Marketing yourself is half the job: A How-to Guide

The following article was written thanks to Charlotte Chase, GOFISH volunteer.

It’s the big question: “How do I put myself out there?” Applicable to everyone from graphic designers to developers, from electricians to dog groomers, marketing yourself is one of the best things you can do to make your name stick and be the one who gets the opportunities, whether that be from potential customers or from employers! You don’t need to have a business or be a freelancer to market yourself either, and you also don’t need a ridiculous amount of money (unless you’re planning to hire an advertising board!). In this article, I’m going to share a few ways that you can go about marketing you, your business and your passions.

Websites

At some point, either at school, college or university, you’ve probably been asked to make a website (or a blog!) for some reason or another. My first attempt of making a website was to sell an electric car for Vauxhall, of which I am probably due some kind of compensation for them clearly taking my idea.

Making a website sounds a bit daunting at first, especially if the words “code” and “HTML” mean absolutely nothing to you, but the reality is, it couldn’t be any easier. Website-making websites include the likes of Wix, Squarespace and WordPress which give you the tools, templates and tutorials to make a stunning website to show off you and your work.

They can, however, cost a bit of money depending on if you want to pay for the luxury of your own domain, which could possibly pay off as more professional-looking. For example, if I wanted to have the domain “charlotte chase.guru”, it would cost me £40 a year to own that domain to prevent anyone else setting up one with the same name.

However, the alternative isn’t exactly disastrous. Wix offer free website building with the small sacrifice of having “.wix” at the end of your domain name and Wix ads on your site. The result isn’t garish by any means and a great alternative if you don’t want to pay for a personalised website address, although the option is still there.

WordPress is also similar in this regard and is actually one of the most popular CMS (content management systems) out there. WordPress is used by 41.4% of the top 10 million websites as of May 2021, and it also hosts this one! (and you can see how great this website looks!). Many employers, especially for marketing jobs, will ask for some CMS experience and often it’ll be WordPress they will be looking for, so it’s great to learn it’s ropes for your CV too!

Business cards

Hear me out on this one. The thought of a business card sounds prehistoric nowadays, especially with the wonders of social media. However, the thought of handing over a rectangle of top-quality card, with my name and contact details beautifully embossed in gold on the front, to a potential client or colleague actually gives me shivers only Patrick Bateman from American Psycho could relate to.

The business card isn’t dead. A survey conducted by the Statistic Brain Research Institute states that 57% of business people say that their business card is essential to their business and of those who receive a card, 72% judge a company just from the quality of it. In other words, having a business card isn’t an old-age concept and it’s clear why.

Imagine you’re in the midst of a networking group, and you meet someone you want to connect with (let’s call her Debra). Debra has a lot of people wanting to talk to her so you probably should let her know your details so you can get in touch later. Getting her to take out her phone, make note of your email address, add your number to her contacts and perhaps even tell her to follow you on Twitter is probably going to take too much time. Instead, be rid of the hassle, and give Debra your business card. It has everything she needs, including the address to your fabulous new website. Even better if you get it professionally made, Debra is going to be impressed with the craftsmanship and see you as someone to know.

Getting one professionally made is also easy. Canva, one of the leading proprietors of the printing industry is one of the well known ones, with relatively good prices for a good stack of sustainably sourced cards. I’ve personally used Moo in the past which also gave me a nice holder to put all my cards in one place. It makes it a lot easier to carry so I can whip them out in the middle of a conversation and tell them to visit my website that I pay £40 a year for (you bet I’m getting everyone to visit it!).

Linktree

The other day, I discovered a nifty tool that can bring all of your platforms together in one space. It’s call Linktree, “The Only Link You’ll Ever Need”. It’s not specific to anything (it was actually made with Instagram in mind originally). Simply put, it’s a short link that when someone clicks on it, it takes them to a menu where you can place links to various pages. It’s not a necessity to marketing yourself, but I think it’s brilliant. Having your profiles, portfolio and websites all in one place gives whoever is viewing your profile the opportunity to learn more about you in quick and easy fashion.

It doesn’t cost anything to set up although you can pay for a Pro version to have some additional customisation options to amplify your brand, analytics to see where traffic to your websites are driving from, fancy links such as QR codes and integrations with other marketing tools such as Mailchimp.

That being said, the free version is very generous as it is. You have unlimited links, an ability to connect your email, phone number and also set up a donation/tip option, particularly useful if you have an audience looking to support you.

So, now you see that marketing yourself isn’t a costly or a difficult task as one might firstly assume. For small businesses, it’s incredibly important for resources to be accessible so they can promote themselves and build their brand. Putting yourself on your own platform, whether that be your website or on your business card, can give you the opportunity to make things happen and show off what you can do! While the world is opening up again to in-person meetings, trade exhibitions and events, now is certainly a great time to do it.