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Freelance & Small Business Marketing Survival Kit:

4 Critical steps every small business should take.

When one thinks “marketing” they often think big budget. However, some of the most essential steps to market your brand and look professional cost little to nothing. Donna Sozio1, a successful marketing entrepreneur and published author, applied this philosophy to sell her book, “Never Trust a Man in Alligator Loafers,” to a major publisher. Within three short weeks, she generated successful media publicity on KISS F.M. and The Tyra Banks Show. Her secret? Donna recommends having a media and marketing plan from the get go. Always present yourself as an expert in your field. And use every opportunity to brand yourself.

Business Branding Essentials

  1. Have a Plan, Brand Every Communication & Use Email.
    Get an email address with your domain name and make sure all email communication has your company signature and brand on it – never miss an opportunity to brand. Email is easy and inexpensive so use it to your advantage when communicating with customers or potential customers.
  2. Present yourself as a team – even if you’re a company of one.
    Use your industry contacts to supplement your services. Then if you need to present yourself as a “team” for a project, you have one.
  3. Legitimize yourself
    If you can afford it, register with the BBB or other associations that relate to your industry. List your affiliations and have references and testimonials available – more than the minimum of 3.
  4. Be active online and stay proactive about your name.
    Create social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter – why not, they’re free. Sign up for which sends you emails based on your query topics – such as your business name or brand. is the largest blog search engine. Use it so when someone blogs about you, you’ll know. Try for any instance of your name.

The Bottom Line

Improving brand visibility, and therefore brand “equity” requires a plan and consistent messaging across all forms of marketing. One final tip from Donna: “Learn how to use Google ad words effectively and put your pitch on everything printed – especially your business cards! 1


  1. Donna Sozio, author of Never Trust a Man in Alligator Loafers (Citadel 2007), does consulting on the marketability of pitches and tag lines. To contact Donna or learn more about her marketing tips visit or
  2. Marketing Profs: Five B2B Email Marketing Tips by Stephanie Miller
  3. Marketing Profs: Six Free Tools for Online Reputation Management by Dan Schawbel
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2 thoughts on “Freelance & Small Business Marketing Survival Kit:

  1. This is great advice. I started my company during my first year of college and have been growing ever since. Even though I was growing, I’ve stayed a company of one (really two with mygirlfriend). As time went on, I began getting bigger and bigger companies as my clients. Companies such as Harley Davidson, Texas Roadhouse, Kennedy Space Center and many other large corporations. In order to present myself as a large and capable company, I slowly began expanding on my image. Throughout the beginning years of my business my family and friends were buying me great gifts for me and my business. I received custom engraved pens, engraved business card case and other Distinct Graphicz branded items. At the time I just thought they were cool gifts but as I used them day in and day out, I came to realize how essential these are to my image. I then found a great company that offers deals and sales on custom embroidered apparel

    ( – link on top of page

    so I dove in and bought 4 embroidered polos. I began looking like the owner of a business instead of a college kid with a business card. Oh and business cards, really important. Stay away from those print yourself micro perforated business cards. Spend the time to design an effective card either by yourself, a friend, or a design company, and make that tiny investment into some quality cards (i.e. nextdayflyers). Another item I purchased to look bigger than I am, was a leather portfolio notepad thing. I’m not sure their correct name, but when you walk into a meeting, unzip your notepad, take out your engraved pen and start taking notes, you look serious and ready to dive into your customers requests. The one problem with being a company of one for me was what do I do when I travel. I moved from NY as did my girlfriend, and I found myself visiting family often. Originally, I changed my voicemail message to stay I’m away and will be back on this date, but that to me isn’t the best customer service. I had to come up with a solution to responding to my customers while I was out of town. The best solution for me was to ask a friend to help. I set up a business email address for him, and whenever I received a call or email, I would forward their information to my friend, and he either called them and said he was so and so from Distinct Graphicz, and would email them back, get their information and request and take care of whatever he could for me. Customer’s don’t like to be left in the dark with no response from anyone. Even if you can perform the work because of a 2 day deadline, at least someone gets back to them and tells them, instead of you ignoring them and possibly loosing that client for quick turnaround jobs.

    I didn’t realize this would turn in to such a large post, but for all of you that read it all, I hope I was able to give some small ideas to go along with making yourself seems as big as possible.

    Distinct Graphicz, Inc

  2. Daniel,
    Thank you for sharing your story. Your idea of getting a friend to help so your “customer service” department would remain responsive no matter where you were was brilliant. Those are the kinds of things that can make or break a business – small or large.

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