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  • Jasmine Heesaker

Digital Marketing Strategies for Freelance Translators

The short answer is, yes! In fact, I think that digital marketing has become even more effective than ever before. With so many people staying at home, working remotely and using the internet as a way to connect with others, now is a great time to ramp up your marketing efforts and grow your business.

Companies are looking to hire remote workers more than ever, and as freelance translators, we have a leg up on the competition. We already know the ropes of working remotely and know what it takes to stand out from the crowd.

Here are my top 4 tips on how to improve your digital marketing strategy during a pandemic:

1. Revamp your website

Now is a great time to update your website. I’m willing to bet that you have a bit more time on your hands (if not a lot more), so why not make the most of it? In my opinion, your personal website is the best tool in your arsenal for proving to new clients that you are professional, reliable and above all, credible. Start by updating your “About Me” section with any new accomplishments/credentials and add testimonials from new clients (or create a testimonials section). You may even want to work on tweaking your website for mobile use. Translator’s often overlook creating a mobile-friendly website. However, so many of us use our phones to browse the web and you wouldn’t want a potential client to struggle to find the “Contact Me” button. Lastly, I’m sure you’ve heard talk about SEO lately, and for good reason. SEO is short for “Search Engine Optimization” and it’s what helps new clients find your website amongst the sea of competitors. Now is the time to read up on how you can improve your website’s SEO so that your website rises to the top of Google search results!

2. Revive your blog

With so many people at home on their laptops, smartphones and tablets, now is the time to revive your blog and start creating some content! And if you haven’t already created a blog, there is no better time than the present. Blogging is a great way to get your name out there and engage new clients, meet new colleagues and let out some of your creative energy. Many translators might not see the advantages of having a blog––however––speaking from personal experience, I have met so many new colleagues and made business connections because of my blog. If you have the time, why not give it a shot?

3. Engage on social media

Using social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook for business has been gaining in popularity over the past few years. I always encourage translators to create business pages on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as a way of getting involved in their industry. These platforms are a great springboard for engaging with other translators and even new clients! More and more companies are using social media accounts to onboard new employees, interact with their clients and make new business connections. If you are going to be browsing social media anyways, you might as well keep your eye open for new opportunities. The best part of all is that it doesn’t even feel like work.

4. Double down on email marketing

Market to new clients

I will preface this by saying that email prospecting needs to be done thoughtfully and strategically. Please don’t send out generic emails to every translation agency or business under the sun. Since we are all stuck inside for the foreseeable future, attending in-person conferences, seminars, workshops and business meetups is out of the question. Since we can’t exactly go out and meet people in person, now is the time to do your research and send out personalized emails to prospective new clients explaining why working with you would benefit their company/organization. For example, take a look at their website and let them know why getting X section of their website translated could be beneficial to them. Don’t expect to get answers back from everyone, but you will never know unless you try!

Email existing clients

Many companies have seen a downturn in their business activities during the pandemic. Clients who usually bombard you with jobs may have gone radio silent. Now is the time to send them a friendly email and ask how they are doing. In doing so, you can also let them know that you have been doing X, Y and Z to improve yourself/your business during this time and gently remind them that you are ready to take on any new jobs whenever they start coming through again. Nudging clients is probably one of the most effective and least-used marketing techniques out there. I encourage you to give it a try, you may just be surprised by the results!

This article was created for and originally published in the September publication of Muratho.

© 2020 South African Translators’ Institute

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  • Jasmine Heesaker

Updated: May 25, 2020

4 templates I wish I knew about when I was starting out as a freelance translator

Add these free templates to your freelance translation toolkit! You can thank me later.

  1. Email Signature Template

Since freelance translators mainly communicate through email, it is a great idea to add a professional email signature to the bottom of all of your correspondence. It will make you look more professional and potential, existing and brand new clients will have easy access to the information that matters most. I know that when I started out as a freelance translator, I didn't know where to begin with email signatures. How was I supposed to create one? How do they work? I found a really easy-to-use and customizable set of email signature templates from the Microsoft Outlook website here, that you can use to get started. Remember that the most important things to include in your email signature are: your first and last name, phone number, website URL and links to your social media platforms. Below is a Word doc. with over 20 different templates to choose from.

