Wondering how to build your brand as a freelancer in Nigeria? The expert tips in this guide are for you. Follow them step by step to build the brand you’d love.
The freelancing landscape is highly competitive.
World Bank data shows that nearly 50% of the global workforce are now freelancers. So, you’d need to roll up your sleeves to succeed in this space. And one of the most straightforward ways for you to stay ahead of the curve is to build your brand as a freelancer in Nigeria.
Building a brand that stands out from the crowd is not a walk in the park.
But the steps in this guide can help you put your best foot forward. Action them to build a brand that resonates with your target audience, drive sales, and cultivate long-term customer loyalty. And don’t forget to download the free freelancer branding toolkit to make it effortless.
So, let’s begin…
Table of Contents
Key Takeaways (Editor’s Pick)
- Don’t be a jack of all trades; pick a niche to make specialising easier.
- Take courses to grow your skills and brand as an industry expert.
- Create a brand identity that stands out.
- Leverage social media to expand your brand reach and grow engagement.
- Launch a website to take full control of your branding and scalability.
- Use storytelling to connect prospects emotionally to your brand.
- Inspire confidence and trust with social proof.
- Build relationships with clients to get them coming back.
- Protect your brand by making it a distinct entity, separate from you.
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Branding is more than creating a shiny, captivating logo.
It’s an encompassing effort to build an identity that sticks with your target audience. Branding is the story behind your business, what makes it stand out from the competitors. And what makes people love it.
Allie Decker of HubSpot believes that…
“…the goal of branding is to earn space in the mind of the target audience and become their preferred option for doing business.”
And we feel the same way!
Why Nigerian freelancers need branding
Standing out as a Nigerian freelancer is not a walk in the park. That’s where branding comes in. Let’s see three ways it benefits your freelancing business.
For credibility and trust
Freelancing means you’d work remotely without any physical address.
So, it could be a turnoff for many clients, especially if you work outside recognised freelancing platforms, like Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer.com, and Toptal. However, building a strong brand helps you demonstrate credibility, winning their trust and business.
Branding is what gives your business an identity.
Without it, people might have a hard time telling you apart from the competition. It’s what will help clients connect with you on a personal level, beyond the services you provide. For example, if you’re a freelance copywriter, you might want to be known as the “copywriter who gets the job done fast.”
For real relationship
Customers are fanatically loyal.
I’ve learned that over the years as a marketer. Customers won’t wake up one morning and decide to switch to a different freelancer. If you provide experiences that connect with them and their goals, they’ll stick around—and branding is key to building that relationship.
Download free freelancer branding toolkit
Brand yourself as an expert freelancer today. Use this free toolkit to build a brand your clients will love.
Step-by-Step to Building Your Freelancing Brand In Nigeria
Now, how do you build your brand as a Nigerian Freelancer? Let’s find out
1. Pick a niche
The first step to building your brand as a freelancer is to pick a niche.
You can’t be a jack of all trades and expect to be successful. If you try to do everything, you’ll end up being good at nothing.
Also, it makes you look less like an expert, which makes it harder to convince potential customers that you’re the best person for the job. The truth is clients looking for a copywriter are more likely to hire someone who specialises in copywriting than someone who claims to do everything.
How to pick a niche
- Access your skill set to identify your strengths and capabilities
- List all the businesses your skills can serve
- Identify their pain points, challenges, and expectations
- List all the possible solutions to the problems
- Look for the most neglected solutions
- Craft a compelling value proposition, differentiating from the competition
What it’ll cost
It’ll cost nothing to research a niche.
2. Become an expert
Picking a niche is not enough.
If clients don’t see you as an expert, you’re wasting your time. And it’s not enough to ramp up your skills, you need to prove it. Display your skills on your website and freelancing platforms. Branding yourself as an industry expert will help you build trust and confidence with clients.
How to brand as an expert
- Take online courses to improve your skills
- Display the course badges on your website and profile.
- Update your profile bio, website About Us page, and social media pages to reflect these skills
- Add your social media pages to your freelancing profiles and websites
- Post regularly on social media to show off your expertise.
- Write monthly articles on LinkedIn to build thought leadership and become a trusted source for answers to clients’ questions.
- Speak about your expertise.
What it’ll cost
Udemy courses cost between $19.99 and $199.99. However, you can get it cheaper with discounts and deals.
3. Create a brand identity
The whole point of branding is to stand out from the crowd.
