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How to Market Your TRANSLATION Regularly

There are only 24 hours in a day, and a heck of a lot to do with them. This is why so many freelance translators let their marketing take a backseat to everything else that they do. But that short-term thinking is going to make it hard to break out of the feast-and-famine cycle.

Starting today, let’s put marketing back where it belongs: right at the top of your priority list.

Stats that Show Why Marketing Is So Important To Your Business

Every year, Hubspot compiles a list of marketing statistics acquired by well-known marketing companies. Here are a few that help drive home the importance of marketing consistently:

  • Around 80% of US internet users can be reached between social media and blogs
  • DemandMetric found that companies with active blogs produce 66 percent as many leads as those without
  • Email marketing has an average ROI of 4,300% according to the Direct Marketing Association
  • 78% of executives say that an unsolicited email has to lead to a face-to-face meeting at some point in their careers

What Even Counts as Marketing When You’re a Freelance Translator?

Though we tend to think of marketing in terms of direct sales and cold-calling, it actually refers to a lot of non-billable activities including:

  • Updating your website or blog with new posts, content, or promotions
  • Writing guest blogs for websites in your field
  • Sending out pitches to potential translation clients
  • Attending translator events and conferences in your area
  • Buying PPC and display ads on relevant websites
  • Being active on social media and answering questions on industry-related forums
  • Gathering testimonials from your clients
  • Posting results from successful projects on your social media accounts

What Are the Most Common Reasons Translators Avoid Marketing

If you don’t tackle the real reason you aren’t marketing yourself now, all the help guides in the world won’t help you. So, be honest with yourself and jot down the things that stop you from being active on Twitter, reaching out to potential clients by email, or posting on your blog. While I’m no psychic, I’m willing to bet your justification falls into one of these categories:

You Don’t Want to Feel Like a Pushy Salesmen: 

Most people hate salesmen, and only 13 percent of people believe that a salesperson can fulfill their needs during the shopping process. This idea that people who work in sales are bottom feeders and scum is something made more pervasive by their portrayal in media. But you’re not going to be the kind of salesman who lies to little old ladies and saddles them with house payments that they can’t afford. Instead, you’re going to listen to what your clients want and design TRANSLATION that fit their needs.

You Don’t Have Time: 

Clockify found that more than half of freelancers work less than 30 hours a week. A lot of that time is spent on non-billable activities like accounting, invoicing, and contract writing. While these things are important, many of them can be outsourced in favor of marketing initiatives. And, while we might want to avoid the 9-to-5 grind, many of us can squeeze out an hour or two a week for email and social media. Just be sure to set appropriate boundaries to ensure your normal work doesn’t expand to fill your newfound free time.

Rejection Scares You: 

Though we despise getting called at all hours of the night, many of us feel a sense of empathy for telemarketers that spend most of their working lives getting hung up on. All of us know what it’s like to hear the word “no” and hate the feeling that it brings. That’s a big reason many people avoid sending pitches to potential customers. But it’s something you’ll need to get used to if you want to make it big as a freelance translator.

You’re Overwhelmed By All the Tools Out There: 

There’s a lot of marketing advice and marketing tools out there. For many freelance translators, this abundance leads to analysis paralysis. At the end of the day, the tools you use aren’t as important as the message you’re looking to deliver. Any tool or piece of advice that can get you more clients is a good one. So, don’t overthink it and never be afraid to give different tools a shot.

9 Ways to Make Sure Your Marketing Gets Done

To conquer the above objections, you can try a mixture of the following:

Make a Plan: 

As my regular readers know, I’m a HUGE proponent of marketing plans for freelance translators. When you have a plan–and a calendar to go with it–it’s a lot easier to hold yourself accountable. Contrary to what you may think, creating one of these plans doesn’t have to feel like writing a master thesis. In fact, I have a template that takes just an hour to complete.

Schedule in Bulk and Automate What You Can: 

There are plenty of tools out there designed to help make marketing easy. Spend one or two days a month developing and scheduling your email and social media content. This ensures that you’ll always have something coming down the pipeline. To make this easier, start each month by picking a theme or goal and structuring everything around that. Don’t be afraid to reuse content either!

Start Your Day With Marketing: 

Most translators I know start their day by checking their emails. This quickly sets the tone and tasks for the rest of the day. Instead, consider starting each day with a marketing initiative. Maybe it’s making eight cold calls or finishing a blog post. Whatever it is, don’t do anything else until that task is done. Once this system’s in place, you’ll be amazed at how fast you get promotional stuff done.

Make Everything a Client Deliverable: 

If you’re like most freelance translators I work with, marketing takes a backseat to make your customers happy. Now, how easy would promoting your services be if you began thinking of it as a client deliverable? Tell interested clients you have a blog coming out on a subject they are interested in or develop a strategy that steers your clients as much as it helps you. With this simple mindset change, marketing will move from a side project to a must-do.

Develop Templates: 

Why devote time reinventing the wheel when you don’t have to? Before you start any serious marketing initiative, create pre-made templates for the emails and posts that surround it. Just be sure everything is consistent with your brand’s voice and style guide. Not a graphic designer? Give Canva a shot.

Measure Your Success and Adjust Accordingly: 

It’s a lot easier to motivate yourself to post on social media when you can see the results with the naked eye. Before going too far with your marketing efforts, be sure that everything you do has some sort of tracking attached to it. Using different phone numbers for your PPC ads, adding your campaigns to your website analytics, and using an email analytics software can go a long way to giving you insight into what does–and doesn’t–work. Adjust your plans accordingly.

Do Something Fun: 

Marketing your TRANSLATION doesn’t have to be a chore! Not everything you post has to be a well-crafted sales pitch. In fact, many experts suggest keeping promotional content to a minimum. So, fill your marketing plan with stuff that you legitimately enjoy writing. Maybe it’s a weekly lesson in your target language or a monthly post about linguistics. Whatever you end up doing, your enthusiasm will probably shine through.

Make Better Use of Your Dead Time: 

Are you stuck in line at the DMV? Waiting for a layover at the airport? Instead of using these 15-minute chunks to watch silly things on YouTube, utilize them as mini-marketing sessions. Post a Tweet about what you did yesterday. Reread and edit an old blog post. Learn more about SEO. Over time, these bite-sized promo sessions add up.

Curate More: 

If you see a blog post or news story you really like, share it! While you want to establish yourself as a translation authority, there is nothing wrong with showing your customers content that isn’t yours. This not only saves you time but also showcases you as someone open to new ideas.

Still Not Sure Where to Start?

With those nine tips under your belt, marketing your freelance translation business should be a little easier. But for those in a crowded market or those who have a hard time distinguishing themselves, a blog post might not be enough. For a more in-depth consultation, reach out to me at the contact page above.

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