21 Super Easy Ways To Find Awesome New Clients
Whether you’re starting out or just want to shake things up a bit, we all need new clients. And preferably a steady stream of awesome ones! But how do you find them?
Here are 21 in depth and easy ways to find awesome new clients for your freelance business. Pick one or two and give them a solid shot before moving down the line.
WORD OF MOUTH
1. Tell your friends
Now this is super easy but the results may surprise you. Even close friends may often not realise when you're having a slow month. Presumably they think you're amazing and swamped with work offers.
But if that’s not the case, take advantage of your comfortable relationship and set them straight. Ask if they know of any opportunities or have friends looking for your X services. You know they'll happily shout your praises to their networks.
2. Ask your existing clients
Contact your existing clients and tell them you’re looking for more clients (phrase it how you like). Ask them if they can refer you to their networks, or know anyone who needs your services. As these clients have already worked with you, they can give an honest (and hopefully glowing!) reference.
3. Be sociable
Work opportunities can come from the most random encounters. Parties, cafes, playgrounds, school pickups and more. There's already got a common connection and level of trust because your kids are playing together, or you’re friends of friends.
I picked up a big web content contract in my first month here in Laos through a chance introduction at a cafe. So, don’t be afraid to chat to strangers about what you do. And it doesn’t hurt to have business cards conveniently on hand!
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4. Streamline your niche
Most people agree that choosing a niche for your freelance business is a good idea. (My friend Lindy Alexander offers a counter argument). IMO, knuckling down on a niche helps make you more employable. Especially when you’re competing for freelance jobs.
RELATED POST: Why Your Business Needs A Niche To Thrive
5. Crank up your SEO
Recently, I’ve had a lot more emails from people who say they’ve found me on Google. Which means all my hard work on keyword research and page titles is paying off.
SEO isn’t that scary and even the basics can push your website - and services - well above the average Joe. Take a basic SEO course or pay an SEO copywriter (like me!) to do it for you. The results can be amazing.
6. Get in the right mindset
If you’re feeling stressed, burned out or stretched too thin, you won’t have the energy to focus on finding new work. So, make sure you’re in the right mindset and be open to opportunities. They'll come.
7. Tell your social media followers
Post a short and witty statement on your social media about your work status. Say you're looking for more clients, or you've started a new service - anyone interested? If you’re worried about sounding desperate or unsuccessful, don’t be. People prefer honesty.
8. Hop on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great source of finding work, even without the paid service. It is a search engine, like Google. A job search leads not only to potential leads but also the job poster whom you can then connect with.
People will also view your profile so make it personable and effective. Include endorsements and recommendations. Engage with LI by publishing posts and commenting on others' posts. And more connections means you'll appear more in searches and sidebars.
RELATED POST: Social Media: How To Make LinkedIn Your Business Ally
9. Get tweeting
Twitter is another great social media platform for finding work contracts. First, follow the right people, those you admire as well as those in charge of commissioning work. Watch out for their posts.
Second, make connections with these people. Build an online relationship. Comment on and retweet their tweets, and let them get to know you.
10. Spruik yourself on Instagram
Instagram generates more comments and likes than any other social media platform. So, sell your new service or business with a snazzy post on IG, and throw a bunch of hashtags in to reach more people.
11. Go to networking events
Networking events are fast becoming a valued way to meet potential clients and find work opportunities. Whether it's a formal affair, “speed networking” or local get togethers, try them. They're great for building networks and widening your potential client base.
12. Chat with other freelancers
Freelancers are a sociable bunch. Even though technically we’re competing, few freelancers I’ve met look at things like that. Freelancers can be a great source of information and connections. As we all know... freelancing can be lonely and it’s fun to talk to other people who “get it”.
We’re all a little bit different, so it's not as competitive as you may think. We have different fields, specialties, location, working hours, aims and ambitions. So, get chatting!
13. Join Facebook groups
Facebook is where it’s at for online groups. Look for ones that allow self promotion without going overboard. The best ones will have people who share tips, encouragement and work opportunities. They’re looking to make long term networks with a quid pro quo mentality.
I’m in several Facebook groups and I’ve had well-paid client work from about half of them. Make good use of the search function to check what services people are looking for and how you can fill the void. Get involved, be a team player and people will start to trust you and relationships grow from there.
14. Partner up
Use your freelance connections, or post a callout on social media for a partner in crime. Pick someone whose talents and skills complement yours and offer a dual service. Say a copywriter and a graphic designer, or an SEO specialist and a website designer. You can offer a stronger concept for the client. And utilise both your networks to promote and administer it.
15. Cold email
Email is still the #1 way of reaching an audience, so take advantage! Worried about sounding spammy? If your service is genuine, can help your recipient and is targeted to them, you won't. Research your client, address your email to the right person, and tell them how you can help them. Include your full email signature too, as it's looks much more authentic.
16. Use your mailing list
If you have a mailing list, now’s the time to take use it! Tell people on your list... about your new service, extra client time, or your launch of X, Y or Z. They follow you because they like and trust you. They’re your biggest supporters so let them help you find more clients and work.
RELATED POST: How To Use Content Upgrades To Boost Your Email List
17. Hang out with your ideal clients
This one’s a bit left field but hear me out! Decide on your ideal clients, then research their professional hang outs. And go to those places. Their trade shows and networking events. You’ll likely be the only non-X client there! Which means you'll stand out. And you’ll impress people with your commitment and interest.
18. Create blog content for your ideal client
Blogging is one of the best ways to reach a new audience and show them what you’ve got. There’s a whole host of positive things about blogging for business. Not least that it allows you to “talk” to your reader in your unique tone of voice.
And the reader you want to focus on is your ideal client. So, write posts that will resonate with the needs and concerns of that potential client. They’ll appreciate it when they find you.
RELATED POST: Why Every Business Needs A Blog
19. Follow up on every lead
Every query you get, every quote you send, every person you exchange cards with at a networking event - follow up. People are busy and often forget or put it on a never-ending to do list. Following up shows you’re proactive and professional. And there’s every chance they’ll appreciate your initiative.
20. Say howdy to past clients
Get back in touch with past clients at the 3 or 6 month mark and ask how they’re doing. Is there anything they need? Offer some of your extra services at an exclusive client rate. They'll rather work with someone they already know and who knows their business. It's a win win for both of you.
21. Offer a discount
Everyone loves a discount! Offer a discounted rate or X% off your usual price. You can also use the time of year to throw in a promo - Show me the love on Valentine’s Day, or End of financial year bonus... It can work wonders in nudging new clients into your door.
Did I miss any? Add them below in the comments.
About the author: Lilani Goonesena is an Australian freelance writer, SEO copywriter and Squarespace web designer based in Vientiane, Laos. She loves boosting freelancers and small businesses with web design, SEO content and digital marketing strategy. She writes an awesome weekly newsletter on digital marketing, social media, blogging, web design and "all that online stuff". Lilani also blogs at the delectable Eat Drink Laos, just for fun.