place in the competition of your market. We now invite you to choose at least 3 from this long list and gradually apply them to your project. You really need to engage with yourself in this exercise, and believe us, you’ll feel the benefits before the end of this 2022 year.