Email Signatures
Download DOTX • 1.08MB

2. Invoice Template (that calculates totals!)

As a freelance translator, having access to a simple and easy-to-use invoice template will save you loads of time... seeing as any work that you do will need to be invoiced. The invoice template that I once again found on the Microsoft Office website here, is a great place to start. You can easily add in your personal information and then change the amounts (pricing) and client details for each job/agency/client. The invoice comes as an excel spreadsheet but once you input all of your details, you can easily save it as a PDF and send it off to get paid (promptly!). Many clients and agencies have their own specific invoice format that you can easily apply using this template. You can find the template that I first used to get my freelance translation business started below.

Customizable Invoice Template
Download XLSX • 66KB

3. Resume Template

When starting out as a freelance translator, you are going to need a clear and concise resume to send out to potential clients. As a rule of thumb, you should really try and keep your resume to 1 page and make it stand out from the crowd. Insert a photo of yourself (professional, of course), add your business logo and use colour! Try and show your personality through your resume. Many agencies and clients receive tons of resumes each and every day so make yours as attention grabbing as possible. I found a set of unique and modern 1-page resume templates on the Novoresume website here that can be downloaded for free. Tip: keep a PDF and a Word doc. version of your resume on hand at all times and only include the most important information such as: certifications, awards, memberships, education, work experience, CAT tools, specific skills and specializations. I have provided one of my favourite customizable templates for translators below.

Customizable Resume Template
Download DOCX • 49KB

4. Website/Social Media Banner Template

This may sound a little strange, but a nicely designed banner can go a long way. As a freelance translator, your online presence means a lot. I suggest creating a unique banner that you can use on your Facebook page, website, LinkedIn page, Twitter account... you name it! It really adds a professional flare to your business and allows those who you are interacting with online to know what you and your business are all about. The Canva website is great for this. There are tons of free (and paid) templates you can check out here. The website is super easy to use and you can save your work in several different formats. Below is one of my favourite simple and eye-catching banner templates to use. You can really go wild with this and change the colours, add your logo... anything goes. You just want to make sure that you include your name/business name, language combination and what it is you do—simple as that!

Banner Template
Download PDF • 43KB

I hope these templates will help save you some time when building your freelance translation business!

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  • Jasmine Heesaker

4 quick tips to help you make the most of your summer, and maybe even get a tan!

The image below is what inspired me to write this post... As translators, we spend a lot of time indoors, it's just a simple reality. However, we don't have to feel cooped up indoors and end up overworking ourselves. We too can enjoy the outdoors and maybe even enjoy this elusive thing people call the "sun."

1. Take an actual vacation

This may sound obvious, but there are so many freelancers out there that don't know how to sit still. Don't feel that you have to stay cooped up inside all summer and not get out and enjoy the good weather. Many of us, myself included, live in parts of the world where we have to endure cold long winters. Take advantage of the extra long days and warm sunlight. Taking the time to separate yourself from your work and focus on your family and friends is SO important.

2. Get moving

Don't stare out longingly from your office window at the beautiful sunshine. You are allowed to take breaks! Take a quick walk around the block, sit out in the backyard or patio or move your daily dose of exercise outdoors. It doesn't have to be long, and your body will thank you for the great boost of vitamin D. It's amazing what just 15 minutes can do! It may be just what you need to refocus your attention and get back to grinding out that translation magic.

3. Change things up

Summer is the perfect time to change up your usual routine. With patios open around every corner, sunny docks and beachside cafes within driving distance, there is no excuse to not try and take your work somewhere else for a change. That is the beauty of freelancing after all, is it not? I know that my creativity, mental health and overall well-being really benefit from changing up WHERE I work.

4. Network

There is always so much going on in the summer, so it is no wonder that I think it is the best time to get out there and mingle. Festivals, conventions, trade shows, you name it! Use the summer months to focus on professional development. We all need a break from pumping out translation after translation. Who knows, improving your skills and growing your network may just make the rest of your year even more productive!

What do you enjoy doing the most in the summer? Let me know in the comments below!

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