In this guest post, ProZ.com professional trainer Tess Whitty shares some advice on how to create a marketing plan for your freelance translation business.
You are a freelance translator looking to grow your business and find those ideal clients that you enjoy working with. In order to do that we need to have some sort of a plan, a marketing plan.
In my experience there is no need to create a lengthy business plan (that will just end up in a drawer and never be put into action). Therefore, I recommend working smarter (not harder) and pulling from a variety of other tools such as mind-maps and whiteboards to create your plan.
If your translation business is already up and running, the idea of adding more to your to-do list can easily feel overwhelming. As business owners, particularly when we are a one-person office, it’s easy to get buried beneath the day-to-day tasks of servicing clients and completing projects. I often hear translators say that it’s hard to find the time and energy to focus on implementing marketing tools. I know it’s hard, I have been there.
Now, because your time is scarce and precious, it is critical that you use it wisely. How are we going to ensure you get stuff done? Easy! We are going to create a list of marketing activities that will benefit your business. That way, every time your marketing appointment rolls around, you will know exactly what you need to tackle that day.
Here are the questions you can answer to begin crafting your marketing action plan:
- How many new clients or projects do you want and in how much time?
- How much more do you want to earn?
- Where will you find your new clients?
- What marketing methods will you use? (Be as specific as possible)
- How will you market and provide service to your existing clients?
- Can you offer additional services to your existing clients?
Based on these answers, you can make a master list of marketing actions that you need to take in order to grow your business. This master list should contain every task – big and small – that you need to execute. Then, prioritize all the actions you need to take and estimate approximately how much time you need to spend on each one. Finally, plug them into a calendar of activities you can do every week and every month. If a certain action requires long-term effort, break the task into milestones and mark the milestones on your calendar as well.
Be realistic with yourself and be careful not to try to do everything all at once. Remember that professional chefs don’t run around the kitchen and throw everything into the oven at the same time. Instead, they recognize that every task requires a different temperature and cook time. They plan their tasks strategically and never take on too much at once.
Follow up with yourself regularly to see what is working and what you need to change – perhaps you tried to tackle too much or too little, perhaps you noticed that your priorities were out of order. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments to the calendar, and remember that it exists for your benefit. After a year it will be fun to look back at just how much your business, income and client list have changed over the course of only 12 months.
If you would like to get a template for a one page marketing plan to help you on the way, please go here: http://forms.aweber.com/form/16/530744816.htm
This post is a short excerpt from Tess’s new book, “The Marketing Cookbook for Translators – For a Successful Freelance Career and Lifestyle,” now available in the ProZ.com books section: http://www.proz.com/books/95/The-Marketing-Cookbook-For-Translators.
Thanks for sharing, Tess! As always, feedback and comments can be posted below or via Twitter @ProZcom