Written by Mat Casner

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Ep. 23. The 5 Marketing Stages You Need To Know as a Freelancer


Freelance CEO podcast
The Freelance CEO Podcast with Mat Casner
Ep. 23. The 5 Marketing Stages You Need To Know as a Freelancer

The 5 Marketing Stages You Need To Know as a Freelancer

So today We’re talking about marketing.

And marketing is all the rage, right?

We’re seeing it everywhere in our ads, we’re seeing it on tv, we’re bombarded by it. But how do we as Freelance designers take a smart view of marketing? Now, I have to tell you guys, I’ve been a designer for now close to 30 years. I’ve been a Freelance designer for almost 15.

I don’t have a business degree, I don’t have a marketing degree.

And so for me, learning marketing as a creative has been a bit of a journey. And today I want to teach you some of the things that have helped me in terms of getting clarity on what marketing is and how as designers, we can really be smart about using marketing in our businesses.

Now, before I go any further, I just wanna talk to you, what is marketing? And you guys, we see marketing in all sorts of shape and sizes on the internet, tv, radio, it’s everywhere, billboards, newspapers, magazines, guys, we see marketing everywhere, and I see examples of good marketing, and I see bad examples of marketing, but at the very core, here’s what marketing is. Marketing is making a connection with an audience.

So as a Freelance designer, you are, you are trying to make a connection with the people who would eventually become, hopefully your clients, okay? And your customers. So it’s the tactics and strategies and the things that we do to reach out and try to communicate.

Now, when I was getting started as a freelancer, for me, marketing was a bit of a cloud. It was in terms of I knew it was there, I needed it. At some levels, marketing felt kind of icky and salesy to me and disingenuous. And then the other side was like, marketing felt like it was this magic that I didn’t have.

It was this, you know, this thing that you did that just magically brought people to your business. Well, as I’ve been a freelancer for about 15 years, I have been learning about marketing. And what is really cool about marketing as I see it, is, you know, it’s not hocus pocus. It’s not trickery. Trying to get someone to, you know, like you sub subconsciously. It’s really all about making connection with your target customer and helping them get to know you better.

So I’m gonna break down five stages of marketing that I think you should have in your business.

Marketing Stage 1: The Awareness Stage

And I’m gonna start with stage number one, which is the awareness stage. Guys, we have to understand that people are not going to become our customer until they trust us, and people are not gonna trust us until they learn about us, and they’re not going to learn about us until they first hear about us. So the awareness stage is really that first contact. It’s the, it’s the first impression. It’s the the the the first opportunity that we have to make a connection with a new potential customer.

They’re seeing us for the first time, they’re hearing about us for the first time, and we want to treat those first contacts with, with great care. First impressions mean a lot. So we want to make sure that we have a strategy in place for our awareness stage of marketing, so that we are able to, number one, make a good first impression with whoever our potential customer might be, but also be able to lead them into the following stages.

So the awareness stage is all about just creating that initial awareness, getting our name out there and creating new exposure for us as business owners, that’s vital to any marketing strategy is the awareness stage, stage number one. Stage number two is the consideration stage. So we’ve gone past the initial introduction, the handshake, if you will.

People have seen us, they know who we are now, and they start to have an idea of, of what we do and who we serve and the problems that we can solve. But in the consideration stage, this is where the customer is starting to do a little bit more investigation. They’re starting to do their homework.

They have a business, they recognize that maybe we have a solution to a problem that they have, and now they’re gonna check us out.

So the consideration stage is all about us providing additional information that provides clarity in terms of how we operate, the services that we provide, the processes that we use as we are solving problems and giving us a chance to prove our value to a potential customer.

Marketing Stage 2: The Consideration Stage

This comes into consideration stage because at this stage, the customer is shopping, if you will. I use this example all the time, but I shop on Amazon every week and I’m looking for new products. And when I see a new product that I like, that is like the awareness stage, and then I move directly into the consideration stage, I start looking at reviews.

I start looking at what other customers experiences have been like with the product, because I want to educate myself. Yes, they say they can do this, but I wanna see if they really do what they say they can do. So I’m starting to move into that investigation phase, which happens during the consideration stage, stage number two.

Marketing Stage 3: The Conversion Stage

Now, stage number three is where the customer quits researching and decides to make an investment.

This is called the conversion stage. This is the stage where the customer has a comfort level and a trust level with you as a service provider, and they are willing now to exchange their money for the solutions that you can potentially provide to their business.

This is a critical stage because this is where the bridge happened. This is where the customer comes and meets you, and there’s the exchange, the exchange of, of money for value that you’re going to provide their business.

So at this stage, you need to be very careful in terms of how you market yourself to your customer that is buying from you. You wanna make sure that you have integrity.

This is something that I’ve found as a business owner for the past 15 years, that’s that’s incredibly crucial. When people buy from you, you need to make sure that they know that you’re trustworthy, that you’re not going anywhere, that you are there to be a value to their business, and that you’re dependable.

I have seen so many bad examples of customers who hire freelancers, and then the freelancer flakes out. The freelancer just quits answering emails.

The freelancer does unthinkable things to destroy the trust and confidence that the customer has placed in the freelancers care. And guys, that’s why this stage, the conversion stage is so critical.

We need to be all in.

Marketing Stage 4: The Relationship Stage

We need to be helping our client, and we need to be building that trust, which sets us up for the fourth stage of marketing, which is the relationship stage. What the relationship stage is really gonna be more about you creating a great communication pathway between you and your customer.

This stage of marketing typically isn’t gonna happen on the outside. It’s typically gonna happen on the insight. You’re going to continue to build value into your customer’s business by the way that you communicate with them, by the way that you execute with them, by the way that you support them, by the way that you invest your ideas and your mind into their business.

Now, I’m not saying to do any of this for free or for reduced price, but what it does is it helps to create this relationship with a customer so that the customer understands that you are in and you are working as a part of their team.

Marketing Stage 5: The Retention Stage

This relationship stage is vital, and which leads to the fifth marketing stage, which is the retention stage. And this is where you have forged a relationship based on trust, great communication, great service, great support, and your customer now values you as an integral part of their team. This is how you build long-term relationships with customers. That can be guys quite literally worth millions of dollars.

I have been freelancing now for 15 years. I have clients that have been with me longer than that. They were, they were with me when I was freelancing part-time, and through relationship and retention strategies, I have been able to keep them as a regular paying client for over 15 years, some of them monthly, okay? I actually have one client that I’ve had for more than 15 years.

The total, the total invoices that I have built this client are over a million dollars over the span of 15 years. Guys, that is significant. And to have that kind of value in a customer is a freelancer’s dream. But it’s possible if you are taking seriously the relationship and you’re honoring the commitment that you’ve made to your customer and you serve them well, day in, day out, month after month, year after year. Okay? So here’s the thing.

The the five stages are this, the awareness stage, the consideration stage, the conversion stage, the relationship stage, and the retention stage. Here’s the thing, you can’t just know ’em.

You’ve gotta have a strategy for each one of these. See, this is where people get marketing all mixed up, is they just think that posting on social is marketing.

They think that just sending out an email is marketing that putting out their portfolio is marketing. You really need to be focused on one of these five stages to really invest your time and your resources well into your potential customers and your existing customers.

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