As a freelancer, you need to be constantly exploring different ways to win new clients. Especially if you haven’t quite found your lead generation rhythm yet, it’s time to do a deep dive and commit to generating solid leads. Businesses worldwide probably need your services on a regular basis, so there certainly isn’t a shortage of work to do. Here are some of the best ways to earn new clients for your freelance biz.
1 | Add a small ad to your email signature
This idea works particularly well if you are still working a 9-5 office job and send emails daily. If your freelance business hasn’t quite taken off yet, try adding in a small snippet about your abilities and link out to your portfolio. This won’t come across as spammy or “salsey”. Chances are, some of the people you email on a daily basis are considering starting their own side project or business. Businesses, especially new ones, need supplemental services. It takes just a few minutes to stick an ad in your email signature and it doesn’t cost a thing.
2 | Brand yourself more clearly
Your branding is critical. You’re running this show yourself, so your personal or business branding speaks volumes about your capabilities. Don’t skimp on your own branding, spend as much time designing your personal brand as possible. Be sure that your branding is consistent and unique. On every platform where your brand has a presence, your messaging and style should be clearly communicated through the visual elements of your brand. Your brand is so much more than just a logo.
3 | Get social
If you’ve postponed utilizing social media to grow your client base, you need to start now. There are businesses and people on social media who need your services. By consistently posting the best examples of your work, your social media accounts will serve as mini-portfolios with a social aspect tacked on. You can get creative with social media by posting content and images specifically created for your profiles. If you utilize hashtags efficiently, post excellent content, and engage with comments on your posts, you can grow a following and reach more potential customers through social media.
4 | Network wherever you go
Keep business cards on-hand. See that guy standing in line at Panera talking about his idea for a new business venture? Introduce yourself, complement his idea, and hand him your business card. People adore talking about their dreams and goals to anyone who will listen. Chances are, you will end up having a detailed conversation and he’ll walk away with a positive impression of you. He might call you the next day to work with you. He might follow you on Instagram and engage with your posts regularly. He might contact you a year from now when he finally launches his business and realizes he needs professional help after all. Any of these things are wins for you and for him.
5 | Get familiar with the online freelance community
Join freelance-focused Facebook groups to network online whenever you have some time to. Get inspired by reading popular freelancing blogs – they’re popular for a reason. Follow other freelancers inside and outside of your niche on social media. Instagram is probably your best bet here – it’s such a visual platform and easy to engage with other people’s content. Reach out to other freelancers and collaborate with them.
6 | If applicable, try selling digital products various marketplaces
Generate some (sorta) passive income selling digital products. If you’re a web or graphic designer, this might look like premade templates on Etsy, Envato, and Creative Market. There is a huge demand for fresh design goods and you can sell almost anything you can create. Logos, branding elements, social media templates, website themes, Lightroom presets, fonts, vector sets, filters, effects, stock photos, and graphics of all sorts. Check out the top selling products on Creative Market to get inspired – they are absolutely killing it lately and they treat their creators quite well.
If you’re not a designer, you still have an amazing opportunity to benefit from digital products. You can put together an eBook, online course, or workbook related to your niche or industry and sell it on your website with the help of a program or plugin. Here are some plugins and programs that can help you do that.
- WooCommerce (WordPress plugin that serves as an e-commerce extension to your website. You can host an entire online shop with this. Search for the plugin from your WordPress dashboard, install it, and head over to Youtube for some tutorials.)
- SendOwl (Helps you sell and manage products and subscriptions. You can use it on your self-hosted site or choose a different plan. They don’t take a cut of your sales – instead, they charge a flat monthly fee depending on which plan you opt in for. SendOwl is something
- Teachable (Create, host, manage, and sell online courses.)
No matter what type of digital product you sell, they give you the opportunity to add extra revenue to your business AND bring you more leads. Show off your products on your social platforms (Pinterest and Instagram are especially great for this kind of thing!) and the people who love your style will become interested in what else your brand has to offer. Sharing your products with the right audiance can truly get you “discovered” on social media, leading to more leads than you’ll ever need.
7 | Utilize local SEO on your personal website if you do local gigs
This tip is truly key. If your a photographer, videographer, or you’re running a business that calls for you to meet with clients face-to-face, get on top of your local SEO. It’s different than general SEO.
Your website should be geotargeted. If it isn’t, you’re missing out on a lot of SEO power. Make sure that each of your pages is targeting a set of local keywords (or at least one). Get on Google My Business, create citations for your business, target the right keywords, and get found locally. Try using a call to action button in your Google My Business listing, like “Call Now” or “Schedule a Consultation” to skyrocket the number of leads you capture daily.
Searchers are way more likely to call by clicking on an easily accessible “Call Now” button directly within the search results than they are if they have to search for a phone number on your website.
8 | Go to local meetups and networking events
You’ll encounter all sorts at meetups. From newbies looking to form friendships and learn together, to seasoned professionals, to small agencies, to startups looking for a designer or copywriter to add to their team. It’s always a good idea to form friendships with other freelancers. If you become friends with a busy freelance photographer and you’re a designer, she might refer some of her clients to you when they need a website. Bring business cards to these events and introduce yourself to everyone you can. There are sure to be people lurking who are on the lookout for a freelancer who suits their business’s needs.