There’s no denying the fact that freelancing is an exciting way to make a living which offers ultimate freedom, but it comes at a cost. Principally, that relates to your ability as a freelancer to market yourself and gain new work.

Finding business as a freelancer is challenging, but email marketing remains a brilliant way to get yourself in front of potential new customers and show them what you’re made of.

If you’re a graphic design expert who has decided to go it alone, for example, how can you start building that all-important subscriber list to whom you can send your email marketing campaigns?

Try these three steps to get started!

1. Define your audience

Who do you want to sell your graphic design services to? Going for a one-size-fits-all approach may be tempting, but you can’t sell yourself to the whole world.

It’s far better to concentrate initially on one or two niches. This will give you the ability to market yourself in a way that speaks directly to a tightly defined audience, and email marketing demands that kind of subscriber base if it’s to be effective.

2. Start blogging and collecting email addresses

Once you know the niche you want to target, start planning some blog content that will likely draw them in.

Think about tips-based pieces and don’t be afraid to give away some of your graphic design knowledge. Remember – you’re not producing the end result for a client if you’re simply giving them advice on how a brand should be developed.

At the end of each blog post, offer the ability for people to sign up to your mailing list (if you use WordPress for your website, there’s a bunch of plugins that will enable you to do this). It’ll be a slow burn, but as people find your blog and become engaged with the content you’re publishing, you’ll start to find that subscribe list slowly growing.

Just make sure you’re consistent with your blogging efforts by publishing at least one post every two weeks (once a week is better, if you can manage it).

3. Consider writing an ebook

Now, this one requires a fair bit more of your time than simply blogging, but it’s worth considering if you want to continue building that list of email subscribers.

An ebook doesn’t have to be huge, but if you can come up with three- to four-thousand words that relate to your graphic design service offering and which are targeted at the niche you want to sell to, you’ll have an invaluable asset that can act as the gateway to gaining plenty of email addresses.

This is known as a ‘lead magnet’. You simply place the ebook behind a sign-up form which asks for an email address in return (again, WordPress has plenty of plugins that will allow you to do this relatively easily), and distribute the URL far, wide and regularly on your social networks.

Again, this is a slow burn process, but it’ll help you build that all-important email marketing list. And, because they’ll have read and enjoyed your ebook, you’ll have established a degree of trust with them. In email marketing, trust can mean the difference between an email being opened and engaged with and one that’s sent straight to the recycle bin.

Wrapping up

There’s a key phrase we’ve used a couple of times above: ‘slow burn’, and that’s what those initial months (sometimes, years) of email marketing are all about. The pay-off, however, is awesome.

You should never purchase a subscriber list, which is why the above three tips are vital in helping you build one ethically. More importantly, they’ll enable you to build a list of subscribers that continues to grow and only includes people who are genuinely interested in your freelancing services!


Mark is one of mailingmanager's email experts. His contributions to this blog openly share the tricks, tips and best practices he's learned while running multiple e-marketing campaigns.

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