Salsa Sundays by Jason TaelliousIt’s seem like everyone is talking about marketing these days. Freelancers around the globe are constantly tackling the importance of marketing and how the slightest misstep or slump in activity can cost you dearly.

A couple of weeks ago, Marian Schembari wrote a post that sparked a spirited conversation on website tricks that drive readers crazy (e.g., popup opt-ins, Thesis competitor adverts, etc.). My favorite art guru, Kesha Bruce, just published her first ARTFIX podcast highlighting ways to make the all-too-popular concept of “starving artist” a thing of the past.

Yet, what many solopreneurs aren’t discussing is the advertising aspect of a freelance marketing plan. You know, advertising. That slice of marketing life where you PAY to increase the public awareness of your brand and services.

The reason why so few of us are talking about it is because, well, it involves the word “pay.” Not to imply that we’re all cheapskates. I think regardless of your freelancing skill or product, most of us understand the concept that you have to spend money to make money. However, since advertising is the most expensive form of marketing, it seems that most independents prefer to opt for less cost-intensive ways to deliver their message through a variety of mediums.

But what of advertising? What about paying to establish your brand? Sure, you have a newsletter and offer free giveaways, but have you considered placing an ad on another non-competing freelancer’s website or podcast? Have you ever purchased a mailing list for your own direct mail campaign? Do good, old-fashioned flyers on telephone poles still work?

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on why advertising isn’t a popular path for many freelancers, as opposed to blogging, newsletters, or engaging in social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Please feel free to share your ideas, concerns or perspectives on any of the following:

  • Do you think feel that any form of marketing is an acceptable part of advertising even if it’s free or inexpensive?

  • Have you engaged in an advertising campaign that has seen significant ROI for your business? If so, what techniques did you use and what led you to pursue that route?

  • LinkedIn recently began offering its members an opportunity to post ads for their professional businesses on the site, but how many of you would be willing to do so if you thought that simply creating a company profile would accomplish the same goal for less?

  • What about “free” forms of advertising such as Craigslist, eBay Classifieds and posters around your town? Do you feel this method of advertising is too dangerous or less trustworthy than paid methods of advertising?