This is a blog post by Sherif Abuzid.
Being a freelance translator is not only about translation assignments.
You have to wear many hats: administration, accounting, project management, sales, and marketing. Some tasks can be outsourced, such as administration and accounting, but you need to do others by yourself because you’re the expert.
I do not think you can outsource your marketing, and it does not need to be that hard. It just needs focus and consistency.
But first let’s define marketing.
Marketing is a very long process that starts with defining your target audience and ends with the exposure tactics you use to promote your translation business. No need to go deep, but you can check the marketing tips for translators podcast for more tips.
Let’s be honest, freelance translators do not usually have a large budget for marketing, and actually they do not need a big one. You just need to market to a reasonable number of clients who can provide the amount of work you can handle.
Allocating one hour daily for your marketing efforts is a good start for a freelance translator. Make it the first or the last hour of your day. Some marketing tasks can even be done while you are on the go, which would make your life easier.
However, the most important thing is consistency.
Reaching out to clients in a consistent way is the best strategy ever to find translation business opportunities. You can classify your client-contact activities into three major categories.
Your potential clients: These are the clients you have not contacted before or who have not shown interest in your work for some reason. These clients may or may not work with you in the future. The purpose of your contact is to learn if they are interested or not in your translation service, find out who is the supplier’s manager there, and what is their exact recruitment process, or other important information.
Your in-active clients: These are the clients whose test you passed, or you have completed their paperwork, but you have not started working with them yet. This type of translation client has a higher potential for work. You may just need to make a little push to start working with them.
Your current clients: This is a client you have worked with in the past, but you have not heard from them for a longer time. People are busy; you need to remind them about yourself. Maybe the project manager who used to hire you left the company, and you need to get in touch with a new project manager. There are many other reasons to get in touch and check things out with them.
I mentioned before that marketing is the art of exposure, and social media has revolutionized our chances for exposure. It enables translators to engage with potential clients in unprecedented ways.
You need to focus on social media channels where your translation prospects exist. And remember this: You are going after clients, not translation colleagues.
I consider LinkedIn and Twitter the best channels for us as translation service providers. Start by optimizing your profile: add a professional image and a summary of your skills and your contacts.
Engaging means posting, commenting, and sharing stories, news, and articles related to your field of expertise. You can use a tool like IFTTT to streamline your sharing and posting activities. For commenting, you can just follow up to 20 people as a start and be sure to comment on their status updates on a daily basis.
There are many clients out there whom you can help by answering their questions. Your professional and deep answers will get you in front of potential clients. There are many platforms out there, like Yahoo Answers and Quora.
I did a test on Quora and there are a lot of potential opportunities there, and here are the statistics from my Quora account:
6470 views on my answers
I still need to work harder on this, but it seems to be working.
Now it is your turn to write a marketing action plan for your translation business.
Make it one to two pages long, with the social media channels you will be using, the clients you will interact with, and the allocated time daily.
Sherif Abuzid is key accounts manager at translationpartner.com. He has 10-years’ experience in translation and localization for Arabic, Middle East and African languages. Sherif holds a MBA in International Business Administration from the Arab Academy for Science Technology & Maritime Transport (AASTMT).