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According to a Bankrate study, 45 percent of working Americans have a side hustle. If you do any side hustle or freelance work in addition to a full-time or part-time job, you want it to be a success. Cue marketing.
Marketing your side hustle can help you attract new business. It can even help make it possible to quit your job and pursue your side hustle full time. But to do that, you need an efficient marketing strategy first. And if you’re short on time—as most full-time workers with a side hustle are—you probably want to cut through the noise and land on a strategy that’ll stick.
One of the most valuable aspects to a freelancer who’s just starting out is gaining memorability, and that’s why you should begin your marketing strategy with storytelling.
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Storytelling as a marketing strategy
If you want potential customers to remember you, give them a story they can relate to. A great story can make you stand out among the typical marketing strategies other side hustlers are pushing.
One study found that people are 22 times more likely to remember information told through a story rather than straight facts. If you’re shooting for memorability, storytelling is the ticket.
Telling your story, including the how and why of your decision to start your side hustle, is a great first marketing strategy. So before you pursue and spend precious time on other effective marketing strategies (i.e., ads, tutorials, or a blog), set the stage with a story.
How to market your side hustle through storytelling
Ready to give storytelling a go? Take a look at the following steps to start marketing your side hustle through storytelling.
Craft your story in a compelling way
First things first: get your story down pat. Write it down, go through a couple of drafts, and share it with friends and family to get their impressions.
To get this process started, answer a few questions, including:
- Why did you decide to start your side hustle? How’d you do it?
- What kind of challenges have you faced?
- Who’s in the story? Where does the story take place? When?
- What’s the point of telling your story? What sort of action do you want listeners or readers to take?
- What sets you apart from others?
When working on your story, make sure it accurately describes your startup experience. And, check to see that it matches the goals you’ve set for your side hustle.
Once you’ve written your story in a way that’s authentic and compelling, it’s time to share the final version in conversation with current and potential customers.
Promote your story on your website or listings
Did you build a website for your freelance work? Or, do you have a listing on a freelancing platform like Upwork? If your answer to either is a resounding “yes,” use your story to your advantage.
If your answer is no, you should begin boosting your side hustle’s visibility by enhancing your online presence. Then, when your website or listing is up and running, go ahead and promote your side hustle with your story.
When you’re building your online presence, keep in mind that 55 percent of visitors spend less than 15 seconds on a website. If your story doesn’t capture their attention within 15 seconds, they could move on to something that does.
Get (and keep) users’ attention by promoting your story, front and center: weave it into your website’s “About” page, and make sure you include it on your social media profiles, as well.
Add it to social media
Do you have social media profiles specifically for your side hustle? If you don’t have them yet, you might use your personal social media pages to promote your freelancing work for the time being.
Use any and all social media profiles to tell the story of why you started your side hustle. Engage customers through social media by sharing your story on different posts. And, you can use the “About” sections or headers of your social profiles to tell your story.
One thing to keep in mind is your word count on social media posts. If your story is long, cut it down to fall between the ideal range. So, what is that coveted ideal range? SproutSocial found the following:
- Facebook: 40 to 80 characters for an update; 155 characters for page descriptions
- Twitter: 71 to 100 characters for a Tweet
- Instagram: 138 to150 characters for a post; 150 characters for the bio
- LinkedIn: 50 to 100 characters for a status update; 2,000 characters for the summary
Whether you’re looking to increase your side hustle’s brand awareness or are pursuing your side hustle full time, storytelling can help you get there. Once you finalize your story, you can start using it to market your side hustle and build up a customer base.
Here’s a snapshot of the steps you need to follow to market your side hustle through storytelling:
- Craft your story
- Promote it on your website or listing
- Add it to social media
And remember: take pride in your side hustle, and put your journey into words! Your customers will appreciate your honesty and transparency.