It makes it easier for people to choose you over all the other options. Without a strong brand, clients will just lump you in with all the other freelancers. And that’s not good for business. So, stand out by creating a physical identity and experience people will always associate with your business.
How to create a brand identity
- Create a captivating logo to capture attention.
- Choose a compelling tagline that reinforces your value proposition.
- Use the same font and style throughout your platforms to create consistency.
- Communicate how you can solve client pain points with mission and vision statements.
- Stand out with custom icons, favicons, and colour palettes.
- Use a language that matches your brand personality. (more on this later).
- Enhance your brand identity with a stunning email signature.
What it’ll cost
You can get a good logo for at least $10 on Fiverr. But, it’ll cost nothing if you use the logo generators in our free branding toolkit.
4. Stay strong on social media
Some clients will check you out on social media.
So, it’s essential to have a strong presence there. Start by creating profiles on all the major social media platforms. This will give potential clients multiple ways to find and learn about your brand. Be sure to post regularly on these platforms to keep your brand top-of-mind and generate engagement.
How to build a strong social media presence
- Create accounts on all the popular social media platforms.
- Brand the profiles to reflect your brand identity.
- Post regular DIY tips on the platforms.
- Jump into Twitter conversations about trending topics and show off your knowledge.
- Promote your business with ads to extend your brand reach.
- Share customer reviews and stories to inspire confidence.
- Prioritise the channels your ideal clients use the most.
What it’ll cost
Unless you outsource your social media management, building a strong presence will cost you nothing, only your time.
5. launch your website
You don’t have to rely solely on Upwork, Fiverr, and other platforms to find clients.
Sadly, several freelancers don’t. Doing that will limit your reach and how much money you can make. Instead, launch a well-designed website to reach new clients beyond those platforms. The best part is that you’ll have better control over your marketing and branding.
How to build a successful freelancing website
- Choose a domain that aligns with your brand name.
- Run your website on WordPress for ease of use and convenience.
- Brand the website to reflect your brand identity.
- Communicate your value proposition on the homepage.
- Add “Portfolio” to showcase your past works.
- Embed customer reviews to gain confidence and trust.
- Include a “Case Study” page to demonstrate how you’ve helped previous clients.
- Embed certificate badges at the website footer to show expertise.
- Create a strong “About Us” page.
- Optimise your website for search engines for organic visibility.
- Promote your website widely with paid adverts.
- Build email lists for your business to nurture lasting relationships with drip campaigns.
What it’ll cost
Top-rated WordPress website design services cost between $150 and $500 on Fiverr.
Good designers in Nigeria take between #70,000 and #300,000 for a simple WordPress website. However, you can use the free theme in our branding toolkit if you have WordPress experience.
6. Tell your stories
Everyone loves good stories.
They’re great at creating emotions, anticipation, and imagination. So use them to your advantage. With storytelling, you can communicate your brand personalities, value, and proposition, humanise your brand, and build engagements that connect clients emotionally to your business.
How to elevate your brand with storytelling
- Share stories of how your brand has been helping clients solve their problems.
- Encourage customers to create videos of their happy experiences.
- Use storytelling in your “About Us” and “What We Do” pages to drive your value propositions and USPs.
- Create content on your experience and expertise.
- Provide regular DIY tips, infusing your experiences in each post.
- Share milestones with customers.
- Let your brand shine in every story, by making it the centre of it.
- Use facts and figures to elevate your brands.
- Set a goal for each story and ensure it gradually leads to it (CTA).
- Include visual cues (illustrations, videos, and animations) to make your story relatable and engaging.
- Share your stories on social media and your blog.
What it’ll cost
Storytelling won’t cost you anything if you do it yourself. If you can afford it, get a virtual assistant to help out while you focus on acquiring and delighting clients.
7. Demonstrate credibility
Clients need to trust you to bring their business to you.
At least they want to be sure that you can meet their expectations. But they won’t know this if you don’t tell them. And using social proof can help you demonstrate credibility. Social proof is a psychological concept that suggests that people are often influenced by the decisions made by others.
It involves providing evidence of a product or service’s popularity or acceptance to influence customers.
How to demonstrate credibility with social proof
- Add Fiverr or Upwork customer reviews on your website. (around 92% of customers are hesitant to buy when there are no customer reviews)
- Get video testimonials of your happy customers and embed them on your site (about 79% of customers have watched video testimonials to learn about a product or brand).
