No matter how busy you are in your work as a freelance translator, it’s always good to keep one eye on the future. You never know when a change of staff at a key client, or a tightening of a company’s budget, could mean that you suddenly find yourself looking for work.
Professional translation, like many freelance career options, doesn’t come with many guarantees in terms of regularity of income, but proactive freelancers providing high quality translations should find that with the right marketing strategy they can build a decent network of contacts to fall back on, should the need arise.
We’ve looked previously at how to plan your marketing, so here are some additional tips and tricks to ensure that you never miss an opportunity. Or even the chance to create an opportunity!
LinkedIn is a fantastic source of connections. You can reach out to those you have worked with previously and remind them that you’re around whenever they need something translated.
However, where LinkedIn really comes into its own is by offering you the chance to make new connections. A quick whizz through the list of suggested contacts that LinkedIn generates for you, with a request to connect and a quick note about your services, can turn up a range of unexpected opportunities, all for the sake of a few clicks and a largely copied and pasted message.
Services like Mailchimp allow you to send professional emails out to multiple contacts at once – and many have a free option that allows you to send messages to a limited number of contacts per month. The limit should be more than enough to keep most freelance translators happy, so why not get creative and produce an eye-catching email flyer that will grab potential clients’ attention in an instant?
You could even think about promoting an offer such as a…
If you find that you’re usually quiet at the same time each year, then plan ahead to make sure that this year you turn that quiet period on its head. Time-limited discounts and offers can be great for this. Let clients know that if they book a translation during your quiet weeks, you’ll give them a percentage discount on your fees, or translate the first 500 words for free (or whatever number is appropriate to the size of the document). Just remember to do your sums beforehand and ensure that your special deal means you’ll still be earning a decent wage!
The old maxim, “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know” still applies. Clients who are happy with your translation service may well know other potential clients that they could refer you to. Introduce a referral scheme to take advantage of those connections, rewarding the referrer for putting you in touch with anyone who spends over a certain amount with you during their first month as your client (or on whatever terms you deem appropriate).
You can be as creative with your referral scheme as you like, offering anything from financial incentives such as discounts on your services to a fun list of treats and perks as rewards for referrals.
Of course, the email you send out to your clients telling them about your new referral scheme could in itself remind those clients of your services and prompt them to give you work themselves – a double win!
Testimonials aren’t simply to add to your website and then forget about. Post your testimonials to your social media accounts (with a suitably humble, appreciate message above having such nice things said about you) to flag up to others how fabulous your services are.
In addition, make a point of asking every client for a testimonial at the end of a job – a satisfied client should be happy to spend five minutes writing about how great you are, and once you have that testimonial in writing, it’s yours forever!
What other quick win marketing tips do you employ to ensure that you always have a steady stream of translation work? And which of the above have you yet to try? We’d love to hear about your experiences via the comments.