So, you’re a programmer gone freelance. You’ve decided to go out there and start tweeting your horn about your programming skills and services. Great! Everyone needs a website, an app, or software today so you’ll get plenty of work.
However, having great programming skills doesn’t guarantee you anything. People don't care about coding, they only care about the end result of coding and the value a program brings to them. You know the value of your products, but how do you convince your potential clients about it? That is what marketing is for!
Identify Your Potential Clients
How do you get your programming services in front of clients? You have two main routes:
1) People who understand programming and are actively seeking programmers for their site and their clients.
These include design agencies who need skilled programmers to handle the geek side of some of their sites / clients’ work.
2) People who do not understand programming and do not actively seek it, but can use your services.
These guys don't care about development – they only care about the value it can bring to their business. Here you need to stop selling development. Don’t bother explaining how it works, just show them how your programming services can save their lives and make them more money.
Set Clear Intentions For Your Website
Before you start off with your content, you need to get clear on what your website is going to be all about. Ideally, you should have a list of all the things that you are planning to achieve with your website.
When someone visits your website, it’s important that they understand immediately that you are the best solution to their problem. Anticipate your visitors’ questions and add multiple calls to action on your site, whether it’s to:
- check out your portfolio
- download a free template
- ask for a price quote directly
- call your office
- fill out a survey
The better you can anticipate their needs, questions, and objections, the sooner you can close the deal and have them make you an offer.
How To Market Your Expertise
How do you actually go and market your expertise in your area? It's a two-step process:
1) You, as a developer, must create valuable content that showcases your expertise.
This includes writing articles, ebooks, presentations, doing webinars, speaking at events, and essentially doing everything you can to get your name in front of as many people as possible.
Creating a portfolio can make a huge difference in landing a new client. Check out these examples for some inspiration:
- Robby Leonardi’s interactive resume (and his design section)
- Keith Clark’s clean page
- Adham Dannaway (coder and designer combo)
- Jess Johnson’s portfolio
- Timmy O’Mahony’s projects page
So before you make your next pitch, put together the best samples of your work and be prepared to share your excitement of working on those projects. It’s cool to have great samples in your arsenal, but it’s even cooler to be enthusiastic about your work, skills, and ideas.
2) Once the content is created, you need to make sure that people know about it.
Promoting your content is the next step in this process. You’d be amazed how many tech people actually think it’s not their job to push their services. It is! You need to educate your customers and show them with tutorials and case studies what you can do for them.
The best ways to reach out to these potential clients is to attend networking events, join programming organizations and clubs in your city, and make cold calls or send emails, among others.
Marketing your programming services is two-fold – it is not only important to market your services directly to your audience, it is also important to continue to build your online presence and let your clients find you.
Building a content creation strategy will help you establish your online presence and drive more traffic to your website. Being active in your niche is important and helps expand your community of fans and future clients.
Here are the steps to building an effective content strategy:
1) Create content based on popular keywords in your industry and post it on your blog and social media profiles.
Examples of keywords you can use in your content strategy:
“user experience design“
“website design and development”
Creating an editorial calendar will also help you remain consistent with your content creation efforts and make sure you do have content to publish on a weekly basis.
2) Find popular sites in your niche that would be worth pursuing for guest blogging. Make sure their content / audience is aligned with the main issues your target audience has. Aim for 2-3 guest posts / week around specific keywords.
Measure your guest posting results to see exactly how valuable each guest post / blog is:
- Number of subscribers generated by your post (use a service like Linkody to track the backlinks to your site)
- Incoming links
- Page views
- Social shares
3) Find popular posts in your niche and use the “Skyscraper technique” to build your authority on top of that.
Essentially, you find great content that has been shared massively, make it even better (you can either make the content more thorough, update information, or create a better design) and then spread the word about your new content.
Differentiate or… Die
Hopefully, these tips will get you excited about looking for new ways to promote your programming services. A super targeted marketing strategy will definitely get you more customers, more revenue, and create more buzz around your brand.
Always think like your ideal client every time you create a new piece of content, whether it’s a new template, portfolio sample, Facebook post, or video tutorial or explainer. Pay attention to their level of expertise and create content they can understand. Don’t leave them hanging and not seeing how your programming services could help grow their business.
Constantly think of new reasons why someone would buy your services over the competition. This approach alone will help you find unique ways to promote your programming services and grow your customer base.
Like with any product or service, your goal is not just to get sales, but also to build a following around your brand. That’s the real golden goose: repeat customers.