- Display important milestones on your website like the number of customers and years of experience.
- Upload your portfolio to show clients what you have worked on.
- Display all your certifications and badges to demonstrate your qualifications.
- Link your website and Fiverr and Upwork profiles to your social media accounts.
- Share all these on social media to leverage the channel to show proof.
What it’ll cost
Demonstrating credibility with social proof costs nothing.
8. Build relationships
Branding is all about building meaningful relationships.
It should be at the centre of your branding project. The more meaningful relationships you cultivate with clients, the stronger your brand will be. It boils down to how you meet their expectations and how they feel after experiencing your brand.
So, prioritise delighting your clients and see each engagement as an opportunity to build a relationship with them.
How to build meaningful relationships with clients
- Understand customer pain points.
- Set clear expectations before signing the contracts—people should know what to expect when they engage you.
- Create an explainer video explaining what each service entails.
- Try to exceed their expectations.
- Follow up with clients after completing their projects.
- Note their concerns, acknowledge and fix them.
- Send an appreciation to clients after each project.
- Offer an enticing discount to first-time buyers to encourage them to return.
- Reward your most active customers with discounts or personalised gifts to gain their loyalty.
- Ask happy customers for referrals. Incentivize them with a discount.
What it’ll cost
The best way to have a good relationship with your clients is to exceed their expectations. And it doesn’t cost much to do that unless you want to invest in personalized gifts to lock down their business. If you do go that route, expect to spend at least $10, depending on what you get them.
9. Make your brand a distinct entity
As a freelancer, you’re your brand.
But, it’s always best to separate yourself from the brand. It makes it more effortless to scale your freelancing business, extend the brand beyond your current offerings, and protect the business from your personal life and unnecessary public attention.
You can be the face of your brand, but not the brand.
How to build a distinct freelancing brand
- Create a brand identity that reflects an organisation.
- Use general consensus (we and our) when talking about your brand.
- Create separate social media handles for your business.
- Launch a website and use an official email signature.
- Don’t receive payments with your personal account details.
- Enter into contracts in the name of your business.
- Register the business with CAC.
What it’ll cost
Separating yourself from your brand won’t cause you anything.
10 Key Branding Terms to Keep in Mind
Keep these branding terms in mind. Understanding them will help you build a stronger brand for your freelancing business.
1. Brand positioning
Your brand positioning is how you want your target audience and ideal customers to perceive your business. It’s the unique value proposition that you offer that sets you apart from your competitors.
Here are some examples of brand positioning for freelancers:
- The go-to freelancer for high-quality, affordable work.
- The expert freelancer in your niche.
- The creative and innovative freelancer who always delivers on their promises.
- The reliable and trustworthy freelancer who always gets the job done.
It’s important to choose a brand that’s true to you as a freelancer. You should be proud of your brand and be able to stand behind it. Your brand is a reflection of you, so make sure it’s something you’re happy with.
2. Brand voice
Brand voice is the tone and style of communication that you use with your target audience. It should be consistent with your brand identity and positioning and the way you interact with your client.
Here are different brand voices you can explore:
- Friendly and approachable: Use this brand voice if you want to connect with clients on a personal level. It’s characterized by a conversational tone and the use of humor.
- Expert and authoritative: This brand voice works for freelancers who want to be seen as experts in their field. It’s characterized by a confident tone and the use of facts and figures.
- Creative and innovative: Freelancers who want to be seen as cutting-edge and original use this brand voice. It’s characterized by a playful tone and the use of new ideas.
- Professional and reliable: Ideal for freelancers who want to be seen as trustworthy and dependable. It’s characterized by a formal tone and the use of clear and concise language.
3. Brand identity
Brand identity is the visual and verbal expression of a brand. It includes the brand’s logo, colors, fonts, and tone of voice. It’s how a brand communicates its personality and values to its target audience.
Some examples of strong brand identities include:
- Apple: Apple’s brand identity is simple and elegant, with a focus on white space and clear typography. The company’s logo is one of the most recognizable in the world.
- Nike: Nike’s brand identity is bold and athletic, with a focus on the swoosh logo and the company’s signature “Just Do It” slogan.
- Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola’s brand identity is classic and timeless, with a focus on the red and white color scheme and the company’s iconic logo.
4. Brand image
Brand image is how the public perceives you. It’s based on your brand’s identity, services, and their experiences with you. Reviews can also shape your brand image.
