Freelance Web Developer Manual
How To Build Your Freelance Brand
A project of Frontntweaks.com
Author: Gerald Watanabe
A strong Brand Is Vital
Branding: “The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.” [entrepreneur.com] 
Before I got into my own business venture, I always thought that a brand name was only for the big boys: Coca Cola, Amazon.com, Pizza Hut, etc.
I never imagined that I had to promote and build my own brand until I began learning how to build your business.
Essentially, you need to identify your freelance business amid the competition.
Who you are, what you do, and what are your values.
Why Identify Your Brand
It doesn’t matter if your freelance business is a one-man operation, it still has a brand name that needs to be identified for the following reasons:
- Company Recognition: Customers will be familiar with your brand and more likely choose you because of brand familiarity over the competition.
- Can charge more: An example is in the automotive market: Brands such as Mercedes and Lexus have built a powerful brand name, they can charge more for their product and people will pay the higher price.
- Can lead to referrals: If your customers love your work, they will pass the word to others. In most cases, they mention the brand and not the developer’s name.
- Business Value: A solid and established brand makes it a more appealing investment opportunity than your competitors.
- Gives you Inspiration: Your brand represents you and your company. This will inspire you to provide the best quality work possible for your clients.
How To Build Yor Brand
Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.
1. A Logo – Without exception, every successful business has a logo. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, in fact, simple is much better. Just a design that is unique to your company brand. Post your logo on your website, all your social media platforms, your invoice, and receipts.
2. Website – Have a website with helpful and useful content. The purpose is to eliminate any confusion about who you are and what you do. This is a very important process to enhance your brand.
3. Social Media – What better way to increase brand exposure and traffic to your brand. But be careful, with so many platforms available such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., trying to be highly active on all of them is nearly impossible. You have a business to run, so select a stage that best fits what you do.
So if you are into photography, put your effort into Instagram.
Most web design or development related brands focus on Twitter, and so forth.
If it is within your budget, try placing an ad on Facebook.
“In their analysis of more than 100 brand pages in February 2014, Social@Ogilvy found that Facebook’s organic reach is just 6%, with large pages over 500,000 followers seeing just 2% reach. (Meaning, the bigger your brand, the more you’re being pressured toward paid content.) These numbers are rapidly in decline, having dropped almost 50% since October.”
[Facebook Organic Reach Rapidly Approaching Zero] 
Bottom Line: You are going to have to pay (Ads) to get fans to your page.
4. Freebies – People love free things. I can think of two ways to exploit this human weakness:
- Give away things like pens, visors, koozies with your logo and brand name printed on them.
- Provide a free version of your product. If you build WordPress plugins, attract users with a free version with limited features, enticing them with a premium edition that offers all the features. Of course, most of your downloads will be for the free version which is what you want in the first place.
5. Business Review Sites – Encourage your customers to give you a review on sites such as Yelps and Angie’s List. Good reviews can only build your brand reputation. Of course, nothing is perfect, there may be a few unhappy customers who may write an unpleasant review. Don’t let this bother you as it is all part of running a successful business.
6. Advertise – Place ads in your local magazine, newspaper, and coupon books.
If your budget has some wiggle room, try a radio commercial.
My friend placed a commercial on a local radio station, and it doubled his computer business within a few months. He stopped the commercials after a while hoping his clients would refer others to him by word of mouth. But his business already had gained traction and he had to actually turn down customers because it became so overwhelming.
7. Business Fairs – If your local area holds business expos, fairs, or events, signup to place a table or booth at that event.
The sole purpose is to expose your business to the local area.
You can answer questions and provide immediate consultation to those who have website needs. Make sure you have ample business cards and fliers. And don’t forget to have a signup form so you can collect their contact information for followups.
8. Relationships – It’s no secret that to find and keep clients, you need to have a relationship with them. You have to make them think that you are their best friend and you do care about their endeavors.
Sent a card or special email at the end of the year.
You just want to say hello, thanking them for their business with you, and wish them well during the holiday season.
Bottom Line: if they like you, they will refer others to you!
I hope these tips and suggestions are helpful.
As you can see, a successful brand requires lots of time and effort.
There is more to building your brand than just your web development skills alone.
If you don’t have an entrepreneur’s mindset yet, you certainly will develop one as you see your business grow.
Entrepreneur: The capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make a profit. The most obvious example of entrepreneurship is the starting of new businesses.
[Business Dictionary]