The gig economy secret is out. No longer is independent work reserved for a select few free spirits; today, all kinds of people are trying their hand at full-time gigs, side hustles, and everything in between. With so many faces in the marketplace, getting customers to choose you relies on standing apart from the competition. But standing out is about more than a clever tagline and a great headshot. If you want a chance at gig economy success, you need these five things.
1. A Consistent Web Presence
It's not enough to have a web presence, you need to manage your web presence. Being easy to find in search results is important, but what people see when they click through matters just as much. Is your brand image and message consistent across platforms, or do customers have a different experience depending if they click on your business website, Facebook, or LinkedIn?
Streamline branding across platforms by using the same design elements, color schemes, and messaging across each website and social media platform you maintain a presence on. Neil Patel recommends a presence on “the big four” of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, but ultimately you should choose the platforms that enable you to engage your audience regularly with high-quality content.
2. A Brand That Connects
Consistent branding won't do much good if the brand doesn't resonate with your customer base. Good branding draws customers in, colors their experience of your business, and encourages customer loyalty. A bad brand does none of those things and may drive your audience away.
In order to speak to your audience effectively, you need to know your audience—who they are, what they relate to, what challenges they face, and how you can solve these challenges. If those seem like impossible questions, remember you're not marketing to everyone. Rather, you're trying to reach a specific ideal customer.
3. An Ideal Customer
You don't need to attract every potential customer out there. Rather, you need the people who want the service you're providing, are willing to pay your price for it, and are easy to work with. Those are your ideal customers, and your branding should speak to them specifically. ART + marketing recommends asking four questions to identify your ideal customer.
4. An Eye-Catching Logo
Your logo is the first thing customers see, before they even read your name. Unfortunately, many independent workers scrimp on their logo due to a lack of design skills or capital to pay a professional designer. Rather than going logo-less and risk missing customers or spending money you don't have on design services, use a free online logo generator that will guide you through the process of creating a simple, but effective logo for your brand.
5. A Flexible Mindset
The gig economy isn't like a typical job where you're presented with a list of responsibilities before you ever apply. When working for yourself, you have to do what it takes to make your business work. Sometimes, that means taking your business in a direction you hadn't planned on or targeting a customer group that wasn't initially on your radar. It could mean hearing customer feedback and integrating it into your operations or halting a service that, while popular, isn't proving profitable. Rather than sticking to a plan despite evidence it's not working, aim to stay flexible and open to change.
At the end of the day, working in the gig economy is a lot like running any other business. You may not have employees or a brick-and-mortar presence, but you need to market yourself, develop a reputation, and stay profitable nonetheless. While you’re sure to have some luck just throwing yourself out there and hoping for the best, heading into the gig economy with a brand and a plan gives you the best chance at lasting success.
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