Branding and Positioning

Most freelancers are generalists. They’ll work with anyone, and don’t typically serve any particular niche.

We think you should put a lot of thought into your branding and the kind of clients you choose to work with. In this section, we’ll help you determine who you are, what you offer, and who you work with.

Our Views On Branding & Positioning:

  • You should pick a niche and stick with it. Find out why.
  • Productized consulting helps you align your services with the exact needs of your clients. Find out how.
  • You never should abandon your principles. Find out why.

Whether through 4+ years of in-depth articles, premium courses, the conferences and events I host, or my podcast, my #1 goal is to help you become a more successful freelancer.

Brennan Dunn

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Deciding to become a freelancer is one of the best career decisions you can make. Where else are you able to potentially or triple your income virtually overnight, or work when and where you want — without worrying about an overbearing boss? But with great opportunity comes great responsibility, and sooner or later we all realize it’s not just about designing and writing code. We’re running a business, and we need to sell to stay in business.

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Hi, I’m Brennan. You don’t really know me — in fact, we sorta just met. But I’d like you to hire me, sign my contract, and send me a beefy deposit check. M’kay?

…And so goes the majority of our “sales” websites. Sure, we might spruce things up by including witty taglines and some smiling pictures of ourselves. And I’ll concede that the above is a gross oversimplification of what most of our websites actually say and do.

Positioning Your Freelancing Services

Have you ever wondered why so few people are reaching out to you through your website? What if I told you that you’re likely too general purpose for most potential clients. Today we’ll look at how you can sell to clients through strategically positioning your services.

No one makes the decision to “buy a car”, but instead decides to “buy a van that is big enough for my kids and their friends” or “buy a flashy sports car to combat my mid-life crisis.” Similarly, very few clients are looking to buy web design or web development services. What they want is a “product” that overlaps with the needs of their business.

Getting More Clients Through Better Positioning

A term invented by marketers a few decades back, positioning is the way a product is presented to an audience.

Imagine you’re a chief marketer at Toyota, and you want to run an ad campaign for the Prius. Two groups identify with hybrid cars: environmentalists and thrifty consumers who want to save money on gas. How these two groups perceive a Prius is entirely different, and the advertising message should be totally different — an ad running on a frugal living website should (and would) be remarkably different than an ad running on

Unfortunately, the majority of freelancers fail to capitalize positioning their services like Toyota, because not many of us like to see ourselves as products. But, from the perspective of our clients, we are products. A transaction occurs (a check is written to you) and some value (a website, design, source code) is delivered to the purchaser. We’re hired to deliver something that fulfills a specific business need for the client.

Positioning To Your Client Base

Unless you offer a very cookie-cutter service, chances are your customer base is wide and diverse. A web designer might have clients ranging from hometown attorneys to small restaurant chains to non-profits. Should all of these classes of clients be sold the exact same product?

The easiest way to begin better positioning your freelancing services is to segment your existing customer base. What kinds of clients have you worked with? What needs have they shared? What differences do they have?

Here’s an example segmentation:

  • Legal practices: Wants new clients, can practice statewide, high-value customers, lifelong retainer arrangements.
  • Restaurants:  Wants new customers, immediate vicinity, “impulse” buys (I’m hungry, where should we eat tonight?), repeat customers
  • Non-profits: Wants new donors, promote their mission, develop trust and goodwill

Each of the above desires a different outcome and has different goals, but they all want new business (whether that be clients, customers, or donors.) You need to persuade each of the above audiences to perceive your freelancing services in a way that directly applies to them. Imagine you’re an attorney looking for a new website — would you sooner hire a “web designer” or a “web designer who specializes in getting law firms new clients”?

Getting Started with Positioning

Setting up landing pages that speak directly to a target audience is simple: create a template, and morph the copy depending on the reader. Think of it as a giant game of mad libs. Remember: who is your audience? What is their intended outcome (new clients)? What jargon do they use in their daily business (estate planning, IRS, etc.)? What common needs do they have?

You’ll also want to ensure that each of these landing pages is equipped with a call-to-action and preferably a carrot. Trust me — if you speak the language of your customer, provide them a solution to their problems, and satisfy any objections using the language they use in their industry, they’ll want to talk with you immediately. You’ll have provided them a product built for them using the age-old marketing tactic of positioning.

Lastly, you need to get the right people to these pages. In your list of client case studies, you could append the following call-to-action: “Click here to see how we can help attorneys like <Name of Firm>”, or you could setup ad campaigns that link the right audience to the landing page you’ve designed for them. Ultimately, however, you want to own searches for “<your city> attorney web design”.

Interested in an even more in-depth analysis into positioning your freelancing services and so much more? If so, you’ll want to order my upcoming book, “Sell Yourself Online: The Blueprint”. Not only have I covered the above, but I’ve outlined even more ways that you can get the right people to these specialized landing pages, and have included real-life examples and resources detailing exactly how these landing pages should be setup.

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