Some ways to stay on top of your brand image are:
- Develop a strong brand identity
- Create high-quality content to share your experience and build thought leadership
- Promote your brand through social media, email marketing, and other channels.
- Build relationships with potential clients.
- Offer excellent customer service to keep clients coming back for more.
- Ask happy customers for reviews and reply to all reviews, including negative reviews.
5. Brand equity
Brand equity is the value of a brand. It is based on the brand’s awareness, loyalty, and reputation. You can increase your brand equity through marketing and advertising plus word-of-mouth marketing.
A strong brand can also be more resistant to competition.
6. Brand loyalty
Brand loyalty is the customer’s preference for a particular brand over competing brands. You can gauge your brand loyalty by the rate clients repurchase your services. The keys to building a strong brand loyalty include:
- Excellent customer service
- Marketing and promotions
- Strong brand reputation
7. Brand awareness
Brand awareness is how well-known your brand is. It’s how far your brand can reach. You can measure it by the number of people who have heard of your brand or seen your marketing materials.
Key ways to boost your brand awareness are:
- Strong social media presence
- Marketing and advertising
- Word-of-mouth marketing
- Referral marketing
- Search engine optimisation
8. Brand reputation
Brand reputation is what people think of a brand. It’s based on the brand’s history, what it offers, how it markets itself, and what customers say about it. The most straightforward way to build a favourable brand reputation is by cultivating several positive customer reviews.
9. Brand extension
Brand extension is the use of an existing brand name for a new service. You can extend your brand by offering complementary services that are related to your core offerings. For instance, as a copywriter, you can offer content marketing services to generate organic leads for clients.
It helps you leverage an already strong brand image or existing customers to scale your earnings.
10. Brand repositioning
Brand repositioning is the process of changing the way clients perceive your brand.
You can do this by changing the brand’s identity, voice, propositions, or positioning. It’s necessary if you’re struggling to keep up with changing consumer preferences, facing competition from new brands, or planning to expand into new markets.
Brand repositioning can be tough, but here are some tips for you:
- Update your brand identity. This includes your logo, website, and marketing materials. Make sure your brand identity is consistent with your new positioning.
- Reposition your services. If you’re offering new services or changing your focus, make sure your website and marketing materials reflect that.
- Change your target audience. If you’re targeting a new audience, make sure your marketing materials are tailored to them.
- Update your pricing. If you’re changing your prices, make sure your clients are aware of the change.
- Reposition your messaging. Make sure your messaging is consistent with your new positioning.
Grow with this Free Freelancer Branding Toolkit
We know that it can be hard to stand out as a freelancer in Nigeria.
That’s why we created a free branding toolkit to help you out. The toolkit includes everything you need to create a strong personal brand that will help you attract more clients and improve your rates.
You’ll get access to templates, tools, and guides that will help you develop your brand, create a website, and market yourself effectively. We sourced them from some of the best brands on the internet, like Namecheap, HubSpot, Colume Five, and Zakra, to ensure you get only the best.
Use the branding toolkit to build a brand that stands out.
What is a personal brand?
A personal brand is a collection of your skills, experience, and personality that you use to market yourself to potential clients. It is a way of differentiating yourself from the competition and making yourself stand out. It’s what helps you attract new clients, increase your rates, and build a successful career.
Why is a personal brand important for freelancers?
A personal brand can help you stand out from the competition, attract more clients, and command higher rates. It also helps you build real relationships with your customers and get them coming back.
How do I build a personal brand?
There are many ways to build a personal brand, but some of the most important include:
- Creating a strong online presence
- Developing a unique selling proposition
- Networking with other professionals
- Providing excellent customer service
How can I measure the success of my personal brand?
Some ways to measure the success of your brand include:
- The number of leads you generate
- The number of clients you acquire
- The amount of revenue you generate
- The positive feedback you receive from clients
What are some tips for maintaining a strong personal brand?
Here are some tips for maintaining a strong personal brand:
- Continually update your online presence
- Stay up-to-date on industry trends
- Provide excellent customer service
- Give back to the community
Branding for Freelancers: Now, What Next?
That’s the only way to build a brand that clients will love. Most of the top-rated freelancers didn’t build their brands overnight. It took them consistently taking small steps to get where they are today. So, action the tips in this guide, taking them one at a time, to build your dream brand.
And don’t leave things to chance.
Audit the brand regularly to find out what’s working and improve on them. Also, download our free freelancer branding toolkit to make the branding experience seamless and fun.