Marketing is an integral part of a translator’s life, and marketing strategies are vitally important to the success of any freelance translation business. Errors in marketing and lack of marketing can have the same result - no work!
Below we’ve listed some common, but critical, marketing errors by freelance translators: errors that can break a freelance business –
Even when there’s a downturn in the economy it seems that the translation business still does very well, and most qualified professionals don’t need to look for work. However, most translators rely on a steady flow of work from their regular clients, each of whom provides a certain percentage of their yearly income. Now, what would happen if one or more of these relationships failed? Any number of scenarios could result in the loss of a client. Your clients’ business could fail, or your translation services may no longer be required because they’ve either found someone cheaper or perhaps it’s a cost-cutting exercise on the part of the business.
Translators must have a plan to cover unexpected client losses. It’s not realistic to assume that you’ll be translating indefinitely for your current client base. You need to consider who your next translation clients will be, and how you intend marketing to them.
Most Translators Discover Their Loyal Direct Clients Through Either Personal Referrals Or In-Person Meetings
If you’ve met a client in person and been able to build a relationship with them, you’re obviously going to have a better rapport with that client. And, as in any other business, the clients that either offers a large volume of work or pay very well, meaning your high-value clients, are the ones who are more likely to trust someone they’ve met in person. It’s very important that you put yourself out there and talk to real, live people. Why not attend a tradeshow for your specialization or go to a freelancers group potluck?
You could join your local Chamber of Commerce or attend an ATA conference – however you decide to network, realize that this is the most effective way of attracting good clients.
Don’t Try And Compete On Price Alone
To start with, quality conscious clients are likely to be skeptical if you’re charging low rates: they’ll wonder why you’re willing to work so hard for so little. In addition, most people work better when they feel they’re being well paid for their services, and of course, the reverse is also true. The other problem with setting low prices is that it creates a negative dynamic between the translator and the client, where the client is likely to consider the translator as simply a commodity provider; meaning that your hard work is not valued. Translators also need to remember that there will always be another translator prepared to work for less money; so, instead of competing on price, you need to charge what you believe your expertise is worth. What you should be competing on, however, is quality and customer service. These are what your clients are looking for!