Written by Tom Ewer on 10 December 2014
Repeated testing is needed if you are trying to promote your website – but how do you know if it is working?
In order to succeed as a freelancer you knew you would need to understand what clients expect from you. After taking the time to research this, you probably spent time and money creating and implementing a marketing plan to get ahead in the web design field. As time continues to pass, you may be unsure at times if your efforts are paying off. How can you be sure?
Determining the success of your marketing plan and budget is important in ensuring your continued achievement as a freelancer. It's important that you understand what's working and what's not. This can save you time, money and future frustration. There are several ways to track your results, let's look at four to get you started.
1. Clear Communication
Effective communication is the most important tool that you can use to ensure your marketing plan's success. Your clients are the key people that you need to keep happy in your business. They will refer you if you do a good job and ask them to. This is the best and easiest way to get new business. Therefore, it's necessary that you keep the lines of communication open. This includes current, past and prospective customers. Let them know that you value feedback and are willing to get things right.
Clients can tell you where they heard about you in the first place and what they are looking for in the future. Learn this information by asking them a few simple questions, then file it away for future reference. Are certain clients referring you more often than others? What's different about that relationship than someone that's not referring you? Do your clients know you're taking on new business? If they answer no, it's time to reevaluate your marketing strategies.
2. Tracking Your Success
A large part of a good marketing plan's success is having goals. It is important that you set realistic goals for yourself – and then track them. When tracking, there are some numbers that are more important than others. One example is conversion rates.
There are a number of services that can assist you in tracking. Use link trackers to see how your content travels over the web and when/where your content is shared and utilised. It's also important to track connections via various social networking sites to determine when traffic grows or slows down. This will help you to determine where and when your content is viewed the most – and therefore where you should focus your efforts.
Additionally, email marketing is one of the most effective strategies used by freelancers. It's important when creating a campaign that you ensure that you let any potential clients know what you have to offer. Keep in mind tracking these campaigns is as important (if not more) as creating them. You want to keep track of your open, click, bounce and unsubscribe rates. This will assist you in determining what is working in terms of subject lines, content and campaign times.
The best way to ensure your marketing success is to remain organised. Getting all the information above does nothing, unless you have a system to make sure that this data is useful to you. It's imperative that you keep up with inputting data into your system. Set aside time once a week for this process to ensure it gets done.
Spreadsheets and charts can be a great way for you to view your data. These formats makes it easy for you to understand where you may have issues and then decide how best to solve them. Having this information handy is good for other purposes too. For example, communicating this information to potential clients – in a way that they can understand – will help you to convey you know what you're talking about and how you can best help them.
4. Have a Fluid Plan
Marketing is not something that is planned and done just once. It's an activity that should become part of an ongoing process. As you find what works and what doesn't, it's important that you remain flexible and open to making changes to your plan. These modifications may be large or small depending on your needs and your derived data.
There are many other reasons that you may choose to make adjustments or even trade in your plan for a new one. The ever-changing technology field is probably number one. Technology changes constantly and we must be able to stay malleable and grow with it.
Don't forget people are all different (i.e. clients are all different) and it may be necessary to change your approach to meet the various needs of different clients. Keep your marketing plans and mindset as fluid as possible.
Having a great marketing plan does not stop at creating one. It's necessary to set goals, then track your progress. Figure out what your weaknesses and strengths are. This will help you to know the best times and places for your marketing efforts.
By taking some time and utilising the proper tools, you can implement and change your marketing plan as needed. This will allow you to achieve the best possible success as a freelancer. And that's really the end goal, isn't it?
What's your favourite method of testing your current marketing success rates?