The holiday season is pretty much here already, and the internet is still probably the outlet of choice for much of your marketing. But, don’t count out traditional marketing just yet. Just as in-person interactions can personalize your relationship with customers and colleagues, print collateral can make a different type of impression on customers.
For freelancers, the holiday season is the perfect opportunity to network locally to spread the word about your offerings. It’s the one time of year professionals leave the office to attend holiday-themed gatherings, providing numerous opportunities to meet the very people who need the type of work they offer. Here are four ways to make the most of the holiday season to promote your freelance business.
Display at local businesses
During the holiday season, certain local businesses enjoy a serious increase in foot traffic. Shoppers are checking off items on their gift-giving lists and businesses are stocking up on supplies for their parties. Find local, non-competitor businesses that are likely to attract your ideal clients and ask if they’ll display your business card or other print materials to promote your business.
This type of display will work best if your services are compatible with the storefront where your items are on display. A graphic designer could benefit from having items displayed on the countertop of a local print and copy shop, for instance, while an event planner could get helpful exposure with a display at a party store.
Discounts on your business cards
Before you seek out in-person interactions with potential clients, make sure you have professional-quality business cards. There are plenty of affordable online options for freelancers, each with its own set of templates. In addition to contact information, make sure your business card is designed to bring in business, including adding a coupon code that’s good for a discount on any new business the recipient sends your way.
Some freelancers find it even more beneficial to include a referral bonus offer on business cards. If you meet someone who doesn’t personally need your services, you can incentivize referrals by pointing out that you pay a bonus to anyone who sends clients your way. This type of networking is an effective way to rapidly scale your business.
Holiday-themed networking events
One of the best ways to get to know other professionals in your area is to host a party of your own. This is especially effective if you have a sizable personal network, with friends who can invite other business associates in the area. Even if you only invite people you know, you’ll likely find that those people invite friends who can refer you to professionals who need your freelancing services.
Instead of hosting your own event, you can also take a serious look at any invitations you receive to holiday parties. Consider these networking opportunities and make time in your schedule to attend, business cards in hand.
Hand out flyers
Despite the popularity of digital marketing, printed material still works very well. Design and print an eye-catching flyer that you can hand out at your own events. If you host a party, make sure you have some available for attendees to take with them. You can also hang them on bulletin boards at local businesses during the holiday season.
Since you have printed materials on hand, consider creating a small, targeted mailing list and sending your flyers to local businesses. If you choose recipients carefully, you may be able to get a few new clients from the effort. During the holiday season, professionals often check their mail more carefully, since they know they’re more likely to receive gifts and cards in the latter weeks of the year.
The holiday season is one of the better times of the year to network with others in your local community. By first having a winning business card and a plan in place, you’ll be in a position to turn an interaction with someone into a business relationship that will last well into the new year.
This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com on October 17, 2017.